In the studio

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...

From Paris with love...

From Paris with love...

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

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

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

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

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

One of the angels we met...

Of course near the cemetery were more flowers...

Then up to Montmartre!

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

Here comes an angel again...

Amazing street art...

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

(all under the pouring rain...)

In the "Metro" (Paris subway)

More amazing art...

♥ My two girls ♥

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

... tell us in the comments!

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

And here is the blog circle's full list:

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

The Wishing Tree

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude

Gratitude

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

gratitude
gratitude

Thank you family Thank you friendship Thank you Love

Thank you betrayal Thank you heartbreak Thank you disappointment

You make my heart grow

Thank you rejection Thank you failure Thank you frustration

Thank you creativity Thank you inspiration Thank you serendipity

You make my path clear

Thank you self-care Thank you tenderness Thank you energy

Thank you complexes Thank you fatigue Thank you pain

You make my body heard

Thank you doubt Thank you blindness Thank you abandonment

Thank you spirit Thank you guidance Thank you Truth

You make my soul fly

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

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

And you, what are you grateful for today?

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

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:

Blooming true! First week in Flora Bowley's class

Blooming true! First week in Flora Bowley's class

Hi guys! This month I'm taking Flora Bowley's "Bloom True" e-course! Week one is almost over so I thought I'd share a bit of the experience with you!

First, what is this all about? It's about painting (+bonus: living) more intuitively. Flora uses only acrylics but I can already see how what she teaches us would work really well with collage, inks and lots of mixed media techniques. I had loved her book "Brave Intuitive Painting" last year and was ready to learn more. Plus so many friends had been delighted with the course that I was really intrigued and felt it was time to see for myself! Here is a lovely little video showing you what this is all about...

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

Laly Mille Bloom True with Flora Bowley, creative space
Laly Mille Bloom True with Flora Bowley, creative space
Laly Mille Bloom True with Flora Bowley, creative space
Laly Mille Bloom True with Flora Bowley, creative space

First layer: working with warm colors, moving the paint around, spraying and dripping. At the end I felt like adding this big heart because it is all about painting from the heart. It will probably end up completely covered by the next layers but I'll know it's here and that's what counts!

Laly Mille Bloom True with Flora Bowley, layer 1
Laly Mille Bloom True with Flora Bowley, layer 1

 And then the second canvas: blindfolded finger-painting while dancing to music, woohoo! That felt awesome. And I was SO suprised at the firy energy whirlwind that just "came out"! I'm not often that bold with color and it really gives me an idea of all that is hiding inside of me and wants to come out... Talk about blooming! The canvas has been sitting on my easel since last Tuesday and I can't help smiling every time I enter the room...

Laly Mille Bloom True with Flora Bowley, layer 1
Laly Mille Bloom True with Flora Bowley, layer 1

We have done many more inspiring things this week like setting our intentions for the course, what we want it it be for us, how we want to feel:

Laly Mille Bloom True with Flora Bowley, intentions
Laly Mille Bloom True with Flora Bowley, intentions

We have also created a deck of affirming words. I didn't know where to begin with that project and was starting to procrastinate (this is one of my biggest issues) but I surrendered to my intuition and this little voice told me to just grab a pen and write. I filled up the page really fast, no thinking, one word leading to the next very organically and here they are! (I just noticed LOVE is in there twice, well, I guess I know my priorities...)

list of words
list of words

The "hard part" being over, I could spend the rest of my time just having fun playing with paper, scissors and color!

And I'll leave you with this "self-love self-portrait" that Flora encouraged us to take yesterday. I think this girl is having fun and blooming true!

Have a lovely, blooming week everyone!!!

Sweet summer... (2!)

Sweet summer... (2!)

We're back home and I've just taken the time to sort out our holiday pics. Here are a few favorites from our trip to the Crozon peninsula in Brittanny: beautiful and wild ...

empilement
empilement
empilements 2
empilements 2

Someone recently made these mysterious piles of stone in one night. Since then, people have made it a tradition to build some more as they visit the place (called Cap de la Chèvre), making sure not damage the site of course. Our son really enjoyed building a small one!

bruyere
bruyere
bruyere 2
bruyere 2

Heather is everywhere, so lovely...

dinan will
dinan will

Contemplative moment (that's Will) at the Pointe de Dinan.

father and son
father and son

Father and son. Doing yoga?... No, making a 4 legged monster with their shadows!

dinan1
dinan1
adventurous
adventurous
geology
geology

Geology workshop at the beach (plage de l'Aber).

million years old heart
million years old heart

And I leave you with this stone heart from millions of years ago...

And now, back to work!

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!

Nest studio in progress!

Nest studio in progress!

