Friday, 22 June 2018

Ambassadors Spotlight - Riikka Kovasin

Hi there, Friends!
Do you remember my new series of Ambassadors Spotlight interviews?
So far we've had the chance to chat to two amazing artists supporting my brand: Monika & Linda
and I must say that I thoroughly loved having them back on my blog!

Today it's time for another inspring treat - a conversation with a very special lady I'm sure many of you know and admire: 

* Riikka Kovasin *

Make sure you don't miss any of these social media links and follow Riikka's art and talent on her
 blog, facebook, instagram, you tube channel & pinterest.
And now please enjoy our interview and feel inspired to make more art! :)


I'm a mixed media influenced crafter from Helsinki, Finland.

Crafting and playing with different mediums is my way to relax and relieve stress.
Nobody can be uncheered with painty fingers, if I adapt the quote from Winnie the Pooh a little. :)

If I'm not able to create for several days I actually start hurting and come really cranky! 

1. How and when did you start your art adventure?

Well, I've been doing crafts my whole life but there are some turning points. I can't remember many of my childhood projects, but I do remember a card I did with red and green cardstock and a ball point pen. It was the first craft that had a story in it that I remember of. I recall telling the story to myself when crafting. I can't remember the story anymore but the final piece had a man sitting on a couch with a red elf hat on his head and a crocodile mat in front of the sofa.

Hopping onward some years, the next big thing, after studying clothing design and graduating, was when I found scrapbooking. My first pages were just papers and embellishments, kind of the traditional style, but it all changed when I found gesso. I started scrapbooking about 6 months after my first girl was born and discovered mixed media scrapbooking after my second daughter was born.
I can still remember the first kind of mixed media layout I did and the thought that occurred me then, which changed my crafting forever. 'It's only paper.' As a perfectionist, this was a freeing thought that allowed me to really start playing and expressing myself. After that realization I've thrown just one project to the bin in the middle of the process, though, as you can always add layers and gesso!

The next big thing was when I attended a class by Finnabair and she asked if I'd be interested to join a design team she was putting together. I was so sure I was dreaming then and possibly looked like something hit me on the head, hard. After the first positive shock I hurriedly said yes and I'm still on that road. I'm forever grateful for all the steps have led me here and the steps that go forwards. 

I craft in our living room, which most times looks like a crafty hurricane hit it. Luckily my family don't mind and my daughters used gesso and gel medium in their vocabulary when playing from the age of three or younger. They have loads of crafting material of their own, but they both still love when they get to use mommy's supplies and craft together with me.
2. What do you like the most about your style?

I think what I like the most is the actual creating process. I love building layers, using analogous color schemes and playing with mediums, but most of all, crafting to me is a stress relief from the work.
The process of creating the project is at least as important to me as the finished piece. I also love to create different styles of projects and the style naturally affects the purpose or an angle to the storytelling part. Scrapbooking layouts store memories and milestones, altered pieces highlight an item from the past or journal page tells a story of a play time or my thoughts. I love to tell stories with my pieces.

3. What are your art dreams/plans/wishes?

I'm such a lucky person that some of my dreams are fulfilled already! This year I got to travel to Creativation which had been a dream of mine and I loved every minute of it. I never even dreamed about teaching classes, but once I got asked to do it, I noticed how immensely I enjoy it and how much that brings to the table.

In the future I'd love to keep creating projects and playing with the mediums. I'm dreaming that I still have something to give, to inspire, to share. The dream that is still a faint wish, not taking a solid shape, is my own paper collection. 

If I would need to choose between Black or White Gesso and couldn't have them both, I'd probably go with the black. I love the way it makes the colors sing. But still, I love the softness and sweetness you are able to do with white. This altered palette is a special for me as it's a sample project for an online workshop, a new adventure!

4. What is your must have Finnabair product?

I hope I can name more than one! The dynamic duo of 3D Gel and Gessos is a must for me.
I tend to use 3D Gloss Gel more than the Matte, but the choice is only based on the jar size! I also love the Mechanicals, Art Alchemy Metallique paints and the Waxes. My newest love is the Paper Texture Paste.

