Klimt’s Garden with Students of Peony and Parakeet

We are heading for the winter in Finland. It has made me pull out the photos taken during the recent years from the garden. They remind me that the summer will come again. Together with my students, I dedicate this blog post for the famous Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) and the way he saw the world. It’s a perfect perspective when you want to get inspiration from the garden!

Portraits with Scenes Instead of Faces Only

Inspired by Gustav Klimt. Stephanie Carney, USA - a student artwork from the mini-course Patterned Topiary. By Peony and Parakeet.

Stephanie Carney shows so well how Gustav would see our gardens: full of decorative elements! This way of looking combines two perspectives. First, examining the details and their decorative nature. Second, seeing the big picture: how plants are not just individual and separate but integrated into a scene.

When browsing my photo library, I realized that I have a lot of close-up photos of flowers. But for this post, I picked images that show more than just ethereal petals. The images that have more than a few details make me more attached to my garden. I think it’s the same with paintings and drawings: instead of just sketching faces, we can show the whole experience.

That’s how Gustav Klimt built most of his portraits: not only focusing on faces but showing more of the world around the person by expressing it through decorative and abstract elements. Klimt’s mission was to combine decorative designs with fine arts, and I think it’s one of the reasons why his work is fascinating for us who like to sew, quilt, embroider, or do any crafts. When looking at Stephanie’s work, inspired by Klimt, I can easily imagine wearing that dress and stitching any of the beautiful motifs that can be picked from the picture!

Inspired by Gustav Klimt. Stephanie Carney, USA - a detail of a student artwork from the mini-course Patterned Topiary. By Peony and Parakeet.

From Messy Garden to Klimt’s Garden

I claim that we can look at the garden using “everyday eyes” or “magical eyes.” When using the everyday eyes, everything is “should,” “could” or “have to.” We see weeds, neglected areas, messy grass. But with the magical eyes, we see nature as art.

For example, these ferns from my back garden horrified me when I looked at them with the everyday eyes. All I could see was a neglected flower bench getting ready for the cold weather. “I should cut those,” I thought. Then I took a step back and … wow! Nature had made an Art Deco pattern for me! I felt grateful and inspired. For a moment, I was in Klimt’s garden.
Fern like an art deco pattern

Gustav Klimt understood that when we want to express the beauty, we want to express the experience, not just copy what we see. When looking with the magical eyes – when being in Klimt’s garden, our feelings get mixed with the things we see, and nothing is fully organized. That’s why the sun feels more than just a bright spot in the sky in Lorraine Cline’s work. It doesn’t only make flowers grow, but it’s an uplifting force for humans as well. We get wrapped in its warmth, and for a moment, we are just one of the many plants in Klimt’s garden.

Inspired by Gustav Klimt. Lorraine Cline, USA - a student artwork from the mini-course Patterned Topiary. By Peony and Parakeet.

Quilted Garden

Gustav Klimt saw the world as a stream of patterns and colors. Sometimes they were symbolic, sometimes more literal like the artwork below, showing a baby’s quilt. Even if the painting is fine art, it honors crafts.

Gustav Klimt: "Baby (Cradle)," 1917/1918

Gustav Klimt: “Baby (Cradle),” 1917/1918

At Klimt’s garden, there’s no distinct border between nature’s and man’s creations. When you look at the world with the magical eyes, they become one.

Stella the beagle and her quilt. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Pirkko-Liisa Mannoja’s piece combines drawing and painting, but to me, it also looks like an art quilt.

Inspired by Gustav Klimt. Pirkko Liisa Mannoja, Finland - a student artwork from the mini-course Patterned Topiary. By Peony and Parakeet.

When we use the everyday eyes, we see the world as clearly-defined objects. We see green grass and red flowers. But when we look with the magical eyes, we see things that are more abstract, like the way the light forms spots in the background. That’s one of the subtle things that make Pirkko-Liisa’s work shine.

In Klimt’s garden, the grass can be white, and the observer can be green.

Cosmo the beagle enjoying summer in the garden.

In Klimt’s garden, we treat trees like they were close friends. I love how Christie Juhasz expresses that in her beautiful art journal spread.

Inspired by Gustav Klimt. Christie Juhasz, USA - a student artwork from the mini-course Patterned Topiary. By Peony and Parakeet.

In Klimt’s garden, martagons take us back to Art Nouveau with their decoratively shaped stems and delicately colored flowers.

