Monday, January 3, 2011

I Feel A Phase Coming On..

I found this beautiful project packet over at my all time FAVOURITE folk artist' web site - Jo Sonja Jansen

It's making me feel the tingle in my fingers, the itching to pick up a paint brush, the yearing to squeeze out all those yummy colours from the multitude of paint tubes lying in my cupboards.

I learned to paint what I call Folk Art (but others may know it as tole painting, decorative painting, etc) about 21 years ago.
I was first drawn to it when I saw an article in a magazine here in Australia.
The story was about a woman who decided to rediscover her Scandinavian roots, and took up the Norwegian form of folk art, known as Rosemaling.

The image in the article was of a pair of skis that she had painted in this style.  I was immediately drawn to the simplicity and beauty of the design -  simple, flowing strokes and scrolls in warm, yet vibrant colours, against a dark background.

I signed up for class and off I went.

Folk Art painting really took off in Australia, and around the world.  I eventually became a teacher and published books, but I couldn't help thinking that we over the years, we were losing something by swapping the original simplicity for more complicated and clever designs and techniques.

Things must change over the years, but for me, everytime I saw work like that in the Jo Sonja image, I yearned to get back to the original simplicity.

Don't get me wrong - I love to paint rose bouquets and garden scenes etc. but it is the accessibility of simple folk art painting that I keep coming back to.  Anyone can pick up a brush, practice some strokes, and with a few basics under their belt - away they go!

Like crochet, or knitting, the action of the strokework can be therapeutic in effect. 
I would often just doodle away on paper, not meant for any other purpose, other than to satisfy my desire to have brush in hand, and feel the motion of paint and brush on a surface.

For those of us involved in creative pursuits, I think we do it for the roughly the same reasons, whatever the craft.

We love the colour and the ability to make our own colour choices. 
We love the tactile quality, be it wool, thread, paint or fabric.

And we love the freedom to create a world around us that communicates to others how we feel and what we love.



  1. Go ahead...start a new project...but just make sure you finish it!!! Now let's see, I do believe you are the one that said you started to feel guilty until you saw that I had way more unfinished projects than you. So prove it! Let's see your UFO's!


  2. Im working on it... lol.
    Working up the courage to get the camera and the projects together.


  3. This is such a beautiful sentiment that I think many can agree with. We loose the simplicity of the work when we start to add things and change things - which is not a bad thing, it just makes it more complicated.

    I think the Jo Sonja style of painting that you show here is amazing. It's so simple, no extra details or too much realism, but is still an example of a lovely picture that makes you think you could paint it yourself.

    I need more paintings in my room, mum, so go ahead, pick up your paint brush again :)

  4. By the way, I really love the picture that looks like it's in pastels of the bird and the spray of roses. It's roughness and lack of realism makes it more idealistic and emotive.


  5. 'And we love the freedom to create a world around us that communicates to others how we feel and what we love.'
    That just sums it up Fi!
    I do sooooo love this art.I cannot paint but love to admire this
    Heather x

  6. Heather,
    Its not that you 'cannot' paint, but merely that you havent learnt 'how' yet....


  7. Love the photos and you do lovely art!
    I've tried my hand at painting, I'm not all that good at it. I did do a collage lately that turned out wonderful ~ the woman I took the class from calls it 'paper painting'. She's been doing it for a long time and when I looked at her work from a distance, I thought it was a painting! loved my end result and want to do more!
    I have a few UFO's to finish up. Part of a group of women who are endeavoring to do that very thing this year!

  8. Gosh, I just went and had a look at the link and it's just stunning work. So intricate and delicate looking! I'll be very interested to see what you come up with! :)



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