Friday, 16 December 2016

New video on youtube!

I have been very busy the last week with editing all my video material, and now my first new video is uploaded to my you tube channel!! I have had an unplanned hiatus on my youtube channel, and it feels good to have something to upload again! I would be very happy if you checked it out and tell me what you think!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Flowers and snow...

Suddenly and unexpectedly I find myself in Finland! I needed to come home and find some documents. It feels great though to finally experience winter weather again. The crunch of snow under my feet, the cold against my cheeks, the frost that makes the trees look magical... Today all the snow has melted away, but they have promised minus degrees again for tomorrow. So if I'm lucky there will be more white days before I fly back to Shanghai in two weeks time.

I have finished most of the pages in my artjournal that I showed you in my last post. I also manage to film the process of all of them, so now I need to edit them so that I can upload them to my youtube channel.

All of these art journal pages are done with acrylic and watercolours and some collage elements. The journal is 18x18cm.

Cherry blossom. This became my favourite page of them all. I really like the background, and I think the blossoms looks lovely like this. This will definitely become a painting!

Magnolia. I am a little worried that this page feels a little like a wall paper. 

More magnolias.

This background started very colourful with a lot of green, but it was too busy so I covered it up with more brown. I like the vintage effect this resulted in!

The magnolias really have lovely lines, and I truly enjoy drawing them. I hope it will be as easy painting them as well. 

Orchid. Love the background. I am not as excited about the orchid though. They looked absolutely stunning in real life, but I don't seen to be able to paint them. I find orchids difficult to draw. 

And the last page. Another orchid. The pink was fun to paint, but I found it difficult to place it on a coloured background. Maybe it needs a creamy coloured  much lighter background. I need to experiment more!

Tomorrow is the 6th of December, and that is our independence day. So I end this post with wishing Finland a happy 99th 'birthday' !!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Studio update

Today was one of those days that started of slow. I did not feel a 100% when I woke up, but luckily after a rather productive day and a very nice massage I now feel great.

The weather has change. It has gone from t-shirt weather to only 8 degrees in 4 days time... It seems like Shanghai do not do autumn. Except for a lot of rain.

I decided to snuggle up on the couch and write a studio update. So, here it is!

As I have quite a few commissions piling up I have decided to concentrate on them. Some I will be able to show you the progress of, the others will have to wait until they are accepted by the new owners. I do have some other projects going on however, as I have to do something while the rest is drying in between layers...
For some time now I have been thinking of starting painting some flowers in the same style as my birds. I will continue to paint birds as well of course, but with the addition of the odd flower!

As I often do when I have many ideas but do not know where to start, I turn to my art journal. I made a lot of backgrounds. I painted some flowers on paper. I tried it out. The process feels a lot like going shopping for clothes. You choose all the things you like, and then you go to the dressing room and begin trying everything out. Some of the clothes looks good, some doesn't fit your body type at all.

I decided to film while experimenting. It has been too long since I had any videos to upload, so I decided that playing around in my art journal was a good a start as any.

Orchids and magnolias. I believe there will be lilies, tulips, cherry blossoms and roses coming as well in time. Simply because I have a lot of photos of those particular flowers.  Orchids are one of my favourite flowers, but they are not easy to paint. Magnolias on the other hand are lovely to paint. all those elegant lines. And so much simpler colouring...

I cut out one of the magnolias I had drawn, and tested it out against many different backgrounds. This white magnolia looked good on all my blue-ish pages. I did make some brown and green-ish backgrounds as well, but they need some reworking before being acceptable.
This page is done with just some acrylic inks that I sprayed with water and let dry. I like this combination very much!

Acrylic and some stencilling. I quite like the leaf stencil in the background here (one from Tim Holtz collection), but maybe it needs to be a little softer?

The colours in this one is again beautiful against the white magnolia, but I think that this background makes it look more like a piece of wall paper than a painting. A very beautiful wall paper, but still a wall paper!

This background was fun to make. It was done with layering glycerin underneath the acrylic paint, and then peel the paint of when it was dry. The acrylic will not stick to the page were glycerin is used! I like the texture, but I think I would like to experiment a little bit more with other colour combinations.

This is my favourite by far. Not surprisingly, I guess...

Here is the orchid against the same background. Not bad either.

