art

She comes to life

She comes to life... a portrait step by step

Have you been following the "work in progress" portrait on my facebook page last week? It has been such fun painting and sharing the process with readers at the same time. A challenge for sure, but very exciting... On Facebook I only shared the portrait part of the painting. I've been working on the background some more and it's finally done! So today I'd like to share the whole painting with you: it's called Gentle Heart.

Below you'll find slide-show and a recap of all the different steps from start to finish, including techniques. And as always, I look forward to reading your comments and answering any questions you may have, technical or otherwise. Enjoy!

Gentle heart, Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille
Gentle heart, Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille

First, a peek at my portrait toolkit!

portrait toolkit
portrait toolkit

And then,  it all starts like this...

Steps 1 & 2
Steps 1 & 2

Step 1: I start with lightly sketching the main features with a pencil, then add a light wash of white acrylic paint to the "skin" areas.

TIP: if you're not comfortable drawing, take a photo you like and print it the size you want the portrait to be. Roughly cover the back of the paper with a 2B or 3B pencil, then place it on your canvas (image facing you) and trace the features with your pencil on the photo: they will transfer to the canvas.

Step 2: Roughly shading with "walnut stain" Distress ink, using my fingers.

Steps 3 & 4
Steps 3 & 4

Step 3: Awakening her soul right from the start... Watersoluble black Stabilo All pencil + matte gel medium on a super fine brush.

Step 4: More shading, again with Distress inks in "walnut stain" and "old linen", using fingers and a small brush. I love the transparency of those inks, which allows the text underneath to show through...

Steps 5 & 6
Steps 5 & 6

Step 5: Shading some more and adding color to the lips with Pitt Artist pens (B, brush tip) #189 & #169. These are India ink pens. I add tiny touches of color, then move it around with a super fine, wet brush. And highlighting some areas with a white Posca paint pen and a paintbrush. At this stage the nose is way too round for my taste!

NB: Distress inks are water-soluble, which means that you should work with a dry brush or finger. BUT you can also use this to your advantage to create different effects. For instance if you want to add more definition to the eyebrow, you can add just a little bit of water or gel medium to your brush: you'll get a watercolour effect + variation in the color of the ink (walnut stain becomes more yellowish).

Step 6: Outlining the face and hair with the watersoluble black Stabilo All pencil and a wet brush. At this stage, she's really got her true soul...

Steps 7, 8 & 9
Steps 7, 8 & 9

Step 7: Hair and make-up + nose-job... using the same techniques as before.At this stage I was happy with what she had turned into. And yet, because the painting is part of a series, I put her side by side with the previous 2 paintings and found that her skin was much darker. And after a while it started bothering me. So...

Step 8: ... I thought maybe I could lighten it just a little bit... Bad idea: in seconds the face lost some of its freshness and  transparency. As a result, the lips now seemed too big and the nose looked weird...

Step 9: ... which led to more messing up and making her seem older... I don't dislike this more mature look, but it's just not who I feel she's wanting to become. Make-up removal is in order...

NB: It's been so interesting for me to get all your comments and perspectives at this particular stage. What's most important to remember is that at all times I keep trusting the process and waiting to see "who" is finally going to emerge on the canvas. What I mean to say, about "messing up", is that at some stage I have felt like I knew that girl, felt connected to her, and then I didn't recognize her anymore. But she's on her way...

Step 10: final version!
Step 10: final version!

Step 10: Here she finally is... I'm happy with how the innocent and more mature looks blended together. I have removed some of the paint on her skin and in her hair to reveal the book pages again, gone back to the first shape of the mouth and painted it a bit lighter, lightened the eyes too...

TIP: To safely remove layers of paint I use hydroalcoholic gel on a cotton bud.

As promised, here is the video showing you the whole portrait coming to life, from start to finish!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0AXpk4cXQM

I hope that you enjoyed this process and that it will inspire you to try your own mixed media portrait... Remember to let go of any expectations regarding how the face is "supposed" to look. Let it unfold and bloom naturally, and once you get a glimpse of the soul behind it, take your time, let it sit aside for a while if you need to, don't rush it. But also know that "mistakes" are part of the process and that, like all our experiences in life, they shape who we become and allow us to learn and grow. They will eventually give your portrait its own unique character once it is fully born on your canvas. And of course you can ask me any questions here in the comments or on Facebook.

NB: Enjoyed the video? HERE is another one from last year that you might like: it's a mixed media floral painting, full of blooming roses...

Have a beautiful week-end!

Light & Love

Busy autumn

Catching up... it's a busy autumn!

Hi everyone! I have so much catching up to do! A magazine publication, stuff happening on Facebook, lovely greeting cards in the shop and an art show coming up! So here we go:

First: I am so excited to have an article in the Fall issue of Somerset Apprentice! Featuring my mixed media painting "Rise" with stepped out instructions. A big THANK YOU to the editor Jana Holstein!

