Don’t Underestimate Your Scribbles! – Watch the Video!

This week, I have a video for you about the topic that I am really passionate. It’s about scribbles and how they are a part of an artist’s path. Believe me, ugly notebooks can be the best thing to boost up your creativity. Your scribbles matter!


In the video, I have divided my art into three categories: scribbles, sketches, and paintings. Here’s an example of a notebook page with scribbles:

Scribbles on Moleskine Classic Soft Cover notebook. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.


And here are some of the sketchbook pages that I show there (for you to pin if you like pinning!).

“Walking the Dog”
Walking the Dog, an abstract mixed media drawing by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

"Play", a sketchbook page by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See how she uses scribbles and sketches to boost her creative process!

“One Eye”
"One Eye", a sketchbook page by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet


Here’s a closeup of the painting that I am working on in the video:

Oil painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

And here’s a detail of another painting in progress, also shown in the video:

Oil painting in progress by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

See my paintings in progress and buy my art:

Don’t Underestimate Your Scribbles – Watch the Video!

Join Bloom and Fly – Move Forward with an Inspiring Community!

Bloom and Fly is a community for you who wants to explore visual and adventurous ideas, get feedback and suggestions for your art, and connect with like-minded art enthusiasts. We have a private Facebook group, monthly themes, live sessions, and weekly opportunities for practical help and feedback.

Bloom and Fly is geared for those who have been creating for some time. It doesn’t offer regular step-by-step walk-throughs where everyone creates the same project. You will get ideas, tips, and process photos around the monthly theme but if you are a beginner, buy one of my self-study classes (for example, Inspirational Drawing 2.0) to accompany your membership!

Registration is now open for Spring season (April – June 2018): Sign up here!

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

Paivi Eerola's new website at 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!

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

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!

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!


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

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!

Finding Visual Voice – Prepare for the Free Webinar!

What to Think About Finding Visual Voice? – Watch the video!

Currently, I look at my art with a different point of view than when I created it. Non-art-related things in the past can also get integrated into art. Watch the video to dive deeper into these insights and to see examples!

Free Webinar – Save Your Spot!

Let’s meet! I am broadcasting live from my studio and talk about finding your visual voice. I have a subtitle: “How to start the journey?” because I think it’s a thing we need to rediscover again and again!

Finding Visual Voice, a free webinar run by Paivi from Peony and Parakeet, Jan 31, 2018

When you register, enter your time zone, and you will see when the webinar begins where you live. Save your spot even if you couldn’t come just at that very moment. You can then watch the recording later that week! >> Register here

Draw and Paint Flowers Like Never Before – Sign up for Floral Fantasies!

Floral Fantasies in Three Styles - Paint and draw both abstract and realistic flowers in new ways! By Peony and Parakeet.

I am rerunning my best technique workshop so far, Floral Fantasies in 3 Styles. It’s about taking the best tricks from three visual approaches and immersing into the beauty of flowers. The workshop is now in the early-bird sale, so reserve your spot!

Finding Your Visual Voice – Free Webinar!

A letter to the reader of this blog:

Dear friend and soulmate in art,
Like you know, I have had this dream to be an artist from a little girl. Back then, and many times before taking the leap, I didn’t quite understand how unsure and tentative the life as an artist can be. When I was about five years old, I thought I knew what I liked to create and how. In a way, I did, but life got more complicated year after year. When I was about 16, I had a turning point. I discovered the way to paint that made me tremble with joy. Two of those paintings are still displayed here in my home, and they remind me of that time.

Two paintings from Paivi Eerola. She painted these as a teenager.

But then I got critical towards myself. I thought that my paintings lacked content, something. I thought that I need some experience in life to become a better artist. Soon after that, I started studying, lost my parents and all that made me stop painting. In the perspective of art, I became nobody to myself.

But if you have been following me, you already know that. And you know that my journey in art has been quite obsessive in the last years. It has felt like I had wasted all those years when I was not painting, and I need to hurry and fast forward before life ends. Losing close people make you realize that. That life does end some day, and the dreams can remain dreams. That’s why it’s sometimes necessary to step into the unknown and try the wings.

