Birch Forest Spring

Birch Forest Spring || Watercolor and cut paper collage || by marion

One of the things I love most about living in Scandinavia is the strong contrast between seasons. But even from week to week, nature keeps changing drastically. When I started thinking about making a spring version of my birch forest, the things that came to my mind were these little flowers and tender green birch leaves. In reality, they come several weeks apart (and perhaps not exactly in the same spots); but what’s the point of making art if you can’t play with the rules of nature?

spring flowers

As for the fall version, I painted the foreground birches, birds, flowers and leaves on a separate piece of paper before cutting them and gluing them onto the background.

Cut paper pieces || spring flowers || by marion

Cotton paper is wonderful to paint on. I enjoyed playing with successive layers of paint and letting the transparency of watercolors do its magic.

The making of the birch forest ||cut paper and watercolor || by marion

This time I tried adding some extra leaves on the forest floor. I’m not sure it adds any interest though. I also prefer the way the shadows of the trees look on the fall version.

I think I’ll make the summer version next. Winter will require a bit more research: there’s a lot of white to think about!

But this week I’m taking a little break from birds and trees to work on some greeting cards designs. What about you? I hope you have a great week!


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Birch Forest Song: the final painting

Birch Forest Song || Watercolor and cut paper collage || by marion

And here is the final piece!

When I showed the preliminary drawing to the friend who commissioned the piece, she said that she liked the new composition, but that she would prefer it without the leaves on the forest floor. Instead, she suggested using little touches of color to represent the carpet of leaves.

I was happy to do so. I also decided to add some yellow foliage in the background, since the top part looked too empty.

I painted the black and white birches, the leaves and the bird on separate pieces of paper before cutting them and gluing them onto the background.

And finally, I painted some drop shadows which were a great improvement since they really added some depth.

I’m quite happy with the result. But most importantly, this was a super interesting and fun project to work on. My friend was great at giving me constructive feedback along the process (and very patient, too!). It really helped me to improve the piece and learn tons of new skills.



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Birch Forest Song : A Drawing In Progress

Birch Forest Song || Drawing process 04 || by marion

This week, I finally finished the Birch Forest Song painting/collage I was working on for a friend. Yay!

While it makes its way to her mailbox, here is a pencil drawing version I made to test a different composition after this attempt.

And here are some (bad) photos I took during the process:
Birch Forest Song || Drawing process 01 || by marion

Birch Forest Song || Drawing process 02 || by marion

Birch Forest Song || Drawing process 03 || by marion



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Birch Forest Song : A Painting In Progress

Birch forest song // watercolor and cut paper collage // by marion

While everything is green and blooming around me, I am working on some autumn leaves. A friend asked me if I could paint something for her, and of course I was thrilled. Thanks, friend! Her wishes were : yellow and orange.

We made a shared pinterest board to gather inspiration and after a little brainstorming, ended up with the idea of an autumn leaves pattern, a little robin, yellow, orange, brown and gray tones.

It seems that my brain transformed “autumn leaves pattern” into “birch forest”. Don’t ask me why. (It might have something to do with Sweden).

birch forest, västerbotten, sweden
So, this is the first study I made. As usual I used a combination of watercolor and cut paper collage.


The composition is too flat, and the background doesn’t have enough texture.

But since then I’ve made progress, so stay tuned!



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A Bike Ride

bike shadow

bumpy road sign

forest sweden


forest long exposure

västerbotten spring landscape




wild geese

The snow and ice are gone, and I went for a ride. Raced through the forest, stopped to listen to the silence. Heard birds. Smelled newly cut trees. Heard water running. Smelled moss and wet earth. Saw wild geese in the fields. Felt sun and wind on my skin. It felt good.

more glimpses of life


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7:30 pm


{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
{Inspired by SouleMama}

other moments


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garden status

I’ve been inside sewing all day. There’s been rain, and sun, and hail, and sun – and a nice little garden stroll before dinner.

birds-smallThe roommates seem to be doing well.

radish-box-smallSoon, we’ll harvest the first ruccola and radishes – hopefully.

tomato-smallIt looks like this one will stay in there a little longer. We’re expecting near-freezing temperatures tonight.

seedlings-smallhold on, guys!