Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Field Notes - a Few Words on Journaling on the Go...

Hi my friends!
This post was planned differently - in fact I had a collage scheduled for today, but as I've just got back from long and beautiful, soul-nourishing travel I decided to  follow that path and make a note for you about art journaling... when you are away from the comfort of your own studio or table.

For me this "art journalling on the lap" - on the train, in the hotel room, in the cafe or even on the plane is one of the most rewarding, natural and back-to-roots form of art. And I have to admit after a longer break I'm re-discovering it again. I used to do it before I moved, then the craze of my life took over... now, following the impulse I packed my "art journaling travel kit" with me and the magic happened. And you know what? I want more. And I promise myself to do more.

What was in my kit?
Not that much - especially if you keep in mind my love for texture, layers, found objects... I couldn't take my beloved rubbish boxes so I decided to focus on easy to pack and not too heavy paper scraps: old labels, book pages, images, receipts, tags - and I put in a set of my Ephemeras - Vintage Photos. Not only because they are inspirational, but they are meaningful to me too...
Then I made a basic tool set: scissors, pencil sharpener, glue stick, masking tape and some washi tapes, bunch of brushes and water brushes... and a set of pens (black and white) and pencils - I prefer soft, dark like 6B or 8B.
Art mediums and colour? I've decided to take Art Basics of course - in handy tubes: 3 kinds of gesso, Modeling Paste and Soft Gel were enough. Then for colour I picked 1 tin of Watercolor Confections (The Basics) and a basic set of watercolour pencils. As an act of extravagance I added selected colours of Water Soluble Oil Pastels from Prima, but I know I could easily work without them.
I was a bit missing black permanent inkpad and 2-3 stamps, but I survived without them and I was fine in the end.
In general it was a very refreshing, mind-stretching experience - as I keep telling my students: limiting your options is in fact very good for you from time to time!

When we arrived to our beautiful house where we were staying for couple of nights I simply took them out and left on a small table, waiting for the right moment... and the second night I felt I had to create something! I started simply making some backgrounds using paper scraps, gel and gesso, then the following night some finish pages appeared...
Here are the examples - not too bad for a limited supply, away from comfort zone moment. I enjoyed it so much.
Don't get me wrong - I love taking my time working on the journal spreads - I mentioned that a week ago posting my latest page inspired by family stories - but there is something absolutely liberating, fresh and almost surreal in this moment of creativity that just happens against all the odds, just in this moment when you can connect with your heart and should and listen to yourself.
Journal is not about being perfect or eye-pleasing - it is about being REAL. And those moments of reality are very precious to me.

Just look below - would you believe I made these? I guess it is not something you would expect to see on my blog or Instagram, but it is still, me. Somehow, these pages happened, not planned, not forced - I just had a moment of "what if..." and gave myself a chance to try. Because I wanted, and it is MY journal only. No rules, no guidelines except one: do what you want to do at this very moment and put your heart in it. 
My first thought was not to show this journal to anyone, like I did in the past, to keep it just personal, but then, after a moment I had a thought it can be in fact helpful and encouraging to some of you to see this side of my personality too. And maybe push you to be a bit more bold and relaxed about your own creativity. Remember - you create for YOURSELF first. So please, please make sure you have fun and you are trying new things, new ideas and in fact - listen to your inner voice.
I wish you all a lot of creative, blissful moments - just like ones I had last week.

Here is the content of my "Art Journaling Travel Kit" - I had a different set of washi tapes and pencils, but it was very close to listed below. I only used Oil Pastels once - so I'd be fine without them too ;)

I hope that was useful and inspiring... what is in your Travel Kit?
or... what would be in the Travel Kit of your Dreams?
huge hugs!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Dirty Bronze

Hello my Friends!
Do I have a treat for you to start the week! :)
A special Guest Post by my Brand Ambassador Louise Nelson whose creative imagination never stops amazing me. I just adore how Louise is thinking - completely outside the box; her Art always makes my own creative cogs move a little bit faster. ;)

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I have to confess that the new release Art Alchemy Waxes were so not on my ‘must get’ list when I saw them...
In fact, I struggled to think how I could possibly use them with my creative style! I am a subtle texture and pretty much a monochromatic [shades of grey] type creative, so I was ‘head over heals’ for Finnabair’s Texture pastes; [and still am] LOL. :)

I need to share this with you so that you can appreciate how wonderfully surprised I was, when I started to create and experiment with the waxes.