I started painting a new series about a month ago. ” I have put so much thought into the series that my brain hurts,” I wrote on Instagram. And the more I have been painting recently, the more I feel the same than as a teenager! Wow! It’s even better now when I have more ways to handle with the self-criticism.

A series of paintings in progress, by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

I also understand that this new euphoria has a simple explanation. My imagination, expression, and the technical skills finally meet. I have also discovered a process that feels natural to me. I know this won’t last forever. When the life changes, as it constantly does, I can’t develop or even maintain this. But at this very moment, I feel joy and relief. It is a pleasure to rest in this new base camp for a while before I feel the need to start climbing up or walking down to the mountain called art.

Because I am painting with oils, I need to wait for every layer to dry for a week or so. So these paintings will get more color slowly but surely. You will be surprised!

Oil painting in progress by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

During painting, I have been thinking: do you want to find your visual style or your visual voice? Is there a difference for you? To me, the voice is at a deeper level than style. I can play with styles, but the voice is more static, something that you have born with. Or is it only me who sees similarities between those teenage paintings and these recent ones?

I thought I record a video of these thoughts and show you some examples. But even if I can edit out all the umms and breaks from the video, it doesn’t feel so good to talk on a camera instead of talking to you. So I suggest we meet live on Jan 31, 11 am PST and chat about this together. Can you come?

Many warm greetings from

Free Live Webinar about Visual Voice

So yes, come to my live webinar “Finding Your Visual Voice – How to start the journey” where I tell some key points that have made a big difference to me!

A free webinar about visual voice by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

When you register, enter your time zone, and you will see when the webinar begins where you live. Save your spot even if you couldn’t come just at that very moment. You can then watch the recording later that week!

“Floral Fantasies in Three Styles” is Back!

One of the big things to me has been to find enjoyable techniques, including the ones that old master painters used. You can now study them too! I am rerunning my best technique workshop so far, Floral Fantasies in 3 Styles. It’s about taking the best tricks from three visual approaches and immerse into the beauty of flowers. The workshop is now in the early-bird sale, so it’s a great time to reserve your spot!

Floral Fantasies in Three Styles. Floral art workshop by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet that also teaches Flemish old masters' painting techniques.
If you haven’t attended my classes before, please be assured that you will be supported and your questions will be answered. I also run discussions and give visual suggestions if you run into problems. See what students have said!

So I hope to see you in the class and of course, at the webinar too!

Behind the Scenes in Finland 2017

With the new year, I was organizing my stuff and found an old reader survey from 2014. “Tell me about your life in Finland,” many wrote. So this blog post is for you! I share some highs and lows from the last year, and you will get to see my beautiful country too.

1) January – Am I an Artist?

First, we Finnish would not ever say “my beautiful country” in Finnish. We are too honest people and sometimes a bit pathetic in that. Everybody and everything are serious if you come to Finland.

After two and half years of making a full-time living with art, I started to question myself. Instead of a self-employed entrepreneur, could I call myself an artist? Could I have pink hair even if I am 47?

Paivi Eerola and sunset in Finland

I know that the question of calling yourself an artist is frightening for some of you too, so maybe you can relate. It’s a funny thing that the more you know about art, the more frightening the title is. It can be a dream, yes. It can be someone else, yes. But I, no.

In Finland, we like to ask about your education and then decide. Based on that, I am a designer and an engineer. Or not just an ordinary engineer, as I have a Master’s Degree in Technology, we call those “diplomi-insinööri” – “Diploma Engineer.” Most Finns wouldn’t even mention the designer part because engineering is much more important. Our prime minister is also a Diploma Engineer, and everybody knows that in Finland.

But then someone said to me that you must be kidding, you are an artist! He was an American though. Then I found a hairdresser who dyed my hair. And she was Finnish!

Blog Pick from 2017: 4 Big Misconceptions I Have Had About Art
Class Pick: Planet Color
(Relax, you are an artist!)

2) February – Second Summer

In Finland, only children celebrate birthdays unless you hit the milestone of 50, 60, 70 or so on. But for me, the whole February is my month of celebration. I buy fresh strawberries for the cake in July, and that begins the preparation for it.

