Let’s Face It 2017 Blog Hop & Giveaway!

Lets Face It 2017 http://tinyurl.com/irisletsfaceit2017

[EDIT This giveaway is now closed. The winner is Kendra Stone. Thank you to everyone who took part!]

Hey wonderful tribe, are you excited about a second year of the popular portrait course Let’s Face It run by Kara Bullock?? I know I am!!! First of all let me show you the awesome team of teachers who are involved this year:

Let's Face It 2017 Online Portrait Course http://tinyurl.com/irisletsfaceit2017

Such a diverse group of teachers who will cover the ins and outs of sketching, drawing and painting portraits over the course of a whole year! I’m especially excited about the new subject areas that will be included such as style development, colour theory, faces of different ages and with different expressions and skin tones.

Registration opens 10 October! Please bookmark this link: http://tinyurl.com/irisletsfaceit2017

Special Note If You Are A Beginner

YES this course is also for you!!! I have been amazed at the braveness and enthusiasm with which total beginners have dived into the course this year. The difference between the work created during the start of the course and now is totally astounding. No special talent needed! Only a willingness to learn, be open and be part of the experience. This has been life changing for a lot of people.

Here is some work that was created this year:

student-work-collage-lores

Encouragement & Abstracts

If you’ve been following me a while you’ll know how passionate I am about encouraging you all to get off your arse and make art! If you desperately want to be creative but feel intimidated, unsure or not good enough then I am especially talking to you in my lessons. I break things down into simple and doable steps, highlight areas where you might get tripped up and best of all: get you going so you can feel good about yourself and the art you create!

In 2017 I will once again be focussing on clearing your creative blocks (we all get them, me too!) and I’m also super excited that Kara has asked me to provide a special lesson on how I create my colourful abstract style landscape paintings! I’m going to be teaching you about colour mixing, how to achieve a super bright and POPPING colour scheme and how to make simple abstract paintings that you’ll definitely want to frame and hang up!

This doesn’t have anything to do with faces you might think….. you’re right! There are two reasons I will be teaching you these techniques: 1. These abstract landscapes can provide wonderful backgrounds for your faces and full figure paintings. 2. What I’m going to teach you about colour is going to transform the way you approach colour in your portrait paintings (portraits aren’t all different shades of ‘flesh colour’!)

In addition to my main lesson I will also be providing a bonus lesson and a special tip about my new favourite materials: catalyst blades & wedges.

Style of work I will share with you how to create:

Colourful Abstract Landscape by Iris Fritschi-Cussens iris-impressions.com

I can’t wait and I really hope you will join me and the team of teachers!

Giveaway!!!

To enter the giveaway please do all of the following:

1. Click http://tinyurl.com/irisletsfaceit2017
2. Ensure you are signed up to my mailing list
3. Leave a comment below letting me know what specific part of LFI2017 you are excited about

Giveaway closes on 30 September. Winner to be announced beginning of October. Winner will be contacted by email so please ensure your email is valid.

PS if you decide to sign up to the course come 10 October I’d be super grateful if you used my personal link. I will get a percentage of the course fee which is how I get paid for teaching my lessons on this course. Thank youu!! <3<3<3

Sometimes Being Interested Is Enough

being-interested-is-enough

Often when people post their art in the communities I’m part of they follow it up with ‘but I’m not a real artist’ or ‘but it’s just my hobby’. As if there is some kind of division between ‘real artists’ who can post their art without caveat and ‘not real artists’ who need to qualify it before posting (because otherwise what..?).

This might have something to do with someone’s personal level of confidence or the way society views art, or a combination of both. I definitely identify with this tendency, this wish to let people know you don’t want them to judge you too harshly or to let them know you’re not full of yourself. This desperate wish to take a bit of that huge vulnerability out of creating or sharing something so personal as your own art.

It also might even stop you from creating in the first place. That feeling of not being good enough or not qualified enough. Why should you do it if there are so many other people who might do it better?

A couple of weeks back I went to NineWorlds (it is an inclusive geek convention, it’s amazing!) and I put myself forward to speak on a panel about problematic issues in the work of Joss Whedon. As a self-professed Whedonite (I wrote my undergrad thesis on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) I’m semi qualified to speak on this subject.

Nineworlds Panel

But I worried. What if I didn’t know enough? What if I wasn’t good enough or couldn’t contribute? What if my knowledge was too niche (e.g. just about BtVS instead of all of Whedon’s work)? What if other people knew way more about the subject? What if people from the audience looked at me and thought ‘pfft what is she doing on that panel’?

