Day 16-30 from NaNoJouMo #15minsnanojoumo

So, confession time: I am so done with NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition! I don’t mean just literally, I mean I’m tired of it, glad it’s over. When I started it was mindblowing, I learned so much, felt completely freed up and discovered lots of things. Then as time went on I felt more and more held back and blocked. I can’t say for sure whether it was the act of doing this challenge, or whether it was for other reasons (I have noticed my art inspiration tends to come and go, it’s not always ‘on’). It was probably a combination.

Now I feel a sense of renewed enthusiasm for my art. As if a part of my mind has been freed up and I have lots of new toys to play with. Having a time limit of 15 minutes really made me stumble across lots of little accidents in terms of technique and a better understanding of what I like doing. I can’t wait to incorporate that into my work. I’m feeling like I want to work BIG now!

Here is a speed video of all 30 pieces.

Below you can see images of day 16-30

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 16 | iris-impressions.com

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xexxIH_hSUc

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 17 | iris-impressions.com

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPNI9Bisju8

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 18 | iris-impressions.com

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRYMhd24uE8

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 19 | iris-impressions.com

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc2m19dNNOw

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 20 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 21 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 22 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 23 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 24 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 25 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 26 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 27 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 28 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 29 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 30 | iris-impressions.com

Start To Finish – Let Me Hold You – 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 what I did in each step. Please drop me a line or a comment if you decide to follow along and don’t mind sharing, as I’d love to see! Click here to view all posts in this series.

I’ve joined a group of artists who challenge each other to incorporate certain subjects in their paintings. A new challenge is set up every couple of weeks. It’s so much fun and I can feel it’s pushing me beyond my comfort zones and getting me to take my art further. The first challenge was ‘deer’ and you can see the step-by-step result below. I’ve also created a crow painting and am currently working on one with a fox. If this sounds interesting to you and you’d like to join too send me a private message on Facebook.

Let Me Hold You | mixed media painting | iris-impressions.com

I’m working on canvas board. For the background I sprayed the whole canvas with water and then dropped high flow acrylics and acrylic ink on top. I let it swirl and merge into each other, but not too much. I then let the canvas dry for 24 hours. The sketch was done with a Stabilo All pencil and then activated with a water brush. To avoid reactivating the pencil on subsequent layers I sprayed it with a matte varnish.

Let Me Hold You | mixed media painting | iris-impressions.com

I used heavy body acrylic paint for the shading of the face. I keep building up the layers until I’m satisfied.

Let Me Hold You | mixed media painting | iris-impressions.com

I completed the sketch and added the deer. I used the same process as before, activating the pencil and then using spray varnish to set the pencil.

Let Me Hold You | mixed media painting | iris-impressions.com

The deer was also painted with heavy body acrylics including gold paint which looks awesome in real life.

Let Me Hold You | mixed media painting | iris-impressions.com

I added finishing touches of turquoise paint splatters, bird stamps in the hair and handwritten text on her shoulder.

Will you make 2016 your most CREATIVE year yet? [+ free printable!]

most-creative-year

I want to share with you two things that have been on my mind lately:

  1. Picking a word for the year 2016
  2. Understanding creativity and how to find inspiration (and keep it!)

Word Of The Year

Have you ever done this? You pick a word that you are going to focus on for the whole year. It’s an alternative to having a New Years resolution (because I’m not a fan of having unrealistic expectations and setting myself up to fail. In the words of Elizabeth Gilbert: I don’t hate myself that much) and for me it has been truly transformative for the last 2 years that I’ve done it.

Instead of focussing on a goal that you can either succeed at or fail at, you are infusing your life with a consciousness of the word/concept you have chosen. In 2014 my word was journey. In 2015 my word is self-care. Those words have embedded themselves into my life. It was tough! Focussing on the journey after a lifetime of thinking only of goals, results and outcomes was not easy. Practicing self-care after a lifetime of.. not… is tough!

But it’s transformative. It’s amazing. Focussing on what is really important to you is the ultimate gift you can give yourself.