Hi guys! The Nest is shaping up pretty nicely! If it weren't for the heat that we're experiencing these days, we would be almost done. But in the meantime, here are just a few pics of this work in progress... I'm hoping to post pictures of the fully set up place next time!

the Nest studio in progress! Laly Mille
the Nest studio in progress! Laly Mille
the Nest studio in progress! Laly Mille
the Nest studio in progress! Laly Mille
the Nest studio in progress! Laly Mille
the Nest studio in progress! Laly Mille
the Nest studio in progress! Laly Mille
the Nest studio in progress! Laly Mille
the Nest studio in progress! Laly Mille
the Nest studio in progress! Laly Mille
the Nest studio in progress! Laly Mille
the Nest studio in progress! Laly Mille
the Nest studio in progress! Laly Mille
the Nest studio in progress! Laly Mille

Coming up next : a new painting (I'm a bit overdue...) and a new Once Upon a Time artist story with a photograph by the lovely Suzanne Joy Fernald. It's good to get back on track!

Have a a beautiful day (and lots of ice cream!)

Times like these...

Times like these...

Oh dear, I think it's the first time I sit here in front of my computer to write a blog post, with none or very little idea about what I'm going actually to write about... But I still feel the need to write, and Truth is more than ever my word of the year, so beware, honest post ahead... At first I just thought I'd write about the progress of my "Nest" studio project, because it's true that I've been spending a lot of time working on it lately, planning, painting walls an battling with floors... But before I share a tiny bit about that, I feel there's something else I need to talk about.

planning
planning

The first thing that I really need to say (and I'm voicing this out loud as I write, because it might do me good to actually hear it) is this:

Stop resisting!

Because friends, these past weeks (months?) have been all about that: resistance. And its ugly evil sister: procrastination. If some of you followed the Right Brainers in Business Video Summit, you might remember that "procrastinating is a way to punish yourself" (can't remember who said it but it's been an eye-opener).

I told you last May about this symbolic "one year as an ARTIST" landmark. Which came with building a more "professional" website etc. Well, I think it's safe to say that it made me freak out a bit... The "who do you think you are?" and "you're kidding yourself, girl" gremlins have been super busy creeping in again, and the nasty beasts are way better trained than my newborn "I'm an artist and I'm living my dream" self! So they just lulled me into thinking I had won the fight, while really they were just plotting to stab me in the back at the first opportunity! And they've been having soooo much fun with it lately. They're even doing it this very second, and writing this actually feels like fighting. Plus they've got a new recruit, it's called "you're first works were your best and now you're just messing things up, you're done". I hate that one but can't seem to find the proper way to get rid of it, and at this stage I'm pretty much believing it, and have almost completely stopped painting, and social networking, and investigating places to exhibit my work. For now, I'm telling myself it's just one of those times and it's better to take a break than to keep the frustration rising. I guess I shouldn't have read The Art of Fielding, because sometimes it feels like I'm living it, but still, it was a great book...

The past weeks have been especially challenging in our family life too, with the workers in the house, the mess, the dust, overtired and therefore overchallenging kids. Plus end-of-the-year shows for my daughter and husband, which means super exciting/stressful times that bring a lot of joy but are followed by the day-after bittersweet feelings of things that end...

Then add the fact that I was doing my first ever freelance graphic design job for the community center where I used to work before, and that once it was almost finished, we had to put everything on hold because they found out that their accountant had been steadily embezzling money! Now they're not even sure they won't shut the place down altogeher. It makes me sad and angry because I care for the place and the people who work there, it's where my husband has his dance classes, where my son spends some of his holiday time, where I taught my first art workshops and did my first art show. It is so unsettling to think that this person has been a daily colleague, working in the office next to mine for 2 whole years...

At times like these, it's especially important to make room for some simple family time where we can celebrate every precious moment, have fun or just hang out and "do nothing"...

Anyway, I just can't wait to move into my "Nest" studio, I can feel how much I need the energy, the peace and inspiration of this room. There are so many projects I have put on hold, like trying my hand at making some jewelry. I've got all the supplies but just can't seem able to get started. I need this fresh start! I'm also looking forward to sharing creative "us" time with William as we're moving his piano into the Nest as well! There's going to be my "artsy mess" on one side of the room with my working table, sink etc. And a cozy space on the other side to blog, read and even eat and watch a movie if we feel like it, and the piano. I also can't wait to set up the place with all the vintage furniture I have "saved". The stairs will be delivered next Thursday, so patience...

Well I think that's it for today, thank you if you've staid with me to this point! Tomorrow we're going to my parents' where we'll celebrate our daughter and her cousin's 4th birthdays, and then 2 of my sisters, me and maybe my mom will accompany my 3rd sister in her search for a wedding dress! Good times ahead...

What about you? How do you fight your own gremlins? Do you have a creative space, even a small one that inspires and uplifts you? Feel free to share links if you have pictures of it on your own blog!

♥ Have a beautiful sunny week ♥

Catching up + "Building the nest": from attic to studio, first peek!

Catching up + "Building the nest": from attic to studio, first peek!

I haven't been posting in a while, here or on Facebook, but so much has been going on lately, it's been a bit crazy... Among other things I have spent a beautiful, family-love-filled week-end in Brest (Brittany) for my niece's first communion. The weather was so amazing that we spent a whole day touring the area from one white sand beach to the next. I had never seen such gorgeous turquoise water in my life!

Then it was my prince charming's end of the year dance show and I was so proud to see him live his passion on stage... goosebumps!

+ I had some turning 36 to do... I really like that number, it's going to be a great year, I just know it.

