There And Back Again

I am part of an artist collective called The Changeling Artist Collective. We are a group of fantasy artists from all over the world, and we do a monthly themed auction of original art on Facebook.

This September's theme is 'There And Back Again'. Tolkien is one of my all time favourite writers and I was so excited to create art for this auction. The auction will go live on Monday September 11th.

Here are three original artworks that I will have available through the auction. You can see when the event goes live if you follow The Changeling Artist Collective Facebook page.


'Galadriel'

"Her hair was lit with gold as though it had caught in a mesh the radiance of Laurelin."

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'Luthien'

"Within the shadows of her hair,
The trembling starlight of the skies.
Tinuviel the elven-fair,
Immortal maiden elven-wise."

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'River-daughter'

“Heed no nightly noises! for nothing passes door and window here save moonlight and starlight and the wind off the hill-top.”
-Goldberry

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Thank you for reading!
-Eeva

Sketchtember 2017

Happy September! I love the autumn season so much. After the hot summer, it's so wonderful when the air starts to get fresh again. There's really nothing better than a crisp autumn day and being able to wear a warm scarf and drink a cup of delicious warm coffee.

To celebrate this wonderful season, I'm participating in a sketching challenge on Instagram called #Sketchtember. My goal is to post a new sketch every day for the month of September. 

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Here are five sketches I've already done for the challenge. Most of them are autumn or Halloween themed.

I wil be posting more sketches to Instagram every day. If you don't already follow my art on Instagram, my Instagram handle is @eevanikunen.

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful autumn season!
-Eeva

How To Varnish An Oil Painting

In this blog post I'd like to share with you how to varnish an oil painting. As the oil painting dries, it loses some of the glossy effect that it had while it was still wet. So by varnishing the painting, you can get that beautiful glow back. The varnish also protects the painting and gives it a professional looking finish.

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What you need:

  • A wide brush. I use a goat hair brush which is super soft, but you can also use a synthetic brush.
  • Picture varnish such as Gamvar or Talens picture varnish. I like to use gloss varnish, but you can also get varnishes in satin or matte.
  • A clean working surface. Make sure there is no dust on the surface of your painting before you start varnishing.

Helpful tips:

  • Work in a well ventilated room.
  • Wear a face mask if you are particularly sensitive to smells.
  • Keep a pair of tweezers handy, you can pick out any pieces of dust or hair that might get on the surface of your painting while you are varnishing it.

 

In this video you can watch how I varnished my painting 'Mortimer' with gloss picture varnish.

Thank you for reading!
-Eeva


New Art On Redbubble

As an independent artist, Redbubble is an awesome site, it enables artists to create fun products of their artworks.

Here are some recent additions to my Redbubble shop. I've been really happy with the quality of their products. My favourites are the throw pillows, tote bags and pouch bags.

You can now find 'Mortimer', 'Heart Of The Night' and 'Queen Of Feathers' on many different products. Here are a few samples. Click the button below to see the full collection.

Thank you for reading!
-Eeva


Graphite Drawing Supplies

Drawing with graphite pencils is one of my favourite mediums. In this blog post I'd like to share with you the graphite pencil supplies that I use most often.

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Graphite pencils

There are a lot of differences between the quality of graphite pencils that are on the market today. There are a lot of brands to choose from. The two pencils that I've found that work best for my techniques are the Caran D'ache Grafwood pencils and the Faber-Castell 9000 series pencils. Both pencils are really high quality, you can get smooth blending with them and you can sharpen them into a fine point without worrying about breakage.

Drawing paper

The type of paper you choose to draw on has an enormous effect on the end result of you graphite pencil artwork. I really love smooth blending and fine detail, so I always choose a very smooth drawing surface when I'm drawing with graphite pencils. The two papers that I have found to work best for my techniques are Fabriano Artistico Hot Press watercolour paper and Canson Bristol paper. Both are very smooth papers. The Canson Bristol paper is a bit smoother even than the Fabriano Artistico paper, but I like using both of them for graphite.