I discussed these fears with my therapist and he suggested:

What if simply being interested is enough?

This actually touches on something that I read in Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly (I mentioned this book in my previous post) in which she proposes a culture of ‘enough’. That instead of trying to be perfect, we should simply try to be engaged.

When you feel passionate, interested and excited about what you do, it doesn’t matter whether people like it, because the right people will respond to your engagement. When you downplay something, you are giving people a signal that it’s unlikely to be interesting to them, because they will simply mirror your own (lack of) enthusiasm.

This is what I try to do now with my art. I try and move away from the questions of ‘is it good enough?’ or ‘will people like it?’ and instead I try to move towards ‘is this interesting to me?’ and ‘does this make me feel excited?’.

It Looks Like I Know What I’m Doing (or a rant on vulnerability)

Know-What-Im-Doing

I love that when I post my art it looks like I know what I’m doing. Because really people, I haven’t the faintest idea. I just keep on doing it, no real goal apart from to just express myself and follow the joy and sometimes my hands all of a sudden produce things I like. I often don’t even notice while I’m working. My head starts going towards not-good-enough-itis. It’s only at the end when I stand back and take a picture of it that I might realise it looks halfway decent and that it might come across that I actually know what I’m doing and all of this is deliberate.

Well, it really isn’t.

This isn’t some kind of humble brag. I want to share what it feels like as a vulnerable flawed human being who is on a journey of self-development and artistic development and who most of the time is just wandering or ambling or lost. Because I think you might be too, and if you are, I want you to see the real me.

I often think people might get the impression that my art is very deliberate, that I know what I want and how to achieve it. That I’ve got it all figured out or that I’m “so talented”. Talent’s lovely (I am not sure I have it, opinions differ) but it has fuck all to do with actually creating art. (If you’ve called me talented before, please keep doing it, it’s lovely and I don’t take offense, but if you think you need to be talented to make art… well then just stop right there. Stop thinking that I mean, don’t stop making art, START making art).

IMG_9037

I’m currently reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown (I absolutely recommend it, go get it right now!) and it made me realise that painting, or any act of creativity really, is such a vulnerable act. I don’t even mean sharing art, that’s also a vulnerable act, but it’s between you and other people. No I mean the act of creating where there was nothing. It’s a vulnerable act between you and yourself, nothing can make you feel as exposed as creating and expressing. And that leap, that start from nothing to something, that is the biggest most enormous leap.

So many people won’t make that leap, because it can make you shit your pants and want to hide in a safe hidey corner where you can pretend that you can avoid feeling vulnerable. And every day people do make that leap. Your favourite painters, your favourite teachers, your favourite writers. And people you don’t know and have never heard of, they make that leap too.

I make that leap, and you can make that leap. It’s the doing that counts. It’s the showing up. It’s being open and vulnerable, because that is the strength you need to draw from to let yourself be creative.

Go forth! Create!

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How To Push Past Resistance?

push-past-resistance

How to push past resistance? And what is resistance anyway??

First let me start off by stating that I LOVE the art I’ve been doing recently. It seems like a barrier (probably self-imposed) has been lifted. I used to feel like every piece I did had to be different and original otherwise I was somehow failing (ridic, right?). Now I feel I’m able to follow my favourite steps and techniques and work with limited supplies to create a cohesive body of work over the course of a few weeks/months and hone my skills (and HAVE FUN! So important).

BUT, and this is the big BUT… although I feel I’m developing, I don’t feel like I’m pushing myself to fulfilling my potential. I have this (not so secret) wish to make more technically accomplished and complex art. Not just that, but art with feeling, expression and emotion, art that comes from deep inside.

There are a few artists I really admire (e.g. Renata Loree, Ivy Newport, Robin Laws) whose art possesses a wealth of soul and complexity. Now I know it’s no use to compare my own work to other people’s work, that’s a given. But I am struggling with not knowing whether it’s a style I WANT to pursue myself or simply like looking at because it pleases me aesthetically. You can enjoy good food without actually being a master chef yourself if you get what I’m saying.

So the first question is really: IS this resistance or not? Am I painting simple quick art journal pages because that’s my deepest desire and what I need to be doing right now, or because I am afraid of going deeper, more detailed and spending more time…?