THEY ARE AMAZING!!!!! I SO LOVE THEM!!! Oh and I so love how they smell too. :)

As I began to play and experiment with them I thought a lot about what I like to create and how I like to emulate vintage and aged metal patinas.
So with that in mind, I played around and came up with what I like to call the ‘Dirty Bronze’ look; and I love it!

I tend not to use a lot of products, I very much like to keep the creative process simple, and as a result I tend not to use a lot of products in combination to get ‘the look’ that I want. So with this project I used just one of the waxes - a beautiful Metallique Rose Gold. It completed the look I was going for Perfectly!!!

To show you how I created the dirty bronze look I would like to share with you my Mumma, Pappa, and Baby ‘Freaky Peep’ dolls; and no, they aren’t your typical dolls...

I first began by constructing my dolls using wooden twigs, ceramic skull beads, and Halloween skeleton decorations. To form the bodies I have used Mont Marte air-dry clay. These can take about 24-48 hours to dry completely [depending on the environmental temperature].
Once they are completely dry, I seal them with Art Basics Heavy White Gesso; it is applied just using a paint brush.
To get the desired interaction of mediums I found that I need to create a smooth surface that was somewhat fluid repellent, so I then sprayed them with spray gesso.
When the gesso was dry, I literally drenched the dolls with Vintage Coal Color Bloom spray mist; then dried it quickly using a heat tool.
The final step is the application of the Metallique wax. This can be a little fiddly and take a bit of time as it requires a visual appreciation of what dirty bronze looks like.
I literally played until it looked right and after I practiced for a bit, I eventually achieved the look I wanted.
With the creative experimenting that I have been doing I found that I prefer to use very stiff bristle brushes to apply the wax, plus or minus my finger and/or a wet wipe.
The image below shows my 2 ‘go to’ brushes for applying the waxes.
I started out applying only very small amounts of wax to prominent parts of the anatomy and keeping the recessed parts dark with the mist.
You may notice that the mumma and baby doll appear a little softer and less dark, and that is on purpose - to help create the gender and generation differences.

I do hope that you have enjoyed this process share and my 'Dirty Bronze' art experiment.

Cheers and happy creating,

Here are the products I used:

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Get Ready for Art Transformations!

My Dear Friends!
I can't believe this is actually happening and that I'm sharing this news with you... :)
For a long time I was almost sure it was impossible, something really beyond my reach... but now, with the help and encouragement I got from my friends, Kasia and Jamie from Everything Art, I can really see another one of my dreams becoming a reality!

My classes are going online!

Before I give you more details about my Art Transformations series, I'd like to invite you to watch this promo video so beautifully shot by Kasia & Jamie. Enjoy!

Art Transformations by Finnabair and Everything Art from Everything Art on Vimeo.

I can't tell you how many times I was emailed, messaged and asked in person about creating an online classroom which could be open for everybody: my students who are ready for more or the ones who would like to have the techniques refreshed, mixed-media oriented artists and crafters who always wanted to join my classes, but for whom it was not possible... and last but not least -
- for mixed- media beginners who are attracted to rich, dimensional projects which happen to be my signature style, who would like to see it all, step by step, and discover products, techniques and most of all, the joy of creating.
And all that from the comfort of your own home! :)
You will be able to take some of my retired classes (tweaked and refreshed!) that were both loved by my students and that are close to my own heart too. 
And there will be even more! The never before seen exclusive classes, interviews, chats, PDFs, a friendly community to share your art, extra features, and most of all - the possibility to get and keep in touch.
I'm so excited, proud and happy to see this project finally going live....
I hope it will open the door to creativity for many of you and I can't imagine a better chance to expand my classroom and invite you all in...