Birthday cake with strawberries and February in Finland

February feels like a second summer. The winter sun always shines so brightly in February and really, if someone decorates the cake like that, isn’t she an artist!

Blog Pick: Life in an Art Journal – Dylusions Creative Journal Flip-Through
Class Pick: Coloring Freely

3) March – Sky is the Limit

In March, I received a t-shirt from the USA. “I am the new economy,” it said. That was from Tara Gentile, my business coach who has built a great community called CoCommercial for digital small business owners. We Finnish don’t believe in coaches. Business coaches and life coaches, they all go to the same category of people. We call them consultants. Everybody in Finland knows that consultants just try to get more money. So we choose not to use them unless we end up in the exceptional situation where we have to do something that we can’t figure out by ourselves.

Paivi Eerola, a visual artist and a member of CoCommercial from Finland

I had that kind of moment a couple of years ago. Because I am a Finn, I didn’t just google “I need a consultant.” I already had prepared myself for the worst case scenario. In 2013, I saw Tara’s first online business course at CreativeLive. Back then I was still safely in my day job but was planning the big escape from the cubicles. “That person could be my coach if I ever need one,” I thought. But then, because I am a Finn, I needed to double-check that.

In Finland, being trustworthy is important, so I am double-checking things all the time. So far, when typing this, I have checked: “when exactly did I dye my hair” (couldn’t find the exact date but based on my photo library I don’t lie if I say January 2017), “do people celebrate birthdays over 50” (according to Google: yes), “are this year’s strawberries doing fine in the freezer” (yes they are).

So yes, I met Tara in 2014 before leaving my day job in a small business conference in Scotland. Since then, she has helped me many times, and her community even more than that. I am happy to wear her promotional t-shirt and tell you that nowadays do believe in coaches, and also coach artists myself!

Blog Pick: 3 Secrets for Removing Stiffness when Creating Mixed Media Faces 
Class Pick: Inspirational Drawing 2.0
(my most popular art class has the second edition already!)

4) April – How to Escape Silence and Minimalism in Finland

There is one big shadow in the field of Finnish art and design. It’s a famous architect Alvar Aalto. He has passed away already, but he lives in every Finn. You only need to know what his surname means: “Wave.” Not “Sea” or “Storm” or “Burst,” just “Wave.” If you come to Finland, you soon notice that our white airplanes are not the only white and simplified designs. Finnish homes are usually white boxes with white ceramic tableware. Another color that we accept is black, nowadays also grey, because grey sofas are so practical.

In April, I got an invitation to an art exhibition from my artist friend Johanna Rytkölä. She is a trained artist, and we could call her Diploma Artist if there would be a title like that. She is the most knowledgeable and experienced person that I know in the world of fine art. In Finland, she has a one big But though. She is a ceramic artist. For Finns, ceramic means cups and saucers, not art. Johanna also often creates quite colorful pieces. But to play safe and to please my Finnish readers, I chose a white sculpture from her for the image.

Johanna Rytkölä's ceramic sculpture and spring in Finland

Johanna’s work is very different from my style. I often think about adding decoration to her pieces, and I am almost certain that she thinks of removing some from mine. She likes to create for the future, and I often get inspired by the past. But when we meet and close the door, we start talking lively, laughing and smiling, and we have lots of ideas about art. It’s like for one moment, we are not in this country of silent thinkers and small waves, but in the world of art that’s full of voices and energy.

Blog Pick from 2017: Easter Still Lifes in Watercolor
Class Pick: Modern Mid-Century
(show the designer in you!) and Stormy Scenery (show that storm inside you!)

5) May – The Icon

When I was a child, the only art class I could find was about painting icons. I was about 10, and in that age, you learn anything by heart. Red, blue, ochre, brown, white – if those were all the colors, so be it. I accepted any rule and tried my best to cope with a group of adult painters. My definition of an artist was clear back then: if you can paint an icon, you are an artist.

Paivi Eerola with her old masters' painting and spring in Porvoo, Finland

But in the group, I realized that there are icons and Icons. I knew I only painted icons with the small “i”. It wasn’t because they weren’t so flawless as my teacher’s. It was that they didn’t mean so much to me. Icons with the capital “I” represent what you would want to be if you were a saint. Nobody said this to me, I just knew it. I dreamt that someday I would paint an Icon.