5. Share a quote that you find particularly inspiring.

To be honest, I'm not a quote person. I don't collect quotes and can't recall many on the top of my mind. I find books and especially music really inspiring but then you'd need to quote the whole song or the book to get the bigger picture.
In the case of a song that is somehow the most meaningful of them all to me, you'd need to know Finnish, too. If you'd like to check a few out, though, try "Piece by Piece" by Turisas or "Myrskylintu" by Kasimir Leino. The last is a poem which was turned into a piece of music by Oskar Merikanto. I've written a translation of the text in this post.
I also love poems by Edith Södergran, a Finnish poet from the turn of the century.

But to add a quote, maybe I'd pick: "Creativity takes courage" by Henri Matisse.
It's a big thought in small amount of words and so true. You need to be able to let go, let yourself lose control, let yourself fail and let not be bothered by what other people think in order to be able to be creative. 

Making this piece below was such a joy, such a creative adventure that I actually need to say I'm proud of myself, and that's saying a lot. I don't consider myself an artist nor a talented drawer or painter, but still I managed to make a portrait with fun details and learn, once again, to let go, to just immerse into the process. {Read more about this artwork}

6. Share a word of of advice for all those who want to be creative and maybe are stuck in a creative rut or feel too shy or insecure to make and/or share their art.

Think about why you are creating - it's for you, right? It's the burning yearn to get your fingers to paints, the crave to create something, the desire to tell a story via layers and mediums.
So have fun, play, share and don't be too caught up worrying what others will say.
Follow your heart and find your voice. Be curious, experiment, read books, go to classes and ask questions.
Contact your crafty idols as they are people, like you. They all have started at some point, they, too, have been new to mediums and techniques. At least I'm always happy to answer questions about mediums, techniques and inspiration! Just throw me an email. :)

While crafting is my second job and outlet for stress relief from the first job that pays the bills, music is the outlet for my husband. We usually have something playing all the time in the house. He introduced me to heavy metal when we started dating and while his taste for music taste has shifted to more experimental direction, I'm still a total metal head. My favorite band is Finnish Turisas which is kind of unfortunate for them as almost every band member now has a piece from me. This golden altered cymbal was made for the drummer of the band. :)

Don't you just love this amazing lady?! :)
We hope you enjoyed this post and found some inspirations for yourself.
Stay tuned to another inspiring Spotlight conversation coming soon!

Finn & The Team

Monday, 18 June 2018

Finding My Soul

Hello Lovely Readers!
This week we're all be inspired by this gorgeous new art journal spread created by Sanda.
Sanda's ideas are just perfect for any season - incorporating organic forms and texture mediums, you're bound to end up with a gorgeous artwork. ;)

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“And into the forest, I go, to lose my mind and find my soul”
- John Muir

Hi guys,
I’m back today with a nature-inspired art journal page that I created around this beautiful John Muir’s quote. These words spoke to me and touched me on so many levels and made me think of what’s really important and meaningful in our life…
I started my art journal page by collaging recycled tea bags on watercolour paper using Finnabair's Soft Matte Gel. I absolutely love using this gel, not only for its matte finish but also because it has the perfect consistency for collaging delicate papers.

When this was dry, I added a layer of Heavy White Gesso with a brush and made some marks into the wet gesso with a colour shaper.

Patience not being one of my strengths LOL, I dried the page with a heating tool and then, I applied another coat of gesso, this time using a palette knife. Dried this layer just a bit and then added bits of gold leaf to the wet spots. 

After drying everything thoroughly again, I began adding colour with Art Alchemy Impasto paints. Can you tell I love these paints?:)
For my first layer, I mixed Raspberry Pink, Lemon Peel and a bit of Snow White for a lovely coral tint.

