collage

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

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

Life Book pages

Life Book 2014 : my January pages and more

P4 LB 2014 detail W

Friends, I've told you that I'm doing Life Book for the first time this year (yay! thank you Santa ♥). And I've also told you that my blogging time is going to be very limited this year (and why it's all OK!). So, after some pondering (and a hot bath), I've decided to give you a simple, monthly update in pictures. How does that sound?... So without further ado, here is my Life Book January!

"Inner Artist Guardian" with Tamara Laporte

(with my word of the year: TRUST)

"A Happy Affirmation" with Micki Wilde

(in 2014 I want more energy!)

... and to this end I tried my first green smoothie: yum!!

green smoothie
green smoothie

"Creativity & Play" with Carla Sonheim

(I haven't finished all the exercises yet but loved the found poetry!)

"Be True to You" with Kelly Hoernig

(journaling about 3 things I love: Travels (and especially England), cherries and spring!)

Voilà! We'll see what next month brings!

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

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:

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

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:

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)

Voyage imaginaire... a new painting

Voyage imaginaire... a new painting

Hi there lovely people! As promised, I'd like to share a new painting with you today. I shared some pictures of this work in progress before and here it is! This painting was my first ever commission piece, quite a challenge...

Voyage imaginaire (Imaginary travel) Mixed media painting on canvas 25,5" x 21" (65 x 54 cm) © 2013 Laly Mille
Voyage imaginaire (Imaginary travel) Mixed media painting on canvas 25,5" x 21" (65 x 54 cm) © 2013 Laly Mille

I painted it for some dear friends, whose guest room has the coolest vintage floors ever: they're made of old boards from train wagons and have a gorgeous red/brown color with white painted numbers and signs!

So, first I took pictures of the floors which I printed on A3 paper and they served as the basis for the painting.

Voyage imaginaire (Imaginary travel) Mixed media painting on canvas 25,5" x 21" (65 x 54 cm) © 2013 Laly Mille
Voyage imaginaire (Imaginary travel) Mixed media painting on canvas 25,5" x 21" (65 x 54 cm) © 2013 Laly Mille

Then I asked my friends to give me a list of words, elements and colors to work from. Their list included "the passing of time", "travels", "vintage yellowish papers", "brick red", "misty"... I sat with that list for a while, let it sink in for a few days, went back to it from time to time during the process... I let it inspire me and melt into my own imaginary world.

Voyage imaginaire (Imaginary travel) Mixed media painting on canvas 25,5" x 21" (65 x 54 cm) © 2013 Laly Mille
Voyage imaginaire (Imaginary travel) Mixed media painting on canvas 25,5" x 21" (65 x 54 cm) © 2013 Laly Mille

To add to the travel theme, around the end of the process I asked my friends about their dream destinations and wrote them in white on the painting, together with poetic thoughts and positive intentions.

Voyage imaginaire (Imaginary travel) Mixed media painting on canvas 25,5" x 21" (65 x 54 cm) © 2013 Laly Mille
Voyage imaginaire (Imaginary travel) Mixed media painting on canvas 25,5" x 21" (65 x 54 cm) © 2013 Laly Mille

I titled it "Voyage imaginaire" (imaginary travel) and I hope it will achieve just that: take them away, from time to time, to far-off imaginary landscapes, dreams and memories...

Happy week-end everyone, and stay tuned for a new Once Upon a Time guest story next week!

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! ♥

New blooms! a sister painting...

New blooms! a sister painting...

The painting we did together in the "step by step" project has a little sister! I still haven't found a name for these newborn lovelies, but here they are anyway!

The new painting:

The 2 paintings together: I'm thinking I should sell them as a set, don't you think?

And I even had a little fun putting them side by side in a "virtual room"! They need a home now...

Have a beautiful week!

Let's bloom! step by step painting (part 2) "How to" let art come to life

Let's bloom! step by step painting (part 2) "How to" let art come to life

Well everyone, first I want to thank all those of you who have been following my "work in progress" on facebook. Your response has been amazing and it really was like you were by my side while I painted! Thank you for your support and for making it so much fun!

Now, today is the 3rd Thursday of the month, which means it's Blog Circle time! And guess what this month's theme is? "How to..."! Talk about synchronicity. I think several of the Circle ladies are planning to talk about "how to" find inspiration, how to plant seeds for your creativity and your life, how to bloom! So as I share with you my finished "blooming" painting and the 2nd part of the process, we'll talk about that too, and I'll show you a little video!

But first, here is the newborn painting! It hasn't got a name yet and I think it's waiting for all of you fairy godmothers/fathers to find it, so please leave your suggestions in the comments!

