Saturday, 23 August 2014


So now has our time ended in Rizhao. Our apartment is empty. Everything is packed and shipped away to the next step of our adventure, and the next stop is Shanghai! But first I am on my way home to Finland for a few weeks on vacation, and I am very much looking forward to it. Even if I am so happy for the change this move will make, it is also a little sad at the same time. We have had some great times in Rizhao, and I think I will have to write a post with my favorite moments. But thats for later, now I will board the plane home to Finland!


Empty and tidy

My studio in all its chaotic glory

My studio after shipping everything away, so boring and 'ordinary'...

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Blog - hop!

Now it is Blog - hop time! I was asked to participate in this ongoing blog - hop, and I thought it would be a fun thing to do. Last Monday I was 'tagged' in an artist's blog, and today it is my turn to answer some questions about my art, and to link to three other artist's blogs who will continue the hop next Monday.

The questions:

  • How does my creative process work?
  • How does my work differ from others of its genre?
  • What am I working on now?
  • Why do you do what you do?
How does my creative process work?
For many years now I have almost exclusively been painting birds. And inspiration for painting birds I get every time I see them outside. I have two ways of approaching my paintings, or two ‘methods’. The first is when I have already decided what bird to paint and have the reference photo chosen and ready. Then I start to create an abstract background for that specific bird in mind. The other way is when I just start playing and experiment with colours and texture and when I feel that I have a background that I am happy with, I put it aside until I find the bird to paint on it. The first method usually results in more harmonic paintings while the second method result in more experimental and fun paintings.

If I do not have a clear picture in mind for what I want to do on canvas I take my art journal and experiment with ideas there.

I love to experiment with texture, collage, written text and how to combine them together to create a complimentary setting for my birds. I usually try to achieve different kinds of moods and atmosphere in my backgrounds: calmness, storm, peacefulness, energy, etc. Whatever either tells the story of how I feel while painting, or the story I want to create for the bird. Often when I do not know what I feel or what I want to paint, I add a poem or other written story to the background, and let those words influence what comes next. If you see one of my flying gulls with backgrounds that mimic the feel and texture of stormy water, you can be quite sure to find a poem about the soaring see and the cry of the gulls somewhere on the papers in the background. I have found that I succeed much better in creating these different atmospheres if I paint abstract backgrounds, than if I would paint more realistic backgrounds. Not to mention that it is plain fun to mess around with paint and different materials and see what you can come up with.

In my journals I use all the materials I have at hand except for oil colours. When I paint on canvas I use acrylic, acrylic gel medium and different papers for the background, and oil for when I paint the bird. I am quite picky when it comes to the material that I use for my paintings. All the papers, poems or song sheets have some direct connection to me and my life. I only use book pages from books that I have read, or books in foreign languages that I have personally bought from the different countries that I have visited, old letters from my family, or my favourite poems that I always write in my own handwriting. And when it comes to the birds I try to only paint birds that I have seen in real life and have been able to get my own reference photo of. Not only to avoid any copyright infringement, but also to make sure that I not only get the likeness of the bird right, but that I am able to capture the attitude and personality of the bird.

In short the birds symbolises the visible, the beauty of the world, freedom, the touchable and the ‘real’ life. The abstract backgrounds symbolises the invisible, feelings, atmosphere, and the dream world.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I do not think my work differs so much from other artists, although I hope that I am able to fill my work with something that is uniquely ‘me’. I know many other artists who combine abstract with realism, but maybe my work is different in the sense that it is not pure collage, not pure anything. It is mixed media done my way.

What am I working on now?
 I have been working on a series of small bird paintings for an exhibition in Finland that will open on Saturday the 30th of this month. I will be exhibiting with 9 other bird artists, and I am so looking forward to it as I think it will be an unforgettable experience! After that I have a few commissions that I need to finish.

Suomi's song. Light-vented bulbul. Mixed media on canvas, 30x30cm. This was the last painting I got finished for the exhibition. It just have time to dry for a week now before I will pack it in my suit case and travel with it home to Finland.

Black-headed gull. I don't have a good name for this one yet. Mixed media on canvas, 25x25cm.

Why do you do what you do?

