Have You Picked Your Word Of The Year?


Do you make resolutions? I used to, but never kept up with them. Then I stopped making them altogether. But last year I decided to do something different. Maybe you’ve come across the concept of picking a word for the year?

It’s kind of like picking a concept that you’d like to infuse your life with more of in the coming year. At the start of 2014 I picked the word ‘journey’. Having realized that I always put the emphasis on the end result and where I wanted to be (and therefore never realizing, accepting & enjoying where I actually was) I picked a word that I thought would help me focus more on the process, on the here-and-now.

Looking back on it now I’d say that 2014 was one of my best years yet! I’ve really started to discover who I am and who I want to be and I believe that this was in large part attributed to picking a word that kept me conscious of what it was that I wanted to imbue my life with.

This year I am picking the word ‘self-care’ and I’m already learning big lessons and getting plenty of opportunity to apply it: I’m writing this newsletter as I’m laid up in bed recovering from a stomach bug! This is different from what I would’ve done previously: keep going, pretend I’m not ill and making myself suffer in the process.

I made a little vlog where I talk about my word of the year and show you some snippets of artwork in progress.  I hope you enjoy it and please comment below and let me know your word & intentions for the year!

Life Book 2015

Something that fits in perfectly with self-development and combines it with my other passion of art, is a course I am now taking for the third year: Life Book!

Created by my dear friend Tamara Laporte this yearlong course is inspiring, instructional, has an amazing community and so many amazing teachers it pretty much just makes my head explode with excitement lol!

Some of the teachers I’m especially excited about this year are Tam herself of course, Roben-Marie Smith, Joanne Sharpe, Juliette Crane, Alena Hennessy, Flora Bowley and Donna Downey (eee!!!). See, SOOO many big names to learn from and get inspired by!

Below you can find images of some of my favourite lessons from last year. I hope you will consider joining us this year!


Ink Spray Study | mixed media on watercolour paper based on a Life Book lesson by Tamara Laporte

Listen Dear Me | art journal page by www.iris-impressions.com based on a Life Book lesson by Tamara Laporte

What’s Coming Up Next?

I’m doing a lot of planning in terms of what I want to do this year! As always I’m probably being over ambitious lol but I’m just so excited to keep going on this artistic journey and all the opportunities for sharing and connecting with you!

Some things coming up this year:

  • free videos (make sure to subscribe to my YouTube)
  • free worksheets (special perk for newsletter subscribers only, so make sure you sign up below!)
  • an in-depth art journaling course
  • fun mini-courses
  • a collaborative project (totally secret for now! Shhh!)
  • more! (I just haven’t thought of them yet heehee)

So keep your eyes peeled. If you have any friends who you think might resonate with my art & writings, please send them over to http://iris-impressions.com/get-inspired/ so they can get in on the fun & inspiration!

The Heart of Art – A Free Art Course

I just wanted to let you all know about my wonderful friend Tam. She is literally one of the nicest, kindest and most generous souls you will ever meet and I feel so privileged to call her my friend! I could probably write a whole blog post about how wonderful she is, but I’m getting off topic!

Since a couple of years ago Tam has been running several art classes online. World of Whimsy where you learn to create whimsical characters and complex mixed media backgrounds. Awesome Art Journal, a course about everything to do with creating art journal pages. Fabulous Faces where she teaches how to create more realistic portraits and the rules/techniques behind front facing, three-quarter and profile portraits. All of these courses were (and are, as they are available on DVD) incredible and helpful, however the only downside for a lot of people was that you did have to pay for them.

To help out those that can’t afford her courses, she is now offering a FREE COURSE!! It is a four week course that will cover some really exciting techniques and will also focus on healing through art. I seriously can’t wait! Below is a video where Tam explains about the course.

Head over to willowing.ning.com and sign up! I know I mentioned this before but IT IS FREE!! (Classes usually cost around $60) Another great thing about her courses is the amazing community of people who take them. It’s such a nice place to share art and get inspired around like minded individuals who won’t judge you. Hope to see you there!!

