Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Frosty trees and bird voices

I'm sitting at home, relaxing, eating chocolate and enjoying the presents Santa gave me.. Christmas wasn't very white, but we had lovely time with the family anyway.

These pictures are from the day of winter solstice. There were some snow still left and the trees were beautifully covered with hoarfrost. I made a little picnic in the nature with some hot juice in thermos bottle.

Squirrel's tracks in the snow. I've never seen ones that are so clear with nails and all..

Afterwards we amused ourselves with listening some bird voices with Sami the dog. I found my father's old series of cassettes "The birds in Finland". I only recognized a few of them by voice, but Sami seemed to be more kowledgeable.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Skinny Christmas

I made my first skinny today! Wanted to take part in this lovely Skinny Saturday challenge with the christmas/hanger/red&gold -theme. Scanned image doesn't show the gold properly, but I hope you get the idea. (This is probably a good moment to make a wish for Santa: I want a new camera, a good one!)

Merry Christmas for everyone!

Saturday, 15 December 2007


Food was the theme of Hiekkaoliivi's Saturday Surprise challenge this week. I found this big bowl of cherries from a magazine and got instantly hungry. I had to settle for dried cranberries, but the boys in my atc are gonna have a feast.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Christmas cards

So here they finally are, ready for sending. I really haven't posted any pictures of my crafts for a long time, so I wanted to show these. Even if there's the risk of someone seeing them too early.. I mean someone who's gonna receive one of my cards.

But oh boy, I had so much fun making them.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Jewels in the darkness

It's been raining the last couple of days. All the snow is gone, days are dark and going out is very depressing. Right now there's absolutely no feeling of christmas, or even winter for that matter! So today I've stayed inside the house drinking tea in candle light and watching The Jewel in the Crown from tv.

Well, to be honest, I have made some christmas crafts today. I even wrapped some gifts! But the main project is getting the christmas cards done in time. I'm quite late with them this year. I'm planning on using some vintage photos and scrap papers in the cards, but they are still in progress...

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Crafting plans

I've been so busy with work that I haven't had time for crafting, and thats pretty sad. But I have all kinds of plans, and I even ordered some lovely new papers from Paperikierre. You see..

...can't wait to get my hands on these beauties. Well, if I bare to cut them at all! Maybe I'll just look at them and dream. Would that be a bit pathetic...

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Awesome Assemblage

I just read a wonderful book called "Pöytä kahdelle -ikkunan ääreltä" (Table for two -by the window) unfortunately it's not yet translated to other languages. Anna Kortelainen, an art historian and her husband Hannu Mäkelä, a writer, share their favorite art pieces and thoughts about them. First of all, it's an inspiring book about how you can form a very intimate relationship with an art piece, even if it hangs on a museum wall and is seen by hundreds of people every day. Secondly, there were some extremely interesting pieces, like these assemblages by Joseph Cornell.

Here's some more of Cornells work
and here are links to some other wonderful assemblage artists of today:
Dale Copeland
Frank Turek
Anu Tuominen
just to mention a few..

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Sense of snow

Traces in a fresh snow make me want to play sherlock holmes. Which animal left them? Or shoe prints... what kind of sneakers did he/she wear, did he run or walk slowly, and where did he go? What a delicious mystery to think about during an ordinary walk on a grey and damp sunday.

Someone was getting slightly bored while I took pictures of every single trace on the ground. He preferred sniffing them.

Monday, 5 November 2007

November downs

Oh, the dark november days... wish I could just stay in bed. It's nice to wait for christmas though and light candles in the evenings. I've been listening to PJ Harvey's new album White Chalk. It's beautiful but quite melancholic for this time of the year.

Things I've been doing to amuse myself after work:
-playing mahjong in internet (I'm really hooked on this)
-drinking lots of tea
-knitting colorful socks
-reading crime novels in bed (a macabre way to get amused)
-taking long baths

I should be doing art and crafts! But right now I'm too lazy. Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Socks rock

Knitting socks... that's what I've been doing. I absolutely love this multicolor striped yarn, you get a pair of striped socks ready in no time. It's maybe even too easy, and there's not too many choices to make with the color combinations. But on the other hand, then you can just concentrate on the pure joy of knitting without having to think too hard. That's fun!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Diary of dreams

I've kept a lot of diaries, but somehow they all end before the last page. Well, is it a bad thing even? I don't know. A certain period of life comes to an end and so does a diary. Then there are times when I don't keep any record of my life what so ever.
My art journal project has started very slowly. I got a little frustrated because my cheap note book has so crappy pages that I can't use much paint on them. That is a serious limit. So I just had to order a real moleskine!!