Why do I paint birds, or why do I do art?  The first question I have already answered in a previous post, if you are interested you can read about it here: Why birds? So I will address the second question here. But I do not know if I actually have an answer to it. Why do any artist do art or other creative things? Maybe because I feel that it is the only thing I am really good at. I never get bored doing art. Nothing is right or wrong as only personal taste matters. The possibilities are endless and all you need is a little bit of courage to do it.

The artist who tagged me: 

Robyn is a writer and mixed media artist with a passion to inspire women to grow in faith through her words and art. She is embracing the creative life, while homeschooling her children, and serving Christ in His church. She and her family reside in Ohio where she leads women’s retreats and Bible studies. Robyn enjoys singing and painting, preferably at the same time.You will find a stack of books on her desk at any given moment. She is an avid reader who travels a well-worn path to her local library.

Here are links to two more artists who will answer the same questions on their blog next Monday:

Sam is a Business Storyteller at The Write Angles, wife, mummy to Kimber the Cockapoo and creator of Seamus the Sheep. You can read about her lifestyle experiments, puppy news and stories with her cartoon sheep on her blog.

"I am an artist living in the farm country of north Louisiana, along with my husband, our three cats and seven (yeah, 7!) dogs. I love to paint everything (including the walls in our house) and find constant inspiration in my daily life: dogs, cats, cows, horses, trees, fields, ponds and bayous, morning light, afternoon light ... you get the idea. My work is greatly inspired by the style of America’s Golden Age of Illustration, particularly the work of Howard Pyle, N. C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, Jessie Wilcox Smith, Elizabeth Shippen Green and others. I’ve been painting my whole life, and I have sold my work to patrons all over the USA, Canada, the UK and Europe. As a follower of Christ, and with God’s help, my daily goal is to live every aspect of my life to the glory of God, from the most mundane and necessary of chores to the work I enjoy the best, ever grateful to be able to share whatever gifts I most graciously have been given."

I hope you have enjoyed this hop, and I am always glad and  happy to receive comments!!

Exhibition info

I am participating in an exhibition with 9 other great bird artists in Gallery Karaija in Inkoo/Finland that starts Saturday 30th of August. I got the poster for the event a few days ago, so here it is: A huge welcome to each and everyone if you happen to be in the neighborhood!!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Eventful week behind me.

It has been an eventful week. We had some dear friends visiting us from Shanghai, me and my husband celebrate our 5th anniversary as a married couple, I designed and ordered new business cards and postcards, and we started sorting and packing up all our stuff. The time has finally come to move away from Rizhao. Our next destination will be to live in Shanghai for a few months. But first I have some paintings to finish for my upcoming exhibition this month in Gallery Karaija in Inkoo, Finland (opening  night will be on the 30th of August. More info coming in the end of this week!)  I am so looking forward to spend some time at home in Finland before continuing on the next chapter of our expat life abroad.

Here are the paintings I need to finish this week:
Luckily it is only the final layer missing, so I should do fine!

Then I have two new pages from my art journal that I haven't shared with you yet: the gull that inspired the painting above, painted from a photograph taken by my beautiful cousin Linda Hagewick. And a Treecreeper that I was lucky enough to spot when I was in Spain in the spring. After we have moved to Shanghai I think that the treecreeper will be one of my first pairings to start there!

In my last post I told you the happy news that my painting 'Evening lookout' had got a special merit award in the competition Animals 2014 from Light Space & Time online gallery, and now they have made the catalogue available for viewing online with all the winning artist. There are some really beautiful animal art there, and I am so honored to be a art of that catalogue! Here is the link to the catalogue at ISSUU:

Next monday I will take part of a 'bloghop', where I will be answering 4 questions about my art and inspiration, and then link to 3 other bloggers. If you would be interested to take part in it  and be one of the bloggers that I link to, please send me note through the e-mail contact form in the sidebar on this blog!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Special merit award

I have the joy to share with you that my painting 'Evening lookout' won a special merit award from Light Space & Time online gallery, in their competition for the Animals Art exhibition of August 2014. That means that I will be included in their online exhibition on their website the whole month of August, and I can add a badge of 'special merit award' to my painting and in my bio. How great news isn't that? I am so happy and feel very encouraged!

Here are some selected screenshots from their announcement on their website, you can also visit the link here if you want to see the other artists great animal art: