Monday, 23 November 2015

Website updated

Helo everyone and Happy Monday!

It is another dark and rainy day here in Shanghai, but it is also nice and warm… Still 20 degrees outside, so I am sitting here with the balcony doors wide open enjoying the few birds who are still singing.

Last week I was working on my website, and I have given it a brand new look (as you can see I also updated the blog a little, a new banner and a new background). I have been thinking for awhile now of changing the colours on my website. It was quite dark, and I have even gotten some feedback that it was hard to 'read' both pictures and text because of that. I am not very computer 'savvy' however, and to change layouts and stuff is a quite a daunting task for me. But I sat down and got it done! *patting myself on my shoulder*  I am even reasonable happy with how it turned out. The feel of the website is now more 'me'.

I would be really happy if you could take a look and tell me what you think!!

Today I am busy updating my Society6 shop. I am adding new paintings, and also trying out to put my artwork on mugs. I would also really love to add my art on bags and pillowcases, but my images are too small. Maybe I can fix that by adding a border or something… Oh well, that is what I am now trying to figure out. (Many of the artworks in question are already sold, so getting new pictures of them is not an option at this point. Note to self: need to find a way of getting bigger pictures of my art!)

Something else quite interesting: I have been trying to teach myself how to film and edit a short movie of me making art. I hope it will turn into something that I can share with you all. The only drawback is that I chose the time of starting to make movies quite poorly as they have started renovating 2 apartments above me. The only time that I can actually film without very loud drilling sounds in the background is either between noon and 1pm (lunchtime) or after 5pm in the evening (=already dark outside). Art-making is full of challenges sometimes. I myself really enjoy watching other artist creating art on youtube, and that gave me the idea of giving it a try. *keep your fingers crossed*

Last I have 2 art journal pages to share:

This tern was watching his domains for hours at a rock by our summer cottage in Finland. I happened to have my camera in hand when he was landing one day. 

Juvenile Chaffinch. I have posted the original photo of this one before, and now he is turning into a painting. I have already started to experiment with the background on a small canvas.

Thanks for stopping by, and see you soon again!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Step-by-step article.

I almost forgot to share the happy news here on my blog. I know I shared some progress photos of an azure-winged magpie a few weeks ago I was making for a step-by-step article, but I did not go into any details. All the finalist who got published in the mixed media art book Incite - the art of storytelling got an invitation to write a step by step article for their website I decided to participate and painted the magpie.  To my delight my article got accepted by the site and has now been published! The link to the article is below:

I will also share the article in full here. A big thank you to Tonia Jenny for our e-mail conversation and to Brittany VanSnepson who is running the guest post articles on


I am always on the lookout for the perfect background for my birds, and mixing different mediums is a great way to experiment and find that special “thing” or atmosphere that speaks to me. Choosing the different papers to use as a collage in the background is half the fun. I always collect paper and books on my travels to different countries, so my collages are a memory of where I have been and what I have seen and read. I choose to paint my backgrounds in acrylics because of their fast drying time. I can paint many layers of colors in one go, and I love the fast results that it gives me. Then when I paint my bird (this can be any subject: a flower, another animal, a portrait, etc.) I usually change to oil after the first layer of acrylic. When it comes to painting details I prefer the slower drying time of oil and the way I can then paint wet in wet if I want to.

Materials List:

– Canvas
– Collage material like book pages, decorative paper, song sheets, etc.
– Baby wipes
– Palette knife
– Charcoal
– Acrylic gel medium
– Glazing medium
– Acrylic colors
– Oil colors
– Turpentine and linseed oil
birds in art
Step 1: Choose a canvas (the canvas that I used here is 20x20cm.) and gather some collage material. Any paper will do, but I prefer old books and music and handwritten poems so that I know that the material is lightfast and waterproof.
birds in art
Step 2: Cover your canvas in one layer of book pages using acrylic gel to adhere the paper to the canvas. Use the gel both under and over the paper so that you seal it properly. Let it dry over night. Then choose your favorite colors in acrylic to give the paper a glaze. I used Paynes Grey and Burnt Umbra. First I painted the whole canvas with a layer of Paynes Grey, let it dry for a minute, and then I used a baby wipe to wipe it of again. I repeated the procedure with Burnt Umber. If you like the glaze to be thicker, just let the paint dry longer before wiping it of again. You can repeat this step as many times that you desire until you are happy with the look.
birds in art
Step 3: Use a palette knife (I prefer plastic in this case as it is a little bit more flexible) to paint on a layer of warm white acrylic on the canvas, and make sure to leave the edges without paint in places so that you leave some of the paper underneath visible. I mixed my white acrylic with some Naples Yellow to get a warm tint to it.
birds in art
Step 4: Next I chose some more paper to add, a page from a songbook and a sheet of rice paper that I have written a poem on (make sure you use waterproof ink) and Korean paper. I glued it on with acrylic gel and let dry thoroughly.
birds in art
Step 5: Paint a layer of white acrylic over the paper, quite thin so that the text and the notes remain visible. Again I used a palette knife, because I really like the uneven effect of the paint this gives you. Let dry.
birds in art
Step 6: To tone down the white a bit I blended Paynes grey and Ultramarine blue acrylic colors to give it a thin glaze. I diluted the mixture with a little glazing medium (you can also use a little water instead of the glazing medium) and painted this with a brush over the whole canvas. After a minute I wiped most of it away with a baby wipe. I added my last piece of paper with acrylic gel to the canvas, and after it was dry I dry brushed some more of my Paynes grey and Ultramarine mixture around the edges. Background finished.
birds in art
Step 7: Next step is to decide what to paint on your finished background. I had a photo of a flying Azure-winged magpie I got a couple of years ago, and I made the background with him in mind. I drew the magpie in charcoal on the canvas, trying to get the drawing as accurate as possible.
birds in art
Step 8: I painted the bird in a layer of acrylic colors, concentrating on lights and darks. I only used white, Paynes grey and burnt umber. As I am going to proceed in oil after this, it is especially important to get all the light areas covered with acrylic white or gesso, as many oil paints are a little transparent.
birds in art

Step 9:
 In the first layer of oil I diluted the paint with only a little turpentine, and in places only dry brushed the oil on.
birds in art

Step 10:
 After the first layer of oil was dry I added a little mixture of turpentine and linseed oil to my paints and finished the bird. I tried not to add too many details, and I used a very limited color palette: Titanium White, Paynes Grey, Sepia, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue and Naples Yellow.
For more art, check out Art Journal Kickstarter and Incite 3!
Art Journal Kickstarter Incite 3
Advice to readers:
Take time to experiment and play a lot with your materials, I have learned more through my mistakes than through my successes.
Guest Bio:
Jenny Moed-Korpela is an artist from Finland currently living in Shanghai. For the last 6-7 years she has painted mostly birds because she finds them absolutely fascinating! She still hasn’t perfected how she wants her bird-art to look, so she’s constantly experimenting and trying to catch the vision that she has for them on paper and canvas.

I hope you enjoyed it!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Kuala Lumpur bird park

As I promised, here are some pictures from the bird park of Kuala Lumpur. It is situated almost in the center of KL, and it has one of the world largest 'walk in' aviaries. This means that the birds are not in small cages (which I disapprove of big time!!), but flying free in huge enclosed tents. It makes it harder to spot them, but I did not mind! The only thing I was really disappointed in was that I did not think of bringing my big camera and good lens with me. Oh well, next time!

Purple Swamphen.

Black-crowned Heron.

Cattle Egret

Rhinoceros Hornbill.

Superb Starling.

Cattle Egret and Sacred Ibis.

Yellow-billed Stork.


Look at those gorgeous pink feathers of the stork!

Buffy fish owl.

Buffy fish owl before coffee… I just had to share this picture even if it is bad quality. I mean, look at that face!!!!

