maanantai 23. helmikuuta 2015

Creatures from the forest

Hello blogging friends!

I have some great news. Back in last August- September I applied to few universities in UK to study illustrating and just recently I found out that I was accepted to one of the schools. 
I still look forward to hear from the rest of the schools as well before making the decision but now it is for shore that I'm moving in the end of the summer.

I'm very exited about this opportunity to get a BA-degree on illustrating.

Lately I've continued with illustrating characters and stories from Finnish mythology.

"Forest dance"
watercolor and felt tipped pens
(c) Niina Niskanen

Dancing girl in the middle is nature sprite called Tellervo. She is daughter of the forest god Tapio and nature/animal goddess Mielikki. 

Tellervo is known of her special connection with animals and her wild and free spirit. She is also sometimes called as "child of the forest".

Here she is dancing with her animal friends.

"Birth of the cat"
Watercolors and acrylics on acid free watercolor paper
(c) Niina Niskanen

Birth of the cat according to ancient Finnish mythology and folklore.

"I know of the cats origin
the incubation of Greybeard
The cat was gotten on a stove
as a girls nose
a hares head
a tail of "Hiisi's plait of hair"
claws of a viper
a tail of snakes venom
Feet of cloud berries
the rest of it's body
is of the wolf's race"

Greybeard (halliparta) is known as a Finnish nature sprite, an elf-like creature (in common Finnish  known as "tonttu").

Hiisi has many meanings it can be an old worshiping place (stone, natural circle, a small hill ect.) '
It can also be a giant or 
an ancient nature god or both.

Greybeard  goes to the 29faces challenge being first one with total imaginary face :)

also going to Teemakuu and Paint party Friday

Thank you for stopping by

sunnuntai 22. helmikuuta 2015

Featured Artist Interview of February: Maat Silk

"Egyptian collection"
(c) Maat Silk

Hello blogging friends!

February's featured artist is great artist and a lovely person Maisie aka Maat Silk.
I adore Maisie's beautiful, imaginative designs and colorful palette.

Tell us about yourself. Who you are and what kind of artist you are?

I am an English artist based in Southern Spain. I am primarily a pattern designer (although I do work in different styles as well). I work mostly in watercolor, designing and painting patterns as works of art and I also hand paint my designs onto limited edition sets of silk scarves and cushions. I have as well recently begun to print and use my designs on other products, such as gift cards, writing sets and fabric.

The patterns I design are often not a repeating sort, which you might find on wrapping paper for instance, but are contained within a boarder and always radiate out of the center. I will draw abstract shapes and swirls to design a pattern, but I also love using objects. I am designing at the moment a pattern based on the movie Frozen, using snowflakes, a crown and other objects and design elements from the film. Thi si more for fun than for sale but I love figuring out which objects to use and planning  how to display them in the pattern and how they would look best. I have done several custom orders like this, making one of a kind pattern paintings from peoples' favorite movie, book or even cherished memory. They tell me the objects and I do the rest.

Another aspect I bring into my pattern designs is writing, particularly the silk scarves where I always write a narrative piece of writing to accompany them. Trying to explain this is harder, but I'll give it a shot. For me, painting on silk and for that matter all my work is art and more. It's thought, an idea, a feeling, and most importantly is a story. Words accompany me as I design and paint the patterns. They are part of it all. The colors and design blend in my mind and an idea forms: an image, a place, a time. Why? I'm not sure but the narrative writing that accompanies each scarf is as important to me as the colors themselves. It's the setting and completes the scene. So each set of scarves tells a story, often  with a beginning, middle, and an end.

"Along the Nile"
Silk scarf
(c) Maat Silk

"Arizona evening"
Silk cushion
(c) Maat Silk

How did you get started in your artistic hobby/career?

