This week, I had a free live webinar of how to conquer the excuses and become more passionate about art. I asked what does “passionate” mean to you and then divided it into four categories. After that, I re-phrased five excuses so that you see them from a new perspective. It may sound theoretical, but you also get ideas of how to apply these things in practice as well. I hope you will enjoy watching the recording below!
Take Your Art to a Passionate Level – The Recording of the Webinar
The Exploring Artist Begins on Sept 10 – Sign Up Now!
The Exploring Artist is a 12-week group coaching program for artists, between Sept 10 – Nov 30, 2018. This coaching is for you who wants to get clear about your artistic passion and become more open about your art, for example, share your art in social media, blog about art, sell your originals and prints, teach classes, etc.
In The Exploring Artist, you will get coaching as a part of a small and tight-knit group. I will personally help you to put your passion into words and visual insights. We will work together to discover what you want to change in your art, where you want to move forward and how to do it.
The maximum number of the participants is 12,
and the early-bird sale ends on August 19 (midnight PST), so sign up now!
This Peony and Parakeet site will also continue, as well as blogging, classes, etc. but I wanted to have a better presentation of myself as an artist, not only as an art teacher. First, my intention was just to update this site, but it is already full of information, many of which I would like to bring more rather than less visible. So I decided to keep this site for art education and create a new site for selling art. Time will tell if having two sites is too confusing, hopefully not!
Artist Statement or Not?
I re-wrote the About page tens of times! It was quite easy to pick the things that I wanted to say, but it’s still difficult to not to be too boring! I decided not to put it in the form of an artist statement because I didn’t want to alienate anyone with long and grandiose sentences although the first sentences under the title could be seen as one:
“When Paivi Eerola is painting, she is a scientist who plays with the reality. Ducks can become plants, a fruit can replace fabric, and flowers can form a factory that produces glass. In this new world, everything is changing and moving, and it’s all celebrating the lushness of life.”
I wrote my story in the third person so that it can be used easily on other occasions too. While writing my story, I questioned if it’s really how you see me and my art. But in the end, everyone has their interpretations of the images, and this is just how and what I think when I am creating them. One thing that I left out is how I test my paintings.
Original Canvas Paintings and How I Test Them
When I paint on canvas, my goal is to create a treasure rather than just an image. I test the painting so that I lay it flat on the table, walk away from it and then turn back to see what my gut reaction is. If I just make a mark that there’s a painting on the table, I need to continue working on it. If the painting looks more like a thing, a glowing treasure box, then I have achieved my goal.
It’s really important to me to make paintings that stand the test of time. I have spent tens of hours painting these, and I hope that they will live longer than me. Sometimes I wonder if I have this strong aspiration because I don’t have any children.
So far, I have sold prints via Saatchi Art. It’s great for US customers especially because the prints are delivered directly from there, and they also provide canvas prints. However, I also want to have few prints available directly from me, and there’s a small selection at my new store. I have printed them with an inkjet printer on a lovely fine art paper.
I am selling one of the prints as a limited edition. Every copy of it is signed and numbered. The painting in the print is called Healing Power. The original painting is sold, and I only produce 40 art prints from the image. So if you wish to have some healing power, would like to give that to someone, get your copy!
For example, I didn’t pick this one because I didn’t want to add too many. Anyway, I have a gallery on this site too, and it can be less curated!
Picking pieces for the portfolio is a really good exercise. It made me think about my artist’s path and see how my ideas have merged and grown to produce new work.
Paintings in Progress
I always aim to be as transparent as possible. Being very secretive has never worked for me, it’s against my personality. So there’s a section called In Progress which shows the paintings that I currently work on. Now it shows my first series of oil paintings. Here’s one of them so far:
With this blog post, I am celebrating 10 years of blogging! This blog started “only” about 7 years ago, but my first blog post was written in May 2005, over 10 years ago! So, this time it’s all about bloggging, what it has done for me, and what it can do for you as well!
