writing

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...

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!