Other tools

Other tools that I use while drawing with graphite pencils is a blender stump. With the blender stump you can smooth out areas very easily. You can buy different sizes of blender stumps to use in different areas of your drawing. To blend large areas I use a smooth piece of leather that is called a 'chamois'. The eraser I use is called a kneaded eraser. I use it to pick out highlights and add texture to the artwork. You can get these tools from most art supply stores. They are usually next to the graphite pencils.

In this video, you can watch how I drew this small portrait using graphite pencils. In this video I'm using Caran D'ache Grafwood pencils and Fabriano Artistico Hot Press Watercolour paper. I hope you enjoy watching!

Thank you for reading!
-Eeva


'Queen Of Feathers'

I'm designing two cards for an upcoming faery card game called 'Odd Fae'. It's a collaboration between fantasy artists from The Changeling Artist Collective that I'm a part of.

The symbol of my cards is 'feather', and I will have to include that element into my card design. I will be doing a card of a seelie and unseelie fairy queen.

Here is my design for the seelie court queen. I drew the original with graphite on Bristol paper. I will do an oil painting based on this same design soon.

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There are 25 signed prints available of 'Queen Of Feathers' in my shop.


Oil Painting Process

I just finished a new oil painting. It's a Halloween themed portrait of a cat named Mortimer. Autumn is my favourite season and I wanted to paint something Halloween themed to celebrate this wonderful time of year that is just around the corner.

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Here I would like to share with you a little bit of the technique I used to paint this new painting.

I started the painting by drawing the outlines of my sketch to my Belgian linen canvas board. I like using Fredrix Nature Core canvas boards. They are boards that are about 3cm thick and covered with Belgian linen. It's a very smooth surface, but it still has a little bit of texture.

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I traced the lines of my drawing with Golden fluid acrylic in Raw Umber. I did this so I wouldn't lose the lines of my sketch as I started painting.

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Next I started painting an underpainting with acrylic paints. I'm using just Raw Umber and Titanium White from Golden paints.

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My painting still looks quite rough at this point. When I felt like I had painted enough with the acrylics, I switched to oil paints. I like using Old Holland oil paints. I use Winsor&Newton Liquin fast drying medium with my oil paints to make them dry faster.

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After I had painted my two tone underpainting, I started to glaze thin layers of colours on top. I use a glazing medium that is one part bleached linseed oil, one part dammar varnish, and one part odourless turpentine.

In this video you can see the whole painting process as a time lapse. I hope you enjoy watching!

Limited edition giclée prints are available of 'Mortimer' in my shop.

Thank you for reading!
-Eeva


'Mortimer' - New Oil Painting

"This is Mortimer the cat. His favourite things are eating pumpkin spice flavoured peanut butter and marvelling at the glow of jack-o'-lanterns under the full autumn moon on chilly October nights."

Autumn is my favourite season. I love it when the trees start changing colour and the air starts to feel fresh again after the summer. I wanted to paint something autumn themed to celebrate the autumn season.

I painted the original painting with oils on Fredrix Belgian linen canvas board. The size of the original is 22x27cm (8.5"x10.5").

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I have 25 limited edition giclée prints available of 'Mortimer' on my shop.

'River-daughter - New Watercolour Painting

“Heed no nightly noises! for nothing passes door and window here save moonlight and starlight and the wind off the hill-top.”
-Goldberry

This is a new watercolour painting that I painted of Goldberry from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings book. Although Goldberry appears only briefly in the story, her character always fascinated me. I love how Tolkien described Goldberry in detail. I just recently reread the chapter 'In the House of Tom Bombadil' and I was inspired to paint this painting.

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This original framed watercolour painting is available in my Etsy shop.

WorldCon 75 Helsinki

This year the World Science Fiction Convention 'WorldCon' was held for the first time in Helsinki Finland. The convention has a long history. The first WorldCon took place in 1939 and has been held annually since 1946. The location of the convention changes every year and I was so happy that this year Finland got a chance to host a big and famous convention such as WorldCon.