In a moment I will share the word I have picked for 2016 (and I hope you will pick one too and use the free printable!) but first I want to talk about…

Lovearthappylife_lola01

Creativity & Inspiration

Getting inspired feels so elusive. Sometimes inspiration strikes! And then sometimes it’s gone for days, weeks, months. What’s up with that? It’s so frustrating, and like me you might struggle with this too. We either keep creating in spite of inspiration’s absence or we stop and wait. Still, the question remains:

How can I invite more inspiration into my life?

There might not be a magical solution, but as with all things in life, I do think that there might be a practical one! Ask yourself this question:

What am I excited about right now?

Sometimes I think the key to inspiration isn’t frantically looking around ourselves trying to uncover where it is hiding (maybe inspiration is scared away by loud noises and sudden movements? Lol!), but instead getting quiet and checking in with our own selves. You can find hundreds of people willing to tell you what you should be working on (which usually says more about them than it does about you), but there is only one person who truly knows: YOU.

So what are you excited about? Is it a certain subject, a feeling, an art supply you want to try? Pursue it! Don’t let it go until it’s ready to be let go. At that point there will be something else you are excited about. Then follow that for a while, and then the next thing. Feeling excited and curious about things is like a spark that attracts inspiration.

Journey to…

My word for 2016 is going to be:

emerge

I’m super excited about:

Love Art Happy Life

Lovearthappylife_lola02

This is a new art course I’m teaching on, run and thought up by the ever inspiring Marieke Blokland. This course is a bit different from others, in that it is based on producing a feeling of happiness & boundless creativity with art. Maybe a course that is only practical art techniques and tutorials isn’t what you’re looking for at this point, maybe you’re looking for how to get & stay inspired (and make art too of course!). All teachers are going to give you a look into their creative process, how they draw inspiration from their favourite artist and how to transform that into a fun and individual art practice.

My chosen artist is Tamara de Lempicka. Her art is a combination of roaring 20s, decadence, strong feminine, art deco style. I’m SO in love with it! Here is a study of her work that I’ve done. In the first part of my lesson I’m going to show you how to do a study and in the second part of the lesson I will show you how to use this to inform your more personal work and style.

Tamara-DeLempicka-study

And you?

Are you going to pick a word of the year? I hope you will and here are some free Frida printables that Marieke made for you to use to brighten up your art space and write in your word(s)! Please comment below and share your word with me, I’m so curious to hear what is important to you and what you will pick!

frida_bloknoteacademy_s
Click here to download

frida_bloknoteacademy_bw_s
Click here to download

frida_bloknoteacademy_blanc_s
Click here to download

I really hope that you will join me on Love Art Happy Life if it resonates with you. I’m super happy to answer any questions you may have, so feel free to drop me a line or comment below!

PS Early bird pricing for Love Art Happy Life ends this week, sign up now if you’d like to join us and make 2016 your most creative year ever!
PPS When you sign up through my link you are supporting me to keep bringing you art courses & free content, thank you!

Do It For Fun, Do It For You

Do-It-For-Fun

I’ve made 13 short art journal videos in the last 20 days. That’s a reason in itself to celebrate! But what it also gives me the opportunity to do is examine my ways of working, my habits and my reasons. And then to share these insights with you in the hope that you find it useful too!

The thing I’ve noticed most of all from doing a challenge in which I only spend 15 minutes on a page and from recording the process, is that I want art to be easy and fun. That’s also why I’m sharing these videos. The art making is for me, but the video making is to share and give back, because I so appreciate everyone out there who shares their process and helps people like me get inspired, be entertained and get better!

It would be really easy NOT to share these videos of quick pages. After all they’re not masterpieces, nor super in-depth tutorials, but I think the key to what they do have is that they are fun and lighthearted. I want to show that you can make something nice in 15 minutes, that you don’t need to take it too seriously, that it can be beautiful or it can be average.

