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.

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My First Commission & A Photo Walkthrough

A few weeks ago I got the nicest surprise, my cousin Victoria asked me if she could commission a painting from me! I was a bit nervous but also really excited and once I’d spoken to her about the subject matter and colour preferences I got straight to work. I documented the process with my iPhone as I was working, because I thought you might like to see how I create a painting from start to finish!

Victoria is a harpist and owns several herself. I loved working on this piece because I have such a connection with music too. She asked for pink and turquoise which was totally up my street as those are my favourite colours!

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

01. Music stamp for the background using waterproof black ink (Ranger Archival)

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

02. Gluing down a layer of book pages from a music encyclopedia with Mod Podge

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

03. Starting to add some colour with Neocolor II crayons

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

04. Adding more intense colour with Neocolor II crayons

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

05. Drawing & painting the figure and harp (I think I got so into it at this point that I forgot to take pics of the sketch!)

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

06. Working on little details in the eyes, face, dress & harp

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

07. Adding little music notes by pushing modelling paste through a stencil

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

08. Finishing up by creating more grungy effects, embossing the harp strings and adding stamped text

Play Your Joy | mixed media on 8x8" canvas board | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

09. All finished!

If you are interested in commissioning a painting, please contact me to discuss it!

What Makes You Come Alive? Go Do It!!

I’ve been having some major learning experiences lately with regards to listening to my inner voice. However, it’s funny, I tend to reach certain conclusions about things, like major lightbulb AHA! moments, and then as life goes on I completely forget them and start making the same mistakes again! So then I have to become conscious of what I’m doing again, to get more in line with my true self aaand the circle continues. Hopefully at some point something will stick, right? So, my recent learnings, let me share them with you!

One of the MAIN things I’ve learned these past months is that when it comes to anything you do creatively (painting, blogging etc) you need to do what makes YOUR heart sing. Not what you think other people want to see, what you think you should (such a dirty word!) do or what your parents want you to do. The quickest way to burnout and not feeling enthusiastic is doing stuff that isn’t true to what your inner wisdom is telling you is RIGHT for you. Do what YOU want and your passion and enthusiasm will be infectious and people will be interested because YOU’RE interested (and therefore interesting).

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.Howard Thurman | www.iris-impressions.com

Last week I was in such a dark mood. I wasn’t feeling any of my paintings. I spent a lot of time doing social networking stuff and watching TV shows because something was stopping me from getting into the studio. (To be fair though, I was rewatching Dollhouse, which is very very worth every minute spent on it lol) Every time I sat down to work on my paintings I just ended up sitting and staring into space, or telling myself it wasn’t any good, or that I couldn’t come up with the right ideas.

Until I realised that I was expecting myself to create other people’s art! I was berating myself for the fact that my intuitive paintings didn’t look more like Flora Bowley’s work. I thought MY intuitive paintings should look like SOMEONE ELSE’S otherwise they wouldn’t be intuitive enough… BATSHIT INSANE RIGHT?!!! Seriously, looking back on it it’s so obvious where the flaw in my thinking is, but these thoughts really go through my head when I’ve inadvertently given myself over to my inner critical voice.

And then this happened:

Scared Inside | mixed media intuitive painting on 12 x 10" canvas board | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

Scared Inside – mixed media on 12 x 10″ canvas board

I gave myself permission to DO MY OWN THING. I’m sure you can still see other people’s influences there, but I wasn’t actively trying to make it look like anything, apart from what was already inside me. I also gave myself permission to make similar shapes to ones I’d already done in previous work. I tend to tell myself that I can’t do the same thing twice or I ‘won’t be original’. It’s not like the masters ever worked with the same themes or imagery..oh wait.. Again with the crazy inner voice!

Part of the ‘problem’ is that there is so much amazing work out there being created by so many amazing people. I love looking at the stuff my artist friends create or things on Pinterest. It’s absolutely inspiring and makes me want to get into the studio (and when I start thinking “I’ll never be as good as…” I quickly try and shoo that voice away!). Where it goes wrong though is when I think ‘Wow what they do is amazing, I must want to do that too’. That’s where there is a really fine line between being inspired by what other people do (totally awesome!) and wanting your work to look like theirs and trying to achieve that (not so fulfilling).

I’ve realised that “What I like” and “What I like doing” don’t have to be the same thing!

What makes you come alive? Let me know and then GO DO IT!!

Art101 Challenge – Find Your Way

Find Your Way | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

So we’re 3 days into the Art101 Challenge! My dear artist friends have been creating up a storm and so have I! As you may be aware, my goal is to do 30 paintings and I am well on my way by having completed 6 (SIX!!) pieces already. I guess I should set myself goals more often, it obviously works for me!