As I was painting, I diluted the paint with water in a spray bottle, leaving the paint run on the page and create drips. I soften the colour by dabbing it with a baby wipe and a paper towel.
When my page was dry, I sponged Jade Impasto paint through Finnabair’s 'Harlequin' stencil and then distressed the paint by spritzing water and lifting paint with kitchen paper.

When this was dry, I applied yet another coat of Heavy White Gesso using a palette knife – this will add a very nice, organic texture to your work.

Off camera, I made a few gelli prints on deli paper, using some gorgeous seed pods and leaves (collected from one of my trips into the parks and gardens around London) and Impasto paint (Cobalt and Pitch Black). I collaged all the gelli prints using Soft Matte Gel.

TIP: You can create fabulous gelli prints with Impasto paints as long as you dilute the paint with a bit of water.
Next, I did a bit of background stamping using a few Finnabair clear stamps, black Archival ink and Jade, Green Apple and Snow White Impasto paints.
I also doodled a bit using some diluted Pitch Black Impasto paint in a precision bottle.

At this point, I decided to add more of that coral tint, so I mixed it again, applied it with a brush in a few places and then, removed some of the paint through Finn’s 'Honeycomb' stencil using a baby wipe.
I continued painting, using Green Apple, Jade and Snow White Impasto paints.
When everything was dry, I doodled more leafy branches using gel pens in black and white and added some stitching with my sewing machine off camera.

For my focal point, I chose a pressed twig and a chipboard frame I painted using Finn’s Art Extravagance Graphite Texture Paste, and Rust and Patina Pastes.
Here is my video where you can watch my creative process and see the products I used.
Enjoy and have fun!

I hope you’ve got inspired by this project and you are ready to try some of these techniques in your artwork.

Have a lovely day, my friends, 

Sanda xoxo

Products used:

Friday, 15 June 2018

The Keeper of Inspirations

Hello Friends!
This Friday we meet with our wonderful talented Juliya who invited a certain Steampunk Gentleman to her brand new mixed media canvas... You'll fall head over heels for this one! :)

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Hello there, lovely creative friends!
Today I'd like to share with you my new inspiration - a mixed media canvas.
Recently, I've been creating a series of fantasy themed canvases and here's one of them.
This time I used the reverse side of a canvas and created a special imaginary character I called the Keeper of Inspirations. I hope you'll find this gentleman inspiring... :)
I had this thought that al my inspirations must live in an amazing world and such place certainly needs its Keeper. :)
My canvas is filled with all sorts of my favorite elements - nature and mechanics intertwined.
My first step was to wrap the canvas with crumpled kraft paper. And to fix all the lovely folds, I used Soft Gloss Gel.

Then I covered everything with Heavy Black Gesso. In general, I use this gesso in different stages of my projects. I cover all the subsequent layers as it's more convenient for me to create layers and add colors in stages. But of course you can do it differently and after creating yourr composition, cover it with gesso just once
and then play with adding the colors.
To add some gorgeous textured layers, I used one of my favorite tricks: 
I mixed different sizes of beads with Modeling Paste. I applied this mixture on my canvas, combining it with natural sisal fibres.

While it's all still wet, you can keep adding more beads or other embellishments you fancy. And when everything dries, you can cover it with gesso to get your surface ready for color media and paints.
When it came to choosing the colors, I used my favorite combination of Art Alchemy acrylic paints. You will find all the links in the product list below.

Spraying parts of the canvas with a little bit of water, I also added beautiful shimmering Mica Powders. They are just perfect to emphasize the texture, add delicate shine and soften the color transitions..

The final touches with Art Ingredients Micro BeadsGlass Glitter and Art Alchemy Vintage Gold Wax and my work was ready!
Please enjoy my video tutorial!

And where do your inspirations live...? :)

It's so interesting to come up with different fantasy projects, weave different materials and styles.

I feel that within me there lives a little girl who loves to invent fairy tales... :)

I hope that I inspired you to create your own mixed media fairy tale and share it with us!
xx Juliya

Products used:

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