Finally, by learning to paint like old masters at Emmi Mustonen‘s classes, and by combining two famous paintings, I made my Icon in 2017.  So if I were a saint, I would be a Madonna of animals. Having no children, I think it would fit me. As a Finn, nature is my church anyway.

Blog Pick from 2017: What Any Artist Can Learn from Old Masters
Class Pick: Floral Fantasies in 3 Styles
(coming up again in 2018!)

6) June – Two Kinds of Luxuries

Finland is a rich country with a poor history. If you come to Finland, you see a lot of new buildings and very little old ones. Often the poverty shows up in culture too. If Finnish men could choose, there would be only two activities that they call art. The first one is chopping firewood, the Finnish version of meditation, and the second one is ice hockey.

Palazzo Pitti Florence in June 2017 and summer in Finland

Luckily my husband is not a typical Finn! He likes to go to galleries, museums, and operas, so we had a wonderful time in Florence, Italy, in June! When visiting the heart-breakingly beautiful places in old Florence, it felt like I don’t want to go back to Finland anymore. But Finnish summer has a little luxury of its own: 20 to 24 hours of daylight, depending on how north you live!

Blog Picks from 2017: Lessons from  Palazzo Pitti, Ideas from Uffizi Gallery
Class Pick: Imagine Monthly Art Journaling Bundle 2 
(includes the mini-course Romantic Geometry, inspired by Renaissance art)

7) July – Failures

In 2017, I failed several times. Should I talk about them? I googled: “How to share failures.” The result: Yes, sharing is a good thing and yes, failures should be celebrated. Ok, let’s celebrate these:
1) I recorded a new class spending one sunny day inside the house from morning to late evening. My most efficient set of recordings ever. However, I didn’t find the time to edit those videos to get the class finished, and after six months, it’s still in my pipeline.
2) I studied old masters techniques for a whole year and created a painting class (the best ever if you ask me!). However, my marketing for the class failed, and it didn’t bring me the income that I had planned.
3) At the beginning of the year, I made new plans for networking. I wasn’t able to follow them.

Paivi Eerola in her studio in Finland.

Now when I think of it, the last one IS worth celebrating. Instead of networking, I got more friends than ever, both locally and online. And speaking of friends …

Blog Picks: Painting with Imagination, Bad Ideas Make You a Better Artist
Class Pick: Floral Fantasies in 3 Styles
(will be back in 2018!)

8) August – Friends in Fantasy

My native language is Finnish. It’s very different from English and best explained by the only extrovert of Finland, a comedian called Ismo Leikola. He won the competition of Funniest Person in The World in 2014, and we are very proud of him.

However, most Finns don’t participate international competitions or sell their work internationally. So when I met Eeva Nikunen at the old masters’ technique painting class, I was gladly surprised when she said that she sells her art abroad and produces content in English. And when we got to know each other more, we realized that we live fairly close! Eeva is a fantasy artist, and I admire her flawless drawing skills.

Finnish visual artists Paivi Eerola and Eeva Nikunen.

This photo has been taken from my studio when we had a painting day together. I wanted to bring some fantasy to it by placing a view from Hanko in the background. Hanko is a small town on the south coast of Finland that I visited in August.

More than just painting with Eeva, I have also had a pleasure to become friends with other brilliant artists from the old masters class: Emmi Mustonen, the excellent teacher, and Olli Kilpi, a very versatile artist and 3D motion designer.

In June, I launched The Exploring Artist – my first coaching program for artists. We became a very close-knit group, and I am honored to know all 13 of them. Check out and like these Facebook pages:  Claudia Kern, Wendy Holmgren, Carla HeistenSusan Rajkumar.

Blog Pick from 2017: Want to Find Your Art Style? Need to Focus?
Class Pick: The Exploring Artist
(will be back in 2018!)

10) September – Meeting Local Customers

When working mostly online, I rarely get to see my customers face to face. In September, I had two local classes: one for painting miniature carpets and another for freehand-drawing. Then in October, I booked a table at a local miniature fair and sold some left-over dollhouse furniture but also had some postcards and fabric designs with me. As you can see, it was fun!

