Live Like It’s Your Last Day

Welcome to episode 4 of Art Play Relay. This month I’m finishing the painting that Juna started last month!

The Videos

My video:

Juna’s video:


You can read Juna’s blogpost about her process here.

People are posting amazing work in response to this project and doing collaborative artwork. If you’d like to be involved, you still can! Join the Facebook group here to see the artwork, find a buddy and post your work.

The quote for this artwork is:

Live like it’s your last day

Supply List

  • Golden high flow acrylics
  • Stabilo All pencils (or regular pencils)
  • Gel pens
  • Paint pens
  • Stamps
  • Gesso

Thought Process

Juna’s painting was so lovely and looked so ‘finished’ in a way, it was hard to know what I wanted to do. I approached it intuitively, and just grabbed supplies that felt ‘right’. This as opposed to thinking in advance what I wanted the page to look like and then just executing the idea step-by-step.

The circular sun shape with fluorescent paint is coming up often in my work recently. I really felt like I wanted the sun to be at the top of the painting, rather than the bottom. I then started pondering the quote itself. It felt like a sad quote, but also something filled with possibility. It reminded me of the circle of life. I also thought that your last day would be a good day to nurture the child inside you, rather than a day filled with heavy obligation.

So I started with a child’s face and as I was doing that I had the idea to represent the different generations. I gave them roots to the ground. The coloured pencils I used give it a very ethereal look because you can see the blue background shining through.

The roots felt grounding and the sun felt uplifting, but I also wanted to represent the sadness of dying. That is where the yellow drips came in.

As a final step I felt the figures needed something extra (because of their colouring/translucency they recede into the background a lot) so I picked three symbols to represent their place in life. A star feels new and bright for the youngest, a sun for the constant figure a mother is and a crown for the wisdom of the elder generation.

Hope Is The Little Voice That Whispers ‘Maybe’

It’s a new episode of Art Play Relay! March marks the start of a new cycle in this project, meaning Juna and I have each picked a new quote and started a new painting!

The Videos

My video: Juna’s video: You can read Juna’s blogpost about her process here. If you’d like to be involved, you still can! Join the Facebook group here to connect with the other lovely people, find a buddy and post your work. The quote for this artwork is:

Hope is the little voice you hear whisper “maybe” when it seems the entire world is shouting “no”

Thank you Melfina for providing us with that quote!

Supply List

  • Watercolour paper 300gsm hot pressed
  • Scrap paper
  • Knife, ruler & cutting mat
  • Gel medium
  • Sponge brushes
  • Acrylic paint
  • Palette knife
  • Ink
  • Old toothbrush
  • Floral stamp
  • Stamp pad (black)
  • Paint pens (black & white

Thought Process

I think the hardest thing with this artwork was completely letting go of the projects from the last two months. I really didn’t want to recreate something similar, I wanted it to be a fresh start.

When I saw the quote it instantly resonated with me so much. I have a lot of doubt inside me and inner voices that tell me ‘no’. I guess it’s an internalised version of that ‘society’ (or sometimes parental) voice of needing to live your life a certain way, that the way that feels true and authentic is not the realistic way or what other people want for you. My current journey with my art and more generally in my life is so much one of trying to find my own voice. Pushing against the ‘no’ and finding my own ‘maybe’ (and eventually my own ‘yes’)!

How to translate an abstract quote into a painting is a different matter though! Holding a quote inside your head when doing a painting though makes it shine through. The ‘maybe’ to me is a sense of possibility, of seeing where things go and of letting things grow. That is represented in the process of this painting in which I completely let go. I had no pre-formed plan or composition in mind, my biggest goal was to let it be mine and let it develop. I think it is also where the wish to use the floral stamp came from. It felt like something growing, a promise. Nicely in keeping with the new season of spring!

I also wanted to add something interesting that Juna could work with, but in a completely free way (that’s why I didn’t add a face this time, it felt too much like it would push in a certain direction), which is where the idea of the flap came from. It also feeds into that idea of ‘maybe’ and the scariness that is imbued in following your own heart. Sometimes that’s so personal that you might want to hide it away or not show it to everyone yet.

I love the interesting and richly textured background that came out. The lower part of the painting feels a bit more finished to me, whereas the top part feels really raw. I really can’t wait to see what Juna will do with this! I’m so curious to see what parts she will keep, what parts she will go over and what completed artwork will emerge in the end.

2015-03-24-Hope-Maybe

2015-03-24-Hope-Maybe-det03

2015-03-24-Hope-Maybe-det01

2015-03-24-Hope-Maybe-det02

Art Play Relay – Finishing Each Other’s Artworks

I’ve finished Juna’s awesome artwork! You can watch the video here:

And Juna finished my artwork! You can watch her video here:

Supply list:

  • china marker / grease pencil
  • gesso
  • Stabilo All pencil (black)
  • oil pastels (brown, turquoise, yellow, pink, flesh, red)
  • oil bar (white)
  • fluid acrylics (brown)
  • glazing liquid
  • high flow acrylics (fluorescent pink)

It was such an honour to work on Juna’s painting! Nerve wracking too! I had quite a few ideas going around in my head ever since watching her first video in which she created the work, but actually executing those ideas… I was scared I wouldn’t be able to do it or that I’d ruin her lovely work somehow!