And... greetings! I have restocked my Etsy shop  with new, beautiful greeting cards, ready to carry your love around the world or simply add a soulful touch to your home or your studio: they loooove to get framed! So do the new art prints  I have prepared just for you: they are home printed, archival quality and signed by yours truly. NB: About the greeting cards: quantities are (very) limited so make sure to grab your favorites now   for the holidays!

fragile elusion

fragile elusion

ladies x2 cards

ladies x2 cards

Also, I am sharing a work in progress (a portrait!) on my Facebook page these days, so come on over and join the fun! And I'm answering your questions all along...

painting 1WM
painting 1WM

And finally... an ART SHOW! I have the great pleasure of exhibiting my work alongside sculptor Jacques Cancre next month in France, at the Pavillon Heller in Ballan Miré (a beauuuutiful little venue). If you happen to be visiting the Loire Valley, please stop by! The opening is on Saturday 15th at 6:30 pm. Mark it on your Facebook calendar HERE!

I think that's it for now... I hope these will all be opportunities for you to get inspired and add more art into your life!

Light & love ♥

Inner truth

Inner truth... a new painting

These days are days of transition.

Inner truth - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille
Inner truth - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille

Letting go of what needs to go.

Inner truth - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille
Inner truth - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille

Opening up the gates and letting new energy flow.

Days of introspection.

Inner truth - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille
Inner truth - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille

Turning inside and re-connecting to inner truth.

Inner truth - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille
Inner truth - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille

Leaving the battlefield

On trust, commitment, and leaving the battlefield

Hi there! The blog is finally back after having been down for several days, due to a very nasty spam attack. All is well now and I am very thankful to my webhost who helped solved the issue. I have put so much time, energy and love into building this website from scratch. Feeling "under attack" for no reason at all, with the threat of losing it all because of some unknown hostile person, that felt really awful. And I am so relieved and thankful that it all turned out OK. The whole thing has once again led me to think about Trust (my "word of the year").

Forever - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille
Forever - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille

What does it mean, to trust, to believe, to have faith in something, in someone, and especially in oneself? What does it mean, to commit to one's dream, to one's own truth, to try and stay strong in the face of adversity, or even plain hostility?

In the past year, I have made decisions and taken new steps on my journey: going back to school, working with elderly people, learning new skills that will make me more able to share my passion for creativity with others, gaining experience, pushing against some boundaries, widening my horizon. I committed to this training for a year and a half, and I'm determined to see it through, even though the price has been making very little art for what seems like eternity. It has felt so painful at times, as if I were losing sight of who I am, of the little artist girl inside.

Forever  - Mixed media on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille
Forever - Mixed media on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille

But the hardest thing, since starting this new adventure almost a year ago, has been to encounter the full-blown hostility of several people along the way, and having to spend a lot of energy protecting myself, fiercely protecting my "inner child", like I would any of my kids. A lot of energy that, therefore, didn't go into making art.

I'm an optimist. And it's not "just the way I am", I'm not some naive dreamer who thinks the world is coated in sugar. Being an optimist is a conscious, deliberate choice, a decision I make every single day, a commitment to myself. It's NOT easy. It's a bit like climbing up the slide: it's not the easiest thing to do, but remember how good it felt, when you were a kid and you reached the top?

Forever - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille
Forever - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille

But as it turns out, when you are moving forward, and working hard, trusting your wings and starting to see the results of your efforts, well... some people don't like it. Those are people who might have had their own dream some day, but for some reason, at some point they got stuck. Maybe they even gave it up completely. And they probably suffered, and did whatever they could to numb out the pain and forget. But being around someone who hasn't given up, who is working towards their own dreams, it makes them uncomfortable. Because it puts them face to face with their old dream again, with a part of themselves that used to be alive and joyful, long ago.

Forever - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille
Forever - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille

For some people it can be the little spark of inspiration and hope that they needed to try again. But for others it brings all sorts of negative feelings to the surface: sadness, helplessness, cynicism or just plain anger. It feels like a threat they must eradicate.

Forever - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille
Forever - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille

I get that. I understand that. But that doesn't mean I should selflessly let myself be trampled upon. Nor does it mean that I should spend even more energy fighting back, wrestling and thinking tactics. When diplomacy fails, it can be so tempting to retaliate. And it would be so easy to let myself be dragged into a battle that, fundamentally, isn't mine. Speeding down the slide, away from my goal. Except that I know where I'm standing on my path, and I know where I want to go. I've made a commitment to myself, with clarity and intention. With trust. Sometimes it is absolutely essential to fight, and sometimes it is equally important to know when to leave the battlefield.

Which I have. And the moment I made the decision, my whole energy shifted. Joy and freedom came back and a new painting was finally born. The last one dates back to April, so I know it's a good sign that I made the right choice.

Forever - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille
Forever - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille

This is one more experience I am learning from, getting strength from. I feel even clearer about my priorities now, about my goal and intention. It's a life commitment, "forever"...

Forever - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille
Forever - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille

On trust and not doing it all

On trust, welcoming the unexpected and NOT doing it all...

Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper

Where does time go? Where does it hide?... I've been trying to keep up with the roller coaster that the beginning of this New Year feels like, doing my best to meet deadlines, to keep doing all the things I have patiently and passionately built last year: first, making art, making art, making art, taking classes, experimenting, reading, learning.

