canvas

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

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

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:

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)

Shelly Penko: She dreams in color

Once upon a time guest series

Shelly Penko

She dreams in color

 

You guys I am SO excited about this! Ever since I started blogging, a little over a year ago, I've wanted this to be about sharing. I was a bit shy at the beginning, didn't always feel comfortable showing my art, not to mention talking about myself, the "artist". At the beginning it was hard for me to dare call myself that. But thanks to YOUR wonderful support and encouragement, I have been walking this creative path towards my dream day after day with more confidence.

A year ago exactly, I was doing my very first art show, making it real for the very first time. And one of the things I have realized this past year, is that the art and the artist are one. That when you paint, sculpt, dance, write or sing from your heart and soul, from a place of authenticity, then you are part of the art that is created, and it is part of who you are. So today I want to take it all one step further, not just sharing my art, my journey, but those of other creative souls. That's why I am starting a new "artist profile" series here on the blog!

But we're not going to do this in the regular interview style. Instead, we are going to focus on one art piece, one that has a particular significance to an artist, a special story, and let the voice of the artist be heard through the tale. The series is called "Once upon a time", and I am truly honored to have a wonderful artist and friend open it today: meet Shelly Penko!

Enjoy the story and we will both be delighted to read your comments!


Once upon a time, there was a dreamer.

Shelly Penko, she dreams in color
Shelly Penko, she dreams in color
 

When I began this piece, I didn’t feel like painting.  Life was feeling bleak and dark and scary.  Sometimes big endings feel that way.   I was afraid there was only sadness within me, so I decided it would be okay to paint the sadness, or whatever came up.  I gave myself permission.

This painting was intuitive, begun without a plan, no final product in mind, no idea what the subject would be.  I painted colors and marks with detached abandon, just making marks and enjoying the colors and movement of the paint.  I was squirting water, watching the paint drip, making marks.  The colored ovals drew me in, so I made more of them, painting directly with fingers rather than a brush.  The swallow appeared next, swooping in as swallows do.

 

Swallows nested on my front porch a few summers ago and impressed me with their teamwork and ingenuity.  When the young hatched, several adults worked tirelessly to feed the brood. The babies grew until it was a marvel that they all fit in the nest…becoming sleek and beautiful.  For several days, the juveniles fearlessly practiced acrobatic flying under the watchful eyes of the adults lined up on the edge of my roof. Then one day they left the nest for good to make their way in the world.  The swallows made an impression on me with their dedication, community, grace, and courage.  When they showed up in this painting, I realized they had become a sort of talisman for me.

 

 The face of the woman appeared next.  It was a dark face, which was unusual for me.  I’m usually all about contrast and light.  This face seemed shrouded.  I let her be.  More flowers, more color and glowing shapes followed.  As the painting evolved, I realized she was dreaming…and her dreams were bright and colorful and happy.

 

It reminded me that when darkness is all we see, a light still burns inside of us. For me, that light is creating.  From the time I was a little girl, I always wanted to paint or draw or decorate anything I could get my hands on.  It’s a part of me.  A part I had shoved aside all too often to take care of “more important” things.  This painting reminded me to dream big and to dream in color.  It also reminded me that I don’t have to do it all alone.  I can have a community.  I’ve done a lot of paintings since I completed this one, but this one marks the beginning of my journey back to myself;  the woman who is part of a community of like-minded souls, the woman who is a dreamer and a creator.  Now that I’ve found her, I’ll never shush her again.  “She Dreams in Color” wasn’t about endings after all, it was about beginnings.


Shelly  little girl
Shelly little girl

Shelly Penko isa contemporary artist, living and working in Austin, Texas.  Shelly likes to use beautiful colors and soulful imagery to reflect her joy in the simple beauty of life, family and friendship.


More Guest Artists:

What I've been up to... art and announcements!

What I've been up to... art and announcements!

hands

Hi friends! There has been much going on lately! So here is a visual peek at what I've been doing lately (although I won't be including pics of my stay-at-home-with-sick-daughter days...) and a few announcements!

First announcement:  I am so proud and excited to be a contributing artist to this beautiful book, which will be published next October! And it's already available for preorder from Amazon! For those of you still wondering what mixed media really is all about, this should be an excellent place to start!

Below is an affiliate link, which means that if you purchase the book from my blog, I get a little gift certificate to buy more art supplies! Thank you for supporting my creative dream!

Incite, Dreams Realized: The Best of Mixed Media

My mom came over on Monday so we could try our Gelli Arts printing plates together. What a fun day! It is such a blessing to be able to share our passion. If any of you have creative parents and have never tried creating alongside each other, I really encourage you to try it! It's a great way to (re)connect, share "a-ha" moments and see our parents in a different light. When my mom made her first sheet of marble paper, she screamed in delight and I got a glimpse of the little girl in her... priceless!

I've been working on 2 paintings lately, one of which was pretty much stuck last January but is now starting to unfold:

The other one is a commission for some friends and the theme is travel and old trains. Why you ask? Well, their guest room has this incredible wooden floor made of old train wagon planks, in rich brown and red tones... Look how gorgeous it is:

And here is what the (almost finished) painting has been going through. There was a moment when I thought it was finished, but something was missing, still is actually. Since then I rotated the canvas and erased the black letters, it's coming together... patience...

On Sunday night, out of the blue a new assemblage "had" to come out. Although it might seem all nice and cute with its Little red riding hood pictures and vintage look, that one was hard. It pushed and pulled me until I unearthed some difficult memories and experiences and faced them. It's going to be part of the "winged keys" series, but I'm not yet sure it's going to have a key at all, maybe just a key hole. I don't know, we'll see how it evolves. What I do know is that its title is "Innocent".

So lots of work in progress! The spring break starts this Friday here, and we're going to Brittany. I probably won't have any internet for a week, but please please please leave me lots of comments, I'll read them when I get back! 

And second announcement: next month you're in for a treat! I'll be starting a new blog series that will introduce you to some gorgeous art, amazing artists and beautiful stories! It will be called "Once upon a time..."

♥ Thank you each for your continuing support and kindness ♥

♥ Have an inspired week-end and week! ♥

Fragile 2

Fragile 2

Fragile 2 - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2012  Laly Mille
Fragile 2 - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2012 Laly Mille

Fragility and strength of the little things, of life worth protecting, of dreams worth daring...