maanantai 14. heinäkuuta 2014

Featured artist of July: Aida Castellano from GoblinsandFairys

Hello blogging friends :)

It's time for the July's interview. Our featured artist of July is Aida Castellano. I'm very exited especially since she is the first doll-artist in this series of interviews.
I've seen Aida's dolls in Etsy many times and I love how all her creatures and characters have very different personalities.

Please tell us about yourself and what kind of artist you are?

Hello Everybody! My name is Angela but I sign myself as Aida. I was born in Genoa (Italy) in 1984. I'm a scene painter, set and costume designer. I remember that already when I was a child, I went to my mother and said to her: "I need to create something but I don't know what". I still remember that sensation. It was so frustrating because the need was so big and I was not able to find the right way to express myself. I'm a multifaceted artist and I'm able to use many techniques and many materials, probably this is why, when I was a child, I was not always fulfill using just pencils, tempera or modeling clay. 

How did you started your artistic career?

Work in the theater was really great, you are always stimulated, and at any experience you can learn something new from others. It was really helpful for upgrading my artistic skills.

I still remember the exact moment when I decided to create my first fairy
The sister of my boyfriend at that time, was teaching in decoupage course, I was sitting at the same table and I was working some puppets for the theater play. I still remember the amount of appreciation that came for my work. She was speaking with her students how much she loved collecting fairies. Christmas was coming... and the fairy was done!

Of course most people would have thought of buying one of those classic fairies in resin. The problem is that I never liked them!
I love fairies and elves, I also bought several of them, but I am very picky and selective, I thought I could do something better and create something truly unique. I've always seen those reproductions too much cold, without care and attention. I decided to work with the details, to make her warm, alive!
Over time I created other fairies, elves and other characters of the little people always tried to keep them as much as possible linked to nature, with elegant and floral dresses and earth colors. I know that is one of the things that  many of my customers appreciate..

The Idea of selling them was born during a trip to Ireland, the land of Sidhe, where the little people live. Several shops showed interest on my work and there came the first orders. Following the success I moved to Ireland where I lived for two years. From Ireland I started the business on Etsy and started to collaborate with some of the pagan shops and introducing new products in my shop.

You can say that the name of the store was born itself.
For many it might seem that there is a spelling mistake, but it's not. The inspiration comes from a text:
"a song sung dismally by a ghost" from "What d'ye call it: A Treagi-Comi-Pastoral France" by Mr.Gay - Volume 3 The world of Fairys, in addition, unlike "Fairies" or "Faeries" more common and used, also with search engines.

What are the things that inspire you? do you have message in your art?

For me creating these objects really has something magical and I feel that when I'm creating them that I'm in an enchanted forest  in perfect harmony. I think that each object is the most beautiful and unique of it's kind, the antagonist of mass production and to disposable. Trough them I want to bring the pleasure of that forest in to your home. Also as a stage and costume designer, I think that each object, as well as being well designed and aesthetically beautiful, it must be especially well done.

As an artist I look for inspiration and innovation, something unspeakable and unexpected, that can give emotions.
I work a lot on the details, because I know that they are what makes them so special. There  is a great culture about fairies and I love to follow it. Especially if linked to the Celtic culture. In all my puppets you will find a lot of little details that will remind you something about the legend of Celtic divinity. They always have something more of what you can see at the first moment and they perfectly reflect their nature. You will have the one that brings luck to your life (Leprechauns) , or strength (like Werewolves), happiness and protection (like Fairies) or bit of zest (like Spriggans or Goblins).

I can't say what makes me to create, I just have a need to create. I can see something interesting and I get lot's of ideas to my mind, like if the fairies come to whisper my ears how they want to be created. My dream is to be able to work one day for some big animation company. "Labyrinth" and the "dark Chrystal" movies have always been great sources of inspiration.

Any advice for starting artists?

Never stop experimenting, increase your cultural awareness, be curious and investigate all that surrounds you. Do not be afraid of being judged for your eccentricities and do not let the opinions of other hinder you. Do not loose your heart of failure, it's always a one step more in your "personal luggage".
Let your mind flow and be open to inspiration, don't miss your path and be focused on your goals.

Thank you so much Aida for this great interview. After reading your thoughts I'm very eager to try doll making myself. You're great inspiration to us all!