Writing this blog and documenting my creative journey, taking and editing pictures, hopping from one language to the other, solving technical problems, running my little shop that allows my art to carry joy and inspiration into the homes of others around the world, connecting with other creatives on social media, helping each other and sharing daily discoveries, meeting deadlines for art show commitments, magazines and book submissions, so that my creative dreams don't stay small and hidden in the nest of my studio...

This has been a lot of work, this is a lot of work. Good work, real work, work as in answering your soul's calling and making it come to life. Work done with joy, dedication and hope.

Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper
Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper

And yet, right now all this needs to make room for something new.

I told you earlier that I was going back to school this year, to learn a new job (because, believe it or not, all this creative work does not, for now, put bread on the table - well ok, a few crumbs). Just before Xmas I decided to leave the youth and cultural center where I had started my internship a few weeks before. Spending my days stuck at the front desk was not what I had expected and I just had to move on, trusting I would find some other place where I could truly learn and feel useful.

Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper
Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper

My heart's whispers, which I had been ignoring for way too long, led me to a nursing home. I'm so glad they did. I just spent my first full week there and feel such gratitude for all I have learnt already, all the little miracles I have witnessed and sometimes been part of, the humbling sense of being truly useful, the gift of standing at the side of people who are so much further on their life journey than me, but now depend on others to keep walking their paths.

So for now, I need to accept the fact that I simply can NOT do it all. At the end of the day, I come back home with my head and my heart full, but exhausted and longing for my bed as soon as the kids are in theirs. Plus I have essays to write and homework to do! This means that a good part of my creative work must be put on hold for a whole year. Those of you who are faithful followers of my art page on facebook might have noticed it's been very quiet lately. And I am far from the 2 weekly blog posts I used to write before. I can't paint every day anymore.

You belong, Life Book 2014, page 1, warm up exercise, © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper
You belong, Life Book 2014, page 1, warm up exercise, © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper

But I trust it will be OK, it will turn out just as it is supposed to. I trust this journey I'm on, even though I don't have a clue where I'll stand in a year's time. I know that being an artist is at the heart of my life's calling, that I am not leaving this part of me behind at all, but that it is going to unfold in new and unexpected ways for a while.

Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper
Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper

And I am taking the Life Book 2014 e-course, with weekly prompts and art lessons to keep creating all year long. It's going to remind me to keep creating in a stress-free way, even if I only have one small session a week. In the first lesson, the first week of January, we chose our "word of the year". Mine turned out to be Trust. It has already helped me a lot and I know it will be an everyday source of inpiration and serenity.

Until next time, and until I find a moment to work on last week's and this week's Life Book assignments, here are the first two pages of this year-long journal I have started.

Have a beautiful week everyone!

You belong, Life Book 2014, page 1, warm up exercise, © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper
You belong, Life Book 2014, page 1, warm up exercise, © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper
Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper
Trust, Life Book 2014, page 2 (Inner artist guardian lesson) © Laly Mille, mixed media on watercolor paper

From Paris with love...

From Paris with love...

The year is coming to an end and the theme for our blog circle this month is "2013 in review". Well, I could tell you about many things that happened this year, many days that have been meaningful to me, many steps on this journey. But instead I'm going to share only one of them. One special, joyful day that has truly been a highlight of this year for me. I was telling you in my previous post how last May I got to meet fellow artists whom I had only known online before. Pam (whose guest post you can read HERE), from  Long Island, New York, and Valérie (check out her Facebook page HERE), from Toulouse, France. Two supposedly complete strangers who in less than five minutes turned out to feel like two soul sisters, as if we had known each other for many years. We shared laughs and stories, claimed our artist selves on a bridge and talked art, philosophy and spirituality over pizza...

So here are a few pictures of some beautiful glimpses of that beautiful (although slightly rainy) spring day in beautiful Paris with two beautiful ladies. Enjoy...

(PS: this post is part of the Flying Lessons Blog Circle. To hop on to the next posts in the circle, make sure to follow the links at the bottom of this page + leave a comment and tell us about the best day you've had in 2013!)

 I met the girls at the Montparnasse station and we walked to the nearby market where beautiful blooms awaited us...

 You might find it strange but we then visited the Montparnasse cemetery (lots of great art and famous poets there...)

One of the angels we met...

Of course near the cemetery were more flowers...

Then up to Montmartre!

OK, it seems I was slightly obsessed with walls that day!)

Here comes an angel again...

Amazing street art...

Sealing the deal on the Pont des Arts: committing to our creative journeys as artists and to supporting each other through it all.

(all under the pouring rain...)

In the "Metro" (Paris subway)

More amazing art...

♥ My two girls ♥

What an awesome, soul-feeding day... What about you? Take a minute to think about your best moments of this year and...

... tell us in the comments!

Then hop on to the next blog in the circle and find out what the my friend and Zentangle teacher Kathie Gadd has been up to this year: http://lavenderchalet.com/2013/12/a-year-in-review

And here is the blog circle's full list:

NB: This blog circle is an international group so it’s a bit of a challenge to coordinate the different time zones. If you find that the circle is not yet complete, please check back later today!