I think a lot of us feel held back by the thought that whatever we do (and especially whatever we share) needs to be somehow GOOD or MEANINGFUL. We think it has to be WORTHY. And then we attach a load of restrictions on ourselves in terms of what fulfills those criteria. What I’m saying is: it doesn’t have to be any of those things. Let go of the harsh judgements and requirements or the worry of what others may think, and instead do it for fun. Do it because it makes you feel joyful.

In sharing everything I attempt (even the messes and fuckups) I’m hoping that you get inspired to make art too and embrace the joy and let things be what they are. Let’s remove the pressure and let ourselves play!

Also, in case you were wondering, the days in November for which there are no videos are simply because I didn’t have the time or capability to film on those days, not because I’m filtering what I share.

Here are 3 of my favourite videos, and as a bonus the 4th video is the fuckup. Important! I call it a fuckup tongue in cheek. I am not feeling badly or being down on myself, I’m just being humorous because I don’t particularly like that page, but I see it as part of the process and I fully accept it and love it in its own way. I encourage you to do the same with your ‘oopsies’, love them and let go.


Day 19: Smudgy smudgy with oil pastels & oil bar


Day 5: Neocolor II and stenciling fun


Day 9: Drippy drippy inks


Day 12: A weird alien type person, wtf??

Day 1-15 from NaNoJouMo #15minsnanojoumo

NaNoJouMo is in full swing and I’ve been LOVING my own challenge: 15 minutes of speed journaling a day. Lots of people have joined me and are doing this challenge too! You can join in here.

I knew I needed a challenge, but I had no idea how good this challenge was going to be for me and my art. It’s pushing me to work quickly, let go of perfection and trust myself. I expected those things. What I didn’t expect is how it would influence my other art. I’ve found that the freedom and confidence carries over into my other art-making. It’s awesome! I’m so in love with painting right now.

I’ve made short tutorial videos for some of the days, links are below the relevant pictures. I hope you enjoy!

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 1 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 2 | iris-impressions.com

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTb4-P_btKA

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 3 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 4 | iris-impressions.com

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKrfeIaudio

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 5 | iris-impressions.com

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nb32pAZrAo

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 6 | iris-impressions.com

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7qiJXzxN4o

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 7 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 8 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 9 | iris-impressions.com

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJKEiXvdLq4

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 10 | iris-impressions.com

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGdAdx7U654

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 11 | iris-impressions.com

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2vO5Dm0BfM

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 12 | iris-impressions.com

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aern7eSf8qc

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 13 | iris-impressions.com

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeAIgY8r0Ps

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 14 | iris-impressions.com

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 15 | iris-impressions.com

Quick shoutout to Creations CeeCee who has joined in with lots of enthousiasm and has also been filming her process. Check out her videos here: www.youtube.com/user/creationsceecee

Strathmore Softcover Mixed Media Journal – Art Journal Reviews

Strathmore Softcover  Mixed Media Journal

It is not a secret that I love art journals and can never have enough. So in this series I am reviewing all the art journals that I have used over the years. Some are firm favourites that I buy again and again, some have their quirks and some are straight up don’t-buys. Keep reading to find out more about:

Strathmore Softcover Mixed Media Journal

I heard about Strathmore journals a lot in the mixed media scene (I think I first heard Donna Downey mention it in one of her videos), but they’re not available in the UK. Then I realised that I could easily order one from amazon.com and the shipping wasn’t too bad! I’ve only had this one a few weeks but it’s already become my absolute favourite journal I own! Keep reading to find out why.

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Look & Feel

It has a soft floppy cover that feels very nice to touch. It got a bit damaged in transport; it has some grooves pressed into the cover material. I’ve heard other people mention something similar happened to theirs but it doesn’t affect its use at all. It’s 7.75×9.75″ and it feels like an ideal size to me (not so small to be fiddly, but not so big to be intimidating).

Binding

The binding is sewn and then glued. This means the pages don’t lie flat when you open it. That’s not ideal, but it’s something I’ve been able to learn to work with. One of the major advantages of this type of binding is that there is no bleeding! So to me it’s pretty much a direct tradeoff (lie flat vs no bleeding).