One or Many Blogs?
I suggest that you only have a one blog and that you try to update it as regularly as you can. I have done the exact opposite at first …
My first blog was a knitting blog called “Päivi neuloo” (Paivi Knits). It was born at the time when knitting blogs started to become popular and when both local and virtual knitting groups were born. I was the founder of the first Finnish virtual knitting community, so of course I started blogging too. This blog doesn’t exist anymore, but I was able to create a screenshot from my personal archive.
Now when I look at those socks (my own design called “Ornamental Cabbage”) I can see the connection with my current work. But back then, I didn’t have a clue. I wasn’t very active blogger and often felt that I have more finished knits than single blog posts. So to release myself from the pressures of blogging every knitted item, I created a new blog “Sukanvarsi” which was focused on sock knitting only. Now I only had to blog about finished sock projects!
In 2008, I founded my first Etsy shop Kukkilintu. The shop needed a blog so I founded one. Updating this blog was much more fun even if I blogged in a foreign language, in English. I started to get followers from other sides of the world. Along showing the handcrafted projects, I tried to write something about my personal life and desires too. During this time, I became more and more interested in creating art again. So I founded a new blog called “Peony and Parakeet” It wasn’t meant to be much, just a place to post some collage art. One of the main reasons for its existence was that I wanted to participate in some challenges and be able to send links to my images.
But to my surprise, Peony and Parakeet started to get followers. To get Finnish followers too, I decided to start a new blog: Pioni ja Parakiitti, a similar than Peony and Parakeet, but in Finnish! For a couple of years, I blogged both in English and in Finnish, updated many blogs and wished I only had one! In 2012, I finally decided to have only one English blog and move to my own website.
If I could turn back the time, I had only stayed in one blog and gradually moved to a more narrowed focus and towards blogging in English. Building a new audience from one blog to another takes much more time than expanding the current audience. Every time I began a new blog, I thought that I would be a better blogger in a new blog. But now, when looking back, I only see gradual development, not that changing one blog to another had made a big change.
How to Find Focus?
The best way to build a great blog is to blog about three kinds of things: 1) things that make you really excited even if revealing them feels scary at first 2) things that resonate with your current audience 3) things that excite new audience as well. When you manage to create blog posts that succeed in all those three, you have found your focus!
In 2010, I wanted to gain more audience. Blogging had become a regular practice and my new little Etsy shop, also called Peony and Parakeet, had also got some more customers. I examined digital marketing guides and realized that I needed to create a blog post that would be useful for my readers. So I did what was told, I wrote a blog post about creating hand-decorated papers and waited for a couple of days. During that time, very little people read the post. I felt disappointed and forgot the whole thing. But now, when looking back, it’s my most popular blog post ever! It only took some time for people to find it.
For me, blogging has taught that other people see me often more clearly than I do. Including art that didn’t look so great to me has been one of the best things that I have done. By reading the comments, I have learned so much and it has also, in turn, made me a better teacher and commenter. I think that it’s built on blogging that when publishing a new blog post, it feels nerve-wracking. I often worry about grammar mistakes and think that I must be the only person in the world interested in the subjects that I write about. But the truth is that the more you go into the core of your enthusiasm, the more you will attract others.
What Makes an Art Blog?
There are few things where I try to improve and hope that others will too.
1) Being a visual person, pictures are really important for me. When I see very small pictures and a lot of text, I turn away. 2) Having very little text and no personal images makes the blog more distant. 3) About the quality of artwork: the more the images communicate visually, the better. If the artwork does not embark imagination or only shows off technical skills, it remains empty.
With blogging, we can also add more meaning to our images. In the picture above, I am holding a painting that I made when I was about 10 years old. Our family is represented in flowers: the blue violets are my mother, the dark palm leaves are my father, the yellow flowers are my two sisters and the red flowers represent me. The second photo has been taken at my favorite spot, remembering the night when I made the art journal spread and enjoyed listening to opera.