Mixed media painting by Laly Mille

Mixed media painting by Laly Mille

So, "how to" go from the white canvas to this? I've shared the techniques on my facebook page (and you'll find images of all the steps at the end of this post), but if it were for techniques alone, it would never work. They're the visible part of the iceberg. And here is the very important "invisible" stuff :

- Feeling safe: to me this means that the blank canvas must go from intimidating white desert to fun familiar playground. In this painting it translated as putting some colors that I already like on the canvas, by randomly applying the left-over paint from my previous painting. And then writing whatever positive words came to mind all over the canvas as encouragement! And by using photos of real roses as guidelines so I don't have to worry about "how do I paint a rose???"

- Playing: when I paint, I go back to my childhood self, to this little girl who likes to play and believes in magic, who dares to just have fun, losing herself in the moment. Randomly sprinkling color, spraying water, moving the canvas, this is all so much fun! A little bit of this, a little bit of that, never over-thinking it... And this time it was also so much fun to have you all as playmates!

- Trusting and daring: by now I know that it's not all in my hands, that our art, just like a child, doesn't "belong" to us. It is born from us, we are the vessel through which it comes to life, we give it the best we've got, but eventually it has a life of its own, a place in the world that is not ours to "control", a purpose that we may never fully grasp. And once we accept this, what a relief! I like these words from Alanis Morissette : it's "the best platform from which to jump beyond myself" Yes it is! This sense of trust allows us to let go and dare! In this painting it translated as choosing a large canvas, writing intuitively all over the almost-finished painting with white-out, loading a brayer with white paint and covering many of the flowers even though I liked how they looked, blowing droplets of black India ink... And of course the scariest part was to share the process "live" while having no idea how it would end up! But scary + exciting = good!

So, here is a little video showing you the evolution of the painting, coming to life, from start to finish!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej9QHg47YNM

And below is the 2nd part of the steps that led to the finished piece (the 1st part is here). There are a few steps that you didn't see on facebook...

And then you can head over to fellow artist Jean Wagner's beautiful blog and read her "how to" on happiness!

Have a lovely blooming day!

I'm looking forward to reading your feedback and title suggestions in the comments!

step30
step30

Let's bloom! a step by step painting project with roses (part 1)

Let's bloom! a step by step painting project with roses (part 1)

step11

Hey beautiful people! As some of you know, I've started another "step by step" painting project on my facebook page! Twice a day I post pictures of a painting in progress, explain what I'm doing and answer your questions in the comments...What an adventure! OK, I am a few steps ahead of you, but it's still pretty scary and exciting at the same time (the best kind of scary then!). The project started earlier this week and we're going to finish it by the end of next week (yes we are!). So in the meantime, here is a little check-in on what we have done so far (with some extra pictures...)

Here is what we've got so far:

And how we got there:

You can check out the previous step-by step I did HERE. I look forward to seeing you on my facebook page, come join the fun!

Bloom with JOY! A new floral painting

Bloom with JOY! A new floral painting

Joy! mixed media painting on canvas by Laly Mille

Joy! mixed media painting on canvas by Laly Mille

Here is the first completed painting in the floral series I'm working on! I love how joyful and alive everything is in spring, so I've called the painting, very simply, "Joy!" I'm pretty much in love with that one actually... And if you want to see this painting's big sister come to life, check out my facebook page! I've started a "work in progress" project there last Saturday, which means that every day I'm posting pictures of the process and you get to ask me everything you want to know in the comments! I'd love for you to join me on this adventure!

And don't forget to leave a comment on my previous post to enter my very first giveaway! Tell us your favorite quote about love, dreams or nature and you'll get a chance to win a lovely surprise package full of homemade, vintage and artsy goodness (no, I'm not telling!!!)

Have a very JOYful week!

 A few close-ups...

Floral frenzy! Painting my way into spring

Floral frenzy! Painting my way into spring

Hi guys! It's been a while! The kids are back to school after a 2 weeks holiday, and it feels like spring already!

Yesterday was one of those wonderful "new beginnings" kind of days. It was monday and, although I do get Garfield's point, I really love mondays, the sense of a brand new week full of new possibilities... The sky was bright blue and the air was warm for the first time of the year, and as I was at the playground with the kids after school, a huge gathering of cranes came circling above us before flying off to a nearby lake. It was such a magical sight!

It all really felt like springtime, which put me in a very "floral frenzy" mood. So I thought I'd share some of the fun with you!

Here is what my kitchen table looks like in full "artist studio" mode! I started 2 new floral paintings:

A messy floral painting session!
A messy floral painting session!
Small floral painting in progress
Small floral painting in progress
larger floral painting in progress
larger floral painting in progress
keeping Flora Bowley's book by my side while painting!
keeping Flora Bowley's book by my side while painting!
Floral paintings drying
Floral paintings drying

So tell me, do you get "flower fever" too?