After seeing the painting up close I knew I wanted to paint a peaceful face nestled in the welcoming arms. The challenge was how to do it, because the surface of the painting is VERRRY textured. I decided to go for oil pastels as I love working with them, and it worked out really well.

The next challenge was knowing when it was finished. I had a real struggle with this, because very quickly I felt that it was finished. I had a few conversations with myself at that point where I said I couldn’t possibly be finished, because I hadn’t spent long enough on it. This is where I decided to take a leap of faith and listened to my intuition. I decided I didn’t want to continue the process forcefully (up till then everything had just flowed and been almost automatic!) just for fear that I ‘hadn’t worked hard or long enough’ (childhood trauma, anyone? Lol).

Iris Fritschi-Cussens & Juna Biagioni art collaboration - Broken Pieces

I hope you like the painting as much as I do! I love Juna’s style and how she works with texture and usually quite monochromatic colour schemes. I wanted to add something equally soft & a bit muted, but with a small nod to my usual use of bright colours. So the face & hair are very natural, but then I also added the dashes of fluorescent pink to satisfy my need for colour.

Over these past few weeks I’ve LOVED seeing everyone else come up with their paintings and their collaborations with their partners. Can’t wait to see what everyone has up their sleeve next! Come join us in the Facebook group and share your artwork!

Join us again on 29 March when we will be picking brand new quotes and starting new artworks!

Art Play Relay – January Launch!!

The first two official Art Play Relay videos are here!!!

Watch my video below:

Watch Juna‘s video below:

What an awesome start to the project it has been! A lot of you have already joined our Facebook group to keep up to date, engage with the project and prepare to take part yourselves. Thank you for your enthusiasm!!

My supply list for the artwork I started is:

  • dip pen
  • India ink
  • heat tool (optional)
  • matte medium (or glue)
  • collage & tissue paper
  • (washi) tape
  • clear gesso (optional)
  • acrylic inks
  • water spray bottle
  • brayer
  • white & black gesso (or acrylic paint)
  • glazing liquid
  • (fluid) acrylic paints
  • Stabilo All pencil

The quote I drew was ‘Comparison is the thief of joy

Comparison Is The Thief of Joy | Art Play Relay by Iris | www.iris-impressions.com

I was quite nervous starting this painting. It’s hard to know what to do when you imagine someone else is going to finish the painting! I started the way I would normally start a painting by building up a layered background. Then I saw a figure in the shapes and colours so I went ahead and outlined that. I decided not to finish the figure all the way.

I worked with an attitude of being OK if anything I did would be covered up. I know that won’t necessarily happen, but it was amazing for letting go! It was also a really new experience to try and NOT finish a painting. It actually allowed me to be much more loose, take risks and has given the painting a primitive quality that I really enjoy.

Normally if I were working on a painting I would not even notice this stage, let alone stop, because of the knowledge that it’s not finished. But doing this has given me an insight into how awesome an unfinished artwork can actually look! I might try and pursue this more primitive look again on purpose.

I can’t wait to see what Juna makes of this next month. I also look forward to the challenges it will bring to work on Juna’s piece! I imagine it will be a big mental challenge to get over the fear of ruining her work or making mistakes! Can’t wait to learn!

See you all on 22 February when I finish Juna’s artwork and Juna finishes mine!

In the meantime please let us know what you thought in the comments below!

Art Play Relay – Project Announcement!

APR graph 1

Update: A Facebook group has been created for you to join so you can find all the videos in one place, share your artworks, submit quotes (and see if yours was the one used!), and find an art partner to buddy up with. Search for Art Play Relay on Facebook or go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/artplayrelay

For months now I’ve been working away at a secret project and it’s finally the day that I can share this with you!!! On Sunday 25 January the wonderful Juna from Juna Biagioni Art and I will be launching a super exciting art collaboration video project on our YouTube channels. Watch the video below and/or keep reading to learn more!

To watch Juna’s introduction video please go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejiyp-bGBCg

What is Art Play Relay?

Juna and I really admire each other’s art styles, especially because they are so different from each other. We loved the idea of somehow working together, even though we live in different countries (!) so we came up with an art exchange project!!

We will each start our own painting, then we will send it to the other via snail mail and the other person will finish the painting. How awesome is that?!!

We will upload a new video every last Sunday of the month. The first video will go live on 25 January. Then on 22 February tune in again to see how Juna finishes my painting, and I finish Juna’s!