Strathmore Mixed Media Journal Review | iris-impressions.com

Paper Quality

The paper is only 90lb/190gsm which sounds ridiculously thin. I normally wouldn’t touch anything that thin, thinking it would definitely not stand up to heavy and wet mixed media use. Surprisingly.. this is some of the best paper I’ve used. It can take quite a bit of abuse before it starts pilling and the pages don’t show any sign of buckling or rolling when you use wet media. The paper feels quite porous and velvety (when you use watercolours they feel like they kind of soak in and fan out a bit) which is a quality I really like.

Strathmore Mixed Media Journal Review | iris-impressions.com

Availability

This is a US journal and easily available over there both online and in stores. I don’t know any shops that stock it in the UK, but as mentioned the international shipping on amazon is very reasonably priced (just select the slowest shipping option & have patience!).

Price

This journal costs around $16. Including shipping to the UK it cost me around £16. Not exactly a bargain, but absolutely worth it for the quality. There are no other journals that I’ve used at this price point that tick so many boxes.

The Verdict

Strathmore do a specific line of paper for mixed media, which is what is used in these mixed media journals. It’s absolutely spot on and this journal is a joy to work in. I’ve dubbed it The Magical Journal! Everything I do in it I enjoy and I love all the paintings I’ve made in it! My only criticism is that the pages don’t lie flat. Next time I will try the hard cover version in the mixed media journal range, as that one does lie flat.

Strathmore Mixed Media Journal Review | iris-impressions.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have reviewed.

If you’ve used Strathmore mixed media journals yourself and would like to share your opinion please do leave a comment below!

Start To Finish – Blood Elf Mage Fan Art – Art Journal Page 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 what I did in each step. Please drop me a line or a comment if you decide to follow along and don’t mind sharing, as I’d love to see! Click here to view all posts in this series.

You might not know this about me but for years I was an avid World of Warcraft player (and a Warcraft player before that.. I actually started with the original Wacraft back in the 90s). These days I don’t play anymore due to time constraints. I do miss it a lot though so I content myself with listening to the soundtracks and doing a bit of fan art.

I mostly used to play Alliance although when blood elves became available to play I did level both a priest and a paladin. This painting is of a blood elf mage, inspired by one of the TCG cards.

Blood Elf Mage World of Warcraft Fan Art | Mixed Media Painting Stage 1 | iris-impressions.com

I’m working in my Strathmore mixed media journal which is fast becoming my favourite at the moment. I started by brayering two different colours blue over the spread. I then added some black to the edges and spots of pink in certain places. I’m using a combination of Golden heavy body and Americana craft paint. My cat decided that she needed to get in on the action here.

Blood Elf Mage World of Warcraft Fan Art | Mixed Media Painting Stage 2 | iris-impressions.com

I used a white Stabilo All pencil for the initial sketch. When working on top of acrylics the white pencil can be worked into the painting, or you can erase it or activate with some water and wipe off. This makes it very forgiving and flexible to work with.

I went in with an initial layer of colour on the skin in tones of blue. I used a dark blue and white gesso. I always planned to add a skintone later but I actually really liked this effect! I might do a painting at another point that uses shading in blues. Working in a monochromatic colour scheme is actually really helpful to practice shading and see whether you’re getting it right.

Blood Elf Mage World of Warcraft Fan Art | Mixed Media Painting Stage 3 | iris-impressions.com

Using the blue tones on the skin as a guide I started putting in skintones with acrylic paint. It was important to me to pay close attention to the shading and make it look semi realistic.

Blood Elf Mage World of Warcraft Fan Art | Mixed Media Painting Stage 4 | iris-impressions.com

Eek, hands! Hands are difficult, but I allowed myself to just keep it simple and not obsess over them. Simple shading gives you the idea that they are hands, but the attention is drawn to the face & dress.

For the dress I started out with a first layer of blue and then I mixed several dark purples on top. It’s a good idea to use subtly different colours and work with highlights and shading on clothes as well as the face to give that sense of depth and interest.

