In the studio

A fresh start

Home... new beginnings and a new website!

The summer is in full bloom and it's a time of transformation over here in my little corner of France... A time for letting go of what no longer fits, creating new spaces and growing new roots. I've been quiet lately, quietly allowing these changes to mature and unfold, and busy building new foundations. HOME is definitely the theme for this month. And moving...

In a few weeks we are moving house, moving to another region, closer to family, nature, and a new creative community. And right now we're in the process of packing, which also means giving up some of the things we no longer need, reassessing our desires for a new, simpler yet more abundant life.

But for now we are starting with a new online home! After many weeks of technical issues and worries, I have decided to move my website from Wordpress to Squarespace and I've rebuilt it from scratch. And from now on my prince charming is going to help me with it and with the shop: it feels so good to be a team! This new magical space feels so much more like me, and I have also designed it with you in mind, a little haven of peace and inspiration to help you light your own creative spark. I do hope you like it here and would love to hear from you, any suggestions are welcome!

With the heat and the studio almost packed, I have gone back to painting on our kitchen table, the place where it all started for me... Lately (and most serendipituously!) I've been working on a commission for a neighboring family who are moving away too, and have asked me for a painting of their current home. Memories and new beginnings...

Thank you for sharing this adventure with me, I will keep you posted of our new discoveries very soon. Make sure to get on my mailing list to follow the journey... there's a big floral abstract in the making ;)

Light & Love
Alice detail 2.jpg

In love with wax...

In love with wax...

Do you know that feeling when you discover something new and from the first second it feels like home? Well, that's what just happened to me when I tried encaustic painting for the very first time two weeks ago.

© 2015 Laly Mille - mixed media & encaustic
© 2015 Laly Mille - mixed media & encaustic

I had been wanting to try wax for the past 2 years, I was in love with the dreamy look and soft texture of the medium, drooling over the artwork I dicovered on the web (see my wax board on Pinterest)... I didn't dare for a long time but now... I'm hooked! Love at first sight (first brushstroke really)... Participating in Kellee Conrad’s 100 artworks challenge gave me the little push I needed, and I'm so thankful!

For now I have only started working with encaustic medium combined with other mixed media techniques (pencil, inks, oil paint, a bit of collage...) and it has already opened up such a world of possibility! I can't even imagine what's going to happen when I try mixing some encaustic paints...

One of the things I most enjoy is working with a natural medium (encaustic medium is made of beeswax and tree sap), plus it smells divine... I also love that I get to play and mix my own medium, it's quite magical really: crushing the beautiful Damar crystals, melting the wax, watching the cloudy effect when it becomes solid again, the whole process feels somewhat like alchemy...

wax collage
wax collage

I'm not going to give you technical details (EDIT: yes I will! Free videos, tips and supplies are now available HERE) but today I just want to share a few snapshots of my first pieces.

Remember the little abstract drawings on watercolor paper that I showed you in my previous post?

© 2015 Laly Mille
© 2015 Laly Mille

Here is what they look like after 2 coats of wax:

© 2015 Laly Mille - wax layer
© 2015 Laly Mille - wax layer

And after working on that surface, scratching, painting, staining and fusing, scratching, painting and fusing some more...

© 2015 Laly Mille - mixed media & encaustic
© 2015 Laly Mille - mixed media & encaustic

So here is #1/100, my very first encaustic painting!

© 2015 Laly Mille - mixed media & encaustic
© 2015 Laly Mille - mixed media & encaustic
© 2015 Laly Mille - mixed media & encaustic
© 2015 Laly Mille - mixed media & encaustic

And #2/100:

© 2015 Laly Mille - mixed media & encaustic
© 2015 Laly Mille - mixed media & encaustic
© 2015 Laly Mille - mixed media & encaustic
© 2015 Laly Mille - mixed media & encaustic
© 2015 Laly Mille - mixed media & encaustic
© 2015 Laly Mille - mixed media & encaustic

I have 9 pieces in progress in this series and will share the rest here soon so stay tuned! (if you haven't already, you can now subscribe to new blog posts by email HERE).

NB: All pieces are 8" x  8" on MDF wood panels and are available for purchase (they still need to dry for a few days though!). Shoot me an email or PM me on Facebook if you'd like to know more. * EDIT: SOLD! *

Have a beautiful creative day!

Light & love

Laly blog signature blue

Back in the studio!