Martagons. A photo by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

In Klimt’s garden, we connect with the outside world so that it lightens up our inner world. When I look at Mackie d’Arge’s gorgeous piece, I feel connected to both.

Inspired by Gustav Klimt. Mackie d'Arge, USA - a student artwork from the mini-course Patterned Topiary. By Peony and Parakeet.

When we look at the world with the everyday eyes, we worry about the weather when we look up.

Spring Sky. A photo by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

But when we change to the magical eyes, the sky and the earth are not separate at all. Just like in Diana Jackson’s expressive piece!

Inspired by Gustav Klimt. Diana Jackson, USA - a student artwork from the mini-course Patterned Topiary. By Peony and Parakeet.

Winter in Klimt’s Garden

I wrote most of this blog post yesterday. When I woke up this morning, the snow had come to Finland. It felt depressing. “The garden is gone,” I said to myself. But then I realized that I had my everyday eyes. When looking with the magical eyes, Klimt’s garden is there for sure. It has just changed its colors.

Winter in the garden. A photo by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Klimt’s Garden in Your Art Journal!

The student artwork in this blog post is created from the mini-course Patterned Topiary. In the mini-course, you can create a decorative garden scene in Gustav Klimt’s style. The mini-course is available as a part of Imagine Monthly Fall 2016 art journaling bundle, packed with four more inspiring themes and techniques. And to celebrate the snow arriving in Southern Finland, you will get the generous 30% off during the weekend (from Oct 26 to Oct 29, midnight PST). >> Buy now!

Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet and her Klimt's garden - an art journal spread inspired by Gustav Klimt. From her mini-course Patterned Topiary. 

Create Klimt’s Garden: Buy Patterned Topiary + 4 inspiring mini-courses!

9 Collage Ideas from the Students of Peony and Parakeet

This spring, I have seen gorgeous pieces of art made from the mini-course Doodled Luxury and I want to share some of them with you. There were so many great pieces that choosing was difficult but this time I thought to share pieces that are very idea-driven. You can never have too many collage ideas, especially if you process several at the same time!

1) Many Variations of One Shape

Gina Meadows shows beautifully how hand-drawn elements are all like from the same family when created by the same person. I also love how it’s full of feather-like shapes. They repeat the idea of a free, observing bird.

Gina Meadows, USA, a handdrawn collage created at the art journaling class Doodled Luxury

2) Solid Ground

The second art journal spread that I want to show you is by Debbie Loftus. Her work is a wonderful illustration of the quote she has picked. This piece also reminds me of how we can create very free flowing, beautiful mess that still speaks harmony. This can be done by simply making the bottom of the page strong and solid. This piece communicates how we as humans see nature. It’s full of weeds and still so beautiful!

Debbie Loftus, USA, a handdrawn collage created at the art journaling class Doodled Luxury

3) Mystery That Can Be Revealed

Mary Werner’s lady looks a bit mysterious here – but wait until you see the second picture!

Mary Werner, USA, a handdrawn collage created at the art journaling class Doodled Luxury

The lady has a secret, a dog who is her muse, making her to relax and take in much more than when walking outside alone. Mary has used velcro to attach the lady above the muse. Isn’t it a great idea to include a hidden mystery!

Mary Werner, USA, a handdrawn collage created at the art journaling class Doodled Luxury

4) Spiritual Softness

Speaking of true friends, Stephanie Carney has illustrated two sisters. I love the way they look at the flowers, sharing the same experience. Examine how softly the round frame has been decorated and compare it to others! These kinds of little nuances can communicate a lot visually!

Stephanie Carney, USA, a handdrawn collage created at the art journaling class Doodled Luxury

5) Real Person in a Fantasy

Terry Whyte made her grand daughter the central person. Isn’t this spread a treasure? Combine your hand drawing with the photos and start building your own fantasies!

Terry Whyte, USA, a handdrawn collage created at the art journaling class Doodled Luxury

6) Many Sides of One Personality

Satu Kontuvuori included her cat who is a very wild character. Even if she stays still in the image, it’s like the wildly flying bird is one of her many lives. If you are expressing a personality, or any subject that has many sides, you can scatter it into various elements of the same piece. That way you will focus on one theme but still express it in a free-flowing and rich manner.

