Peony and Parakeet

Art Is Freedom

Free Spirit, a painting by Peony and Parakeet. Read more about freedom in art!

After working against deadlines and taking care of finishing touches in the recent projects, I got a strong urge to experience and express freedom. So I decided to stretch my style by painting something that would not be so detailed. No pens this time, just acrylic paints.

Freedom for the Left Brain

I always get clarity by organizing. This time, I felt I needed to re-organize my working area. I removed storage boxes from the table and picked up only those supplies I was going to use.

Organized start for a painting, by Peony and Parakeet

Notice the grouping of paint tubes! I spent a lot of time putting each in their place.

Acrylic paint palette

I carefully squeezed each tube of paint to have all the colors ready to be mixed. While doing that, I thought: “THIS is freedom!” Taking time, working slowly, isn’t that the greatest luxury?

Freedom for the Right Brain

I turned the music on. The blank canvas paper was quickly filled with muddy colors. Then I took a sponge and made long strokes. Following the music is a quick way to get the creativity going.

Painting with intuition, by Peony and Parakeet

Next, painting with fingers! No boundaries, getting messy, what a great feeling! After a while, I was ready to continue with the brushes.

Painting on its way, by Peony and Parakeet

Freedom can be experienced in many ways. This is what I often follow: Setting up the rules, then breaking them, then acceptance. In the last phase, whatever comes on canvas is okay.

A detail of an unfinished painting, by Peony and Parakeet

If I listen to music, the painting will often change as the song changes. As a teenager, I used to play the same song all over again to maintain the style of the painting (must have been an agony for the rest of the family to listen to that same song for hours!) Nowadays, it is only exciting to see what will follow when the rhythm changes.

Tips for Freedom

My tips for experiencing freedom:
1) Once you start to paint, instead of gathering all the art supplies, limit what you will use. Think: “These are the only supplies that I have.” Even if it is not true, it will make the commitment stronger.
2) Listen to the music you have not heard before. It takes you off from routines. You can also play a mixture of songs that are all different and new.
3) Observe your thoughts while painting. Those crazy ideas that you normally kill – let them live this time! Be aware that your most intuitive thoughts come up and disappear quickly. Practice self-acceptance so that you will notice them!

Free Spirit, a painting by Peony and Parakeet. Read more about freedom in art!

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26 thoughts on “Art Is Freedom

  1. Freedom is very important to me. It is a concept that I am trying to embrace in a very big way. I know that I let the ideas of what I think I am capable of undermine my work and I want to remove that from my art as quickly as is possible. So yes, freedom from self-limiting thoughts is the key to my explorations. Great post, Paivi!

    1. Thanks, Sandi! So well said, it is good to be analytical but nobody should undermine their work! I often write about this as I have been super-critical for myself in the past and it has slowed me down then!

  2. I get trapped some days when I’m tryng a new technique. Rather that letting it happen, my brain is reverting to what the artist who demonstrated that technique might think. It never goes well unless I let go and remind myself….this is MY work.

    1. Mary, I love this discussion and thanks for your great input. I think that when we create art we are very affective. We easily start to repeat what we have seen. It’s often good but if it gets too literal, it is not. In this video http://www.peonyandparakeet.com/video-blog-mix-and-match-inspiration/ I show how I often take inspiration from other people’s work. I pick colors and shapes, sometimes techniques, but I never follow them in detail and I try to keep the focus on my own work.

  3. Art IS freedom: to roam away from daily “got-to-do”s, to escape from draining emotions, to relax, to get excited by colors and marks, to loose myself for a time. I also don’t use quicker highways but instead drive on small roads untried just to see the sights. But looking at your title I also read into it that art is not art unless there is freedom involved. I agree. You said it well when you said different people choose things we don’t pick due to how they feel when viewing it or emotion that stirs them. You always say things in new ways that start me thinking and I LOVE to read your blog posts. Art is so much more than something pretty. It drives on a small road between my head and my heart.

    1. Mary, thank you! I love how you use the metaphor “driving on small roads”. You are such a brilliant writer! And yes, I do think that art requires freedom, some originality, playfulness, something that is living and not throughly controlled.

  4. I’m working on not letting “that isn’t good enough” make me start over. I’ve had some happy results when I continue and let intuition guide me. Great discussion as always.

  5. I’m glad you talked about organization because I struggle with keeping things tidy in my creative space and the clutter stops my artistic process. Also, having everything laid out beforehand gives us the freedom to act quickly on the intuitive process rather than having to hunt down that particular color or brush etc. As always, very inspiring post and a beautiful painting!!!!!

    1. Cathy, thanks! Many think that all artists are super messy but I personally like to keep the messy part inside the actual creating process. I like to think before I create and I often have my best ideas when I either walk the dogs or organize my supplies.

  6. Freedom is important in painting…but when I want to paint realistic figures, I often need to closely study the features and this limits freedom. After a few studied, I can relax, I feel I know my subject and then I can become more free and creative. With imaginative work, it is freedom all the way…freedom in forms and in colours used. I love your blog posts.

    1. June, thanks for your great comment! (Love your work btw!) I think that with realistic figures, it is important to draw sketches first. That way our mind gets to know the object better. Then, when we make the actual painting we can let go.

  7. this is lovely, I wish I could paint like this. I haven’t really practiced and tried so that is one reason I can’t! You are very inspiring, thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Jan! What I hope with all my blog posts is to inspire the readers to use their creativity in whatever they do. Pick something and let go!

  8. Thanks for your insight — I’m going to try some of your ideas, especially paint with your fingers.

  9. Hello! first I have to say; I love your work. The colours, the expression. Freedom is very important. I realize when I just let my hands and fingers go, not trying to make it beautiful, I surprise myself. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your work. I always enjoy reading it.

    1. Desiree, thank you! “Surprising myself” – so well said! I think that intuitive way of working is so exciting as you never know what comes up!

  10. Hello Paivi,
    please take a look at my mandala, i created by your wonderful inspiration. It isn´t intuitive, but i had so much fun, by doing it.
    And i deceided to begin a little blog now.
    All this happened because i found your website…. 😉
    Thank you so much for your inspirations.
    Kristina

  11. Paivi,
    What a stunning result! One question: Did you have any problem with the acrylics drying out, or was the painting done so quickly that it was not a problem.
    I’ve found that music can be an incredible inspiration–to get you started, during and after art work!
    Thank you,
    Lynne

    1. Lynne, thank you! About acrylic paints drying out: I know that many feel that acrylic paints dry too quickly and others can’t handle the waiting! I usually work very quickly, especially when I paint intuitively like here, so drying too quickly was not a problem. And as I have used to working with watercolors and waiting for them to dry, the other way around is usually not a problem either. However, if drying too quickly was a problem, there are mediums that keep the paint wet longer. Golden brand has also Open Acrylics paints that dry more slowly. I use them for mono printing with Gelli plate or a glass plate.

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