The convention was held from 9th to 13th of August and it took place in a convention centre called 'Messukeskus' in Helsinki. Throughout the five days there was a lot of programming and activities including an art show that I was a part of. I had bought two panel walls to exhibit some of my original paintings. I also had prints available at the print shop area of the art show.

On Saturday I also hosted a painting workshop called 'Painting Dragons and Faeries (oil and acrylic) Painting Basics with Eeva Nikunen'. For two hours we did some painting and I talked about and demonstrated some of the basics of the oil and acrylic techniques I use. The workshop was a lot of fun and people seemed to enjoy it. I could see myself doing more workshops like this in the future.

In the art show I sold four of the seven original paintings that I had brought to the exhibition and I was lucky enough to meet some of the buyers. I'm glad to say that I'm confident the paintings are going into good homes.

WorldCon will be held in the USA again next year. But I was happy to hear that the 2019 convention will be held in Dublin Ireland. I will definitely take part in that convention because it's a relatively short plane trip away and inside the EU. That means the logistics of taking original art with me to another country to sell won't be a very difficult and expensive process.

A lot of thanks goes to so many of the volunteers of the convention for putting up such an amazing event. And a special thanks to everyone who were in charge of putting together the art exhibition.

-Thank you for reading!
-Eeva

Halloween Cat Painting Process

Autumn is my favourite season. It may be only August, but I'm already getting into that Halloween mood. I've been working on a Halloween themed cat painting that has some of my favourite things: a cat, a full autumn moon and a pumpkin patch.

I drew a sketch of the cat I wanted to paint first with ink and pencils. I used Caran D'ache Grafwood pencils and Golden High Flow acrylic ink in raw umber. 

I'm painting the cat portrait on a Belgian linen canvas board. I painted the under painting with two colours, raw umber and titanium white.

Once the underpainting was finished, I've started to glaze the colour layers on top in thin translucent layers. I've been listening to Halloween themed music while painting this cat portrait. I can't wait to share the finished painting with you soon!

Thank you for reading!
-Eeva

'Painting The Roses Red' - New Oil Painting

This past weekend I attended the biggest role playing convention here in Finland called Ropecon. I entered my new painting 'Painting The Roses Red' into the convention art exhibition. The convention goers got to vote for their favourite painting and I was so honoured to win Best In Show at the Ropecon 2017 art exhibition!

This new painting features Alice with The Cheshire Cat, March Hare and White Rabbit about to paint the Queen's roses red. The original painting was painted with oils on Belgian linen.

There are 25 limited edition signed and numbered prints available of 'Painting The Roses Red' in my shop.

'Painting The Roses Red' Giclée Print
25.00
Quantity:
Add To Cart

Thank you for reading!
-Eeva

Kitee International Art And Music Festival

From the 10th to the 19th of July I participated as one of the artists at the Kitee International Art and Music Festival. This festival takes place in the small town of Kitee in North Karelia in Finland. Kitee is the home town of the Finnish band Nightwish, and during the festival week there were many concerts honouring Nightwish's music.

I participated as one of the artists at the art show that is a part of the festival week. The art show takes place in Kitee Sali Hall and will be up until the 30th of August. The exhibition features art inspired by Finnish music and nature from artists from all over the world. Here are a couple of photos of the paintings I have on display.

During my stay in Kitee, it was wonderful to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the small town that was surrounded by beautiful nature. I only had my sketchbook with me and a few pencils, and I wanted to use my time during my trip to sketch down ideas that I could use for paintings later. Here is a collection of some of the drawings I did during my trip.

When I wasn't sketching, I enjoyed walking around Kitee and exploring the beautiful nature. There is a big lake next to the town of Kitee, and I got to witness this magical sunset on the first night of my stay there.

On one night, I stayed up until 3.30am to witness the sunrise at Kitee lake. Here is a photo of the lake at 2am, where the moon casts a reflection on the still water, and the sun never went completely down and it coloured the horizon.