Pam K. Varacek: healing waves

Once upon a time

Pam K. Varacek

healing waves

 

Today I am very honored to be featuring the story and artwork of a very dear friend and talented painter from across the wide ocean: Pam K. Varacek. Last May I've had the great pleasure of spending a whole day in Paris with Pam and and another of my "Flying Sisters" (the group of ladies who took Kelly Rae Roberts' Flying Lessons last year, if you've been reading my blog before, you know the story!). How often do you get to spend a day with two supposedly complete strangers, and in less than 5 minutes feel like you've known each other for years? I feel very blessed indeed. So without further ado, here is Pam's "Once upon a time"...

 

"This piece was a particularly tough one for me to put onto my canvas. It represents depression. Depression is something that runs in my family. It is a condition that many people suffer from, and most of us have felt a bout of depression at some point in their life, but it is one that is always difficult to discuss.

 

For me I compare the feeling of depression to that of drowning, to feel the water envelop me as I sink into the depths. This is what I wanted to project in my piece.

 

What is difficult is that I also see water as a calming, soothing symbol. I head to the bay near my home every morning for that. I enjoy listening to the waves lapping against the shore.

I have actually had people reach out to me to tell me the painting is not so much drowning but waving. That's what they see when they look at it, more like "Not Drowning, But Waving". That is actually a very healing thing for me.

 

Once upon a time, a girl felt very isolated, thinking that this depressive state was something no one else could relate to. "Not Waving, But Drowning" has helped her get her story out and has helped her see that she is not alone. She lives happily ever after."

Pam's creative space

Pam's creative space


Pamela K. Varacek is a native of Long Island, New York, where her love for the beach, ocean and Great South Bay has been a major source of inspiration for her.


More guest artists:

The Wishing Tree

Wishing tree... another painting from the Bloom True class

Hi friends! I'm adjusting to this new life now that I'm a "student" again. I'm going to school one week a month and the rest of the time I'm an intern at a local culture and youth center. Fortunately, my schedule allows me to have some mornings off so I can keep painting, yay! Of course I have less time for social networking and blogging. I have decided to stop updating my Google+ page for now, and even my facebook page might get lost in limbo from time to time, but I'm still here and more than ever appreciate your comments and support.

The Wishing Tree, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
The Wishing Tree, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

It is a time for new projects, new dreams, new wishes, sending positive intentions into the Universe for this new life, this creative life that is slowly taking shape.

The Wishing Tree, detail, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
The Wishing Tree, detail, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

These past few weeks, dreams have grown onto the canvas, hopeful thoughts have revealed themselves in every color of the rainbow, layer after layer. And the tree that had started to emerge on this quiet riverside, has been whispering in the wind: "Make a wish..."

The Wishing Tree, detail, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
The Wishing Tree, detail, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

This is my second canvas started in Flora Bowley's Bloom True e-course. At the end of the post you'll find a summary of the different stages it has been through: the first layers, done in Flora's class following her techniques, have given the painting it's direction. Then, once the tree had revealed itself, I let it bloom in my own style.

The Wishing Tree, detail, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
The Wishing Tree, detail, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

Now, I'm closing my eyes and blowing wishes into its branches, of abundance, health and love for each and every one of you...

And you, what are you wishing for? Let us know in the comments!

The Wishing Tree, evolution from Bloom True, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
The Wishing Tree, evolution from Bloom True, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

Gratitude

Gratitude

Today is blog circle day and this month's theme is "thanks giving". To me it is an opportunity to express gratitude for all the good things, and also the not-so-good, because they are all part of the journey.

gratitude
gratitude

Thank you family Thank you friendship Thank you Love

Thank you betrayal Thank you heartbreak Thank you disappointment

You make my heart grow

Thank you rejection Thank you failure Thank you frustration

Thank you creativity Thank you inspiration Thank you serendipity

You make my path clear

Thank you self-care Thank you tenderness Thank you energy

Thank you complexes Thank you fatigue Thank you pain

You make my body heard

Thank you doubt Thank you blindness Thank you abandonment

Thank you spirit Thank you guidance Thank you Truth

You make my soul fly

This post is part of the Flying Lessons Blog Circle. For an inspiring journey into gratitude, I invite you to follow the circle by visiting the next blogs:

(Laly Mille) > Debbie howard of Texasdaisey Creations > Robin Heim of Seasons of Grace & Wisdom > Lulu Bea > Amy Riddle of On A Journey Back To Her Wings > Sandy Mair Art > Michelle Hill Designs > Vickie Martin > Karrlin Bain > Kathie Gadd of Lavender Chalet > Lisa R. Ullrich of Heart Soul Create > Monica Martin of The Artsy Girl Studio > Nancy Lennon of Rainbow Light Angel > Ginger Deverell of Red Pear Creative

And you, what are you grateful for today?

NB: This blog circle is an international group so it’s a bit of a challenge to coordinate the different time zones. If you find that the circle is not yet complete, please check back later today!

