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!