When you’re in the final finishing steps of a painting it can be really helpful to take a picture. Sometimes certain mistakes are really obvious on a picture while you don’t see them when you look at the original.

Stillman & Birn Zeta Series – Art Journal Reviews

Stillman Birn Zeta Sketchbook & Art Journal Review

It is not a secret that I love art journals and can never have enough. So in this series I am reviewing all the art journals that I have used over the years. Some are firm favourites that I buy again and again, some have their quirks and some are straight up don’t-buys. Keep reading to find out more about:

Stillman & Birn Premium Sketchbooks & Journals – Zeta Series

A while back in my search for ‘the perfect art journal’ I was asking around online for recommendations. The Stillman & Birn range was mentioned several times. I ordered one from the US and I couldn’t wait to try it out! I’ve been using it for about 5 months now (and it’s nearly full), so keep reading to find out what I think of it.

IMG_6439

Look & Feel

It feels quite premium with a hard black cover that is slightly textured. It’s about A5 size (I have the 5.5×8.5″ one). Because of the size & sturdy cover it feels like something you could easily chuck in your handbag without the pages getting damaged.

Binding

This has a sewn binding of several signatures. Between signatures there is sometimes quite a big gap. This can be annoying if you’re using those pages as a spread, as there will be a big gap between the left and the right page.

Stillman & Birn Sketchbook Journal Review | iris-impressions.com

Paper Quality

The paper is heavyweight 270gsm hot pressed (smooth) watercolour paper. The website describes it as being suitable for Dry & Wet Media, Watercolor, Ink. To me, the paper is the singlemost important thing when buying (and rebuying) a journal. This paper really disappoints. The paper is very smooth but extremely weak. It pills easily when you go over it more than once or with a brush that is any firmer than a watercolour brush. This could be fixed by gessoing the pages first, but for me the whole reason for buying something with heavyweight HP paper is to not have to use gesso. Due to the problem with the paper the only thing I can use this journal for is watercolour, not mixed media as I intended.

Stillman & Birn Sketchbook Journal Review | iris-impressions.com

Availability

This is a US journal and easily available over there. In the UK it is stocked by some suppliers (try Jackson’s Art Supplies), but sometimes they are out of stock awaiting an overseas order. I had to wait about 1 month for mine.

Price

I paid £12 for this journal, which makes it comparable to the small Dylusions journal. It’s not super expensive but not cheap either. For this price I expect a good quality journal, but due to the problem with the paper I find this to be too expensive for what it is. It might be better value if you’re in the US.

Stillman & Birn Sketchbook Journal Review | iris-impressions.com

The Verdict

These journals are specifically marketed for mixed media, but I wasn’t able to make it work. Customer service from Stillman & Birn got in touch with me to give me some tips and help out, but I still wasn’t able to work in it in my own natural style. If you are looking for a watercolour-only journal then this might become your favourite journal. I personally hate being restricted to one medium, so I will not be buying this journal again. I might consider trying the Beta or Delta series instead (same paper weight, but cold press finish) to see if the paper stands up any better.

Stillman & Birn Sketchbook Journal Review | iris-impressions.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have reviewed.

If you’ve used Stillman & Birn journals yourself and would like to share your opinion please do leave a comment below!

NaNoJouMo – The 15 Mins Edition

NaNoJouMo-15minsedition

You’ve all heard of NaNoWriMo right? It’s where you challenge yourself to write a certain amount of words every day for the month of November with the objective of having a rough draft of a novel written. Doneski. In the bag.

Some people grow a moustache for November, but I thought it’d be much more fun to grow a journal! Cue NaNoJouMo! Journaling every day for 30 days during November.

I’ve been wanting to set myself an art challenge recently. A challenge with the objectives of: creating more art, developing my style and loosening up. So let me present to you my NaNoJouMo twist: The 15 Mins Edition.