This has been a theme in my life for as long as I can remember. I find it hard to invest time. I rush through things, wish they were finished before even starting and I find it very hard to stay with them. Hence art journaling and small simple paintings fitting in really well with this tendency. But then how do I ever get to the point where I can invest? Invest time and attention to myself, my art, without wishing to rush through it? And if I engage in this exercise (for example working on a painting that takes days or weeks to complete, not hours) how do I get past that feeling of unease, that feeling of not enjoying myself or not knowing what to do or where things will go? (Aha it becomes apparent to me yet again that I like being in control… hilarious right for someone who teaches people to let go of the outcome..? *gigglesnort*)

I want more out of my art, but I want more with grace & ease, not discomfort or unease. Am I asking too much?

I’m not sure if I can know the answers to these questions right now, but I know I feel a certain excitement. The excitement of my own potential. The gift I can give myself of time, of knowing that I’m allowed to wonder, allowed to find out, allowed to try. All my life I’ve lived with a feeling of ‘I must’, so I’m experimenting with the notion of ‘I am allowed’ and go from there.

This is a piece I did a few months ago in which I feel I captured a little bit of what I’m talking about (even though this was still definitely a quick piece)

Portrait in art journal by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

GIVEAWAY! Art Journal Summer School 2016

The most colourful & creative summer course is BACK! Art Journal Summer School is running for another year and I’m so happy to be part of the teacher lineup again!

AJSS2016_ALL_teachers

You can register your spot at the super Early Bird Price right now (price reverts to normal after 31 May). Go to:

www.artjournalsummerschool.com

The course starts on 1 July and I’ve been working hard on my lesson which is going to be all about Expressive & Raw Art Journaling

There are so many reasons I absolutely love this course, but here are some main ones (and I hope they get you excited too!)

Reasons to love AJSS

  • All lessons are bite-sized (12-20 mins per lesson)
  • 21 super fun tutorial video lessons with PDFs
  • Limited supply list that fits into a toiletry bag
  • Perfect for taking on holiday or into the garden with you
  • Suitable for all levels
  • Super inspiring and diverse lineup of 14 teachers
  • Fully downloadable (including a handy download pack of all lessons)

If you’d like a sneak peek of the lessons & teachers then have a look at this short video:

Limited Supplies

As before all the supplies fit into a toiletry bag so you won’t be lugging around your whole art supply collection (who has ever packed too many art supplies when going on holiday… it’s so hard to choose… *raises hand*)

download_Supplylist-768x768

Download the supply list here

What’s New?

Apart from the unique new lineup of teachers, what’s also new this year is that all lessons include a printable PDF (mine is super pretty and shows everything step-by-step!) AND you will be able to download a handy pack of all lesson materials in one go. So basically you’ll only need internet access ONCE, and then you can load up your iPad/laptop/etc and go to the remotest corner of the earth (or you know, the bottom of your garden or something) and do all the lessons.

We had SO much fun last year and I really hope you will join us (again) this year!

Giveaway

I’m super excited to be able to give away one spot on Art Journal Summer School!

To enter please:

This giveaway is now CLOSED and the winner has been notified. Thank you to everyone who entered. Please feel free to take a scroll through all the super helpful comments in which everyone shared their favourite supplies to take on holiday/vacation!

PS If you register for Art Journal Summer School through my link you are supporting me to keep bringing you awesome (free) content & courses. Yay you!

‘Let Go’ New Inspirational Art Video

Art Video Let Go by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

I’ve been so busy this past month creating my new course Abstract Watercolour Flowers. Now that most of the work is done I can come back to making some different art again. I’m rediscovering my love for mixed media art journaling and journaling for expression and to work through some feels.

Sometimes I feel guilty for having so many art supplies that I don’t really use… A big one of these is Dylusions ink sprays. I have about 10 different colours! I love their vibrant colours, but I always find them sooo tricky to work with because they seep through the pages and show up through any subsequent layers. But…. I also like a challenge and I’m always going on about letting go and the process being more important than the result…. so I decided to embrace the sprays and let them do their thing!

In this time-lapse art video you can see me create an art journal spread using acrylic paints, Dylusions sprays and watercolours. Hope you enjoy!

Here is the final piece:

Let Go - art journal spread by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Here are two more pieces that I made with similar techniques:

Oh No Not Me - art journal spread by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Think - art journal spread by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

It feels so good to come back to a bit of expressive & raw art journaling! Hope you found this inspiring and it will help you with your art journaling journey!