And here is the sunrise at 3.30am. I can say that this scenery was worth staying up for.

One of the highlights of my trip to Kitee was meeting my favourite artist Tuomas Holopainen. He is the creator of the Finnish band Nightwish. Nightwish's music and lyrics have inspired my art greatly. I got to tell Tuomas how the honesty of Nightwish's music gives other artists the courage to create their own art.

And here is a group photo of all the singers and artists who attended the 2017 event. I hope I can be a part of this amazing event next year as well!

You can find more about Kitee International Art and Music Festival on their website.

Thank you for reading!
-Eeva

'Heart Of The Night' - New Oil Painting

Here is a new oil painting I just finished for an upcoming gallery show where the theme is Finnish music and nature. The name of the painting is 'Heart of the Night' and it features a girl with her little owl friend. I really enjoy painting scenes that take place at night and I especially love painting starry skies.

I painted this painting on Belgian linen with oils. The painting started as a two tone underpainting and I glazed the colour layers on top.

If you would like to own a print of 'Heart of the Night', 25 limited edition giclée prints are now available in my shop. I ship worldwide.

'Heart Of The Night' Giclée Print
25.00
Quantity:
Add To Cart

Thank you for reading!
-Eeva

'Lady Siniy' - New Limited Edition Print

'Lady Siniy' is an oil painting that I was inspired to paint after a trip I made to the museums in St Petersburg Russia. I was so inspired by the collections of portrait paintings at the Hermitage museum and the glittering jewels I saw at the Faberge museum. In this painting, a lady is wearing some very precious blue jewellery.

'Siniy' means 'blue' in Russian, so in English she could be called Lady Blue or perhaps Lady Sapphire.

'Lady Siniy' is available as a limited edition glossy photo print in my shop.

'Lady Siniy' Giclée Print
25.00
Quantity:
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A Look Inside The Sketchbook

In my previous blog post I talked about how buying a new Derwent sketchbook has really inspired me to do more sketching. I've never considered myself to be particularly good at sketching, and I feel that posting these almost daily sketches has pushed me to get over the idea that everything you draw has to be rendered and beautiful before you can show it to anyone.

I'm not a fast drawer, and often I would like to spend hours on one sketch so I can render it, but I try to remind myself that the whole idea of sketching is to just put down ideas you have in your head on paper, so you can refer to those ideas later. So here are some of the most recent sketches from my sketchbook.


This is an idea I have for a portrait of a pirate. I love parrots, so I thought it would be fun to include some cute parrots into this painting idea. One of the parrots is even wearing a little pirate hat.

For this sketch, I was in a kind of tropical mood and wanted to draw something that had some tiki elements in it. I ended up with a drawing of a lovely mermaid on a tiki island. I can't wait to turn this idea into a painting.

I bought some new Daniel Smith watercolours, and I drew this sketch pretty much to just quickly test one of the colours that is called 'Moonglow'. The sketchbook I have is not meant for watercolour, so I'll have to test the Daniel Smith paints on proper watercolour paper soon.

This was a sketch I drew one evening, I had this idea of Cinderella looking out a window.

I haven't really ever painted anything Egyptian related, although I really like the imagery of ancient Egypt. I had this idea of a portrait of Cleopatra. This is painting idea I am also looking forward to painting soon.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these sketches and thank you for reading!
-Eeva

Sketching New Ideas

I recently bought a new sketchbook. I was going on a trip and I knew that I wasn't going to be able to paint during my travels, but I still wanted to make sure that I created some new art every day. I bought an A4 size (letter size) sketchbook from Derwent and having this book with me every day has really inspired me to do more sketching, which is great.

Because I paint with oil paints, creating a new painting is quite a slow process, and a sketchbook is a great way to put down those ideas that you have in your head that you know you won't have time to start painting immediately.

Here are a few recent sketches from my sketchbook, I wrote a few words about each sketch, I hope you'll enjoy seeing them.


