Friday, 27 June 2014

Thursday, 19 June 2014

1 week has flown by so fast...

I can not believe that one more week has gone by. I really do not understand how the time just seems to fly… Today I will share with you some snapshots from the week. They were almost all taken with just my camera phone, so not the best of quality I'm afraid. This is an average week in my life here in China, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised that the time flies… =D

This is a tea house where my friend Rain is selling her jewelry, and the owner is such a kind lady that always treats us with her best tea while visiting.

Elephants and lucky boats made out of Pu-er tea, a light fermented pressed green tea that just like wine and whiskey gets better with age.

The lovely Rain Slingerland and her display of jewelry at the tea house. She just created a Facebook page for her jewelry, and tomorrow I will help her take some photos of her recent work. I know that you are more than welcome to visit her page at: Rain's custom jewellery

Saturday was playing night for the papermakers at Hudsons. From the right Blair Slingerland (husband to Rain from the picture above), my Hubby and Tony Öblom.

Randome picture taken from one of the many construction places throughout the city on my morning walk. They are building like crazy here!

First time I have had a starbuck's coffe in Rizhao, they have had a promotion site for a few days in a new development centre.

Tepanyaki together with good friends.

Two of the good friends in question, Blair and Rain. I don't know what my hubby was trying to do to me there...

One of my hubby's chinese colleague's surprised us with some treats from Finland.

Yesterday I made a trip to Qingdao to replenish our refrigerator with cheese and other desirable stuff.

A trip to the fake-market in Qingdao is a 'must do' while there.

Good brushes makes me happy!

Some more work has been done to several backgrounds.

A birthday 'card' in the making. I actually finished it tonight, but has to wait for daylight to take a photo without any shadows and glares on it.

A detail from an angle that looked good even in bad light.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Blue details from the studio.

The last few days I have been working on backgrounds. I wanted to get my hands dirty and just play. Today however it is time to get going with the half finished paintings I have and get the final details done on a few birds. I have also included some detail pictures from two of the paintings.

I always listen to something while I paint; our local radio channel from home, music or audio books. A few days ago I found a new band from Iceland, Árstíðir, and if you like folk music and beautiful male voices, I highly recommend them! My audio book playing now is the trilogy 'The deed of Paksenarrion' by Elizabeth Moon. Time just flies when you are listening to something good! 

Today I finally got a good picture from this new painting that I already posted on Facebook. Now I can also post it on my website, and upload it to Society6 for prints and phone cases. I call it 'Evening lookout', and it is an Azure-winged magpie painted from my own reference photo. 30x30cm, acrylic, oil and different papers on canvas. This is the first painting that I also have used some book pages from the book I bought in Japan in the background. Last when I was to Korea I bought a used Harry Potter book in korean, so soon I will be using pages from that as well. I have had people commenting on the chinese book pages and poems I use, criticizing the use of them. After explaining that I am actually living in China for the moment, they think it is fine. I never use random material, I choose material I have a personal connection to in some way. And one of the things that I have started collecting are books from all the countries that I visit, because I love using them in my collage backgrounds! 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Step-by-step demonstration

I told you earlier that I had been asked to do a step-by-step demonstration for an article, and now it is out and published! It is a bonus features E-newsletter for the Painters-Online, the website for Leisure Painter and The Artist magazines based in the UK.

Here is the link to the whole article online where I together with several other artists speaks about our art:

But as it now is out, I thought I would share my part of it here as well!
Jenny Moed-Korpela
Step-by-step article for Painters-online, May 2014

Nature and wildlife has always been the most important inspiration for my art. My ongoing passion for painting birds started when I was a girl at my grandmother’s kitchen table where we would sit and watch the birds at the birdfeeder outside the window while drinking tea. Birds have fascinated me ever since with their different personalities and beautiful colors.

6 years ago I started experimenting with mixed media, and it changed my way of painting completely. I wanted to find an alternative approach to realistic painting, because my art did not feel like it was completely ‘me’. Through experimenting I found that changing a realistic background to an abstract background behind my subject was the trick. I like the combination of the abstract and ornamental elements with the realistic and more detailed subject that my art has now. I like to think of it as a combination of playfulness (the background) and seriousness (the bird/subject).

To create my abstract backgrounds I play around with colours and different acrylic gels/paste for texture, and lately I use more and more different kinds of tissues and papers, book pages, music sheets and so on. Sometimes it is just a few papers with the canvas still showing, and sometimes it is like my demonstration piece here that I totally cover the canvas with an abstract collage before painting the bird on top of it all.