Satu Kontuvuori, Finland, a handdrawn collage created at the art journaling class Doodled Luxury

7) Focal Point Balances Richness

Speaking of focus … Christie Juhasz has a trick for creating a clear focal point. See how her mermaid is sitting on a white frame! Even if the work has full of details, white circle makes sure that the main character gets noticed.

Christie Juhasz, USA, a handdrawn collage created at the art journaling class Doodled Luxury

8) Movement + Space to Breathe

Another great example of using circles: look at Betsy Eaton’s fish and how there’s a circular space around it. Brilliant! Another thing which makes this so appealing is the movement of elements. That dynamic feelhas been created by adding swirly shapes.

Betsy Eaton, USA, a handdrawn collage created at the art journaling class Doodled Luxury

9) Rainbow Softness

Kathy Lewis (a.k.a KjAllison) made a gorgeous spread full of multicolored elements, like mini-rainbows. This makes me think about macro photography and dew drops! Soft transitions of colors – why not use them in your next art journal page?

Kathy Lewis, USA, a handdrawn collage created at the art journaling class Doodled Luxury

Doodled Luxury

This mini-course, Doodled Luxury, was published as a part of Imagine Monthly Spring 2016 art journaling class. It’s now available individually as a self-study class – Buy here!
You can also buy all the 6 monthly classes as a bundle. I will also release the other 5 classes individually one by one later this summer, and show more ideas on how to apply them.

Paivi Eerola and a handdrawn collage created for the art journaling class Doodled Luxury, collage ideas for creatives!

Start doodling and collaging, right now!

Create Doodled Luxury!

Doodled Luxury, an art journaling mini-course as a part of Imagine Monthly Spring 2016 by Peony and Parakeet

Happy New Year everyone! With the new year, a new class has started. Imagine Monthly is a series of 6 mini-courses, released one by one from January to June. Imagine Monthly is a bit different than my other online workshops. It has a slower pace and you can sign up even if the class is already running. January’s mini-course “Doodled Luxury” has just been released. You will get it right away after signing up!

Why This Course?

I wanted to start the series of 6 mini-courses by showing the potential of free handdrawing. For many, drawing is about being able to copy something realistic but there’s so much more that you can do with flowing lines. I think drawing should be redefined and enabled for everyone. It’s my mission to enable you to enjoy drawing and have great time with your growing imagination! (Want to ponder more about the ability to draw? Read this blog post: “Can You Draw?”

Creating with Luxury in Mind

When developing “Doodled Luxury”, I spent a lot of time thinking about the concept of luxury. I think it’s not just something to buy, it’s more about creating something unapologetic and self-sufficient. Something which makes you feel rich in a way that has very little to do with money.

Paivi from Peony and Parakeet and her creative space

While experimenting with  the techniques used in “Doodled Luxury”, I created an art journal spread that summarizes the ideas that I had in my head: bringing a clear focal point, getting inspired by the many layers of luxurious clothes, letting quantity increase the quality.

An art journaling spread by Peony and Parakeet

The spread above is just a background study for the course, but I wanted to show it as an example of how your art journal can contain “idea boxes” which in turn can lead to more advanced ideas like this one:

A detail of the work made in Imagine Monthly, an art journaling class, by Peony and Parakeet

This Alphonse Mucha inspired collage has influences from Marie Antoinette’s period. Can there be anything more luxurious than art nouveau combined with rococo, expressed by handdrawn elements? Doodling truly can produce luxury when there’s more than enough of it!

Experience the power of simple handdrawing and other easy techniques
Buy Imagine Monthly!

Why History, Computers and Art Belong Together

Past, Present, Future - A history inspired art journaling page by Peony and Parakeet

This art journal page is about two things that are close to me: art nouveau and computer engineering. With my background in technology, many find it surprising that historical styles like Art Nouveau fascinate me so much. And vice versa: why someone so interested in history, has studied and worked with computers.

Inspiring Periods of World History

For me, history, computers and art have a natural connection. Think about the era of Art Nouveau: the end of 19th century and the beginning of 20th century. It was the era of industrial revolution when many technical inventions were born. Also, at the same time, new kind of art was emerging. For example, Virginia Woolf wrote books using stream of consciousness, Vincent van Gogh painted Starry Night, and Charles Rennie Macintosh designed a grand building for Glasgow School of Art. After inventing computers, we are experiencing another great era with a lot of innovations, the internet and smartphones among others. I am certain that it will be seen as one of the most exciting time in the world history. We have new tools for art and design and we if any, can use art to look at what the future could hold.

