‘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!

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.

Start To Finish – Raven – 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’ve seen birds as a theme in a lot of paintings recently, and it inspired me to want to incorporate birds in my own paintings.

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I started out by playing on a bunch of canvas boards. Planning to make a cohesive series with a similar starting point, but each painting still being individual and different. I selected an analogous colour scheme (colours that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel) and just played around. I used a sponge brush, stencils, sprays, drips and splatters.

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As usual I start by sketching with my Stabilo All pencil. Each painting in the series will have the silhouette of a bird. This one is a raven.

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Using titan buff, Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold, magenta and white I put in rough shading.

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By using blues in the darker areas of the face I deepen the shading. Mixing in white/titan buff for the highlights makes certain elements come forward. I used a fineline applicator bottle to create the textured hair.

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Here she is finished along with her sister ‘Blackbird’.

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.

Do It For Fun, Do It For You

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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??

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.

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.

I Fell Into The Moon – Art Journal Video

I made a new art tutorial video for you! Watch me create an art journal spread from start to finish including building up the background, sketching & painting a face and finishing it all up with interesting elements and doodles. Scroll down for a full supply list.

If you enjoyed this video please feel free to share it with your creative friends!

Supplies Used

  • Craft paints (various pinks, blue, turquoise & black)
  • Ranger Archival stamp pad in black
  • Music stamp & Xs stamp
  • Stabilo All pencil in black
  • Gesso
  • Acrylic paints (titanium buff, yellow ochre, quinacridone nickle azo gold)
  • Uni Ball Signo pens in black & white
  • Uni Posca pens in red & pink
  • Prismacolor coloured pencils
  • Pitt pen
  • Gelatos
  • Neocolor II watersoluble crayons

I Fell Into The Moon | mixed media art journal video tutorial | iris-impressions.com

I Fell Into The Moon | mixed media art journal video tutorial | iris-impressions.com

I Fell Into The Moon | mixed media art journal video tutorial | iris-impressions.com

I Fell Into The Moon | mixed media art journal video tutorial | iris-impressions.com

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.

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