Create Internal Seascapes!

Stormy Scenery by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her mini-course for creating internal seascapes!

This is my latest mini-course for Imagine Monthly. It’s last of the six mini-courses of the spring season. The theme, a stormy sea, is so expressive that I included a special mental coaching session for each step in the video.

Inspiration for Seascapes

My main inspiration for the course came from the two famous painters: Joseph Mallord William Turner and Ivan Aivazovsky, both masters of expressing storm and water. I also studied contemporary artists, one of which is from my home country, a Finnish painter Petri Ala-Maunus.

A painting by Petri Ala-Maunus at Kiasma, Finland

One of his masterpieces can be seen at Kiasma, which is a museum of contemporary art in Helsinki. Just went there a few weeks ago and will again, the main reason is just this gorgeous painting!

For me, Petri Ala-Maunus’s work is an internal landscape. It’s like a view to the inner world with valleys and mountains, seas and storms, ready to be explored and seen again and again. I would like to see a painting like this on the evening of a rough day and then again in the morning, to get my energy flowing.

So, aren’t powerful seascapes a perfect theme for creating art journal spreads? See my Pinterest board Internal Seascapes for more inspiration!

Art journals with stormy seascapes by Peony and Parakeet

My Versions of Internal Seascapes

I made the first version before recording the process in the video. I am also talking about the details of this one on the mini-course.

Stormy Scenery by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her mini-course for creating internal seascapes!

The next one is the mixed media painting that I create in the course video. It has six steps, and it’s very easy to start! I also explain how to get connected with your emotions when creating the painting. The mindset changes, as the painting progresses. This way you will get the expressive and layered result in the end. The mini-course also gives a lot of guidance on how to finish your work.

Stormy Scenery by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her mini-course for creating internal seascapes!

Imagine Monthly – From Fine Art to Art Journaling

The community of Imagine Monthly has meant a lot to me this spring. A few years ago, I really missed talking about fine arts and how to apply them to art journaling and mixed media. It feels amazing that I have now found so many like-minded people through my classes. So this last mini-course of Imagine Monthly is partly my gift for the participants. I have put my truly best effort to make the best class possible. It also has a longer video, 45 minutes instead of the regular 30 minutes.

Paivi from Peony and Parakeet with her seascape paintings

Create Internal Seascapes!
Imagine Monthly Spring is over, but you can buy it as a self-study class! >> Buy Imagine Monthly Spring Bundle
Stormy Scenery is also available as an individual mini-course! >> Buy Stormy Scenery

Art of Making the Most of the Ugliest

Digital art and a video story by Peony and Parakeet

This is a surprising video story about a continuous creative journey and about the art of making. If you are interested in reusing your art or creating digital art from your handmade pieces, this video is especially for you. (You might have seen some of the work shown here if you have liked Peony and Parakeet at Facebook.)

From Quilting to Digital Art – A Video

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How to Know when Your Artwork is Finished?

Healing Power, a finished artwork by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

This is my latest painting called “Healing Power”. Painting this piece was so much fun so I decided to work with acrylics on a canvas. I’ll show you the main phases of creating this painting while giving my view on how to know when the artwork is finished.

Finished Artwork? – How to Analyze?

I have heard many bits of advice on how to decide when your artwork is finished. The worst is: “When you feel like it is”. Often you are just tired, fed up and that’s not a good point to finish. Take a break instead, sleep overnight and then continue!

Then there are more technical approaches like this one including infographics or based on historical studies and interviewing artists like this one. But as my students usually want to bring more content and self-expression to their art I have composed a simple and short check list focusing on those only. And instead of diagrams, I show how I deal with the issue in practice.

1. Do You Have an Opinion?

Every time I begin creating, I have pretty conventional ideas. Like here, I thought that I would make a flower painting and express “tranquility”. But to truly express tranquility, I show also include anxiety. I should have an opinion, a personal view on the difference between tranquility and anxiety.

Now you say: “But this is just flowers and nothing deeper”. I don’t think so. If you want to express yourself, you should express an opinion of some kind. This doesn’t mean you have to begin with an opinion. It’s more like vice versa: stay open to what is going to appear! But if you don’t have any more thoughts than “flowers”, “tranquility”, “pink”, you are not finished yet.

Painting on canvas with acrylics

So while thinking about opinions, I got anxious and added some of it: brownish red!

adding contrast with dark paint, acrylic painting

Another way of asking this: “Does the painting have both light and darkness?”

2. Do You Have a Focus?

When I continued the painting, it felt good to add rectangular shapes on it. Then some more colors, then some directional brush strokes. But directional or not, I really didn’t have a clue where I was going. Maybe this could be a flower bunch and the white part on the bottom could be a pot. If so, I should make them more clear.

acrylic painting in prgress, no clear focal point

Another way of asking this: “Is it easy to know where to look at first?”

3. Have You Told a Story?

I continued the painting by turning the it upside down as it seemed to be even easier to build a pot with flowers that way. When I was at step 1 (see the image below), the painting was a bit too busy so I added dark thin layers to make it easier to look at (step 2). But then, what does this painting mean? Does it really connect with my thoughts? No, not really!

Steps for finishing an artwork, by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

After a break, I turned the painting upside down (3). I saw a woman there, wearing a hat and taking care of the flowers. Maybe that could be a start for a story? I continued painting, trying to make the woman clearer.

Then it hit me: she was some kind of an angel, holding some kind of a magic ball. And finally: this is about healing, a subject I have been thinking a lot lately. My older dog Cosmo has had stomache problems and I have worried about him. I have also thought about many of my students, either in the middle of the sickness or having someone close to worry about. If only I could have the magic power to make everything what’s wrong, back right!

Another way of asking this: Does every element on your artwork contribute or lead to what’s most important?

Healing Power, a finished artwork by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

This finished artwork is for you who would like to have that magic ball of healing power.

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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!

160513d

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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