Ginger Deverell: the joy of creating

Once upon a time guest series

Ginger Deverell

The joy of creating

 

As promised, here comes a new "Once upon a time" guest post! Maybe you are discovering this blog series for the first time? Well, if you are in love with art and inspiring stories, if you enjoy discovering new artists and sharing their creative journeys, you've come to the right place. In this safe and cosy space, creative souls come and share one favorite piece of art, its story and the special meaning it holds for them. Through their art, they let us catch a glimpse of their heart. And today I am super thrilled to welcome an artist who is very special to me, whose spirit and creative journey I feel very much connected to, a creative sister from across the ocean, the lovely Ginger Deverell...

 

Once upon a time… she felt peaceful

"This painting, titled Breathe, marks a time of huge personal and artistic transformation for me. After many years of art being on the sidelines of my life, it was the first open acknowledgement of who I am, and of my dreams. I put all my loves together in a way that felt true to me (art-making, paper, emotions, words, color, texture, pattern, layering, femininity). I learned that creating peaceful, soft, yet intense art is what I love to do.

The process was very intuitive. I took an online mixed-media class by Danita Art to experiment with new techniques, and the rest just poured out of me. The ease I felt was new to me. I knew right away that I had stumbled upon something that would change my life. And it did. It is. One of the most beautiful things to emerge was my love for the feminine parts of myself. Allowing myself to indulge in softer colours, purer emotions, and more feminine elements—this has set me free.

Ginger face collage

Ginger face collage

I love to paint faces. Always faces. The emotions, truths, strength, tenderness and vulnerability we experience, it’s all there in our faces, and it’s what connects us, lets us feel and belong. It’s what it means to be human. Colour, pattern, texture and typography are four favourite elements of mine. Tumbling type, swirling letters and carefully chosen words make my heart flutter and leap. Type never made it into this piece interestingly enough. It was quietly complete before I ever got to layering on the text I intended for it:

The small moments of tranquility and vulnerability are the most real and meaningful in life.

My colour palettes range from vintage tones of turquoise and sea foam green to creamy off-whites, peachy oranges, fresh farm greens and chartreuse, rich coffee browns, striking blacks, and of course pinks—both soft and hot pinks, especially when combined with orange.

I have a passion for paper—using paper in my art, designing patterned and coloured papers, running my fingers over the textures of papers. It’s a dream of mine to have my art featured on paper goods—giftwrap, cards, journals, stationery products and so on. I love mixing my own paint colours, using heavy-bodied and soft-bodied acrylics. And carving my own stamps has become a new creative joy of mine, from sketchbook scribbles to finished stamp. And of course gel mediums. They have transformed how I create.

Ginger's studio

Ginger's studio

I grew so much in those weeks of working on this piece, as a person, a woman, an artist. I found a new gentler strength, a soft femininity. I felt peaceful for the first time in my life.

I could breathe."


Living in Vancouver, Canada, Ginger Deverell is a mixed-media artist and designer who paints for beauty and healing. She feels there is such power in beauty, in growing, in being and knowing yourself. Creating is her way of processing her experience in this world, a journey of self-discovery. She expresses this in her art with the hope that others will use it as a mirror to see and celebrate their own beauty and truths. Ginger is also the talented creator of Red Pear Creative, a boutique art and design company producing exquisitely simple designs coupled with eclectic and colourful art. 


More Guest Artists:

Big news + we have a winner!

Big news + we have a winner!

Thank you so so much everyone for coming up with so many awesome names for last week's painting (my first completed canvas from Flora Bowley's Bloom True course)!! And above all thank you for all the energy, the enthusiasm and the warmth of your comments here and on facebook, you guys rock! But before I tell you the title I have chosen among your many inspired suggestions, I've got news...

...I'm going back to school!

Art boots
Art boots

Last week I just started a 16 months program to train as a professional cultural activities leader (I'm not sure if that's the right way to put it in English, it's a typically French degree) Basically it's at crossroads between art workshops facilitator and community service, something like that. So, one week per month I'll be going to class, and the other weeks I'll be working (and learning!) at a youth and cultural center near where I live. It's going to be a big change in our family's daily lives, and in my creative life as well. My priority, in my spare time, will be to focus on my art, but I'll keep posting here as often as I can. And I'll definitely be blogging about this new project! + for more frequent updates on my journey, you'll find me, as always, on my facebook page (and by the way, you don't have to have a facebook account to view it). I look forward to sharing this new adventure with you!

Firelight, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
Firelight, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

So now, the title! First, here are all your wonderful suggestions that I've collected, I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have and, who knows, you might feel inspired to borrow a title for one of YOUR paintings! I do have a few favorites that I'll surely be using in the future...

Dream Bubbles... Dream Visions... Creative Dreams... Celebration... Release... Uplifting...

Tangerine lotus dreams... Celebrate... Heart Song... Revelation... The Magic Hour...

Festive Baubles... Festive Balloons... Creative Visions... Coloured Dreams... Dreaming in Colour...

Christmas Lights... Montgolfières... Open your eyes and Look to the Heavens...