Abstract Watercolour Flowers open for Early Bird Registration!

abstract-watercolour-flowers

When I posted my watercolour flower paintings recently, the response I received was so awesome that I simply had to make it into a course to teach you all the techniques!

So I’m very pleased to let you know that registration for Abstract Watercolour Flowers is now OPEN! And currently you can get the discounted Early Bird price!

Class starts 1 May & there are limited spots available.

REGISTER NOW!

Watercolour-Promo-Image-Registration-Open

Watercolours are a wonderfully dreamy medium, but they can be intimidating to use. In the process that I will be teaching you we will be working with the wonderful properties of watercolours (rather than against them).It will be a process of discovery, of letting go, of playing and seeing what emerges.

I can’t wait to jump in and I hope you will join me!


short video about why I decided to create this course and why I love watercolour so much

READ MORE

What Will You Learn?

  • Understanding your watercolour paints
  • Playing with water & colour
  • Intuitive & playful approach
  • Wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry techniques
  • Creating simple watercolour portraits
  • Watercolour layering techniques
  • Using mixed media along with watercolour
  • Creating drips & splatters
  • Beginner friendly

At the end of this course you will have 3 finished pieces of your own watercolour art! (I bet you will want to frame them!)

Abstract Watercolour Flowers Course

We will play with the wonderful properties of watercolours, dripping, swirling, splashing, splattering

Abstract Watercolour Flowers Course

We will create a wonderful dreamy portrait and I will teach you the steps to sketch a simple portrait and then a layering shading technique

Abstract Watercolour Flowers Course

I will encourage you to use colour combinations that speak to you. These are my ‘Gothic Flowers’

Ready to dive in?

REGISTER YOUR SPOT!

I can’t wait to teach you these techniques and share the absolute joy of working with watercolours. I really hope you will join me! See you in class!

GIVEAWAY! ArtistCellar stencil set & new art video

UPDATED UPDATED UPDATED

THE WINNER IS:

Miriam Gault

Congratulations Miriam!!! You have been contacted to claim your prize of this set of awesome stencils. Thank you to everyone for entering, your wonderful ideas on how to use these stencils (I’m feeling super inspired, I hope you are too!) and your enthousiastic response to my video. You rock!

The winner was randomly picked from all qualifying entries


It’s time for a giveaway!!! WOOHOO! Have you heard of ArtistCellar? They make awesome stencils which I’ve been using for years. I’m a total fan! Their quality is superb (much more sturdy than some other stencils I’ve used) and they have lots of appealing designs to choose from. Best of all?!! I get to give a set away to one of you lucky visitors!

Watch This Inspirational Art Video

You can often see me use these babies in my videos and classes. If you’d like to see what I did with this specific series of stencils I’m giving away (Cathedral Plan series, beautiful large stencils size 8.5 x 11), please watch the short art journaling inspiration video below! (Best enjoyed by turning up the music & watching in HD!)

Link to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fD1bdVaMmdE

Art Journaling with Artistcellar Stencils & Watercolours by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Art Journaling with Artistcellar Stencils & Watercolours by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Art Journaling with Artistcellar Stencils & Watercolours by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Art Journaling with Artistcellar Stencils & Watercolours by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Art Journaling with Artistcellar Stencils & Watercolours by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Love how you can make really individual and striking art with such simple supplies.

Art supplies I used:

Enter To Win

Now is your chance to WIN a free set of Cathedral Plan stencils by ArtistCellar!

All you have to do is:

1. ensure you are signed up to my newsletter
2. leave a comment below telling me how you would use these stencils
3. BONUS ENTRIES for extra chances to win, SHARE this post on your social media (Twitter, Facebook etc)

Good luck! Can’t wait to read your answers!

A winner will be picked & contacted by 21 April.

Start To Finish – Introduction & Verse – Mixed Media Painting Walkthrough

Start To Finish is an ongoing series in which I share the progress on a painting from start to finish and I tell you a bit about my process and the different steps. Click here to view all posts in this series.

I was commissioned recently to create a painting in my whimsical style and I thought it’d be fun to show you all how this painting evolved and give you a peek into my process!