Here you can find more about Aida's dolls and her projects:

perjantai 4. heinäkuuta 2014

What makes a pig and other artistic ramblings

"What makes a pig"

Morning blogging friends :)

As I promised on my last post here are some of my latest creations.

I thought it was a fun theme but I had problems to decide what to come up with it.
Then I remembered my old drawing called "what makes a cat". It's a technique that helps the artist to approach the subject.

Basically you chop the subject into little pieces and then you make tons of variations with it. 
This is extremely good especially when you're deciding what kind of characters you wish to create.

All these things makes a pig :)

-curly tail
-pointy ears
-small eyes
- Snout
- skin shades peach/orange/pink

I'm keeping a book binding course in the end of July.

Here are some examples of books I've done using Coptic stitch.
Now I have 6 pieces of book covers drying and waiting to be bidden.

What is your favorite?
I might add some of them to my Etsy -shop also.

I link all these to Paint Party Friday. Be shore to check all the talented artists there.

I'm of for a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong cycling trip today. 25 km there and back again.
Wish me luck

Much love light and creativity

torstai 26. kesäkuuta 2014

Show and tell

"Mist maiden"

Hello blogging friends!!!

I hope you all are doing great. I've been busy with the art exhibition and making new products to my etsy-shop. I shall add pics of my new creations on my next post.

It's show and tell week on Inspiration avenue.  I submit these artworks to Paint Party Friday also.
Above you can see my latest painting called "Mist maiden". She was born from finish mythology.
"Utuneito" (mist maiden) is a ghostly character that lives in the ponds and lakes. On misty days you can see her dancing and singing above the water.

I love how the painting came out. Lately I've been doing lot's of paintings with wet-on-wet technique.

"Far far away"

This unicorn I created just for the art exhibition. Title comes from a Blackmore's Night song "Far far away".

"M is for Mahandra"

Last but not least my newest addition to my Fairy-Monogramm - series. 
M is for Mahandra.

I'm working with N right now :) Soon they are all done wohoo!! and I can start a new project :)))

It's international Pride-week this week!!

I just saw "Some like it hot" again :)
Do you remember these lines from the fabulous film?

"Osgood! We can't get married at all"
"Why not?"
"Well.. in a first place I'm not a natural blonde"
"It doesn't matter"
"I smoke I smoke all the time"
"I don't care"
"I have a terrible past. For three years I've been living with a saxophone player"
"I forgive you"
"I can never have children"
"We can adopt some"
"You don't understand Osgood... I'm a man"
"Well ... nobody's perfect"

-Some like it hot

Gay Marriages aren't still allowed in Finland (we are so behind from all the rest of Scandinavian countries)

but I believe that things are going to change soon.

Much love and light

lauantai 14. kesäkuuta 2014

Featured artist of June: Renee Lavoie

Please introduce yourself. Who you are and what kind of artist you are?

I am a self-taught artist currently working out of home studio in Killingworth, CT. Happily marriend and I have 13 year old son and two fur kids.

I have always been artistic since as far back as I can remember I've had a pencil in my hand. I have always loved fantasy art. It was a safe place for me to temporarily escape the real world and create anything without rules or restrictions.

"Eira" (c) Renee Lavoie

How did you started your artistc career/hobby? What are your artistic dreams?

I first started my career painting furniture and it was fun but not what I truly wanted to do. So I began drawing and painting fairies. Looking back on my creations I can't believe how far I've come but still far from where I want to be. I am absolutely my own worst critic.

"Frustration" (c) Renee Lavoie

"Shona Fae" (c) Niina Niskanen

What are things that inspire you to create? Do you have message in your art?

I am inspired by life experiences and people that have come into my life some of which have departed this world way too soon. I have vivid colorful dreams that often inspire my work and music. When I listen to music it floods my mind with so many ideas.
 I have panic and anxiety so I notice when I'm feeling trapped or anxious I tend to paint webs in my work
or eyes that drip color.

"Touched by the sun" (c) Renee Lavoie

Any advice and tips for starting artists?

My advice to starting artists would be to stay true to your style, don't compare yourself to other artists, and don't give up on your dreams!