I've always had a thing of drawing patterns and color, bright, cheerful colors. I am always doodling shapes, swirls, lines, circles, and various shapes of all kinds. I drew every night, usually whilst watching a film and soon I had several large sketch books full of these coloured patterns. Then one birthday I was bought a set of silk paints, and well, the rest just happened. Although not very smoothly! It took me many experiments and really horrid looking scarves before I came up with one I was happy with. With those scarves I open an Etsy shop and I am now constantly finding new products and ways to express my style.

What are things that inspire you?

I am inspired by everything: art, fashion, the natural world, book, films. As I live in the countryside, nature is very important and plants, especially flowers often end up in my designs. Ancient history is one of my largest inspirations. I love the art of Minoan Crete, Egypt, China, Greece and Celtic Britain. I only have loot at a book full of Minoan temples or Egyptian tombs and I am reaching for my sketch book. And of course movies and books.

Do you have message in your art?

I've never really thought about a message and I have never meant to put one in. I think if there was any message in my art I would want it to be happiness. Bright colours are happy. I feel happy when drawing and creating so happiness would be my art's message.

Silk scarves
(c) Maat Silk

Do you have any tips for aspiring artists?

It seems so strange to be answering a question like this when I still read tips from other artists. Based on my experience I would say the best advice to give anyway is practice. Practice and practice. You will make progress, even if you can't see it. I only have to look ate my sketches from last year to see how much I've improved (well hopefully :)). Another tip would be find your own style, I know this can be very difficult, particularly as the world is full of wonderful art. I think that an artist's individual style come from within them. So I've found that the best way to find your own style, is to try and forget about everything you've seen on the web etc. and look within you and find what you love drawing, what comes naturally and what makes you happy.

"The Ball"
Silk scarf
(c) Maat Silk

"The Minions"
20 x 20
(c) Maat Silk

Where can we find your works?

Thank you so much Maisie for this interview! Lot's of ideas and success for you

Love and Light

maanantai 16. helmikuuta 2015

Magical Faces

I took part on Sketchfest at the weekend and I finished two sketches to sketchbook.

"Elf Maiden"
Colored pencils and graphite
(c) Niina Niskanen

charcoal, colored pencils and graphite
(c) Niina Niskanen

Goddess of love, passions and beauty

Drawing soundtrack:
Medieval Babes: Return of the birds

Thank you for stopping by
Love and Light

sunnuntai 8. helmikuuta 2015

Self-portraits as a mermaid

Hello blogging world

Last summer I did sketches from my face and now I decided to finish them. I also
spent lot's of time at the beach and water so these turned out to be:

"Self-portraits as a mermaid"

"Self-portrait as a mermaid part 1"

"Self-portraits as a mermaid part 2"

They are both in my "Mermaid art journal"

I decided to join 29faces challenge will start with these self-portraits :)

                                                Submitted to Teemakuu  29faces and Paint Party Friday

perjantai 30. tammikuuta 2015

Blue dusk and heart of winter

Hello blogging friends

I hope everyone are doing great. 

This weeks Inspiration Avenue - challenge is to answer question
 "what winter means to you"

Living in a country where it snows 5 months in a year I'd say for me winter means rest.
Nature sleeps and wakes up in the spring. I myself need much more sleep in the winter months also :)

Finns have a special word for the time just before the night falls - sininen hämärä - the blue dusk

Silent beauty of nature. Snow get's blue like the sky.

Beside rest and beautiful nature winter means colors for me.

Lately I've tried to work with limited color palette.

Little kitty in the shades of blue pink and violet.

Colors also give energy so I've also done some very colorful art.

Abstract art in my artjournal:

This is a WIP of my newest acrylic painting on canvas.

There will be mermaids and sea creatures.

Winter is also great time for relaxing crafts like painting candle jars.
My collection is like a rainbow soon.

Artworks submitted to paint party Friday and IA

Love and light

maanantai 26. tammikuuta 2015

Featured Artist of January 2015 : Monika Holloway

"Unicorn Magic"
(c) Monika Holloway
coloured pencil and PanPastel on Stonehenge paper, 

Hello blogging world :)

It's time for the first featured artists interview of 2015. 
This time I'm interviewing greatly talented Monika Holloway.

