light

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

Studio tour!

Studio tour!

studio tour 5

In our home, we've made it a tradition to put away the Christmas decorations on New Year's day, to tidy up the house, sometimes rearranging the furniture a bit: a clean start for a fresh new year! And so I finally took the time to rearrange and clean the studio, my little creative nest... With lots of drawers for all my little bits and pieces, cherished treasures and inspiration, I'm happy to say it's ready for new projects and I can give you a (long overdue) tour! (if you're curious about the attic to studio conversion, check out THIS blog post) Upon climbing the stairs, you'll be welcomed by a whimsical cat and garlands of heart-shaped leaves. My apron invites me to get to work and get my hands dirty! When I get back from a walk, I can drop any gifts from nature into a large basket (lovingly embroidered by my mom a few years ago).

My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com
My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com

The room is rather long and narrow. The painting area is on the left...

My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com
My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com

... and the reading / blogging / printing / sitting /musing / washing area is on the right:

My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com
My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com

In between is the music area with my husband's piano, so he can play while I paint...

My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com
My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com

So first, the painting area: my faithful kitchen table has followed me into this new creative space!With a big skylight above it and a large glass palette, it's perfect for medium and small paintings, assemblage etc.

My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com
My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com
My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com
My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com

The sewing and jewelry supplies are stored nearby in the white drawer units, along with my sewing machine. For larger paintings I turn to my easel. I like being able to adjust the height of my seat depending on where I work (although I just stand most of the time).

My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com
My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com

My painting supplies are in the blue trolley and on the chest of drawers, a vintage find that I have customized with printed papers. I always keep a canvas nearby where I can apply any unused paint at the end of a session. It will become the background for a new painting some day... And I simply love my inspiration wheel! It's a bicycle wheel I found on my street one day. With some ribbon, tiny pegs and fairy lights, it's perfect!

My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com
My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com

Now, when we decided to turn the attic into a studio, a sink was at the top of my list. I just can't do without it, it allows me to get very messy and is a must when working with plaster and such (+ I always have a nice cup of tea ready!). There are lots of birdies in my "nest" and this one is especially dear to me: it used to be in my grandparents' house and reminds me of sweet childhood memories.

Across from the sink is a small couch (I love that it's called a love-seat in English, I don't think we have any romantic translation for it in French...) and what I like to call the "blogging corner" (that's where I'm writing to you from!). That's where my art books, notebooks, folders and magazines are, as well as a regular printer for everyday use and an Epson printer for art prints. Two large drawers contain most of the supplies for my Etsy orders. We don't watch regular TV but we do have a large computer screen that can be connected to a DVD player, the laptop or even our old VCR to watch movies etc. The 3 little clocks help me keep track of the time in different time zones where friends live!

My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com
My creative space! Come visit my artist studio - Laly Mille, mixed media artist, studio tour, www.lalymille.com

 Voilà! I'm ready for a new creative year! And actually, 2014 is off to a great start because my Prince Charming/Santa has signed me up for 2 online courses, the first of which is Life Book, and it has already started! (but more on that in my next post...)

In the mean time I wish you all a beautiful, joyful and magical New Year...

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

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)

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?