Peony and Parakeet

Pros and Cons of Making Postcards from Your Art

Art postcards by Paivi Eerola from Finland.

I have just got new sets of postcards printed from my art. These have been ordered from Moo (affiliate link) and are now available at Paivieerola.com. Here’s how I see the pros and cons of making postcards of your art.

Pro: Seeing Your Art as Collections

When selecting art for postcards, group similar work so that you can make sets. You can also aim for the specific set size and make more pieces with that style. This way the postcard project can inspire you to work in series and explore a certain topic, medium, and style.

Watercolor floral art postcards by Paivi Eerola from Finland.

One of my new sets have watercolor florals, and another has acrylic and oil paintings inspired by art history.

Paintings printed to postcards and stickers. Art by Paivi Eerola from Finland.

If you like to fill art journals as I often do, go through the journal pages too! This girl was just a sketch but I really like it as a postcard!

An art journal page as an postcard. By Paivi Eerola from Finland.

Pro: Saving Good Pictures of Your Art

It’s easy to neglect taking good pictures of finished work. However, there’s more use for them than just postcards. It’s easy to browse your pieces quickly when they are archived digitally. You will also share them more!

Making postcards of your art. A watercolor painting as a postcard. Art by Paivi Eerola from Finland.

If you organize the image archive chronologically, you also see your progress at a glance. The archive also brings memories and inspiration. Whether you make postcards or not, it’s always good to take good pictures of your finished projects.

I use a tripod and manual settings of my DSLR camera to get the best possible photo. Then I crop and process the photo using Photoshop. New phone cameras take good pictures that don’t necessarily need more adjusting than cropping. Taking photos outside is also a good option!

I like to use white cardboard so that I can adjust the image according to the white area first, and then crop it away.

Pro: Playing between Digital and Physical

If you like to create digital art, seeing it in physical postcards is wonderful. I also like to play between physical and digital art so that I scan the elements of collage art, and then make the final image by combining them in Photoshop.

Art by Paivi Eerola from Finland. Digital art from hand-drawn components. Zebra postcard. Circus postcard. Zebra illustration.

I really like this digitally composed but hand-drawn zebra postcard! You can find the instructions for drawing zebras in my class Animal Inkdom!

A set of postcards by Paivi Eerola from Finland.

Pro: Getting Ideas for Other Products as Well

If you have good images and great collections, you can also make other products as well. There are services like Redbubble or Zazzle where you can make a variety of products. I printed some stickers to go with the postcards at Moo (affiliate link).

Paintings as stickers by Paivi Eerola from Finland.

Pro: Postcards Market Your Art

By getting your contact information printed with the postcard you also spread the word of you as an artist.

Designing the backside of the postcard. By Paivi Eerola from Finland.

I also like to think that postcards spread the joy that’s packed in my art. When I hear people keeping my postcards visible so that they can look at them often, it feels good and makes producing the cards meaningful.

An oil painting and a postcard. Art by Paivi Eerola from Finland.

Cons: Making Postcards Can Be a Bad Financial Decision

Good-quality postcards are expensive and selling postcards alone is not good business. Especially if you want to sell original art or bigger art prints, having postcards in the same shop or sales table can reduce other sales.

But I also have other experiences. If I go to an art fair or another small local event, I find it easiest to introduce people to my art by letting them select a business card first. Then I introduce them to postcards, then to prints, and finally to originals. That’s why I always get a selection of small business cards printed too, showcasing my latest work.

People love selecting their free image! They often explain it in detail why they selected it. It’s fascinating and useful information for me as an artist!

Business cards printed at Moo.com. Art by Paivi Eerola from Finland.

If you print cards – postcards or business cards – make sure that there’s some contact information where people can go to look before contacting you. Many are shy to call or send an email right away. Having a website is the best thing. But if you don’t have a website, write the address of your Instagram feed or set up a Facebook page for your art.

My final advice is to start small and print a very limited set and let people curate the collection. The image that appeals the most to you is most probably not your best seller. At least that has happened to me many times! As artists, we value the process of creating, but as customers, we only see the result and how it fits with our home and perspective. Sometimes the beauty of art is more in the process, sometimes more in the result. So, whether you make postcards or not, keep creating!

Buy my art at Paivieerola.com!
I ship every order personally from Finland!

Take Your Art to a Passionate Level

Paivi Eerola, a visual artist from Finland, talking about how to become more passionate in art.

What Does “Passionate” Mean to You?

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.

The Exploring Artist - a coaching program for you who wants to become more confident and get clear about your artistic passion. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

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!

Artist Statement, Portfolio, Prints – Presenting a New Website for My Art!

Paivi Eerola's new website at paivieerola.com. She has original art and prints for sale, a portfolio, an artist statement etc.

I have a new website for my art! It has an online shop filled with originals and prints, a portfolio, pictures of the paintings in progress, and my story. Go to paivieerola.com!

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!

Paivi Eerola's business cards. She teaches art at www.peonyandparakeet.com

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.

A detail of an original acrylic painting. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

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.

Original art. A detail of an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Nothing beats the luxury of an original painting, especially when it’s varnished and the colors glow like the paint would still be wet. See the originals that I have currently available!

Prints from Me to You

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.

Healing Power - a limited Edition print by Paivi Eerola. Available at paivieerola.com!

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!

Portfolio

To show a big picture of what I have done, I wanted to include a portfolio that is like a small art gallery on my new website. I tried to pick the pieces that present my style but there was a lot to select from.

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!

Harvest Still Life, 2015. A mixed media painting by Paivi Eerola.
Harvest Still Life, 2015

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:

Oil painting in progress by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Her original art is available at paivieerola.com

Oil paintings take even more time than acrylic paintings because I need to let them dry properly before adding a new layer. You can follow the progress at the new site. I also have a separate mailing list for all who are interested in buying my paintings. Subscribe to the list here!

Hopefully, you enjoy the new site!

Having an Art Blog

Paivi from Peony and Parakeet with her painting Free Spirit

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.

Paivi's first blog post in 2005

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!

Paivi from Peony and Parakeet in 2010
Back in 2010

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.

Paivi from Peony and Parakeet with a painting that she made as a child

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.

10 Years of Blogging – Celebrate with Me!

Have a look at the new Gallery page!
Check the updated Create page!

Tell me in the comments:
Do you have a blog? If not, are you planning to begin one?
Feel free to include a link to your blog!

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