Week 1 of MATS A (1 month later)

When I did MATS I kept a journal of my journey:

  1. to help to focus
  2. to be able to criticism my how work
  3. to put words on I how feel at the time (it felt like talking to an imaginary friend at time!)
  4. to force me to write (I am good at using a pen to drawn but not at writing) good practice for perfecting my English too (so sorry for the grammatical mistakes)

One month later I am posting about week 1 on MATS A. The subject was peppers and pyrex and we had to create a fabric collection (1 main + 2 coordinates). Here are my thoughts at the time.



Peppers & Pyrex

This one is a bit challenging for me. I never really draw food related subject. I did a series on vegetable but never got around to finish it. I also try drawing pot, pan and other kitchen utensil but again put it on hold. This time there is nowhere to hide. The first day of sketching was fantastic but at the back of my mind I always think of the main assignment. I try to find a link between the two subjects and that leads me to over think. I am trying to visualise the final piece too quick. When I draw I feel liberate. I like working with a brief and deadline because it keeps me focus and help me to create a finished piece. I notice that I seem to get quicker to produce artwork as I gain more digital skills to create pattern.

I am still struggling with choosing a colour palette that will work with the subject and be on trend. I tent to use colour that I like and that are bright.

Lately, I start using watercolour. I love it! I am still learning but practicing makes better. I just bought myself a set of 40 Caran d’Ache aquarelle pencil – never buy cheap art supply, my set of cheap 12 watercolour keep breaking when I sharpen them or even just use them. I also bought myself a set of acrylic which I tried once but I think gouache would have been a better choice. When I was young I was fascinated with painter and at the age of 8 my mother bough me magazine about famous painter and book on how to paint. At the age of 10, she enrols me in a drawing and painting course at the Museum of Montreal.  That was brilliant. Every Sunday I use to walk around in the museum trying to find inspiration surrounded by them great artists.

Another course that I use to enjoy was life model at University during my architectural diploma. This class was a 3 hour session with a 20 minutes break in the middle (for me no break). I use to come out this course sweating has it was so intense sometime. I was probably the only one in the class like that because I was so immersed and dedicated. I remember some of my fellow classmate use to dislike this class and didn’t see the purpose of it but for me this 3 hour was sacred and I was always surprise how quick the time passed. I think I like it that much because I felt liberated and I was just drawing and not thinking. I was let loose, using my finger to fade the black chalk onto the paper far from the straight line and rigidity of architecture. This is what I have been missing for years!

Taking part of them courses (MATS and ABSPD) brig back that freedom feeling in me. I am still fighting the logic side of my brain but slowly I will eventually feel free again.

-X –


Follow your instinct

Week 4 of MATS part A Assignment: Create a piece of ABSTRACT collage-style wall art for a shop like Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters for the 25–45 year old female consumer. Colours: RED & YELLOW (Oh no! I don’t like them colour together!) Wednesday After collecting different texture and object around the house and making my own mark and texture with pastel, water colour, pencil, ink pens and other I jumped stray away onto the computer. I started with different experimentations but this felt too much control. So I put my first attempt of the side and decided to start with a new approach. I needed to let go of the logic side of my brain and free myself a bit more. Start again! Wallart-ABSTRACT-1a “Now, I will try to fill one page with everything that comes to my mind using different media.” I took the challenge and started experimenting with shred colour paper and glue. I added some watercolour and scatter various shapes there and there. I made a free mess! I went to bed later that night feeling very relaxed about the assignment. step1 Thursday When I woke up the first thing that I did was to go straight to my office to see my artwork. I look at it and now I felt confuse. I didn’t like it and because use a simple sheet of paper office, there was no way to build up more with paint and adding more would turn the freedom mess into muck. I left the house and drop my kids to nursery and school and as I was walking back home I had an idea: I am going to cut my artwork into long strip and mix and match them. “I can’t wait to go home…walk faster!” step2 Even if I didn’t really like my mess, it was hard at first to let go and cut through it but after a while it was very gratifying. Some motif and texture started emerging from my stripes as I was moving them around to try to create something new. I took multiple pictures of different arrangement and uploaded them on my computer. I was very excited to see the result on the screen.  I played with the hue and saturation and I have to admit that the restricted colour palette I was giving, even if I didn’t like it at the start, was helping me to not get carry away by spending hour deciding on which colour option was the best. step3step4 I was having so much fun doing a digital mess now! Now I have to incorporate some flower and text but I don’t want to just throw them there and there without meaning something. I stepped back to look at my artwork and asked myself what emotion and feeling do I get by looking at my work? “DREAM! I am making and building a dream. Make your dream come true! Here is my quote!” I also remembered Lilla’s assignment recipe sheet mentioning who are you creating the artwork for? “I will please myself and do it for me! I will make them colours appealing for me and create something I will be very happy to hang on my wall. It is going to be very personal and a bit of a reminder of me creating art. Make it happen!” step5 I started gathering flowers from my flower bank (every time I make a sketch of a flower I scan it and add it to a Photoshop file that I named flower bank) and from new sketch that I have been working on for the assignment. I found a lovely little portrait that I made a month ago which I have been dying to use. Everything started to take shape and I felt very happy about it. “I am now done! Go to bed and tomorrow you can add the finishing touches and upload it. Wow that was quick!” Bedtime… step6 Friday I was very positive when I sat down to finish my artwork. I was feeling like I wanted to play more. I am going to am another go at this. Anyway if that second attempt fails, I am very proud to send the first one. So here I go again trying different things when EUREKA! “This could go there and this can become a dress kimono like and I can add this texture at the background…” I was unstoppable, playing, singing and making my dream come true. I love it even more than my first attempt. This new adventure was building up very fast, like if I was making a puzzle. It felt so natural, like nothing was force because I was adding and building my artwork using pieces, texture and motif that I LIKED. I even used a texture from my first digital exploration from Wednesday. I am actually very proud of the final result. From me to me!