Two years ago I kept a dream diary quite actively. I wrote down my dreams almost every morning, if I was able to remember them. Sometimes I made quick drawings to get all the ridiculous details before I'd forget them. This is one of those drawings, a hotel with three very small rooms and a luxus room with four doors. Very interesting dream it was.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Illustration Friday: Grow

Faithful Gardener, a mixed media collage on canvas.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Northern elegies

Anna Ahmatova has always been one of my favourite poets. Maybe it's the slavic melancholy that fascinates me, especially now in the darkening autumn nights.

I studied russian for two years a while ago, then it paused because of my other busies, or should I just honestly say because of my lazyness. At first I was quite ambitious and even bought a book of Ahmatova's poems in russian... thought I could easily read it. It's never too late to continue the russian studies though, but in the mean time I'll settle for the finnish translations of these poems.

Four years ago I visited St.Petersburg and made a great find in a local second hand book store: A simple cardboard folder with a dozen of pictures of Anna Ahmatova in it. They are prints of photographs and drawings from different artists. She looks very soulful and intellectual with her famous aristocratic nose. The brown borders aren't very pretty, but I just try to live with them.

Here's an interesting link to the Fountain House Museum in St.Petersburg. Ahmatova lived there many years and the house itself has many stories to tell...

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Memories hanging

Finally I got my art pieces hanging on the gallery walls. What a relief. Now that I have more free time on my hands again, I'm gonna start an art journal, knit new socks, maybe even make some christmas cards already... and listen to some more of Thurston Moore's wonderful new album, Trees Outside the Academy. I just looove it!

These works are made of old book pages and covers, image transfers of old photos (some of these persons are related to me, others are totally unknown.. forgotten). More photos of my works can be seen on my Flickr page.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007


Here are two spreads of my little stories. I've used old books and made image transfers of old photos on them, then painted with gesso and various pencils. It's interesting to combine old texts and pictures that actually have no real connections... When I put them together, they start to form new stories. These two are involved in a love story, but it's not completely ready yet.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007


The weather has been wonderful lately. Trees look beautiful and I'd like to spend all my time wandering in the nature. But I can't... too much work. It's a terrible excuse, but true. I have five collages under work, and they must be ready in two weeks. Well, I should get back to them now... bye!

Monday, 17 September 2007

Foxy lady

I was working on a collaboration calendar project a while ago. Actually I wasn't very pleased how the final calendar came out, there wasn't enough money to print it on quality materials and I had no saying on that. But anyway I had so much fun doing these illustrations for it.

I cut dozens of foxes out of orange paper and made them brighten up the blue and gray autumn months. The first one is September and the other is November.

Friday, 14 September 2007


M A_McElman_070716_2488 R I

This was fun! You can try it too here.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Autumn in ATC:s

Once again I took part in Hiekkaoliivi's ATC swap. I'm slowly but surely getting hooked on these... So, here are my autumn themed cards I sent to Sari:

and here is what I got from Jaana:

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Biscuits for breakfast

Last couple of days have been a whirlwind. Getting the art courses going, worrying about them at nights, making sure nothing has been forgotten... I hope it'll settle down a bit next week. This morning started with coffee and biscuits. I've been neglecting the grocery shoppings this week. Fortunately I had these bosnian vanilla biscuits in my closet, a souvenir from my trip to Montenegro. They tasted yummy.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Inspiration lost and found

I teach art courses in open college, four evenings a week. My students are a mixture of beginners and advanced. It's sometimes difficult to find a common interest for everyone. The beginners are always enthusiastic, they are so open to all new information and tips, their creativity is bloomig. But it seems to me that some of the advanced students loose their spirit quite quickly. After painting for three years or so, they think it's a done deal.. nothing more to learn. They get frustrated if they can't learn to paint like Rembrandt (it might be the teacher's fault of course) and they are not interested in trying anything new.