The Little Mermaid

In May there's an art challenge on Instagram called #Mermay. I've seen a lot of artists post amazing mermaid drawings for this challenge. I wanted to take part with this Little Mermaid sketch. In the sketch she is holding a sea shell. I'm hoping to turn this idea into a painting very soon.

Pumpkin Patch

I love all things Halloween. Pumpkins in particular are close to my heart. So I sketched this idea for a Halloween themed painting. I'm kind of fond of that pumpkin headed scarecrow in the background.

Rapunzel

I'm planning a series of fairytale themed paintings. This is my take on Rapunzel. I'm kind of obsessed with beautiful fairytale dresses and I thought Rapunzel would look amazing in a pink dress with flowers.

Pirate Treasure

Ever since I saw the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie I've loved pirate adventures. I wanted to draw a sketch of two pirates with their pirate treasure. I'm hoping to paint a pirate themed painting soon.

Red Riding Hood

Here is another fairytale themed sketch. When I turn this into a painting, I'm thinking of adding a wolf to the painting too.

Jasmine Flowers

I love the scent of Jasmine flowers and this sketch was inspired by those beautiful white flowers.

Roses and Butterflies

This is a sketch of a little fairy surrounded by roses and butterflies.

Snow White and The Poison Apple

This is an idea that I've already started painting in oils. It's a portrait of one of my favourite fairytale princesses with her red poison apple. I'm currently in the stage of painting the underpainting for this, I can't wait to start adding colour layers to the painting.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these sketches. Thank you for reading!
-Eeva

Pattern Design - 'Song Of Summer'

'Song Of Summer' is the newest pattern in the series of pattern designs that I'm currently creating. I painted the original paintings with watercolour and combined them into a repeat pattern in Photoshop.

I love birds and I wanted to create a design that had birds sitting in a tree full of flowers and berries.

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I painted the originals on hot press watercolour paper with Schmincke and Van Gogh watercolour paints.

The 'Song Of Summer' pattern design is currently available on items in my Redbubble shop. You can view the items on Redbubble by clicking the thumbnail images below.

Thank you for reading!
-Eeva

Pattern Design - 'Starlight Garden'

I've been designing new repeat patterns lately. Here is the second in the series of flower patterns that I have been working on. The pattern is called 'Starlight Garden'. I painted the original painting with watercolour on hot press watercolour paper, and I scanned the image and created the repeat pattern in Photoshop.

The idea for the 'Starlight Garden' pattern design started on a page of my watercolour sketchbook. I wanted to create a design that had blue flowers and stars in it. I drew the finished design on a sheet of hot press watercolour paper using water soluble pencils.

I finished the design by painting with watercolour over the pencil lines.

I'm currently offering the 'Starlight Garden' pattern design on products in my Redbubble shop. You can view the items on Redbubble by clicking the thumbnail images below.

Thank you for reading!
-Eeva

Pattern Design - 'Secret Garden'

Pattern design and especially antique wallpaper designs have always fascinated me. And I've always wanted to design my own collection of pattern designs.

Here is the first in a collection of floral pattern designs that I'm working on. This pattern is called 'Secret Garden'. In this blog post, I'll share how I created this design with watercolour.

The idea for the 'Secret Garden' pattern design started on a page of my sketchbook. I doodled a design with watercolour. I knew I wanted to create a pattern that had red and blue flowers.

Next I decided to make a clean drawing based on the rough watercolour sketch. I drew the design on hot press watercolour paper with water soluble pencils.

I painted the design with watercolour over my initial lines. The good thing about water soluble pencils is that the pencil lines disappear once you start painting over it with watercolour.

And here is the finished 'Secret Garden' watercolour painting. I scanned the painting on to my computer and created the repeat pattern in Photoshop. I chose a dark blue colour for the background colour of this design.

'Secret Garden' is now available on Redbubble! Here are some of the items that I have added to the Redbubble shop. You can view the items on Redbubble by clicking the thumbnail images.

Thank you for reading!
-Eeva