I'm back in the studio (and it feels sooo good!)

Oh wow... I am finally back in the studio (sigh of relief, deep breath, smile). It feels like coming home after a looong absence, and such a deep longing. There is a lot of catching up to do but for today I just want share the joy of creating again! After being away from my art-making for so many months, a huge resistance had been building up and so I needed a project to gently rekindle the spark, get back on track with a daily creative practice, and get some accountability too.

So Kellee Conrad's 100 artworks challenge came at a perfect time (and by the way you can still join the fun!) We are a group of over 300 artists, committed to making 100 small pieces of artwork. There is no time frame, so no pressure, and we each choose a type of substrate, a format, a theme and techniques that we are going to keep for the whole challenge (with variations of course). A starting point for a deep exploration process and for creating a new body of work. As a warm up I created an inspiration board on Pinterest, check it out!

I'm usually more comfortable painting big, so for me working on small substrates is a challenge in itself. I decided on 8" x 8" MDF panels (so not too small) that are pretty thick.

substrates
substrates

I mounted watercolor paper on some of them because I want to start my first layer with pencil, inks, watercolor etc. And then I will try my hand at encaustics. Which is why I need a porous substrate and NO acrylics (now that is a challenge too!).

paper
paper

And I also started a big canvas that I can go to if I ever get frustrated with the small format... It's just here to get back into the habit of putting paint on canvas, paint on canvas, paint on canvas... No pressure, no goal, no strings attached. A reassuring presence...

canvas
canvas

For my small encaustic pieces I got really inspired by Shari Replogle's "Wax on Wednesdays" tutorials, particularly this one. She has a Youtube channel packed with awesome ideas.

OK, so I've got my substrates (which are so nice to work on by the way!). I've decided to work on batches of 9 at a time, after which I can change some of the rules if I want to. For now I'm doing abstracts. I've set up my work table as such:

table
table

And I've decided on the "vocabulary" and the steps I'm going to use:

vocabulary
vocabulary

So for now I've completed steps 1 and 2 and here is what it looks like (I don't know where the "eggs" came from but I love them!):

ovals 1
ovals 1
ovals 2
ovals 2

I am so excited about the next step! It's going to be encaustic collage! I've always wanted to try it. So I've got my stash of papers ready, my encaustic medium (which I made myself, and I'm not a little bit proud!) and I'll keep you posted... As usual, I'll probably share some pics along the way on Facebook and you are of course invited: https://www.facebook.com/LalyMille.Art It feels so good to be back!

papers
papers

Have a great week everyone!

PS: I almost forgot! If you haven't already, you can now subscribe to my blog updates and announcements. I'd love for you to join! Just click on the image below. See you soon!

Laly blog signature blue

Smile!

Let's kick off the new year with a smile!

Hey guys! I'm in the middle of preparing for my final exam but just reeeally wanted to say Hi! I mean, my last blog post was in November... I don't have much time (yet) for the artist life, but 2015 has started, and in spite of (or because of) the recent events, I say let's kick off this new year with a smile! So there you go:

And I wish you all the most beautiful, loving, joyful and light-filled year.

Have you chosen your Word of the Year (or "woty")? It's the 3rd year I choose one (or rather I let one reveal itself to me). In 2012 it was Truth, in 2014 it was Trust (with Abundance as a co-woty) and this year it is EASE... The fun thing is that it kept coming back to me but for weeks I just couldn't allow myself to "choose" it, I felt huge resistance.... which I took as a sign that I really should let it be my word, and just eeeeease into it. Believe me it has already helped me and taught me a lot in just 3 weeks... If you have a woty you can share in the comments!

Ease wish holder
Ease wish holder

I'm going to make one of my little "Sacred Wishes" wish-holders for it (I Picmonkeyed the picture above). I don't have a single wish-holder left, I either sold or gave them away as gifts, a very good excuse to dive into plaster bliss again.

And by the way, look where they've gracefully landed... on the pages of the new Somerset Life Magazine! (which is one of the most gorgeous magazines ever!) I haven't seen it "for real" yet but my friend Lorene has been super sweet and sent me a picture of her copy (thank you!!!!)

sacred wishes article Somerst Life W
sacred wishes article Somerst Life W

Although I haven't managed to keep up with the blog lately, I do try to pop up on Facebook several times a week so if you want the latest updates, that's where you'll find me.