The videos will show you how we create the paintings alongside explanations of techniques and supplies used. Fun AND educational, it’s totally win/win!

How can you get involved?

There are two ways:

1. For each painting we want to pick a unique theme. So we’d like to invite you to suggest a quote that is meaningful to you (a famous quote, your grandmother’s favourite saying, a line from a songtext, anything that speaks to you!), then at the beginning of each painting we will do a blind draw and pick one quote that is going to inform the theme of that painting. Please comment on this blog post or on the YouTube intro video to suggest a quote!

2. Follow along with the videos and create your own artwork. Better yet, partner up with a friend (someone in a different country! It’s so exciting to get snail mail from a foreign country!) and do your own art exchange at the same time.

Get to know us

To help introduce Juna to you and introduce myself to Juna’s readers please keep reading to find out some more about us!

About Juna

Tell us a little about yourself

JunaMy name is Juna Biagioni, I’m 42 years old, a mixed media artist & explorer, and I live in the beautiful heart of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

As a little girl I loved being creative, making music, drawing and writing stories. Later my focus shifted, but a few years ago I rediscovered my creative source and started a new exciting journey into art.

Making art is very important in my life. It’s wonderful to just be in the creative flow, totally focused on the art that’s being created and nothing else, feeling sometimes very serene and meditative, other times frustrated and with a lot of inner criticism, or very bubbly and alive. It’s always an exciting journey, not knowing what the next move will be and where it will take me. It teaches me to trust, to dare to let go and make bold moves, and to step out of my own way and just follow the process.

What kind of art do you make

I mostly work with mixed media and make paintings, drawings and monoprints (unique handmade prints made with the gelli plate). Lately I’m also creating what I call texture art, where I am playing with various textures and patterns to add a 3D dimension.

Sometimes my work is quite abstract, other times it’s more figurative and surrealistic.

I love to connect with others through my work, to share the stories behind it and to receive people’s comments and reactions. It gives me an opportunity to express parts of myself that otherwise I wouldn’t show as easily. But I also like to leave enough open space in my work to encourage the viewer to create their own story around it. I want to point to a deeper, mystical reality, raising questions without giving any answers. I like to tickle curiosity and hope that people are touched and see their own deeper meaning into the artwork.

The most amazing thing that can happen is when I hear from people that my art has touched them in one way or another, because it means that the artwork has a strength of its own, separate from me, which is able to move something in another person. That’s just pure magic.

What are your favourite supplies

Besides acrylic paints and mediums I also work with inks, charcoal, oil paint, oil pastels, colored pencil, and collage. But the world of mixed media is so vast and there are so many fun supplies to work with, that I’m sure this list will continue to develop and change in the future!

About Iris

Tell us a little about yourself

IirsI’m Iris, I live in central London with my family (2 kids, 1 husband & 1 cat).

There are two things I LOVE more than anything in the world: making art & inspiring people to make art themselves.

I’ve struggled with not feeling deserving of creating, not feeling good enough (either myself or my art), not feeling like an ‘artist’. Then I had a kind of ‘aha’ moment when I started sharing that struggle online and realised there are so many people out there who feel the same!

I really don’t want to let those negative feelings stop me (or anyone else) from creating art, so I like sharing my journey, my insights and my art so we can all create art, learn more about ourselves in the process and ultimately become better and happier people because of it.

What kind of art do you make

An eclectic mix! I’m mostly known for creating whimsy girls, but I am finding it really hard to pick one theme and stick with it. Currently I like doing whimsical girls, stylised female portraits, some more intuitive/abstract experimentation and I’m in the process of learning how to add more hand lettering to my art.

I create art for self expression, but also to give myself messages that I need to hear or things I want to remind myself of. You will find phrases on my art such as ‘welcome your inner fire’, ’embrace your fear’ and ‘remember how strong you really are’.

I love working with bright colours, turquoise is my favourite, together with pink (especially fluorescent) and yellow. I also love making shabby grungy looking art and I’m always looking for and experimenting with techniques to get that look.

What are your favourite supplies

What a question to ask a self professed art supply addict…. Must.have.ALL.the.supplies!! Don’t let me loose in the art supply store haha!

One of my great loves are acrylic paints, especially fluid acrylics. When I discovered those it was as if something just clicked! I especially love the Golden brand.

I love texture and some of my favourite supplies to create texture are: gesso with a brayer, modeling paste & crackle medium.

Then recently I’ve fallen in love with oil bars and oil pastels. They are so amazingly soft and creamy, and I love finger painting with them. They just make me super happy!

What’s Next & Joining Us

Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel here, and Juna’s channel here so you will know when new videos go live.

We’d love for you to join us! Leave a comment below with your quote. Find a friend and follow along with the art exchange project. Also feel free to use the questions above to introduce yourself and your partner on your blogs and let us know where we can find you!

I CAN’T WAIT!!!! See you on Sunday 25 January!