Be yourself

MATS part A: Week 2 Home Deco

Assignment: Using paisley, make 1-4 pieces of art for a collection of ceramic plates

Be ME was this week reconnecting with my roots! What helped me going thought this hard week challenge (paisley is not my favourite motif) was to identify my strength. After 2 days doodling and challenging myself using watercolour, a specific colour palette to work with from the start (I struggle with colour and I always change) and the paisley motif I felt a bit overwhelmed. I stepped back and I decided to look at the paisley motif in a different way. I love the bohemian style and decide to use this as an inspiration. I know I like drawing birds and flowers so why not make it easy for myself and incorporate these. It has been a long time since I listen to French music (I am French Canadian or quebecoise and now live in the England) so I did a playlist and Edith Piaf no regret song save the day…non rien de rien non je ne regrette rien (if you need the translation let me know). Lesson learned: Be Me is believe, know my weakness and fear, use my strength and had a bit of your French twist into your art.


Little things that makes ME happy!

For some people buying a new hand bag is what makes them happy. There is nothing wrong with that. Everybody is different. Go for it, if it makes you happy!

What makes me happy…

  1. I like to please myself and buy pen, pastel and craft material. I can spend hour in there trying different type of pen to find the perfect one for me.
  2. I do like shopping for bargain. I enjoy going through clothes rack on sale. It feels like trying to find a treasure.
  3. I love the to go to the book store with my little princess. We can sat for hours in the children section. Even if I said to her: – Maman can only buy one book! I always come back with more.
  4. But my favourite thing that makes me bursting with excitement is taking e-course to better myself in doing what I love the most: drawing.

So last week I started the road to happiness and pleased myself with all them little treats and today the big splash out. I treated myself to something I have been dreaming of for a long time : I am taking part in MATS part A starting next week. Nothing wrong with that!!!


Writing not drawing

I set myself a goal. I am not the best writer in the world. When I take a pen it’s for drawing not for writing. It has been like that since I was a little girl. I am always scared to write and I prefer hiding behind my arts which I use to speak for me sometime. Secondly, English is not my first language. It can take me hours just to write a simple e-mail, text or post.  But, today a set myself a challenge: during bootcamp, I will try to write… sorry start again: I WILL WRITE about my progression, inspiration and final design for each month assignment…ouf this is going to be hard! So please, be kind to me, I will try my best to not make mistakes and hopefully my sentences will make sense to you.


Inspiration came to me after a lot of sketches

The brief for the mini assignment was to study plate scenic and get inspired by them. The first thing that came into my mind was the composition. Most of the scenic that I like had 3 layers: The background, the main character or focus point and an element at the front that stand out (branch, tree, flower,…). Secondly, the round shape of the plate sometime will be emphasized throughout the design or simply not. Finally, what got my attention was the scenic plate that tells a story. I like art that makes your dream and is constantly keeping your mind and your imagination ticking.

I took my pen and started sketching. I was drawn towards tree, forest and fairytale. I collected some images from Errol Le Cain and Kay Nielsen to inspire me.  For the first 10 days I kept drawing trees or landscape but I was still stuck with all these icons and individual sketches but no finished ideas.


When the second brief was revealed I found myself laughing. – How funny!  The brief was to paint a wall art on a cross section of a tree and all that time I was obsessed by drawing trees.  Still, I was drawing and painting more trees but nothing was coming out. – You can force creation but time is ticking now. So I decide to explore characters (which I try to work on during the bootcamp as this is not my strength). First a princess emerge standing with her long dress that blend into the grass. I loved this idea but I couldn’t portrait it the way as seen it in my head. – So, what if the princess was sat on the grass instead? As I was trying a different position for my character the story starts to emerge. – This is not a princess! it is Mother Nature! Mother Nature sat on the grass with animals, birds and insect around her and here come a big shy bear. – Don’t be scare! She says with the hand open toward the bear and inviting him to join them.


This first piece was the starting point for the 4 wall art collection. Then came the King of the Forest (the bear), the bird nest (I love to draw bird, they are one of my favourite subjects) and the mushrooms which I taught were a brilliant idea: just like a tree stump with mushroom that pops everywhere.


I try to challenge myself during bootcamp and drawing more character is one of my main goals. My second goal is to be able to choose colour palette in advance. I spend way too much time on that. I try before to have a set pallet to work with but I never stick to it. I will spend hour changing the hue, the contrast, warmer colour, less cold, more green, the yellow is to orangey…it never stopped! For me, this is a real challenge!

I am also a bit gutted that I didn’t try painting for this assignment has this would been a super challenge for me. I do use paint from time to time but I never did a piece from start to finish with paint. I always use paint for parts of my artwork (icon or background) and modify them digitally. So this is going to be another goal on my list. I might try to paint the bear one (simple shapes) and see where it leads me.  – Don’t be too hard on yourself, you perfectionist!

I know that I could still work more on them 4 pieces but you got to know when to stop. I will probably come back to them one day and maybe make a nice pattern with them?


First post

Testing 1-2…Voila!

Here is my first post. Flo you made it! Finally I manage to create a blog. So lets celebrate this special date. I will start with an introduction for my blog:

this is the place where I (Laurence Lavallee aka Flo) will share my love for art and architecture, my passion for drawing and painting, my addiction for pattern and illustration, my desire to stay young at hearth, my quest to become a better artist, my inspiration and aspiration and my craving for chocolate.

I solemnly promise to write at least once a month, to stay true to myself, to stay positive even when I doubt my abilities and to not be scare of writing…yes I am a bit scare!