For more detailed information, go right ahead to :

Everything Art Art Transformations
my first online mixed media collage class - 'Imagine'

A big dream come true...
Will I see you there? :)


Friday, 17 February 2017

Dare To Spread Your Wings

Happy Friday Everyone!
Before we give this space to lovely Sanda - it's time to reveal the winner of the first edition of our Designers' Faves challenge!
First of all, make sure you check out our facebook group gallery of some truly amazing entries sent to Marta's 'Go For The Gold' theme. It was really great to see your creativity soar. :)

My Creative Team cast their votes and the winner is...
Nadya Drozdova!

Nadya, please send us your address so you can claim your prize. Please, email:

Thank you all so much for such a warm and creative welcome of our new series of challenges
Huge thanks to all the participants for sharing your Art and we hope we'll see you soon for the second Designers' challenge February 28th! :)

And now back to our Sanda who took a magnifying glass, baby wipes, Rust Paste, paints and her incredible talent to create this breathtaking assemblage...

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Hello dear friends,
Today I’m happy to share with you a small mixed media collage/assemblage which I hold very close to my heart.

This piece is about finding the courage within our hearts to create and freely express ourselves…’s about learning and seeking inspiration continuously and everywhere...
...about believing in the power of telling our stories…
...about experiment and discovery... fear and joy... love and passion...about playing and having fun and, most importantly, about giving our creative spirit the permission to grow...
The inspiration for this canvas was a small vintage magnifying glass which I found in an antique shop a couple of months ago.
And here is the story of how that small found object metamorphosed into a beautiful dragonfly…
Below you will also find a video tutorial so you will see my step by step process. 

I started my piece on a 8 x 6 inches wooden panel by collaging one of my leftover baby wipes (I never throw them away) with 3D Matte Gel, covering the entire surface.
This is such a quick and easy way to start your project, especially for the ones of you who are intimidated by the “blank page”. Stick your painted baby wipes or paper towels there and BOOM!, your canvas is no longer white and you can start building up from there. Easy-peasy! :)
It’s also a great way of not feeling guilty of wasting your lovely paints or sprays.

Now, going back to my canvas, my next step was creating some texture by collaging pieces of Finnabair's Resist Canvas, different bits of lace and more baby wipes
To bring everything together I applied a light layer of Heavy White Gesso.
When this layer was dry, I sprinkled Mica Powder here and there and spritzed it with water. It’s so lovely how the colour moves catching the texture and gives an organic feel to the canvas.
I repeated this step, this time using diluted Rust Paste and then dried everything with the heat gun.
For more visual texture I randomly stamped the background using two Finnabair clear stamps and Art Alchemy acrylic paints and Prima oil pastels.
After drying, I mixed Modeling Paste with Texture Powder (for a gritty feel) and spread the mixture through Finn’s Harlequin stencil.
Next, I glued down fragments of an air-dry clay border using 3D Matte Gel. When everything was dry, I diluted a bit of Art Alchemy paint adding some shadowing to my clay and Modeling Paste pieces and wiped the excess with a baby wipe.
I continued painting, this time using diluted Rust Paste until I was pleased with the result and then dried everything and sponged White Gesso on top.
To paint the clay pieces I used the wonderful new Finnabair Waxes. These are just pure magic in a pot, so creamy and soft with a range of gorgeous colours!
I applied the wax with an old brush, pushing the wax into the crevices and then rubbed just the top of the clay border with a baby wipe to reveal some of the original colour.

For my focal point, I created a dragonfly using a lovely photo from Finn’s Ephemera, a rusty Mechanical Barn Star, my magnifying glass and Prima wire.
I attached all the elements using 3D Matte Gel and covered the magnifying glass with a layer of Heavy Black Gesso.
When this was dry, I painted the body of my dragonfly alternating the Rust and Patina pastes, building texture and adding colour at the same time. I also added more rust to the background.

To finish my canvas I added a few highlights with the new Art Alchemy Sparks which, I must tell you, are just spectacular, my friends!
I also stamped the words on some tissue paper that I glued down with Soft Matte Gel.
Here is my video where you can watch my creative process and see all the products I used.
Enjoy and have fun!

I hope you enjoyed and got inspired by my new project.
Feeling tempted to spread your own wings? ;)

Wishing you all a lovely day and a creative weekend! 

Products used:

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