* By the way I want to say a big thank you to all of you (all 171 of you, and counting!) who have "liked" my FB page in the past 2 months. I've often felt so far from my creative life lately, not blogging, not painting, but seeing all these new faces has been truly uplifting (gratitude+++) Would you believe we're fast approaching the 1000 landmark? That's a whole lot of positive energy and I'm glad I'm sharing with you guys!*

So, these past weeks on FB I've shared a few glimpses of what (or who) is currently on my easel...

She's a guardian, a light-bearer, soft and strong... I can't wait for her to be complete (as well as her sister that I started too and will soon share on Facebook). I'll leave you with her now and get back to work...

Light and love dear ones.

Laly blog signature blue
guardian atelier WM

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

Busy autumn

Catching up... it's a busy autumn!

Hi everyone! I have so much catching up to do! A magazine publication, stuff happening on Facebook, lovely greeting cards in the shop and an art show coming up! So here we go:

First: I am so excited to have an article in the Fall issue of Somerset Apprentice! Featuring my mixed media painting "Rise" with stepped out instructions. A big THANK YOU to the editor Jana Holstein!

And... greetings! I have restocked my Etsy shop  with new, beautiful greeting cards, ready to carry your love around the world or simply add a soulful touch to your home or your studio: they loooove to get framed! So do the new art prints  I have prepared just for you: they are home printed, archival quality and signed by yours truly. NB: About the greeting cards: quantities are (very) limited so make sure to grab your favorites now   for the holidays!

fragile elusion

fragile elusion

ladies x2 cards

ladies x2 cards

Also, I am sharing a work in progress (a portrait!) on my Facebook page these days, so come on over and join the fun! And I'm answering your questions all along...

painting 1WM
painting 1WM

And finally... an ART SHOW! I have the great pleasure of exhibiting my work alongside sculptor Jacques Cancre next month in France, at the Pavillon Heller in Ballan Miré (a beauuuutiful little venue). If you happen to be visiting the Loire Valley, please stop by! The opening is on Saturday 15th at 6:30 pm. Mark it on your Facebook calendar HERE!

I think that's it for now... I hope these will all be opportunities for you to get inspired and add more art into your life!

Light & love ♥

Mixed media fairy dress!

My upcycled "mixed media" fairy dress

Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille
Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille

Once upon a time, there was a good fairy who turned Cinderella's rags into a beautiful, "upcycled" ball gown...

I finished the dress! Yes I did! That was a true challenge, but so worth it. And what was even more of a challenge was: will I dare to wear it at my little sister's wedding, in front af all my relatives, far and near (gasp...)?... Well I did! And I'm so glad I did.  Weddings in France are generally not as colourful and "fluffy" as they can be in the UK or the US for instance. Wearing a lavender tutu, especially when you're not a 5 year old, but well into your thirties, well... that does require a good dose of courage.

But that was the point: stepping into my own power as an artist, a creative soul and wearing it right on my skin. The fun thing about it was that it got contagious: one of my sisters and my sister-in-law both made their dresses too, one with a tattered, upcycled look, and the other with a fluffly tutu under a tartan print dress (girls, you were both gorgeous!). We supported each other into affirming our creative selves, and I also like to think that it was our way to encourage the newly-weds to be bold and creative in the new life ahead of them...

And now, here is the finished dress...

Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille
Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille

It all started with a lovely bouquet of roses that my prince charming gave me earlier this year. It was so lovely that I decided to let it dry and keep it. As it dried, the colours became even more lovely and dreamy... At that time, discussions about the wedding and the outfits for the children were going strong. Which quite naturally led us -the mothers of these lovely angels- to start thinking about our own outfits. I started a Pinterest board to gather images I loved, and soon started dreaming of tattered dresses, vintage dresses, fairy dresses, ruffles and tutus... After that, all the other outfits I could see in the shops felt rather dull, so I started to think that maybe I could try and make my own dress...

Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille
Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille

Now I should tell you that sewing was never really my thing before. My last sewing experience was making washable diapers for my daughter 6 years ago. Just like I don't like to cook with a recipe, I really don't like to follow a sewing pattern. I had never made a dress before. So if I were to really make this one, it would have to be on my terms, following my intuition and my own creative process.

Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille
Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille

I embarked upon a real treasure hunt, looking for scraps of fabric and old clothes that had been awaiting a new life. Inspired by Zollection on Etsy, I bought a tank top with lace straps: it would be my "canvas"! I also bought a few fabric flowers, and experimented with hand dyeing... so much fun! A trip to my local thrift store provided vintage lace and ribbon.

Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille
Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille

Then I dismembered the old clothes, turing them into scraps of all sizes. And with the tank top on a hanger, I happily started pinning, pinning, pinning... I was already in love with the whole thing, so I knew there was no turning back! I invested into a dress form and pinned some more. Just as with all my paintings, I started experimenting with placement, colour and layers... Then little by little I started sewing the elements in place, some by hand, and some with the help of my sewing machine.

Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille
Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille

At the same time I was making a matching "no-sew" tutu for my little girl (tutorial HERE!). And it was so pretty that I got a little (a lot!) jealous... So I decided to order some more tulle (which I got from THIS Etsy shop), in purple, rosy mauve and lavender, and made one for myself that I attached to the bottom of the tank top, so that it would be perfectly placed just a little lower than the waistline.

Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille
Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille

I completed the outfit with a purse made from an old lace cushion cover and a T-shirt, a little bracelet made with ribbon and lace left-overs, and a well-loved grey cardigan that I adorned with tulle and ribbon for the occasion. I also made a pair of shoe clips from two flower-cluster baby headbands from the same shop where I bought the tulle.

Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille
Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille

The final touch was a Kelly Rae Roberts necklace-locket that my husband gave me for our anniversary earlier this month. The pendant reads "a charming journey". It couldn't be better suited...

Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille
Upcycled mixed media fairy dress with lavender tutu. © 2014 Laly Mille

A rather distracted girl

Blog hop! and a rather "distracted" girl...

Hey there! This post is part of a blog hop! At the end I'll answer some questions about art and writing + you'll get to meet the lovely artist I'm following and the 3 awesome artists who will be following me in the blog hop next Saturday! But first, I'd like to share some musings on a topic that a friend recently asked me about: distraction...

Dear D.,

You wrote to me on facebook, a few days ago, looking for advice, asking me how I handle "distraction". Well, as much as I would have loved to answer you that day, I didn't. Instead, I told you I would get back to you a little later. Why?... Well, maybe I needed to think about it for a little while. But most importantly, your message came as... a distraction! A sweet one, for sure, but a distraction all the same. I know that on facebook and other social media, we tend to think that people expect a fast reply, a quick comment, instant attention. And we often flutter from answering an email to chatting with someone who just messaged us, to clicking on a link, to answering the phone and then back to the email. Distraction all over the place. I'm not sure I'm "handling" it all that well. I do, nevertheless, struggle with it quite a bit on a daily basis. Just like you, I guess.

"Quiet time" (work in progress) Laly Mille
"Quiet time" (work in progress) Laly Mille

As you may know, this is a very, very busy year for me, with very little time for art-making, even though it's at the top of my list, right after my husband and my kids. Last week, with lots of work at the nursing home, I also had a big exam to pass. This week, on top of being at school full time, I performed in a play for children twice, as part of my training program + I still need to draft a text for a coming art show because the deadline is, well, now + I also committed to participating in a blog hop, maybe because it was a good opportunity, but above all because I just couldn't stand not blogging for so long + this week-end is fully packed with my little sister's bachelorette party and another gathering with friends on Sunday.

So if I take the example of your message again, here is how I "handled" this "distraction": I took a step back, resisted answering you on the spot, took the time to breathe and get back to my own pace and priorities. Decided I would answer you, but a little later. I kept your question in mind and started thinking about itfrom time to time, mostly on the bus. I worried that I would never find the time to answer you properly. Then tried to see things differently, changing my perspective, and had an idea: I would answer you in my blog hop post! Sometimes a distraction can turn into an opportunity...

"Quiet time" (work in progress) Laly Mille
"Quiet time" (work in progress) Laly Mille

Last night I decided to make time to start writing this very post. But another "distraction" got in the way: my 7 year-old son couldn't sleep because something was bothering and scaring him: the lyrics of the french national anthem, the "Marseillaise" that he had been learning at school (thank you soccer world cup, grrr...). Very often, when he interrupts me in what is supposed to be my quiet time, as well as my creative working time, I lose patience and get pretty angry. Last night, though, I could feel he was not faking it but was truly scared (and rightly so, our anthem is awfully bloody and violent, don't get me started on that!). Anyway, I postponed writing this post and took the time to have an in-depth, soothing conversation with him: we talked about violence, about the french revolution, about human rights, about democracy, about responsibility, about God, about freedom, about peace. And then he fell asleep. Sometimes a distraction is also a priority.