Tell us about yourself. Who you are and what kind of artist you are?

I'm self-taught fantasy & fairy artist based in the UK. I work mainly with watercolors and colored pencils but I love exploring new mediums. I recently started incorporating acrylics into my work and I'm also learning how to paint with oils.  There is so much to learn and so little time...

I love creating whimsical fantasy worlds and filling them with creatures who inhibit these places - fairies- unicorns - mermaids and elves. I also enjoy painting fantasy/surreal portraits and landscapes - they are great fun.

I'm also a violinist, an avid book lover and a mother of three very cute but also very demanding children. They are my biggest fans and harshest critics at the same time.

"Dreams take flight"
(c) Monika Holloway
watercolor and colored pencils on illustration board
11,5 x 14,5

"The Sorceress"
Watercolor, colored pencil and acrylics on illustration board
11,5 x 14,5 (c) 
Monika Holloway

How did you started your artistic hobby/career? 

I first started painting about four years ago after discovering fantasy art, literally stumbling across it. I quickly became fascinated and inspired by existing work of some of the fantasy artists. Seeing all that magic they create I decided to learn how to paint with watercolors  and it just took off from there. In less than a year I was already selling my work trough Facebook and Etsy and I never looked back - art has become not only my passion but also a profession. I feel like I'm rediscovering myself trough art, like I've finally found my voice.

"Hidden Treasure"
Watercolor and colored pencils on illustration board
11,5 x 14,5
(c) Monika Holloway

"Mermaid's treasure"
watercolor on illustration board
11,5 x 14,5
(c) Monika Holloway

What are things that inspire you?

My biggest inspiration is and always will be nature. Nothing can measure up to the beauty of this world we live in, there is no question about that. We humans aren't the best part of it and perhaps that's the reason I prefer to paint and draw fairies, mermaids and all kinds of fantastical creatures. I struggle to find beauty in humans but I believe we can find peace and redeem ourselves trough love - and that also means love and respects for nature because we would mean nothing without it.

Do you have message in your art?

It's a difficult question. Every artwork I create bears a different message. Sometimes hidden within the title of the painting, sometimes within the way I portray my characters/settings. I enjoy using symbols in my art. I just drop them there and let the viewer find them and make their own interpretation.

"Winter Rose"
watercolor and colored pencils on illustration board
11,5 x 14,5
(c) Monika Holloway

Do you tips for aspiring artists?

Only one: never give up. Every single one of us gets told "No" many, many times along the way but we must never give up or let it affect us. I'm still at the stage where I hear "No" a lot more often than "Yes" but I strongly believe we must never loose focus and forget what we've set off to do - creating art is a journey and if that's what we love, if that's what sings in our hearts then no amount of rejection will change that. Sure people will try to knock us down, sure we will doubt ourselves plenty of times along the way. But if you are an artist, you'll quickly get used to that. Trick is to pick yourself up and carry on learning, discovering and creating. Let the rejection motivate you to become even more fabulous.

Where can we find your works?

You can also find me on Twitter @monikaholloway

Many thanks to Monika for taking part of this series of interviews and sharing your beautiful artworks and stories behind them.

Much love and light

keskiviikko 14. tammikuuta 2015

Creative Tuesday: Something New

Creative Tuesday - challenge theme is to illustrate a word for 2015.
Something to inspire and motivate.

I guess my biggest problem overall is lack of focus. I tend to start new things with enthusiasm but soon get fed up, so focus will be my word for 2015.
This year I'll focus more on everything what I'm working or doing.

For those who asked about this sketchbook. It's really simple to make. Shroo has great tutorials in her blog.

Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate all the comments.
 I do my best to visit all the blogs that take time visiting mine.

Love light and inspiration