Brown wood owl.

Indian peafowl.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Kuala Lumpur and Melaka

Hej hallå and Hi!

So, Malaysia! We spend last week in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka (Malacca). My husband had some work related meetings there, and I tagged along to do some sightseeing. My friend and 'fellow housewife' Kim was also there, and as she is Malaysian she acted as my guide. It was fabulous! The haze was not as bad as I had expected, and it actually cleared up totally for our last few days. We walked about the city and visited the craft market and the modern shopping centre, we tasted a lot of great food, and just had fun. We also drove down south to Melaka and spend a couple of days there.

Kuala Lumpur felt like a city that is now in the transition of becoming a metropolis, taking down most of the old buildings and building tall new modern skyscrapers instead. Everywhere you went they were building something new. Melaka on the other hand is still a small town, and much of the old city and life can still be seen. It was a cosy and quite charming city! The weather was the same everyday, sun in the morning and hot and then thunderstorms or heavy rains in the afternoons. But as usual I will let the pictures do most of the talking, so here they are!

We start with Kuala Lumpur. For some reason I did not take that many photos of the city itself. The interesting stuff happened indoors where they had air conditioning...

View at the twin towers from our pool at the hotel. I swam every day, a great way of both cooling down from the heat and get some exercise.

We spend one day at the market, walking around and admiring all the different crafts from India, Malaysia and China. 

The shops were full of beautiful bags, wooden masks, batik fabrics, scarfs and what nots!

The Chinese street, felt like being back in China!

Sunday brunch at the Mad Hatter restaurant. 'Of with his head!!!' =D

The buffet was huge with tastes from all around the world. Sushi, pasta, salads, noodles and as in the picture here a whole roasted lamb! Yummy!

Melaka: about 2h drive south from Kuala Lumpur.

A small river runs through Melaka, and it is a very nice walk along side it.

Many of the houses are colorfully painted.

The local taxis. I have never seen the like of them before! Apparently they have annual competitions between themselves for the best decorated taxi! This was a row of only pink Hello Kitty taxis, but the most popular decoration this year seems to have been Frozen with Elsa and Anna. In the evenings they all had crazy disco lighting and music on. Mental. =D

One of the first things that catches your eye when traveling in Malaysia are the colours. Bright colours everywhere, and no rules whatsoever as what goes together. It is colour chaos and they love it! I have to say that it makes for a very vibrant city scene! These are traditional Malay fabrics, but the Indian cloth shops was as colourful.

We even saw some wildlife swimming in the river. This lizard was closer to a meter in length, and it swam like a pro!

Melaka has been an important port in Malaysia since 1400. It has been occupied both by the Portugese (16th century), the Dutch (17th century) and the Brits (19th century). This is a replica of a Portugese ship from the 16-th century. So it is a city very rich in History!

A blog post about Malaysia can not be completed without mentioning the food. There are as many different kitchens in Malaysia, as there are different people. The biggest population is of course Malay, but the 2nd and third biggest population is Indians and Chinese. So in the traditional Malaysian kitchen today there is an explosion of asian tastes! Non of them can be called 'pure' indian, or 'pure' chinese food anymore, because they have all influenced each other. In the picture you have one kind of filled Roti bread with some curry to dip it in. Absolutely gorgeous! I can not pic a favorite as they were all so good. If you like food, I recommend a trip to Malaysia just to eat!!

This is one of the most famous restaurants in Melaka. It doesn't look like much, just a whole in the wall. And they only served one thing. Chicken with rice balls. During lunch time the queue could be several meters long onto the street. You don't order anything, you just wait to be seated, and depending how many you are you either get half or a whole chicken to the table. 

Our portion of half a chicken and 5 rice balls each. The chicken was boiled in a rich broth. Not that many spices, but very simple and very delicious!

I still have many photos from the bird park in Kuala Lumpur to share, but I guess I will put them in a separate post! So until next time!