Open your eyes and see with your heart... Open your eyes to the colors of your life...

Sending balls of Light into the world... Rebirth... Love rising... Floating in the light...

Pink garden & light... Come Into the Light... Ascending Light... Wonders of Light...

Illumination... Autumn Light... Winter Light... Floating on Air... Soul on fire... and...

Firelight

Firelight, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
Firelight, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

Thank you Dawn Rae for this beautiful title! It has infused the painting with a new energy and has inspired me to make a few changes, adding even more movement and light to it! *** GRATEFUL*** (I'll be sending you your print, as promised, as soon as it stops raining and I can get a better quality picture outside...)

Talking of giving thanks, stay tuned for a new "blog circle" post on Gratitude next Thursday! And I also have 2 new "Once upon a time" guest posts almost ready. I can't wait to introduce you to these 2 wonderful women and artists very soon!

Light your soul on fire today!

Firelight, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
Firelight, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

Blooming true: first painting complete...

Blooming true: first painting complete..

Happy monday everyone! Today's a bank holiday here in France and I've been making the most of it to finish the first of my three paintings from "Bloom True", Flora Bowley's class (read my other posts about the course here). It was actually canvas 2, for those who've followed the previous episodes...

This painting has been the most laborious one in its early stages, a bit dull, as if I were resisting letting color in. It's been through many "awkward teenager phases" before turning into a renewed love story with color!

blooming true canvas 2 complete © 2013 Laly Mille
blooming true canvas 2 complete © 2013 Laly Mille

It has been about opening up, trusting the process and making it my own, blending together Flora's teachings and my favorite techniques and tools (it seems I just can't give up collage and writing all over my canvases...)

blooming true canvas 2 complete © 2013 Laly Mille
blooming true canvas 2 complete © 2013 Laly Mille

Below is a little look back at most of the phases the painting has been going through. Now it's "almost" complete... but it still needs a title!

And that's where I need you guys: help! Tell me in the comments how the painting makes you feel, what you see or how it inspires you... and if a title comes to mind, please share it! I would love to read your ideas and pick a title from them. And as a thank you, the person who comes up with my favorite title wins a signed print!

I'm looking forward to reading your ideas!

Have a beautiful and inspired week!

canvas 2 evolution

canvas 2 evolution

And the finished painting:

blooming true canvas 2 complete © 2013 Laly Mille
blooming true canvas 2 complete © 2013 Laly Mille

Winter songs : two new paintings for the cold days...

Winter songs : two new paintings for the cold days...

Brrr... it's been getting really chilly here in the past few days. Samhain / Halloween, the threshold of the cold season, is just behind us, and today we've taken the winter coats, mitains and scarves out of the closet. And Xmas preparations have already started to make their way into our conversations. Winter is on its way... So today I would like to share two "twin" paintings that I completed a while ago - some of you might remember glimpses shared on my Facebook page. I guess they were waiting for the right season to show themselves on the blog... They are inspired by my walks in the woods, one of my all-time favorite things. I call them "Winter Songs".

Winter Song 1, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
Winter Song 1, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

Do you know that feeling when you take a walk into the woods? Just walking, the crunchy sound of dry leaves under your feet. No goal, no destination. The white sky showing through the interlacing branches above your head. Just walking...

Winter Song 2, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
Winter Song 2, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

And then a song... Tiny fragments of a melody at first, making their way to the surface of your mind. Humming...

Winter Song 1 (detail) mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
Winter Song 1 (detail) mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

 Then a few words remembered. Whispering... There's no one here, only the birds chiming in, only you and the Universe. Smiling...

Winter Song 2 (detail) mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
Winter Song 2 (detail) mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

 And the song wants to be sung. And the words want to be spoken. You can feel their warmth in your throat, in your belly, in your feet as you start kicking the dry leaves. Playfully...

Winter Song 2 (detail) mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
Winter Song 2 (detail) mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

And then another song weaves itself into the first, and little by little the well-known words make way for your own. A prayer, a poem, a conversation. Harmony...

Here in this sacred refuge, you are known, you are heard, you are loved.

Winter Song 1 & 2, mixed media paintings on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
Winter Song 1 & 2, mixed media paintings on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

Blooming true: 3 weeks already and 3 paintings in progress...

Blooming true: 3 weeks already and 3 paintings in progress...

Hi there lovely people! Week 3 of Flora Bowley's Bloom True class is over already and it's time for a little check-in!

I have been busy on the jobsearch/training front so haven't been painting as much as I would have wished these past 2 weeks. And there is so much amazing content in Flora's class that I'll need to go back to as soon as I can. But anyway, this intuitive painting process is taking me to new territory and I thought I'd share a few pictures with you!

For now it's all about layers: alternating warm and cool colors, black and white, and translucent paints. And above all it's about working on the inner plane to "dance the paint": yoga, meditation, music, movement, intuition and letting go...

Here is the evolution of the first two canvases I was showing you in my previous post, plus a third one I've started on top of a collage background from last summer. As I was saying, my painting time was limited and as I still wanted to keep up with the course as much as possible, I didn't do as many layers of each type as was suggested, but I've still been having lots of fun!

Canvas 1

Remember that solar energy whirlwind from the first layer?

Here it is after a layer of cool colors:

 And then more warm colors:

White layer:

Black layer: a face emerged! (I could actually see 2 faces back to back in the white layer and chose to go with this one)

Transparent colors layer, then more white, warm and cool colors. This is where I'm at now:

Canvas 2

This was the first, warm layer:

Cool layer:

More warm and cool layers:

White layer:

Black layer (a bit Xmas-y I guess...):

More colored layers and a bit of collage, that's it for now!

Canvas 3

(on top of a collage background started earlier this year)

That's it for now... I hope I'll get the chance to paint a little more next week... For those of you who would like to find out more, below is video presenting the course and links to Flora's ecourse and her book.

See you soon!

... and a link to Flora's book:

Sara Naumann: a path scattered with promises

Once upon a time guest series

Sara Naumann

a path scattered with promises

 

Friends, it's been a few weeks now since the summer break is over and the kids are back to school, and I am amazed at how truly at home I feel in the studio now. I have moved into this new space, Body and Soul, and every morning I walk up the stairs with my cup of tea, still hot because I just can't wait for breakfast to be over to get up there... I'm back on track! Painting away, experimenting, letting things happen and evolve and surprise me, and having fun with it all! Talking of experimenting, you're in for a treat today because it's time for a new Once upon a time guest post! Meet the lovely Sara Naumann and her Serendipity story, where she shares her thoughts and a few creative experiments. And if you feel like trying out new techniques and letting your inspiration run wild, I invite you to stop by her website and Youtube channel: Sara has some very cool art tutorials in store for you!


Once upon a time, a woman walked along a slender green path scattered with promises…

Serendipity Mixed-media collage © 2012 Sara Naumann
Serendipity Mixed-media collage © 2012 Sara Naumann
 

" I've always heard that when you find a feather, it means you're on the right path. It can also mean you need to lighten up a little and trust that things will be all right (this is a big one for me!).

At the time my toddler daughter found those feathers, our family was going through a lot of change with an international move from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Sopot, Poland. Although we're American, we felt very much at home in Amsterdam. We'd lived there 5 years, and our daughter was born there. Making the decision to move was incredibly difficult (we changed our minds every day, it seemed, for months), although it was ultimately the right one.

Serendipity Mixed-media collage © 2012 Sara Naumann
Serendipity Mixed-media collage © 2012 Sara Naumann
 

Moving anywhere can be a challenge, yet I also love the opportunity to start fresh...to discover new things that are wonderful and amazing and to add to your list of favorites. You make mistakes, you miscommunicate, you get lost, you get frustrated, you are helped by strangers and you discover things you adore. This is true for any big life change, not just moving... I found myself in the same situation after becoming a mother!

So sometimes it's comforting when a series of unrelated items come together in an unexpected and serendipitous way in an art piece. I love the word « serendipity », its meaning and the way it sounds when you say it. It really fits this piece because the assembly was a fun sort of accidental combination!

For example, I played with several paint colors for the background, didn’t like it, and put it in my “for later” box. It wasn’t right for the project I was doing at the time but three months later it found its purpose in this piece!

Serendipity Mixed-media collage © 2012 Sara Naumann
Serendipity Mixed-media collage © 2012 Sara Naumann
 

The tape is an experiment I did with alcohol ink and a “tape lifting” method that also ended up in the “for later” box.

Then one day my babysitter returned from a walk with my daughter and they had found these beautiful feathers. I knew I wanted to use them in an art piece, and it was exciting because I had never worked with feathers before! I picked through my “for later” box and found just the right elements to go with them.

Serendipity Mixed-media collage © 2012 Sara Naumann
Serendipity Mixed-media collage © 2012 Sara Naumann
 

The symbolism of the feathers was very comforting for our family at this challenging time. I really believe our paths are filled with possibilities and promises. Sometimes you know exactly where to go on the path, other times you have to pay more attention to the way the path leads. And sometimes, the promises come in disguise. But if we just march along, we can miss all of the amazing things life has for us right this very second!

What about you? How do you deal with change? Do you have any serendipity stories? Share your thoughts in the comments!


Sara Naumann is an American living on the Baltic Sea, where she writes, designs, collages and teaches stamping and mixed media techniques.


More Guest Artists:

Possibility... where dreams come to life

Possibility... where dreams come to life

Hi friends! Today we're celebrating! A year ago I embarked upon a true life-changing experience: I took a class. But it turned out to be so much more than that. It was Kelly Rae Roberts' "Flying Lessons", and the name couldn't be more appropriate, because it's really about teaching creative people to find their wings, open them and take flight. Kelly Rae has been an amazing training pilot / mama-bird, sharing her experiences, cheering us on, and also helping us deal with our fears.