What I'm really wondering about here is the meaning of inspiration. You can teach people all kinds of techniques of art, but you can't give them the inspiration unless they're open to it. It's very surprising to notice that those people who say they can't draw or paint, often turn out to be more creative than those who count too much on the technique itself. Technique without spirit and heart is empty and hollow.

Well, I'm also kind of worried about my own teaching abilities. This is a temporary job for me and I should concentrate on more traditional styles and methods, not like the ones I'm working on with my own art. But you must always learn and grow. We'll see how this goes.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Lanterns for autumn nights

It's been raining for two days. The summer is definitely over and so are the lazy days when I was just thrifting and searching for inspiration. I should really get on with my work now, the duties are piling up.

Here are some unfinished collages I've been working with for a while. They are getting ready slowly but surely. Well... they'll have to be ready in five weeks, when I have a small exhibition. Making collages is like wave movement, sometimes all the parts click together very fast, and sometimes you just need to let it rest. Usually a little pressure is good though. If I did'n have any deadlines, I'd get nothing done.

This is my "Physalis alkekengi". I think it's called Chinese lantern plant or winter cherry. Anyway I like it a lot, it really brightens up my balkony.

I actually like autumn..
soon the trees will be full of colors, nights are getting darker and I can light candles. I just wish it wouldn't rain so much. It's not funny to get soaking wet every time I ride my bike. And I do that a lot because I don't have a car! Maybe I need to buy a nice colorful raincoat that'll make me smile every time I wear it.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Oh boy!

This cute fellow is my parents' new puppy. He's a handsome little Tibetan Spaniel. So now, instead of doing my collage projects, I'm just gonna have to go to my parents house for the weekend and play with this adorable creature.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Saturday, 4 August 2007

ATC swap with birdies

I took part in Hiekkaoliivi's ATC swap for the first time. The theme was birds. I sent these four cards:

...and I received these beauties:

They are from Jansky, Ansku, Anne S. and Elina. Thank you for everyone! Kiitos!

Friday, 3 August 2007

Loveliness from the mailbox

I got these beautiful handmade goodies from Ellene today. I'm actually wearing the necklace right now. It's an altered domino and the dots are on the other side. I love it!

Sorry for the unsharp photo, my camera has very poor zooming qualities.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Image transfers - always learning more

I've been working on image transfers for some time now, and I must say that internet has been the greatest source of information on that subject. Still, you can't learn all the tricks by just reading instructions, you have to try. And that's what I've been doing - a lot! To be honest, I haven't been too happy with the results until I tried using inkjet transparencies, inspired by this. Here's three test pieces:

1. I applied gesso to the book page just to get some whiteness on the background. After it was dry I applied gel medium on the page, then placed the image on it and rubbed. Finally I just pulled off the transparency and the image was succesfully transferred.

With the next two images, I used only gesso to transfer the image, not gel medium at all! It worked quite as well.

2. I applied a thick layer of gesso on the page and while it was still wet, I placed the image on it, rubbed and pulled off.

3. I used less gesso, placed the image on the page and rubbed only the center area to get more fragile-looking edges.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Look what I've got!

Once again, I found lovely old books from flea market. I paid 0,65€ for these five novels altogether! My plan is to use them in my artwork, but now that I look at them piled up on my table, looking so pretty and vintage... maybe I'll just leave them alone, we'll see about that.

These cute little brooches I purchased from Boqinana's Etsy store. Isn't it just the best part of a day, when you find a nice parcel from your mailbox? I love the feeling!

Friday, 20 July 2007

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Crafty season continues

The ripple blanket is growing nicely, and now it's got a brand new partner: a craft bag! I really needed a bag to carry my unfinished crafts from one room to another or to the balcony or the beach... or wherever I wanna do my knittings or crochetings. And now my yarns and sticks for current projects stay neatly in one place.

I used heavy linen, that I had saved for oil painting surface, but which had stayed unused in closet for many years. The Stitch'n bitch image is from Debbie Stoller's fantastic book . I scanned it, printed on textile transfer paper and ironed it onto white cotton.

At this point, the blanket still fits in the bag...

"Revolutionizing the knitting circle". That's right sister!

Ripple blanket is 130 cm wide and appr. 90 cm long now. So it's not meant to cover the whole bed. Well, a single bed maybe..

P.S. The dark stripe looks almost black in these photos, but it's actually chocolate brown. Just a little detail, but wanted to mention it.