To see all pieces I’ve completed recently (not just as part of the challenge) have a look at my gallery. I will share my favourites in this post and tell you a bit more about them.

Be Still And Listen

Be Still And Listen | mixed media in A4 art journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow
mixed media in A4 journal

I finally got around to doing Alena Hennesey‘s lesson on Life Book 2014 (you can still sign up by the way!). I love love love her gentle nature! She just oozes calm and I think I was able to tap into that a bit when I created the above piece in my A4 journal.

I’m really trying to push myself lately to try new things, tap into my inner subconscious creativity, let things flow freely. I find it SO SO hard though! I actually bought myself a scented candle so that before I start doing art I can just take a moment to ground, become still and take in the quiet. It’s something I really need in my life.

Pink Hills

Pink Hills | mixed media in A5 art journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow
mixed media in A5 journal

I think the above was heavily influenced by looking at all Alena’s yummy art, but somehow it also came from within. I made a sketch for this when I was feeling very upset and angry and I think I needed hills, mountains and trees to help calm down. It was a very intuitive piece and I love it, not even so much for the result as for what I feel is a new freedom in experimenting with shapes, colours and more abstract concepts.

Find Your Way

Find Your Way | mixed media on 8x8 canvas board | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow
mixed media on 8×8 canvas board

This piece is very meaningful to me. The words came from an interview with Flora Bowley in which she reiterated the importance to ‘do the work to find your way’. That resonated with me SO MUCH, because that is where I feel I am right now on my journey. I am putting in the work so that I will become a better artist, so that I am following my own path, developing my own style. I am trusting that I can find my own way and that it will be the right way for me. It’s exciting and scary!

Let me know which one is your favourite & why?

Breaking Free Out Of My Comfort Zone

I wanted something different the other day. There was this little 8 x 8″ canvas I knew I had lying around with a painting on it that I did back in the early days of my art endeavours. I really didn’t like it (although I guess it has its place in my history), so I decided to paint over it.

2008-05(May)-I-Do1Look at the bride, she looks angry! And the poor groom, he looks a bit intimidated!

I started with a layer of gesso which felt calming and freeing. I have trouble letting go of things, so this was a small leap of faith. Going against the fear of maybe regretting it later.

Then I started working really fast. Intuitive, spraying, brayering, smearing. I even used my fingers! That’s something I never do. I went for colours I usually don’t reach for. I’m usually going for turquoise, pink, yellow. But I was splodging on the brown, cream, red and some metallics. Loving the grunge and shabbiness!

Let me tell you it was like being FREE. No expectations because I wasn’t creating something I’d created before. It was purely intuitive.

I went back to what I knew and painted a whimsy figure, but with a shabby shabby dress. It was challenging because at this point I had a clearer idea of the look I was trying to achieve, where I wanted the painting to go. So it was nice to know that I actually have the knowledge of the techniques to create these effects!

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The dress was done by tearing up bits of scrapbook paper, gluing them down and then adding burnt umber with lots of glazing liquid to give a shabby and aged look. I dabbed it a lot with kitchen paper to make sure there was no smoothness from the brushstrokes. Then I finished by randomly spraying some walnut ink. I outlined the figure with a charcoal pencil and smudged it.

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I added on metallic paints, smearing them around, blotting with kitchen roll. Then I took a piece of lace ribbon, sprayed it with walnut ink and tied it around the edge of the canvas. The quote I came up with myself and is to remind us that we are stronger than we think and there is a wealth of strength within us. I love the effect of using different fonts for each letter. It gives it a quirky touch and it’s fun to select the letters.

I am IN LOVE with this little painting! I’m usually pretty hard on myself when it comes to the things I’ve created, so this is very welcome. I’m welcoming the self-acceptance here!

Next time I do a painting in this shabby intuitive style I’ll take step by step pics as I’d love to show you how to create these effects. They’re pretty simple but have complex looking results.

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The original painting is for sale and you can find prints of it in my Etsy shop.

Quick shout out and thank you to my awesome friend Tam who was the first person to buy this print (my first sale, yay! A first sale is a very special feeling!). Go take her courses, join her network, buy her art, be her friend, she is made of fluffy lovely awesomeness!

SOLD – Remember How Strong You Really Are – Original Mixed Media Painting

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Remember How Strong You Really Are

8 x 8″ mixed media art piece created on canvas

3D embellishments and modeling paste lend depth and texture to the piece. Sides are painted and it is ready for hanging.

The message of the piece is to remind us that we are stronger than we think and there is a wealth of strength within us.

Materials include: acrylic paints, metallic paints, paint markers, gesso, button, scrapbook papers, lace ribbon, modeling paste, stamps

SOLD

Prints of this painting are available in my etsy shop: http://irisimpressionsart.etsy.com

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