Here are two of the canvas that I have prepared for flowers. I think the brown one will be for an orchid, and the blue will definitely become a magnolia. You see how handy it is with a cut out flower to try out ideas?!?

More canvases being prepped. I like my surface to be smooth, so I paint a few layers of gesso and use sandpaper in between the layers. 

This is a detail of a commissioned painting. The background is almost done. It will become a Snowy owl. First time for me painting a Snowy owl. This close it almost looks like a winter landscape. I do love those blues!! I have only used two kinds of indigo blue for this one, the 'bluer' one is high flow acrylic, and the 'greener' colour is acrylic ink.

This is a bigger painting. I like the colours, but I am afraid that it is too busy. Then again, if I almost cover the background with big flowers, it could look nice... So my plan is to tone down the white a bit and then paint the magnolias from the sketch. If the background do turn out too busy then I will just cover it all up and start over. 

The huge green thing is a birch forest in the making. I used to paint a lot of forest landscapes. It is good to do it again. I am trying out a new technique, so I am taking it slow and building it up with many thin layers. This pale almost yellow background is now the base, and I will build up the deeper greens by adding washes of blue. Then the fun will begin by adding all the trunks and branches...  And last on the easel you can see that I have not abandoned my birds. 

Now I am ready for bed, and for a new day tomorrow!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

2 months...

Wow! 2 months have passed already and I have not kept up with this blog as I intended to... No excuses, time just flies as crazy when you are having fun... And all the fun is not over yet!

So, a short update: after Beihai I went a few days home to Shanghai. Then of I went to Singapore and Indonesia (Sumatra) to visit my dearest friend Rain. (A Canadian who's husband is working on a big pulp and paper mill on Sumatra. We got to know each other when we lived together in Rizhao) I have been to Singapore before, quite exactly 20 years ago, so it felt like the first time again! What a city. Multi cultural and very interesting. We sampled food from all over the world, got henna tattoos, enjoyed a splendid orchid botanical garden, drank some wine by the river, and the best of all: saw Wicked the musical! After that we took the ferry over to Sumatra, flew to Pekanbaru and spend a week together in Rains home. I did not want to leave.

That is one of the best and worst things about living this 'expat life'. You meet new beautiful people, get to know them, and then you have to leave them, or they leave you to go to the next place...
This time I am lucky however. In a little more than a weeks time I will fly home to Finland to meet friends and family there, and then we will spend christmas and new year together with Rain and her husband in Vietnam and Cambodia. So I really am a lucky 'gal', you know!!

Studio update: I have a lot of new things going on, however I can not show all of them to you as they are commissions. Or not yet I should say. As soon as I have finished and shown them to their new owners I will share them with you as well! I decided to start painting all my commissions that have accumulated over the years. Yes, you read it right, years!! I am apparently not good at doing commissions... I get artist block and a completely empty head even if it by all accounts should be easy... Easy in the way that non of the commissions are outside my comfort zone or what I otherwise would paint. Go figure. For the moment I am optimistic though. Maybe because I other wise have so much program with all the travelling, that it gets easier to get work done when my time in the studio is more limited than before this autumn...

Enough talk for today, I will leave you with pictures from Singapore. Next post will be studio related. Or maybe the pictures from the Netherlands that I promised long ago... lets see what I feel like in a few days! =D

A dear meeting at the airport in Singapore!

A big city doesn't have to be dull and grey...

The view from our hostel roof. 

A 'must do' in Singapore, visiting little India. Great food and lovely shops! Another 'must do' is China town, but since I am living in China for the moment it did not feel necessary to go there...

Henna tattoos. I bought some of the henna myself to try at home. It isn't as easy as it looks, but it isn't too difficult either. I just need to practice!

A memorable night! This musical was 'wicked' good!! I would go and see it again anytime!! Thank you Rain for taking me!!!!

Marina Bay Sands. The new 'icon' building of Singapore.

Inside the Marina bay sands.

The metal tree garden with light shows. Most beautiful in the night.

Singapore from the ferry to Indonesia.

For some reason I did not take almost any pictures while on Sumatra. I do have this one though, Rain's cat Franky. He was a very gallant gentleman and kept me company every night...

Some colourful tiles I admired.

Back to Singapore and some of the best French food I have ever tasted. One word: Truffle ravioli!!! (ok, thats actually two words, but who is counting...) No words can describe it! 