Here is another recent example: last week, on Thursday morning I had this very important exam. Not the kind where you sit in a classroom and write a paper. Rather the kind where you gather 7 elderly people with dementia in a small room to tell them a story and sing them songs, with 2 examiners taking notes on your every move and interrogating you afterwards. The kind when you need to be fully not distracted. The night before, as I was about to shut down the computer, I had this impulse to check when the next issue of Somerset Studio would be released, as I knew I had an article in it for the very first time. I was feeling stressed because of the coming exam and just needed to think about something different, fun and art-related for a few minutes. Sometimes you actually need a little distraction! But I was in for a huge surprise and a rush of pure, pure joy, and excitement and gratitude. But I had this exam coming and was supposed to go to bed early. Except I really didn't want to sleep anymore! What I really wanted was to delight in that joy, to embrace it and share it, in the moment. And I allowed myself to. Sometimes you need to surrender and just enjoy distraction. But the next morning I just forbade myself to think about it. I had to stay focused and do my best. Sometimes you need to make an effort to shut out distraction. Had I not allowed myself to take the time and enjoy it fully, it might have been even harder not to think about it the following day. I don't know yet if I passed, maybe I did, maybe not, but in any case, I know I won't regret enjoying that moment, because that "distraction" was even more important to me, to this journey I'm on, than the exam. Once again, it's about knowing your priorities.

"Quiet time" (work in progress) Laly Mille
"Quiet time" (work in progress) Laly Mille

That said, when I decided to go back to school for a year and a half, I knew I just couldn't do it all, and had to reassess my priorities. Even if it's not easy to admit, some of them had to be put on hold. That's what happened to my facebook page, to my blog, to some art shows opportunities, but also, to some extent, to my family life. My beloved little sister is getting married and I would have loved to get more involved in the preparations, but it has just not been possible. My training program still has 8 months to go and I need to avoid burn-out. When you've got too much on your plate, some priorities can become distractions. Sometimes it's important to know your limits and say no.

So here it is, dear D., I hope I answered your question... But I'm not done yet, I still have the blog hop questions to answer too. I'll try not to get too "distracted" and give shorter answers here!

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1) What am I working on/writing?

I'm allowing myself to enjoy writing this long long blog post after what feels like ages of not pouring my heart out! On the art side, I'm working on an abstract painting, 10 minutes a day and for now I've titled it "quiet time"...

2) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?

I think, I feel  that my art is a full expression of me, heart, soul, imperfections and all. Each of us is unique, so I guess it's unique too.

3) Why do I write about what I do?

Like many other mixed media artists (who rock the world by the way), I write this blog because I feel the urge to connect and share my journey with others. Because it makes sense to me. I don't really mind artists who prefer to keep their process to themselves or surround themselves with an aura of mystery. That's just not me. And I want to be me.

I also write positive intentions, thoughts and intuitive musings all over my paintings because words hold power and work their own magic. They are part of my way of expressing myself. They tell stories. And I love stories.

Another reason I write (and I know it can seem a bit odd, but well, that's me) is that I need to express myself in English, and have very little opportunity to do so where I live. It's not a choice, it's a gut feeling. In fact, I know that writing on my paintings in French would probably be a smart marketing move, giving them that fashionable "french touch". Except that would not feel right to me. If I were to explain it, I guess you could say that French is the language of my left brain and English the language of my right brain. And like most creative people, I'm more of a right-brainer. So really if you think about it, it's not odd: it's scientific.

4) How does my writing process work?

I don't really have a process. Sometimes I start with an idea, something I've been thinking about (on the bus, waiting for the bus and running after the bus are usually where it happens). Sometimes I have a new piece of (he)art to share, I start with the pictures and then let the story unfold (some paintings have a lot to tell...). And other times I just feel the urge to write, write, write without having any idea what is going to "come out". 

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And now let me introduce the artist and friend who asked me to join this blog hop: Michelle Quesada! And 3 ladies I loooove who are amazing, inspiring artists and beautiful wild souls : Ginger Deverell, Jessica Brogan and Galia Alena! They will be publishing their blog hop posts next Saturday, so stay tuned!