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | iris-impressions.com

Every day I’m going to be taking 15 minutes out of my schedule (I’m a mum of 2 boys and I have a full-time job – but I think even I can do 15 minutes!) to art journal. But I’m not just going to journal randomly, I’m going to FINISH a page/spread in that time.

No sitting around trying to achieve perfection, no leeway for creating a certain outcome. Just me, my journal, my art supplies, a 15 minute timer and my creativity on speed! WOOHOO!!

So who’s with me? I’ll be posting my finished art every day on Instagram and Facebook using hashtag #15minsnanojoumo. You can join the Facebook group here to post your art.

I’m hoping to kick start my own creativity (and hopefully yours!), get out of perfection & overthinking mode, work quickly & intuitively and basically have LOTS OF FUN! Yay! Can’t wait till 1 November 2015!

Start To Finish – Rabbit Wants To Be A Cat – Art Journal Page 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 what I did in each step. Please drop me a line or a comment if you decide to follow along and don’t mind sharing, as I’d love to see! Click here to view all posts in this series.

I haven’t done one of these in a while, as usually I forget to take pictures while I’m working (it kind of interrupts the flow), but I worked on this spread for a few nights in a row which meant that I took a picture at the end of each session. Keep reading to find out a bit more about the techniques & supplies I use and my thinking process when I’m art journaling.

This spread started when Jupiter, my 4-year-old, told me a story one evening about his stuffed animals and said “Rabbit is sad because she wants to be a cat, but mouse says she can’t.” I think this appealed to my imagination from the point of view of discovering one’s own identity and the struggle one might experience in a society that often tells us we can’t be ourselves if that doesn’t fit within the norm. Yes, I’m sure that’s not what my 4-year-old meant lol, but that’s the story that evolved from it in my mind.

New sketch inspired by a story Jupiter told me about a rabbit and a mouse. #artjournal #sketch #portrait #whimsical #irisimpressionsart

This is in my Strathmore Mixed Media journal. I did the initial sketch with my Graphgear 2B mechanical pencil. I did lots of erasing and making sure I was really satisfied with the sketch. I’m practising 3/4 portraits and trying to get my faces to be non-wonky.

First steps with colour. #mixedmedia #artjournal #strathmore #irisimpressionsart

There are two approaches I take, either I do a background first and then work on top to add the featured elements (like a face). When I do that I usually work quick and imperfectly. The other way which you see here is where I sketch first and work on the face in detail, before creating a background around it.

I find shading a face very meditative. On this face I started with a layer of Neocolor II watersoluble crayons. I don’t press hard, but I do add a lot of colour. I then activate the crayons with diluted gesso. I keep adding more Neocolor II on top, making sure the previous layer is dry (if you don’t wait you might rub off the previous layers). As I get more towards the final layers I use water to activate rather than gesso.

A bit more progress on this one. Going through an ugly disjointed phase in my opinion lol, but it'll get better. I usually rush through paintings, doing stuff in less than 1 hour. But with this one I'm taking my time. I think this is my third evening working on it and it'll probably be another one or two sessions before it is done. Feeling excited about this painting and connected. #mixedmedia #artjournal #visualjournal #irisimpressionsart

I worked on the mouse and rabbit with acrylic paints mixed in with some gesso to make them flow better. I generally work with the rule that the outside edges are darker and the inside is lighter. This usually gives a nice effect and looks semi-realistic (in as far as a whimsical piece can look realistic! Lol). I put in a quick background with paint & gesso just to get rid of the blank page.

"Rabbit is sad because she wants to be a cat but mouse says she can't." Story by 4-year-old Jupiter. #mixedmedia #artjournal #artoninstagram #irisimpressionsart

I finished the piece by adding coloured pencils on the face to deepen the shading. I then used oil based paint sticks for the background. I applied them roughly and then smooshed them out with my fingers. They do dry eventually (usually a few days) but while they were still smudgey I used a pin to scratch patterns in the background.

I really love the different elements of the spread and I’m calling this finished. I do however feel like I need to work more on being able to integrate my subjects and the background a bit better, so it all becomes more cohesive.