Thank you Renee for this great interview and sharing your gorgeous paintings.
You can find Renee's artworks on these on-line shops and galleries:

If you enjoyed reading this interview be shore to check these past interviews:


I've been a guest blogger in a great animal blog Pawsitively Pets. is now published on the blog. I tell my experiences on that how animals can give great artistic inspiration and creative boost to your life.
You can read it here :)

Special thanks for the blog owner Ann :) She has lot's of good tips to all those who have furry friends.

Much love and light


keskiviikko 11. kesäkuuta 2014

Moonbird and the sundoll - my new art exhibition

"Moonbird/ silver moon berries" (c) Niina Niskanen

Hello Blogging friends!!

What a busy time I've had lately. Last week my old schoolmate Katri asked if I'd like to keep an art exhibition in her new handcraft shop. Of course I said yes. 

So on tuesday we made the agreement. On Wednesday and Thursday I was searching frames and created few new paintings. On Friday I was hammering  nails to the walls and on Sunday pretty much everything was on it's place.

Monday (two days ago as I'm writing this) was the opening.

Fastest art exhibition building process I've ever been in.

Exhibition takes place in an old fisher hut in the pier of Oulu just next to the market place.

I have 15 original paintings on sale plus postcards, prints and jewelries made from my artworks. 

"Moonbird and the sundoll"
(c) Niina Niskanen

My exhibition is upstairs. Downstairs Katri has her lovely Venka&Vinka shop. She makes all kinds of accesories from bottleclips and from old bikewheel rubber (very enviroment friendly). 
In upstairs there is also lovely woodworks from woodsoul. 

My artworks are in good company. 
Exhibition lasts 'till July 30th

Since I was so unsuspected to all this to happen I had to come up with exhibition theme quick.
Since many of my artworks are quite narrative and peoples mind get sometimes lost when they look at them (in a good way)  I started to think finish myths about forest blanket. 
It's a state you might end up if you walk in a familiar forest suddenly forest might turn completely strange. You can see mermaids in the ponds, berries are silvery and there is sun that looks like a nesting doll :)

I thought the idea was fun. 

Here is my "Forest blanket" -painting on progress. Completed wet-on-wet.

And then on the wall. The one on the right was one of the mountain paintings I did last year on my trip to Croatia :)

I link these to Paint Party Friday
and to the inspiration avenue - where this week's theme is Juicy and my "Moonbird and the sundoll" painting has some veeery juicy colors + I'm on a fruit diet (meaning that whenever I want chocolate or icecream this summer I force myself to eat only fruits....(but I've given myself to eat ice cream if temperature goes to  +30 celsius)

sunnuntai 1. kesäkuuta 2014


Hello blogging friends!!

Witch conjuring a spell accompanied with her cat familiar :)

My challenge works are late as usual I was the host this week on inspiration avenue and the theme I chose was "spells and magic".
As it happens "forbidden magic" is the theme in June monthly fantasy art auction -group in fb. So this one might go there as well :)

Lately I've been doing painting different kinds of natural materials such as stones, feathers and pine corns.
You can find these two paintings above listed on my etsy-shop.

I link all the artworks to Illustration friday and Paint Party Friday

I'm off to summer cabin for few days. Hopefully I have bunch of new ideas and sketches when I'll come back.

Love and light

sunnuntai 25. toukokuuta 2014

Sand in my toes

Hello blogging friends!!

Yesterday I had great time on the beach.
Lately when I've been cycling all over city and towns I always look for water. Whether it is lakes, seas or streams. There is something very soothing.

Sand in my toes... not so much on my sketchbook :)

Little doodling I did inspired by Inspiration avenue theme "Birds and flowers".
I added some floral stamps to this drawing also :) (click image to make it larger).

I have some brand new prints added to my Etsy-shop.

Today I woke up on a heavy rain. 
My "Rain dance" illustration is quite fitting.

Here is "Dragon's visit". I painted this one for my illustration portfolio. It was originally inspired by one of master Tolkien's poems.

The dragon lay on the cherry trees
a-simmering and a-dreaming:
Green was he, and the blossom white,
and the yellow sun gleaming.
He came from the land of Finis-Terre,
where dragons live, and the moon shines
on high white fountains.
- J.R.R.Tolkien

I submit these to Paint party friday :)

Love and light