Michelle Quesada is an artist, a creative, and a social worker living in southwest Washington with her husband, son, and teenage daughters. When she is not fighting social injustice or spending time with her family, she pours her time into her creative pursuits including acrylic painting, mix-media journaling, and writing over her musings. You'll find her on her "Mused" Facebook page and she is also owner of Facebook community page Mused which champions the cause for a more creative life for all of us. She is a regular contributor to creativity challenges for people who aspire to live more fully in the creative flow. This year Michelle started up Michelle Quesada Art to showcase her artwork, Connect with her on Facebook art page, her website and blog and Etsy shop. Read Michelle's blog hop post HERE!

Papergirl-GingerDeverell
Papergirl-GingerDeverell

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. To find out more about Ginger’s creative journey and art, visit her blog, her website, her Etsy shop or connect with her on her Facebook page!

jess
jess

Jessica Leigh Brogan is a published photographer, writer and frequently published artist in magazines such as Art Journal Magazine, Somerset Studio and Cloth Paper Scissors. She also facilitates the wildly popular, International Card Deck Swap. Her mission is to encourage women to free themselves from self-imposed limitations and shackles. You can find her musings at www.jessicaleighbrogan.com

galia
galia

Light chaser, wanderlust gypsy, clay slinger, paint splasher, word crafter, sacred journaler, beauty unveiler, adventure seeker and soul feeder... Galia Alena is a “coeur”ageous pioneer artist with a poetic vision exploring intuitive wisdom. Her images evoke tranquillity and infinity, coaxing the viewer to participate into the self-exploration which successfully ties the lyrical to the universal. They reflect an understanding of mythical and archetypal wisdom common to us all, yet from a supremely vulnerable individual perspective. “It is through my creative practices that I feed my soul and return to myself always afresh.” Galia lives in Sydney, Australia. Find out more about her art on her beauty-full blog, her Facebook page, and her artistic website.

From the studio

From the studio

Dear friends, I still don't have much time to blog these days, and even less time to translate a post, so I thought I'd just share a few pictures of a project I've been working on: creating a tattered a dress that (hopefully) I will wear at my sister's wedding in August... and a lovely little tutu for my almost 5 year-old daughter!

Sewing has never really been my forte, but with this project I've discovered that I can sew intuitively directly on a dress form: lots of fun!!

And you can check out THIS BOARD in my Pinterest to find out about the inspiration behind this  project... Enjoy!

Laly Mille tattered dress project, lilac roses
Laly Mille tattered dress project, lilac roses
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project, spiderweb
Laly Mille tattered dress project, spiderweb
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project

Have a great week-end everyone!

Dear Jane Austen

Dear Jane... A new Austen-inspired painting

Hi there friends! Oooh how I've missed this blog! I can't believe it's been so long. I've been up to my curly head in exams for this training program I'm doing. I still have an oral exam tomorrow, but after that, I really really hope to reconnect with... well, me. My inner artist, my creative journey, my paintbrushes and this whole community I am missing so much.

Once upon a time, Mixed media painting on canvas, detail, © 2014 Laly Mille
Once upon a time, Mixed media painting on canvas, detail, © 2014 Laly Mille

But I've still managed to finish a new painting over the past month (special thanks to Prince Charming for keeping the kids busy a whole week-end... LOVE). And it's another Jane Austen-inspired lady... Actually, this time it's inspired by Jane herself.

Once upon a time, Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille
Once upon a time, Mixed media painting on canvas © 2014 Laly Mille

I've spent hours, days and nights writing a big essay this month, and only just realized the similarity with the girl in the painting (although writing a novel would probably have been a lot more fun!). It's funny to find that, in a way, my inner artist has been accompanying me all along, on the canvas, at a time when I almost entirely put her aside.

Once upon a time, Mixed media painting on canvas, detail, © 2014 Laly Mille
Once upon a time, Mixed media painting on canvas, detail, © 2014 Laly Mille

There's so much I want to catch up on and tell you about. First, I have several beautiful (and long over-due) "Once upon a time" artist guest posts to share with you. I have missed many Life Book lessons but have finally started to dive into Kelly Rae Roberts' "Hello Soul, Hello Mixed Media Mantras" e-course: pure delight. More on that later...