Art Journalling – A Safe Place

After creating Hetty & Dimitri‘s painting I wanted to do art more regularly, but found doing paintings quite intimidating (especially if they’re just ‘for me’, rather than a present). So I decided to get back into my art journal. I neglected art journalling for over a year due to judgements swirling around in my head. Thoughts about not feeling good enough, or not creating ‘pretty’ pages, or other people out there being better than me.

Then I thought to myself that I should really try to work through those negative thoughts, and not let them control me. An art journal (in theory) is the best place to do that. It’s much more of a ‘safe’ place than for example a canvas which leads me to pressure myself into having to create something ‘good’ (whatever that means, I am hyper critical of my own work, I’m sure other artists can relate). I am definitely learning to be more accepting of what I create and to take pleasure and satisfaction from creating in the first place rather than judging myself for creating something that looks rubbish and then punishing myself by feeling badly and not doing more art.

I especially like the whole ‘creating & moving on’ style of working. It’s all about the process and expressing yourself, not about a perfect finished product with not a hair out of place. It’s such a great platform for experimenting with technique, composition, materials, colours etc. Love!

Permission To Be Me
Aesthetically I don’t love this piece, but it is important to me because I was able to accept it and move on from it. The whole theme of the page is about giving myself permission to do and be, and not punishing myself for whatever arbitrary reason. It’s funny, because I am always so scared of negative comments or feedback, but the most negative and critical person to evaluate my art is me!

I started this page back in 2008 (I think ‘worthy’ was a prompt from SuziBlu) when I painted the mice and the house with the girl. There were lots of words scribbled in the empty space and I hated the whole thing! Then the other week I decided to go back to it. I added the background and the stamped words and now I actually really like it. Such a simple addition but it made all the difference to me.

Princess and Her Castle
Not much of a story behind this one. I wanted to draw a whimsical girl and already had the idea in my head for a castle in the background. I initially had a sticker of a rose in the entrance of the castle but I got rid of it because I preferred the darkness/scariness of the black hole. I bought this amazing butterfly stamp which you can see in the background, it’s so pretty.

Just some doodles I did for fun while on the train (which is why some of the lines are anything but smooth!). If you want to learn how to doodle I would highly recommend this video by Marieke Blokland. It’s awesome!

Growing, Learning, Loving
I had been thinking of doing a pencil sketch. I wanted to try a 3/4 face according to the things I had learned in Tam’s portrait class. It’s my first attempt at doing a non-front facing portrait and I found it quite difficult. Also I think I got confused and switched light sources about 4 times throughout drawing so the shading doesn’t necessarily make sense lol. Nevertheless I really do love this page as it was fun, good practice and I can see progress in my technique and I also like the composition.

Whimsical Girl & Online Art Class

I’m currently taking an online art class which is run by my friend Tam. It’s called World of Whimsy and it’s a lot of fun!

As much as I enjoy painting I’m not that prolific creating it (not because I don’t want to, but usually because of self doubt and other such issues). Beside a few sketches the below portrait is the first ‘finished’ piece I’ve created using the skills and techniques Tam is teaching. I absolutely love the shading techniques she uses, they’re quite easy and produce a subtle but nice effect.

I’m really proud of this one actually! The scanner hasn’t really done it justice though. Come to think of it, I really need to clean it, there’s a ton of dust and little specks on everything I scan.

Girl Portrait

Girl and a Frog – my very first painting on canvas!!!

Started this on Saturday and finished it yesterday. This is heavily inspired by two lovely ladies, namely Suzi Blu and Miss Wonderful Tam!! Their videos and art have inspired me so much and without them I probably wouldn’t have made this big step of working on canvas! Thank you!

Materials used: Acrylic paints, watersoluble oil pastels, watercolour pencils, water colours, craft papers, foam, rubs ons and probably more but I can’t remember right now!!

You can click each picture for a bigger version.

For my next piece I’ve got this idea of a girl on a swing. I’m so motivated and inspired right now and I’m loving it!

Let me know if you have an art blog/website so I can link you!