Paivi Eerola and her hand-painted miniature carpets.

September and October are always the busiest months, and now when I look back, I don’t know how I managed to do it all: selling, painting, tutoring online, blogging, etc. Maybe because after work, late at night, I knitted a little and then slept the night peacefully.

Blog Pick: Don’t Just Create Circles! Moving On with Freehand Drawing 
Class Pick: Drawing Factory
(start from stick figures and play by drawing!)

10) October – One More Round!

Knitting is a very important hobby to me. Before working as an artist, I knitted more creatively than nowadays. After inventing new ideas every day, I want to do something monotonic in the evenings and knitting fits to that role too.

Paivi Eerola and her knitted sweater and the winter in Finland. Sweater design by Andrea Mowry.

As you have probably noticed, our seasons are very different. The warm and light summer changes gradually to a cold and dark winter. In 2017, the first snow came in October, and the new woolen sweater was just in time.

Blog Pick from 2017: Knitting and Painting – A Video Visit to My Studio
Class Pick: Folk Bag Workbook

11) November – Miracle Mornings

By November, the darkness becomes devastating. The tourist sites call Finland “the land of the midnight sun” but if you come here in November, you see the land of the midnight more than the sun.

Paivi Eerola's sketchbook and the darkness in Finland

This month, I changed my morning routine so that I started to wake up early, about 6 PM and spend the first couple of hours in the studio after taking the dogs for the morning walk. My studio has an artificial daylight lighting, and I love my miracle mornings. I get a lot done, and when I move to a different room to work on a computer, the sun has risen already. This routine has made me reorganize my studio, set up a process for a new series of paintings, and get computer-free time to process ideas – an important part of being an artist!

Blog Pick from 2017: How to Make Your Art More Captivating
Class Pick: Bloom and Fly Community 2018
(inspiration and friendships with other artists)

12) December – Independence

On 6th December, Finland celebrated the 100th anniversary. It was a big thing here. There had been celebrations throughout the year, but everything culminated for this day. To me, the most wonderful thing was to see that also the countries all over the world congratulated Finland by illuminating iconic venues and buildings with blue and white lights. It included Colosseum in Rome, the Angel of Independence monument in Mexico City, Niagara Falls, etc. It made me feel grateful that our small country is getting this kind of attention!

Quilted christmas ornament and winter in Finland

When I was a poor student, I didn’t have money to buy Christmas decorations or gifts. So I made stuffed patchwork stars for relatives and friends and kept some myself too. I thought it was nothing compared to those fancy decorations sold in stores. But now, about 25 years later, the stars are my treasures that I proudly hang every Christmas.

In 2017, I was reminded again that it’s how my life has changed. My values have changed, the way I see things have changed. What used to be the sign of poverty, is now a symbol of wealth to me. The real wealth is time, and there’s a lot of that put into them.

Blog Pick from 2017: Helene Schjerfbeck – Step by Step Formula for Her Style

2017 – Year of Friends

Getting to know more new artists through my classes and other contacts, has been the best thing in 2017. I call 2017 the year of friends. How would you name your 2017?

Time to Change – From Teaching to Mentoring

Bloom and Fly, a mixed media painting with inks and acrylics, by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

After finishing a series of canvas paintings, I have felt that it’s time to change. It has been smoldering in me for the whole year, but as we know, the change rarely happens in one go. There’s one big thing that I want to change in my teaching. I want to give more personalized suggestions and encouragement, and enable more sharing and connecting. I want to be a mentor rather than a teacher in the traditional meaning. When you start creating art, you need a teacher to follow. But when after a while, you will want to create something from your personal perspective. Then you will benefit more from observations about your art. When you have someone to help you see the possibilities in your expression, you will find it easier to grow your creativity. During this year, I have developed my online workshops in that direction, and the results tell me that I should continue on that path.

Questioning Your Talent vs. Willingness to Learn

Paivi Eerola and her paintings. She has spent a year creating a series of paintings and mentoring artists.

While pondering which paintings to frame, I was also thinking artist colleagues that have helped me to analyze my work in a new light. That’s one reason why I also want to enable connections between people who love to create art and even more importantly, want to change their art.

