1. Let me introduce you to Lalyblue -- aka "Laly Mille".
So, I’m Laly, I’m a French mixed media artist and I live in France in the Loire Valley near the city of Tours.
2. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always been creative, with a special love for drawing, writing and storytelling. But it has taken me quite a while to realize that I wanted to be an artist, that my deepest, most authentic self actually IS an artist. I did take drawing classes as a teenager, and I’ve always seen my mom with a paintbrush in her hand, but I was not raised to consider it as anything other than a hobby. Neither was she, until she discovered her true artistic voice about 6 years ago and finally dared to call herself an artist… (here is her blog by the way, she does awesome abstract acrylic paintings: www.ackane.com) So I guess that seeing her take her art seriously changed my perspective. And I started to listen to my own whispers, to the voice of this little girl inside of me who was craving for art so badly. She whispered, she spoke, she tugged at my sleeves and then she started singing at the top of her voice! And I listened. But it took some time before I finally found what I wanted to do. Art in France is spelt with a capital A, and to me it appeared like a very elitist, cold, adult world. I knew that was not the playground I needed! But then, out of nowhere (or not…) I discovered mixed media. And I bought Kelly Rae Roberts “Taking Flight” book, (www.kellyraeroberts.com/book), which was an absolute turning point in my life: it led me to start my very first painting, and then another, and then I never looked back! That was a little over 2 years ago…
3. What are your fears? How have you faced them? Or your plans of how you plan to tackle your fears.
When I connect to this inner child, this inner artist, this inner little fairy, I have no fears, I’ve always believed in magic… But when I start thinking like my adult self, that’s when fears appear. Fear of not being taken seriously in my country where mixed media is little known. Fear of not being able to make any money and having to go back to a regular job, and not having enough time to work on my art and be available for my husband and my kids, you know, all these tapes… But thankfully I’ve got enough fairy dust in my pockets for now!
4. What makes you different…unique from others?
This is a difficult question! I have not painted for very long and it will probably take me some more time to figure it all out. But I think that my art expresses subtle, deep emotions, and a sense of wonder and fragility. And above all, it tells stories. Every painting has many clues hidden in it, a sort of “lexical field” that tells a story if you pay attention, if you look beyond first impressions. My paintings are often pretty large too, which allows me to work with lots of layers, textures and many details.
You can see most of my work on my blog: www.lalyblue.com and I have very recently opened my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/lalyblue. I also have a facebook page on which I share some of my art and some of my process. www.facebook.com/Lalyblue and zazzle store at http://www.zazzle.com/lalyblue
Laly, I personally ordered some of your beautiful and colorful notecards from your Etsy shop. They're so pretty they may never get sent out to anyone...I hate to part with them! I love them. LOL
5. Any secrets to reveal about the tools you use or your techniques? Tips or tricks?
I think most of my techniques are similar to those of many other artists, but I combine them in my own special way! One of the things I love to do is to write all over a painting when it’s almost finished… playful and risky! Most of the time I use a “white out” correction fluid pen and write whatever the painting is telling me at that moment, very spontaneously and fast… and with that kind of pen there’s no turning back! Another little secret is that I have always found and collected 4 leaves clovers. So when a painting is almost finished, I always incorporate one into it. I like to think of it as a way to bless the work before releasing it into the world and letting it have its own life. And I wish that the blessing extends to those who will see it and to the person who will one day welcome it into their life…
6. What are your goals and inspirations?
I am now committed to taking my artistic calling seriously. So I really wish that I will be able not only to keep making art but also to sell it, maybe even license it some day! And the world of mixed media – not only the techniques but above all the spirit of it – has given me so much joy that I really wish I will be able to make it better known in my own country. I am aware that I am very lucky to speak and understand English, which has given me access to so many great resources! I would love to have the opportunity of writing a book some day, maybe in both languages!
7. Where is your creative space or studio?
In summer, when it’s warm and there’s enough light, I often paint in my garage/basement with the door wide open. And the rest of the time (especially now that my basement is flooded…) I make the most of my kitchen table. But we have plans to turn our little attic into a real studio very soon.
8.How much time do you devote to your work?