But what has turned our world completely upside down lately is the beginning of our attic-to-studio conversion! It doesn't look like much yet but this is so exciting, I can't help sharing some pictures with you!

The Nest: from attic to studio
The Nest: from attic to studio

I'm calling it "the Nest": I really want it to be a place that feels cosy and safe, nurturing and inspiring. A starting point from which I can go explore, grow and spread my wings at my own pace. A nest where dreams and creative things can hatch and be loved, with all their imperfections and ungrateful teenage stages, before making their way into the world... And I'm hoping to have some fellow birdies come play with me soon! But for now, it looks like this...

I'll be sharing more pictures of the progress very soon. Coming up soon too : revamping 1950's furniture for the Nest + a new Once Upon a Time guest artist story...

Until then, I wish you lots of blue sky to spread YOUR wings!

Fragile 1
Fragile 1

London love...

London love...

I'm back after a 2 weeks "spring break / internet break", family time, the ocean and... London! My very own prince William swept me off my feet for a surprise week-end getaway, and when I say surprise: I didn't know where we were going until we were at the Eurostar check-in! (note to prince charming: thank you so so much my love for this wonderful time!) So today I thought I'd just share with you all a few fave pics!

And tomorrow I'm going to Paris to meet two amazing ladies and artists "for real" for the first time: Valérie Roussel from Toulouse and Pam Brewer Varacek from New York... I can't wait!

Have a beauty-full 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! ♥

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

Giveaway: and the winner is...

Giveaway: and the winner is...

Well ladies (and gentlemen???), drrrrrums again please… it's time to announce our giveaway winner!

Hint: here is the lovely quote that she shared with us...

“The earth has music for those who listen.” ― George Santayana

... that's right, it's you Sharon!

*Please don't forget to send me your home address by using the contact form email so I can send you the little package I have lovingly put together for you!*

And here is a peek at what's inside...

  • A nice little set of French vintage pages from old school books and from an 1890's fashion magazine, great for collage, mixed media art or scrapbooking! And I know how much you love Paris so I'm sure these will be put to good use...
  • My "Nature" greeting cards set
  • A little "winged key" mixed media ornament that just can't wait to flutter around your home somewhere! I hope you'll like it and I wish it brings you a little bit of magic and inspiration...

Thank you everyone for participating and sharing your inspiring quotes, this has been really fun!

Have a very beautiful day!

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!

Soulful messengers : new greeting cards and a giveaway, yay!

Soulful messengers : new greeting cards and a giveaway, yay!

hearts-1024x7672.jpg

Well my dear friends, spring is definitely on its way and it's time to shake things up a bit in my Etsy shop! Hibernation is over, yay! I've just packed it with lots of gorgeous greeting cards, and when I say gorgeous, I mean I've had a hard time not buying cute little frames and putting them all over the shelves and walls (well I did buy just the one frame, but don't tell...) This time I've edited the pictures just a tiny bit more than in the previous batch and the colors really pop!  And the paper quality is as awesome as ever.

I've had a lot of fun putting together some "mini art collections" JUST. FOR. YOU!

First (drrrrrums please...) the LOVE collection! I've put so much love and positive intentions in these paintings, and now I hope all these little hearts will carry your loving messages around the world!

hearts
hearts

The DREAMERS collection is for all of you beautiful souls who fiercely believe in your dreams, who dare to hope and listen to this little voice inside. Let the magic happen!

dreamers
dreamers

And finally,  since I seem to have caught the spring fever, here is a collection inspired by NATURE: Flowers, birds and nests are so fragile, so vulnerable, and yet they are so alive and determined to grow, to fly! I once heard an artist cynically say: "In today's world, how can anyone still paint birds?" Well, I do, and I love them and probably always will, like I know many of you do! Let's spread those wings!

nature
nature

I'm really proud of these little collections actually. When I make art, I always feel that it's not just for me, that it means more than that. And I always hope that it will speak to someone's heart, resonate with someone's soul. So I really wish these little soulful messengers will bring you some joy and inspiration...

AND... here comes the best part! I've wanted to have a GIVEAWAY since I revamped the blog, and now is finally the time! I'm putting together a lovely little package, but I'm not telling you what's in it, it's a surprise (well I can tell you there will be some homemade and some vintage french stuff...) To enter the giveaway, tell us in the comments:

- Your favorite greeting cards collection: Love, Dreamers or Nature

- Your favorite quote about love, dreams or nature (+ tell us who it's from!)

- Make sure to give me your name and correct email address

You have until Sunday 17th to enter the draw and I'll be announcing the winner soon after (and I'll show you what's in the package then...). To make sure you're the first to know, you can subscribe to my blog by email or through your favorite reader.

I'm really counting on you guys to spread the word! Share this post on your blog and/or facebook page so all the beautiful souls out there get a chance to win + it is so amazing to meet fellow dreamers, it makes my little heart so full and grateful ♥

Now my next step will be: making friends with my printer (we're not on speaking terms right now but I think it's time to make peace) and adding lots of prints to the shop (I can do it, yes I can, yes I can!)

Have a wonderful, love-filled week-end!