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

This is a 16×16″ (approx 40x40cm) wooden panel with 5cm deep sides. It was lovely working on a professional artist grade panel like this. I knew I wanted to leave the sides unpainted so I completely covered them in low tack tape to protect them. For this first layer I adhered music paper, tissue paper (Tim Holtz) and napkins with gel matte medium.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

I added some heavy body white acrylics and fluorescent ink.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

More colours of fluorescent ink, dripping & splattering. At this point I hadn’t decided yet on a right way up and I turned the painting around many times while working. I dried the paint thoroughly in between layers to ensure the brightness of the colours.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

I went in with paints, mostly Golden fluid acrylics applied with my fingers.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

I wanted to paint a river, which started out as black handprints and then painted over thickly with heavy body acrylics applied with a palette knife. I also sketched the first outline for the face with a black Stabilo All pencil.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

In this step I activated the pencil. I also decided I really didn’t like the thickly applied paint from the river nor the colour, so I wiped a lot of it off and applied blues and whites with a brush.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

First layer of skintone and I decided to push the background back a little bit by adding neutral colours.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Added deeper shading to the face and brought back some drips over the top of the right side to integrate the ‘river’ more into the painting.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Deeper shading still by adding dark blues.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Folded a boat out of music paper and distressed it with a stamp pad (Tim Holtz Vintage Photo). The sail was created by applying modeling paste.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Added music notes to the hair and grunged up the edges by glazing with brown paint.

Here she is the finished painting, ‘Introduction & Verse’ mixed media on 16×16″ wood panel

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

In the final steps I brought more even planes of colour into the background to tie it all together. I also added white so the main subjects (girl, river & boat) stood out more against the background.

Tips For Mixing Your Media

Tips For Mixing Your Media

I love mixed media! I’m a mixed media artist! But what does this term ‘mixed media’ really mean? And how do you apply it practically when making art? Keep reading for insights and tips about the how, why and what of mixed media art.

What Is Mixed Media?

Traditionally artists would work in one medium. For example oil paint, egg tempera or collage. Mixed media simply means using any of the above and more but in ONE piece.

Rules? I Don’t Want No Stinking Rules!

One misconception I come across a lot is that mixed media is supposed to have a certain look or style. This is not true. Mixed media comes into existence automatically when you use more than one medium. You’re totally free to do whatever you want!

Then again, being totally free without any ‘rules’ can be rather scary when you’re just getting started.

Mixed Media Tips

Start simple.

Because you have ALL THE SUPPLIES to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and turn your work into a ‘wtf did I do?’ mess. I wholeheartedly recommend making big messes, but I do want to help you avoid overwhelm, because that feeling is not fun. When you’re getting started pick two things you want to work with primarily on a piece. Keep going with those until you feel compelled to use something else (or maybe you never do, that is fine too!).

Here are some combos to get you started:
-collage papers & acrylic paint
-watercolours & coloured pencils
-watersoluble crayons & stamps

Find out what works (for you!).

Part of this is trial and error and simply trying things (without getting too attached to the outcome). There are certain materials that work well together, and other materials that when used in combination make you tear your hair out!

Here are some tips & common pitfalls to avoid:
-beware of clogging your paint pen tips when working on top of watersoluble crayons
-you CAN mix oil and acrylic, but it’s best to leave the oil based media for the final layers.
-to maintain bright colours and avoid making a muddy mess, ensure you dry your work in between layers
-think outside the box when it comes to application. Sometimes it’s much nicer to use your fingers than a brush. How about a brayer?
-if you want to work on top of your acrylics with pencils, it is helpful to use matte acrylics rather than the more shiny ones (as they dry quite plasticy)
-be aware of media that react/re-activate when wet (e.g. Dylusions sprays, certain inks, watercolours), if you work on top of them you might want to use spray varnish first to avoid things such as green faces (tip suggested by Amber Button)

Gesso.

Let me introduce you to a bit of magic! Gesso is a primer. That means it prepares the surface for whatever you decide to put on top of it. Mixed media work tends to be either wet or heavy, or both. A lot of paper doesn’t stand up to this very well (especially if you like working in journals or altered books), so adding a layer of gesso can really help make your paper suitable.

White gesso is a great primer for using before you start. Clear gesso is awesome for in-between layers if you want to protect a previous layer and create a more workable layer to keep going on top of. For example clear gesso after a layer of collage can help you be able to continue with coloured pencils or crayons.

Experiment

Of course this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mixed media! There are so many possibilities and so many ways of expressing yourself. I’d love to know your favourite ways of mixing your media, please leave a comment below!