But for now, a little behind the scenes peek: those of you who are following my facebook art page have seen the painting's progress from start to finish, and here it is again, enjoy!

jane process 2
jane process 2

See you very very soon! (fingers crossed...)

Kindness Mission!

Spread some love! Our Kindness Mission

blog circle love-bombs the world

KM23

 What the world needs now is love, sweet love...

Today, me and my Flying Lessons blog circle girls are on a mission: we're love-bombing the world!!!

Inspired by mixed media artist Kelly Rae Roberts' "Kindness Mission" blog series, 10 of us have decided to start the year by joining forces and spreading LOVE, KINDNESS, BEAUTY and JOY into the world!

And to make this mission even more special, I've been teaming up with my artist friend and creative sister Ginger Deverell (whose awesome guest post you can read HERE!). Ginger lives near Vancouver in Canada, aaaall the way across the planet from me: I think this is pretty cool!!

Since Ginger and I are both artists, we've decided to do some art abandonment (= FUN!). We've each created some little notes with fluttery butterflies and loving hearts. Then we've shared them with each other so that we can use both designs during our mission. Then we've written some inspiring quotes on the notes, in English for Ginger, and in French for me: love knows no frontiers!

KM collage 1bis
KM collage 1bis

We were so excited and having so much fun, plotting and sharing our progress via email, that at the last minute we also decided to make "take what you need" posters, an idea borrowed HERE from Kelly Rae's blog (pssst...you can download them at the end of both our posts and join the mission!) 

KM 13
KM 13

Once everything was ready, I packed it all in a big envelope... Let's go!

KM18
KM18

So last Saturday, our little family headed to the city centre of Tours. My 3 accomplices and I walked towards the library, on the banks of the Loire river. Our target? The bicycles parked in front...

KM collage 3
KM collage 3

We left little notes inside the bicycle baskets! It was pretty windy that day, but thankfully we had some washi tape at hand.

Our next target was the tramway stop nearby, where we left one of our little posters:

A second outing led me to another library (well I love libraries), the one in my own town this time. After leaving some love notes on the benches in the nearby park...

... I started sneeking around the shelves and hiding little bookmarks inside books and magazines. I left quite a few in the self-help section as well as in the art section...

I also left some posters in the entrance hall and in the ladies' bathroom (because putting a smile on a girl's face is better than make-up!). The few notes I had left ended up on the windshields of the cars parked outside (I hope some of them belonged to the library staff!).

That's it, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! And now...  your turn! Why not spread a little kindness in your own neighborhoods, or even just your home? Come up with your own missions or feel free to borrow ours, and make sure to read the next posts in our blog circle: they will give you tons of fantastic ideas! Here is the blog circle map (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!) :

  1. Ginger Deverell (CANADA)  http://redpearcreative.blogspot.ca/2014/01/kindness-mission.html
  2. * YOU ARE HERE* Laly Mille (FRANCE) http://www.lalymille.com/2014/01/spread-some-love-kindness-mission-blog-circle.html
  3. Sandy King -  http://sandymairart.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/kindness-mission-01-14/
  4. Naz Laila (AUSTRALIA)  http://www.agentlerebellion.com/kindness-mission/#.UuIpGPbTm2x
  5. Kristen Fairgrieve - http://bagladylulu.com/2014/01/22/im-on-a-kindness-mission-wanna-come/
  6. Lulu Bea (Alaina McGinley) - http://lulubeas.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/kindness-mission/
  7. Karrlin Bain (USA) http://karrlinbain.blogspot.fr/2014/01/thank-you-school-bus-drivers-kindness.html
  8. Kathie Gadd - http://lavenderchalet.com/2014/01/the-kindness-mission
  9. Chandra Merod- http://www.junipergoods.blogspot.fr/2014/01/birthday-acts-of-kindness-flying.html
  10. Lisa Ullrich - http://www.heartsoulcreate.com/kindness-mission/

You can download my little heart poster below (click on the small images to open the high resolution files). You can even add your own favorite words on the blank ones! And grab Ginger's poster on her blog post HERE.

We hope this will inspire you to go an a mission too, and if you do, please let us know in the comments!

Kindness mission poster - English
Kindness mission poster - English
Kindness mission poster - French
Kindness mission poster - French
Kindness mission poster - English, blank
Kindness mission poster - English, blank
Kindness mission poster - French, blank
Kindness mission poster - French, blank