Stream of Consciousness – Creating a Coloring Page

When I started to create the art journal page, I thought about the two eras and their similarities. With a black drawing pen, I began drawing art nouveu style shapes. It was exciting to think about modern things while drawing in the old style. It is very inspirational to stay focused on two things that have both similarities and differences.

Drawing in Art Nouveau style by Peony and Parakeet

It is relaxing to draw like imitating Virginia Woolf: using the stream of consciousness. Rotating the page makes it easier to keep the stream flowing.

Drawing from the stream of consciousness by Peony and Parakeet

Coloring books seem to be popular at the moment. We art journalers can make our own! Here’s my page before coloring.

Art Journal page ready for coloring by Peony and Parakeet

Past, Present, Future – Art Is an Equation

When I studied computer engineering, I had to understand a mathematical equation that was used widely to control technical systems. It was called Kalman filter and it was composed of three parts: past, present and future. I found the philosophy behind the equation most fascinating: to get better at what we do, we must understand the past, stay grounded to the present and be brave enough to predict the future.

Art can be our equation. We can use art to ponder on what has happened to us. We can use art to record the present. But most importantly: art can make us get off the ground. We can predict what the future will hold by taking old and current stuff and create new combinations. We can imagine what Virginia Woolf would do in the 22nd century and illustrate it. There are no limits and we already have most of the information.

That’s why I think that history, computers and art belong together. They are all parts of the same equation.

Adding New Dimensions by Coloring

To bring today’s graphic shapes to the work, I drew rectangular areas on the top of the drawing. Then I colored them with a different color scheme.

Coloring an art journal page with colored pencils by Peony and Parakeet

Finally, I expressed how past can bring us the future by erasing color with a light strokes. The light comes from the past. With the past, we can see the future.

Past, Present, Future - An art journaling page by Peony and Parakeet

Tell me, what have you picked (or would like to pick) from the past to your art?

Create your own colored version of this page!
>> Buy Coloring Freely!

Drawing in Art Nouveau Style

Art Nouveau drawing by Peony and Parakeet, see the video with phase sketches!

If I had a time machine, I would have no doubt where to go first. I would press the buttons and whoosh … enter the beginning of 19th century. First I would want to meet one of my favorite authors, Virginia Woolf, then have an evening with Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret. Maybe another brilliant architect Frank Lloyd Wright could join us.  Then I would spend a whole day with Alphonse Mucha, another with William Morris … There are so many to talk to and so many places to go. I would need weeks for my visit!

From Arts and Crafts movement to Art Nouveau and Art Deco – my love for art and design is mostly originated in those historical periods. I often try to hide it and be open to new ideas and various styles. But if I just need to draw something quickly or if I can choose freely, I am all for Art Nouveau.

Art Nouveau Drawing – Watch the video!

I am passionate about drawing and styles. I believe that finding your own style, increases the joy of creating. Last week I wrote that down and then began to ponder: could I share more Art Nouveau in this blog? So, here you are, in the middle of Art Nouveau themed post and at the beginning of the video blog post where I will show you how I draw in Art Nouveau style. But more than about Art Nouveau, this video is about the importance of doodling and sketching. Promise me, never stop doodling!

Art Nouveau drawing by Peony and Parakeet, see the video showing how it is made!

 Did you notice my William Morris curtains at the beginning of the video? Tell me, what are the styles and artists from the past, that you admire?

Doodle with Art Nouveau in mind: Buy Doodled Luxury!
Color my Art Nouveau drawings: Buy Coloring Freely!

From Photos to Art Nouveau – Doodling on Photos

Art Nouveau Martagon by Peony and Parakeet
One of my favorite styles, art nouveau, thrives from natural forms. So, when I am walking in the garden, I see art nouveau everywhere. I often have a camera in my hand, and I snap photos while admiring the flowers.

A photo of martagon by Peony and ParakeetWhen checking photos after one of those walks, this snapshot of martagon’s flower buds caught my eye. It almost shouted art nouveau to me. Its shape reminded me of the Mackintosh lamp shades seen in Scotland a month ago.

Art Nouveau Martagon

I printed the photo on Canon matte photo paper. Simply using markers and gel pens, I doodled streamlined shapes to move the martagon to the era of renewal and decorative beauty.