Possibility, Mixed media plaster and fiber nest © 2013 Laly Mille
Possibility, Mixed media plaster and fiber nest © 2013 Laly Mille

We were over 500 brave little hatchlings in that nest, and today we are a beautiful, joyful and determined flock, fiercely supporting each other on our creative journeys. We are, as Kelly Rae says, "Possibilitarians":

"Possibilitarians = Possibility-fueled visionaries who stepped into their own limitlessness. Against the grain, against the odds. Just because . . . they had a calling they couldn’t ignore."

And who want to share their journeys so that others can feel they are given permision to follow their calling too, so that "just like that, the impossible simply . . . isn’t."

Possibility, Mixed media plaster and fiber nest © 2013 Laly Mille
Possibility, Mixed media plaster and fiber nest © 2013 Laly Mille

I made this little mixed media nest over the summer, as I was settling into my new studio. This room truly feels like a nest to me, because it is a safe, soft and inspiring place where my own creative dreams can grow, mature and hatch, before spreading their wings and taking flight into the world.

Possibility, Mixed media plaster and fiber nest © 2013 Laly Mille
Possibility, Mixed media plaster and fiber nest © 2013 Laly Mille

I believe our dreams, the ones that truly are this "calling we can't ignore", are not meant to stay dormant inside our nest, as warm and cozy as it may be. Eventually we'll need to crack that shell and hatch. And as any baby bird, we'll be small, and vulnerable, and awkward until our feathers grow.

Possibility, Mixed media plaster and fiber nest © 2013 Laly Mille
Possibility, Mixed media plaster and fiber nest © 2013 Laly Mille

But we're not alone. There are others in the nest with us, and if we're in this together, then it's no longer so scary. With the gentle help and example of those who have spread their wings before us, we can take the leap!

Possibility, Mixed media plaster and fiber nest © 2013 Laly Mille
Possibility, Mixed media plaster and fiber nest © 2013 Laly Mille

There will most probably be times when we stumble, and fall, and doubt, and get hurt. And maybe we'll never be the most gracious or colourful of birds... But who cares, as long as we can FLY!

Possibility, Mixed media plaster and fiber nest © 2013 Laly Mille
Possibility, Mixed media plaster and fiber nest © 2013 Laly Mille

This post is part of the Flying Lessons Blog Circle! A few of us are writing about being a possibilitarian today, so follow THIS LINK to read my friend Karrlin's take on the subject, and then you can follow the link to the next blog, and the next and so on, until you circle back here!

Are you a Possibilitarian too? Then join the tribe on Kelly Rae's blog HERE! And read inspiring, possibility-filled stories HERE on her Possibilitarian Project page.

What about you? What dreams or crazy projects are you hatching these days?...

i'm_a_possibilitarian_250x250
i'm_a_possibilitarian_250x250

Trust your wings and Rise...

Trust your wings and Rise...

There's nothing like a bit of Disney magic... Tonight I watched a little bit of Dumbo with the kids. I hadn't watched it in years and fell in love with this scene at the end where the chubby, clumsy little elephant loses his (fake) magical feather that was supposed to give him the power to fly.

He panicks and falls and falls and falls but at the last second, cheered on by his little friend the mouse, he finally finds the strength and faith to trust his own wings, and gracefully rises. He becomes who he was always meant to be.

Rise, mixed media painting on canvas, 2013 Laly Mille
Rise, mixed media painting on canvas, 2013 Laly Mille

Well, that's what this little painting is all about: trust your wings, take off and rise higher than you ever thought you could... (+ an elephant's weight of gratitude to all the little mice... LOVE you guys).

(this painting is dedicated to Yves, his family and all who loved him. Peace and Hope)

Altered book holiday project #1

Altered book holiday project #1

It's my second day in my "nest" and ideas are flowing! I thought I'd share a few pictures of what I have started today. On Sunday I'm leaving for 3 weeks of vacation but I'm determined that it won't be 3 more weeks without making any art! So I came up with a project that should be easy to carry around and will allow me to use the many "treasures" I'm sure to collect in the country and at the sea side.

For a long time I've wanted to try my hand at an altered book. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's an artist book made from a regular book, "upcycled" as an art piece! I love books and I love this idea of giving them a new life. I started a Pinterest board about book art, check it out to see some cool examples!

So, what have we got here? A sturdy children's book that my kids are too old for now (they're 6 and 4).

altered book 1
altered book 1

What I like about it is tabbed, both at the top and on the side. Pretty cool!

altered book 2
altered book 2

The first thing I've done is to peel of the printed layers of all the pages. They came off super easily:

altered book 3
altered book 3

Here is the "naked" book:

altered book 4
altered book 4

Then I've coated every page in gesso. The raw paper soaks up the moisture really fast, so I watered it down a bit. This way it was easier to apply. After coating each double page, I gave it a quick blow with the heat gun to speed up the drying.

altered book 5
altered book 5

And here is my brand new blank book, almost dry!

altered book 6
altered book 6

Next I plan on starting some backgrounds so I won't have to start from scratch every time I want to work on a page during the holidays, because I won't have that many supplies at hand. I'll keep you posted as I go!

I'm very new to this book art thing so if you've got any resources, ideas or blog posts that you'd like to share, please don't be shy and let us know in the comments! Thank you!