The painting below is ‘You are beautiful’, a light-vented bulbul that I was able to photograph just around the corner from where I live at the moment. He was kind enough to pose for me, and there will be more paintings from this beautiful model!

Step 1.  

 I have two ways of approaching a new painting. One is where I just begin playing around with paint and papers and create an abstract painting/background without any particular bird in mind. I usually always find a bird that fits sooner or later. The other is where I have a reference picture of a bird ready, and I paint the background with it already in mind. Today I am sharing the second approach with you.  First I chose a 30x30cm canvas, and selected some papers, book pages and music.

Step 2. 

I like to use acrylic gel medium, usually matte gel for the layering of paper. I use a lot to cover the paper first on one side, and after gluing it down another layer of gel on top. I use a big flat synthetic brush for this.

Step 3.

This is how it looks when I have all the layers down. Here are now 2 layers of papers, the book pages underneath, and the music and the handwritten poems on top. As you can see I made some changes to what papers I used as I went along. Make sure to let the gel dry completely between the layers, it becomes much stronger and gives you a beautiful hard surface to paint on.

Step 4.

When the gel was completely dry (usually needs one night, but it depends how thick you use the gel) I started to paint with acrylic Payne’s grey. I diluted the acrylic with a little bit of water, put on a fair amount over the whole canvas and then wiped it of again. Next I pushed some of the letters and text more to the background with white acrylic, dry- brushing it on. I let this layer dry overnight before the next layer.

Step 5.
For the second layer of colour I used the acrylic paint straight from the tube, dry brushing it on the canvas. First I darkened the background in some places with more Payne’s grey, and then I added some cerulean blue, white and gold, letting each colour dry to the touch before applying the next. Background ready for the bird!

Step 6.

I drew the bird on the background with charcoal. It is important that the drawing is as exact as possible, because otherwise every error will show as I will paint the bird in oil, and not touch the background any more.

Step 7.
Here is the first blocking in of oil colour. No details, just dark and light. I use Raw umber and Payne’s grey for the darks and white with some yellow and green for the rest.

Step 8.

With the second layer of oil I start to outline the details of the bird, and I try to get the eye to come alive already in this early stage, so that I have someone to ‘talk’ to while painting…

Step 9.
More details. I always try to work with the whole bird and branch at the same time, making sure that the colours match, and that the same amount of focus and care are applied to the whole subject.

 Step 10.
Almost there. Here I have worked with the areas that I want to have a little more detailed, like the chest, wings and the head. It is not that visible the changes that I have made to the head, but especially the eyes has gotten some more layers to get the reflection right. I paint with very thin layers of oils so that it dries fast in between layers.

Step 11 - The final painting.

The wings got the final details and I softened the chest feathers a little as I thought them too rough. Now the only think lacking is some varnish to make the colours really pop after the oil is dry and cured.

If you like my approach to painting you can follow me on my blog: or visit me on my website: I also have a facebook page that you can like:

I hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Beijing - funny bits and pieces in red

Last weekend we were invited to a wedding in Beijing. It was one of my hubbies colleagues from ABB who tied the not, and we were honored to be invited. The ceremony was held outside in a park, and the dinner in a nearby restaurant. Altogether about 400 guests, and we were the only foreigners. It is the biggest wedding I have ever attend to. I will write a separate post on the weddings I have been to here in China with pictures later.

Today I have nothing important at all to share, just some funny pictures I took from an art gallery area near the hotel where we were staying at in Beijing. It was the Art 798, an old mill that have been converted to artists galleries and shops. While walking there I saw odd red things and sculptures everywhere, and I started taking photos of them. It made quiet a fun collection, so I thought I would share it with you!

First of: the most interesting thing in the whole exhibition area. Flowers made out of copper and casting beautiful shadows.

798 Beijing.

Small men in a window.

Yes, Dala horses!

Dino 1, 2 and 3.

Some kind of rabbit, maybe?

The boys (John and my husband) found the old mill itself the most interesting. Later we got told that it has been an old mill making things for the Chinese army, although not weapons.

And last: I saw this tree when leaving the 798 area. It is the second time that I see a tree getting help in this way, but this time I had the camera in hand. For some reason I find it funny. 

Otherwise there were not much that caught my interest. It was a really nice are to walk around in, but the art itself shown there was not in my taste. The first two exhibitions that we saw were the most interesting, the shadow copper flower picture above was from one of them, and the second was a showroom with artifacts from Tibet. 

We had some beautiful thunderstorms, and that eased up the heat a little. It is getting very warm here now, up to 30-35 degrees during the days. Luckily this week they have promised a little bit less and more rain, so I am happy.