In the original photo, the direction of the elements was downwards. I wanted to change the composition so that it would be upwards. The upward direction would refer to the spiritual renewal, a centric theme in art nouveau. I doodled several upward shapes like the flower seen in the upper right corner.

Doodling on photos by Peony and Parakeet

The colors of the plant were also a source of inspiration. I wanted to keep the narrow range of colors seen in the stem but also brighten the muted tones with splashes of bright green and pink.

Art Nouveau Martagon, a detail, by Peony and Parakeet

Drawing on a photo was such a fun process that I will do it again. One idea would be to create art nouveau portraits. Art Nouveau style doodles would look great on portrait photos too. Actually, like in the best days of art nouveau, anything can be “beautified”!

Doodling on Photos

This was not the first time I used the technique of drawing on the photo.

In 2010, I combined doodles and a photo. This page was also very easy to do:
1) doodle with pens on the background paper
2) attach a photo and then doodling over it.

Art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Doodling on Photos.

More projects with doodling on prints

These posts also combine printed images and doodling:
>> Subconscious Goals
>> Creating Wood

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Choosing Creativity

Art Nouveau by Night, watercolor painting by Peony and Parakeet. Choosing creativity over television.

This watercolor piece was made last summer. It was found when I organized my papers. During a long summer night I browsed one of my favorite books: Alphonse Mucha Masterworks. After closing the book I wanted to make something Art Nouveau myself!

My sisters used to say that I am an affective person. I get easily excited and affected by everything that surrounds me. Within years I have learned to steer myself by choosing what’s around me. No one can choose everything, but there’s plenty of choices that can be made during the day. Like which book to open.

More than before I choose to close the television. I also try to stop browsing endlessly what others have made. It is surprising how little input is needed to get the creativity flowing. Having a glimpse of Mucha’s masterpieces can be enough. Limiting consuming and increasing creating can take us closer what we want, like time traveling to Art Nouveau.

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Art Nouveau Houseplants

Art Nouveau Houseplants, a collage by Peony and Parakeet

I love my houseplants and many of them appear in this collage. It’s style is a mix of art nouveau and 1960s. It is the result of staring some art nouveau tiles and the works of Birger Kaipiainen. Namely, not too long time ago I went to see Birger Kaipiainen’s exhibition in Espoo, Finland.

Paivi and Birger Kaipiainen's plate

This decorative plate was one of my favorites. I love the way the artist used textured surfaces to show off the details. And I have always loved ceramics, one of the favorite materials that I like to think of when making art. I am constantly inspired by materials and I try to imitate them by using inks, markers and other supplies.

Creative Process

I took some photos of the phases when making the collage.

Art Nouveau Houseplants, a collage by Peony and Parakeet, phase 1

I began with india inks.

Art Nouveau Houseplants, a collage by Peony and Parakeet, phase 2

Then I randomly added some cut pieces of handdecorated papers. In the beginning I work very systematically but for a while I start to get impatient.

Art Nouveau Houseplants, a collage by Peony and Parakeet, phase 3

I have reached the point where I want to do something crazy. This time I just made a mess with a correction pen!

Art Nouveau Houseplants, a collage by Peony and Parakeet, phase 4

I added collage pieces and doodled with markers. Then I decided to add black acrylics to add contrasts. Looks pretty awful but I do not mind. It always looks terrible at this point.

Art Nouveau Houseplants, a collage by Peony and Parakeet, phase 5

India ink looks great over white doodles.

Art Nouveau Houseplants, a detail of the collage by Peony and Parakeet

Here’s a detail of the finished work. I love to use thin markers, it is like sharpening a blurry image!

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Wild Doodling Inspired by Art Nouveau

Sometimes it’s just not possible to stay controlled. I was thinking about art nouveau and Alphonse Mucha‘s work, but instead of trying to focus on beautiful shapes and accurate lines, I wanted to give my pens a relaxed speed.

Mucha Girl by Peony and Parakeet. Combining wild doodling with art nouveau.

Here are some close-up details. The line is wild and fast.

A detail of a Mucha Girl by Peony and Parakeet. Combining wild doodling with art nouveau.

The watercolor background is as arbitrary as the illustration.

A detail of a Mucha Girl by Peony and Parakeet. Combining wild doodling with art nouveau.

The most difficult thing in illustrating is to get relaxed lines. That’s why it’s important to get wild once in a while!

Start doodling in a relaxed way – Buy Doodled Luxury!