Peony and Parakeet

What Artistic Direction to Take?

Explorer's Fountain, an art journal page spread by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

This is my latest art journal spread called “Explorer’s Fountain”. Before showing how I made it, I want to ask you the question that I have been pondering.

When Is the Beginning of a New Phase?

All artists have phases. But how to know when a new one begins? Is creating a continuum or are there certain points when you make the change? Or at least began to change?

I posted this image to Peony and Parakeet’s Facebook page with the text below, and I want to share this here too:

Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet
It wasn’t that long ago when I was 5!

As children, we know what we love. I wanted to be an artist and a teacher. I wanted to write and publish books. I wanted to live with pets. When we grow up, there seem to be more possibilities, and still, they feel less. It’s not much to be a manager when you have dreamed to be an artist. This is how I have felt personally and this is why I think we should do what we have always loved. Because it feels more fulfilling than anything else.

Just recently, art has begun to feel more fulfilling and exciting than ever before. I feel I have new skills, even if I can’t fully point out what they are. I feel I have new thoughts but when I try to grab them, they seem to disappear. My mind is filled with new kind of artistic focus, and still, it’s like it has always been there, now I am just more connected to it. This makes me think that I am experiencing some kind of artistic change, moving from one phase to another.

The changing process is like a rain that starts with small drops. You can then decide whether you go back inside or get out and see what happens!

Learning from Practicing

Teaching classes have been small drops to me. As an art teacher, I see all kind of styles and seek solutions to many kinds of creative problems. I am often so excited about my students and their creations that my own art feels like a secondary thing. But while I have helped people to bring out the best of their skills and get more clarity for their creative direction, it has been a school for me too. It’s like I have got a gift from my students, being able to build my own focus in a new way. So while you have practiced, I have practiced too!

large Dylusions Creative Journal
A large Dylusions Creative Journal is almost full and a new one has been acquired.

What’s Your Ambition in Art?

I have never understood the controversy between commercial approach and artistic freedom. I think we should search for the best audience to our art and find ourselves through the process. I know most of the people disagree with this. I do understand that many great art pieces wouldn’t have been born with this mindset. But my own ambition of being an artist doesn’t mean creating world-class art and being the greatest of all. I think art as a service instead of end result only. I want to understand how people experience art and develop ways to make creating as fulfilling as possible. – What’s your ambition in art?

Triptych Approach – Create with Me!

Instead of focusing on single artworks, I look for creative concepts and processes. Just recently I got an idea of a triptych. The piece would be created with three different mediums, each taking one-third of the final piece. But this triptych would have soft edges so that it would look like a one piece despite the three distinct elements. Create this triptych with me and while creating, ponder about your artistic direction!

1) Start with Colored Pencils

Color freely with colored pencils so that you fill approximately one-third of the page.
Add few small separate colored areas too.

Pondering about artistic direction while creating an art journal page

Using Old Pencils
I use Prismacolor and Garan d’Ache Luminance pencils “officially”. For example, all the images of the e-book Coloring Freely have been colored with them. But when I am making a quick spread like this one, I often grab some odd short pencils and use them instead of the fancier ones.

2) Continue with Watercolors

Change to watercolors and paint the second third of the spread.
Try to make the transition from colored to painted areas as soft as possible.
In the end, paint an area that is separate from the main area.

Pondering about artistic direction while creating an art journal page

3) Fill the Rest with Acrylic Paints

Paint most of the remaining blank area with acrylic paint.
Add a small painted area on the right where you have colored with pencils. Acrylic paints can be used easily over colored pencils. Don’t cover too much, let every medium show!

Pondering about artistic direction while creating an art journal page

4) Finishing

Go through the whole page and fine-tune the spread with colored pencils and acrylic paints.
Add little details and nuances, don’t repaint the whole page.

Pondering about artistic direction while creating an art journal page

Here’s is my finished spread again.

Explorer's Fountain, an art journal page spread by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

5) Use Leftover Paint

If you still have some leftover paint on a palette, grab a new page and create a quick abstract!

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Here’s mine, called “House with a View”.

House with a View, an abstract art journal page using leftover paint, by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Analysing Artistic Direction

When thinking about artistic direction, it’s natural to analyze what’s good at the end result – what do you want to take from that to move forward. But it’s as important to think about the creative process and analyze that what felt good there.

After analyzing both ways, I think that my direction is this. I have always loved art history. I want it to show in my art but in a fresh way. I want to build bridges between old art created hundreds of years ago and today’s contemporary art. My latest art class Imagine Monthly already does a lot of that. But I also want to grow as an artist so that my personal expression grows stronger and so that I can reach more like-minded people with both my art and my classes.

Explorer's Fountain, an art journal page spread by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Challenge yourself to find your artistic direction
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27 thoughts on “What Artistic Direction to Take?

  1. fascinating post — a lot to think about —always love your art techniques and tutorials — am loving imagine monthly and loved inspirational drawing –hoping to take liberated artist also — I met you in 21 secrets and have been a big fan ever since —

  2. Beautiful post full of vulnerability and inspiration! I always start with colour it’s my true passion everything is secondary! Wonderful tutorial I’m going to give this a shot!

    Hugs Giggles

  3. I can’t get over the beauty of your pages! I’ve never done much in the way of abstract art, but now I am seeing so many possibilities! Your way has opened up a new door for me–thank you!

  4. I am very interested in using art to express my interest in mysticism–and I think your particular form fits this very well. Recently I was introduced to the works of the visionary artist Odilon Redon. Much of his work reminds me of yours!

    1. Yes I think that my approach that often expresses inner world instead of outer world suits well with all kind of spiritual / mental images.

  5. Päivi, I love this post because I can follow your thinking about growing and changing as an artist. I also love the triptych and will definitely try it. Thank you for your unselfish sharing with us!

  6. Great idea to stretch our creative muscles and learn to appreciate all types of mediums. This provides a safe way to practice without producing anything other than having a fun play with mediums and enjoying using them. Fantastic idea! I can’t wait to try it, over and over just to see what changes. Maybe this would be a good idea for a small handmade journal – just watching what grows from playing this way.

  7. I hung up the phone (LOL) before remembering to tell you how much I like your house with a view. I see wonderful landscapes from several windows – love your views!

  8. My favorite post of yours, I think, since I started reading you! Love the piece too!! Got to try it!!

  9. I find myself returning again and again to your art. This is surprising to me at this time in your posts because I usually find I can not relate to “modern” or abstract art. Yours are totally different! I see so many beautiful things within this piece. I will try your triptych idea and see what happens. Thanks so much for being here for us.

  10. I get so much inspiration and instruction from reading your articles and taking your classes. Love the works you produce. Thank you for continually sharing your process as well as your finished paintings.

  11. Thank you ! Your art work and insight are always so inspiring. I’m trying to turn “Making Art ” into more SELF-EXPRESSION . I wan’t to go beyond all the rules I’ve learned and move into a more creative personal expressive state in my art work. Your insight is helping me do that. I think NEW DIRECTIONS are just us evolving,and adding new information and re-mixing them with the old artistic information we have collected.

  12. I have just discovered your blog. Thank you, it is wonderful! When I was a very small child I remember being enthralled by tiny worlds – pressing my eye against the window of a matchbox car to see inside and making little scenes out of ready-to-assemble kits. And as I age I find myself coming back to detail, and the appreciation of the macro function on my camera. I don’t just want to draw the seed pod but I want to represent that space between the indentations that housed the seeds, that has those strange wiggly lines and interesting shadows. ….. I am not a very competent drawerer but I do enjoy having a go 🙂

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