The Raffle Hotel in Singapore, famous for creating the drink Singapore sling.

Of course we had to taste one. I do not think I have ever bought such an expensive drink before. But you paid for the place more than the drink I expect...

The place to hang out in the evening!

And last: for those who felt energetic; Zumba in the square!!

I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016


Greetings from China! 2 months in Finland went past far too fast. But I guess that is the case anytime one is really enjoying oneself. I spend a few days in The Netherlands visiting family (pictures of that still to come...), then I also spend a few days in Norway visiting my cousin. A few days out on the summer cottage, in the forest picking mushrooms, preparing for the exhibition, visiting with friends, and... Well. Then it was time to fly back to Shanghai. I cleaned the house from the dust that had settled while we were away and rearranged the studio. Now I have been a few days in Beihai (on the south west coast of China). My husband is visiting a mill here for work and I accompanied him.

I have not been keeping up with my blog while in Finland, so now I have a lot of pictures that I have in queue to share with you. Today I thought I would start with all the finished painting that I haven't posted here yet:

Awake. Mixed media on canvas, 40x30cm. Barn owl reference with kind permission from Chris Allsebrook from the Facebook group 'photos for artists'. I am really happy with how the owl turned out, but not as happy with the background. I don't now what I would like to change. Oh well, I just need to keep on painting and experimenting!

Miss Sweetie. Mixed media on a 20x20cm canvas. Long tailed tit.

Mr. Finland. Mixed media on a 20x20cm canvas. Eider reference with kind permission from Gary Jones from the website 'paint my photo'. This beautiful male eider can almost only be seen early in spring. After 'taking care of business' they will leave the females to rase the chicks alone and fly back south.

A song of sunshine. Mixed media on a 25x25cm canvas. These nuthatches are always such a joy to paint. Reference with kind permission from Russ Bridges from the Facebook group 'photos for artists'.

Calling. Mixed media on a 40x30cm canvas. Black is always a challenging colour to paint. I really like this one. I think more similar pieces will follow! Raven reference with kind permission from Ruth Stewart from the website 'Paint my photo'.

Garden fairy. A commission. Mixed media on a 20x20cm canvas. Robin reference with kind permission from Pixelbloke from the website 'paint my photo'.

Our coastal swans 2. Acrylic and oil on a 30x60cm. I really enjoyed playing with the fluid acrylics I used for the background.  

Bon apetit. Mixed media on a 20x20cm canvas. Bohemian waxwing reference with kind permission from Gary Jones from the website 'paint my photo'. I haven't seen these fellows in a while. Probably because I have not been late enough in the autumn home anymore to see them. We had a huge amount of these rowan/mountain-ash berries in my home town, so they will be able to have a merry feast when they do decide to come!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Opening day of exhibition.

The opening of 'my' exhibition was a week ago on Saturday. It was a beautiful and sunny day, and quite a lot of people came to visit. Thank you all to my friends who showed up and made it a memorable day!
The exhibition is held in Gallery Karaija in Inkoo, a small town in the south of Finland. I am exhibiting together with 4 other artists, who all have been painting birds for this exhibition. It is called 'On the wings of birds'. The exhibition will continue until the 18th of this month. The other artists are:

- Hanna Aalto
- Kristiina Koskimies-Soininen
- Minna Pyykkö
- Pirjo Tikkinen

Instead of showing you a lot of pictures here, I will share with you a short video I made of the gallery, the exhibition and of the opening day. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Preparing for exhibition.

A few weeks have flown by again. A lot of things have happened. I've been on a short trip to The Netherlands to visit family and enjoying a wedding. I will do a post with lots of pictures after the opening day of my upcoming exhibition. I have finished the last paintings, and today I have been doing the last preparations. Adding hanging hooks, writing a list of the paintings, making a few frames, varnished the paintings and so on. I have to bring all the paintings to the gallery tomorrow, and the opening day is on Saturday! I'm very much looking forward to it!! I must remember to take a lot of pictures!

Multitasking: adding hanging hooks and writing the painting list.

Deciding on the last titles and checking that I have all the information correct.

Hanging hooks.

The paintings that are all done.

I gave the paintings that were dry a thin layer of varnish.

Spray painting frame backgrounds.

All done!

Trying out the new frames.

I ordered some new business cards. Don't they look rather fine?