I lost my day-job 2 months ago, which has blessed me with the gift of time! Now I can fully concentrate on painting and working on the “business” side of the creative life. These days I am working a lot on my blog, my Etsy boutique, my facebook page, which is time consuming but exciting too! So I am not painting as much as I would wish yet, this is new territory and I know I’ll soon find a way to be better organized. But from the moment my husband takes the kids to school in the morning to 4:30 pm when I take them home, I hardly take a break!
9. What are your “whispers” or callings begging you to do?
My “whispers” are telling me to work as much as possible on putting my art out there, which is not what I’m most comfortable with! I want to submit applications to some mixed media magazines, although we don’t have those in France, I want to work on a book project, and I definitely need to try and exhibit my art again!
About the Flying Lessons e-course I took: I had been reading Kelly Rae’s blog from time to time since I bought her book in 2010, so I knew about the e-course (although I didn’t really know what an e-course was). When I got her newsletter saying that it would be the last time she would be offering it, I didn’t even think and instantly enrolled. It is definitely one of the top 10 best decisions of my life! The timing was perfect, I had just done my very first exhibition, together with my mom, at the community center where I used to work. I knew I would soon be unemployed and was trying hard to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. And I felt awfully lonely in the French art world and was craving connection with like-minded creative people (a huge bonus I had no idea the e-course would bring!)
10. Do you keep a daily journal or sketchbook, or write in a diary?
Although I’ve always loved to write, I’ve never in my life been able to keep a diary. But last summer I started Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way and started doing my 3 daily “morning pages”. With the e-course I haven’t been able to keep doing them regularly but I really want to start over, this is such a powerful process.
11. How do you market yourself?
I have just opened my Etsy shop and have only listed originals so far, but I hope that I will soon be able to offer prints and greeting cards. I also have a blog and a facebook page. And I manage them all in French and English, which takes time. I haven’t approached any French galleries yet, the French art world being makes me a little shy… but I know I should try to push past this fear because I might be surprised!
12. What type of music (if any) do you listen to when you create?
I often paint in silence, or singing in my head. But when I put music on it’s often Alanis Morissette, her lyrics always find an echo deep within me. Her latest album speaks of the challenge of being a mom and an artist, of empathy, of fear… Love it. I also like to listen to quieter stuff like Loreena McKennitt, gypsy music, irish trad etc.
13. Who is your favorite artist?
I don’t have one favorite artist but some of my favorite mixed media artists are Stephanie Lee, Bridgette Guerzon Mills, Misty Mawn and of course Kelly Rae Roberts! I also really look up to Seth Apter and his energy in putting creative souls together. And if we go back in time, my favorite artistic movement was the Preraphaelites. Their paintings really tell stories, plus these guys were rebels!
14. Are you encouraged to follow your creative path by your family or friends?
Yes, I am so blessed in this regard! My mom is an artist, so we can share experiences, go to exhibitions together when I visit etc. And above all my husband/prince charming is supporting me 100%. He is a creative soul too (his thing is dancing, although he also has a regular job) so he understands me. We try to find a balance so that we can both live our passion. I think this is a very important thing to teach our kids.
15. How do come up with titles for your artwork?
It depends, sometimes the title is here from the beginning, sometimes it emerges along the way, and recently I also got my fellow flyers doing a little brainstorming for me!
16. Do you work on one project at a time ..or have several going on at a time?
Most of the time I have several, but I only work on one in a painting session. My paintings are often quite big so I can work on an area while another one dries!
Thank you Joan for this opportunity! This has been fun and I hope your readers will like it!
Thank You, Laly for allowing me to be the first to interview you. It is a pleasure to get know you, and enjoy seeing some of your beautifully creative artwork. As I mentioned earlier in the interview, I own a few of your gorgeous note cards that I ordered from your Etsy Shop..I love
Best of luck to you with your art.
Best of luck to you with your art.
Thank you again, Joan
I owned an art school in Charlotte, NC for 16 years before moving to Jacksonville, FL., so it thrills me when a classroom full of students, given one assignment, produces such a variety of ideas. …We are all unique, we are all special. We all have a different path, a different way of approaching our art. That is exactly why I want to do these interviews, to celebrate what makes us, US!
If you are reading the Soaring to Success Interviews and would like an opportunity to be interviewed and published on my blog, please contact me to be considered. Thank you for participating : )
Joan Carver (e) firstname.lastname@example.org 904-230-6155