11Jan Creating a word of the year artwork

Hi lovelies,

This year as I was filling out the workbooks I decided I wanted to do one of the extension activities in it…

to make an artwork for my Word of the Year.

I’ve done this before a couple of times before when I’ve been called.

2009: Faith artwork


“Faith” was my word of the year in 2009. Me & Sone (who, co-incidentally enough our new Operations Manager) did our paintings together. A year later, I gave birth to a little girl.

I created this as a multi-media artwork.

I took a long thin canvas, glued a bunch of tissue paper and fabric on it to give it texture. I then painted it with acrylic paints, added a bunch of stamping and gold stickers, and tore out gold leaf-esque paper to form the letters for “Faith.”

It now hangs in my daughter’s room, which makes me smile.

2012: FUN! artwork


In 2012, my word of the year was FUN and I made a big Eric-Carle esque painting to put above the kitchen sink to remind me.

I had a piece of old board that I’d found (under the 100+ year old house we had bought from my grandmother). I painted it roughly with white paint so some of the texture showed through. Then I cut out the letters from paper I had painted with different colours.

2015: Thrive artwork

thrive painting

This year I decided to do another painting to hang in my office. It’s so helpful to have a big painting to remind me of my word of the year.

My word for the year this year is THRIVE.

It was also my year for 2015, and I feel like my journey with it is not over yet.

I’ve learned a lot about thriving, and I want to settle more deeply into it.

Now we are settled in Canberra, my deepest intention is for me and all members of my lil family to be thriving.

Spiral Line

How I made it!

I decided I wanted to make a mixed media artwork with a photograph as a base.

I thought about some photographs I had, and thought about how this photo Chris took of me a few years ago felt like a really beautiful embodiment of “THRIVE”.

Here’s the original photograph:

IMG_0269 copy

I knew I would print it in black and white, so I opened it Adobe Photoshop, and converted it to black and white and played around with the contrasts until it looked great in black and white. I also cropped it to centre better.

I ordered it as an engineering print from Officeworks – they call them the more generic “black and white posters” there. It was only about $8 for a big A1 sized print.

It ended up looking like this:

black and white background

Then I used some Sennelier Shellac ink in a couple of blue tones to wash the background in with a wide brush and plenty of water.

I flicked on some less watered down ink, and held the paper up to let the excess painting dribble down the painting.

splash colour

Once it was dry I used acrylic paint to hand letter my word of the year on it.

It now hangs in my office next to my favourite birthday gift from last year:

the pink unicorn head that whinnies and makes sparkly noises when you walk past it. HAHAHAHA!

(I bought it for $15 from Kmart. BEST.DOLLARS.SPENT.EVER.)


“Pinky Sparkly Unicorn” (as Mermaid Daughter #1 calls him) is wearing around his neck a silk khata – a ceremonial scarf blessed by monks that Sone was given when she was trekking in Tibet. She gifted it on to me for my birthday and it made me tear up.

Anywaysies… I’m thrilled with how it turned out.

And while Chris was taking photos of me in the studio, I got him to photograph me at my desk as well.


There’s artwork in there by: me, Lori Portka, Tangerine Meg, SARK, Janet Lloyd, Suzy Toronto, and Michelle Andrews.

Obviously, I love quite a lot of colour surrounding me as I work!

I’m excited too… as a reward for myself for meeting our revenue goals this year, I’ve just ordered a treadmill desk. I will report back in and let you know how it goes!

Hope this has inspired you to keep diving into your Shining Year workbooks, coming up with your own theme for the year and maybe even making your own artwork as a celebration and reminder of your theme!

I’m inspired to do more large-scale paintings this year... I’ve done hundreds of pieces of small artworks in the past few years… it would be lovely to get back into some bigger acrylic paintings as a “just for fun, just for me” creative side project. I do love a good creative side project… it keeps me inspired and invigorated!

Lots of love from my creative heart to yours,

leonieinstudio SML

P.S. Just as an FYI: our stocks are starting to run low on 2016 Shining Year workbooks. We definitely won’t have printed supplies for much longer. If you’re keen to get yours, do it now, love. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on this opportunity to craft a beautiful life or biz for yourself this year. We’ve only got one gorgeous life to live… might as well live it in full colour. ORDER YOURS NOW.



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