Here’s what I wrote on my Facebook page today:

“Am I talented enough?” – Pondering about it doesn’t take you forward. Replace it with the question: “Am I willing to learn?” Because art like any field has a set of principles and skills that you just need to know and practice.

Then there’s imagination and originality. Is that the talent that we talk about? I don’t think so. They are also skills that can be learned. They are about self-exploration, tolerating quiet time, being open to what inspires and irritates you.

When you see something that raises negative emotions, start questioning: “Why do I see this as a threat?” By answering, you will understand more about yourself, about people in general, and get the curiosity that makes you step out of the conventional. Your empathy and imagination will grow, and you become more willing to learn.

My art journal page from 2010, and my painting from 2017.

Paivi Eerola's art journal page from 2010, and her painting from 2017. Growing as an artist and becoming a mentor.

The Change Is in The Nuances

This week, I reorganized my art supplies and found an old art journal. Funny enough, there was this page: “Time to Change.” And when I compare it to the piece that I just painted, it looks quite similar if you omit the clumsiness.

Paivi Eerola's art journal page from 2013 and a glimpse of her newest painting.

Then I realized that the painting that I had created a year ago also looks quite similar. I sat by it holding the new piece, and it felt like the two come together.

Paivi Eerola and her paintings.

In art, the change is in the nuances. Many of your characteristics won’t change during the time. But how you express, invent and gain more self-knowledge will. Sometimes people say that they wish they would have started creating art sooner. I totally relate to that. I had a long break in creating when I was a young adult. But then, art is not just executing; it’s also about living. People who have more life’s experience than me, always make me humble. They have more to express, deeper insights to deliver. When I can help, inspire, and encourage with that, it makes my life meaningful as well.

Art Journaling and Mentoring

Paivi Eerola's art and her new sketchbook by The Pink Pig.

One thing that I don’t want to change is that I will keep on talking about art journaling. I believe in playing with ideas and not just creating big pieces. To me, a full sketchbook or art journal can be more of a treasure than a single canvas painting. Now when I have been painting bigger canvases, I also missed having a big sketchbook. So I purchased one that is twice the size than Dylusions Creative Journal that I usually use. It’s manufactured by a company called The Pink Pig from the UK.

Paivi Eerola and her art journals.

Bloom and Fly – Stay Tuned!

While browsing the art journals, I was planning for the upcoming spring season. Next year, I will run a new community called Bloom and Fly, and it’s for all who want to learn together with me. It will have a separate fee, but it will also include mentoring days, monthly live sessions and led discussions. You can share and work on any project there. So if you want support for creating from any of my self-study classes or any other art project that you desire to finish, join Bloom and Fly! The registration for the spring will open on Black Friday, Nov 24th. I will have a special discount for early birds so make sure that you won’t miss it!

Moleskine watercolor journal. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Hopefully, you are as excited as I am! If you haven’t subscribed to my weekly emails yet, now is the time!

Painting a Series – How I Managed It!

"Living Treasure", an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Read about her thoughts of painting a series.

I have just finished a series of five flower paintings on canvas. Yesterday, when I was walking back and forth from my studio to the rest of the house, preparing for the photography and the varnishing, I felt both relieved and terrified. I was relieved because nine months of hard work was at the end. I felt terrified because I had run out of excuses for delaying the start of a new series.

Technique Came First, Themes Second

But let’s get back to early spring when I was painting the first of the five paintings. My goal was to master old masters’ painting technique in acrylics so that I could teach it. I had no idea of how many pieces it would require. Before teaching, I needed to understand “why” not just “how.” I also had to develop a logic that makes learning possible, variations that show the possibilities of the technique, and the systematic way of working to make everything as understandable and to the point as possible.

"Strawberry Madonna", an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

When I was painting Strawberry Madonna, it soon became clear to me that I was nowhere near to be teaching the technique. I needed to fix my strokes constantly. Even if the fixing doesn’t show in the finished painting, it became clear that I needed more practice. I couldn’t fuss around that way while teaching.

So I bought new canvases and kept on painting. I made experiments, art journal pages, and had several paintings in progress at the same time. I focused on painting what I wanted to include in the class as well: flowers and playing with historical styles. Crafts like crochet, decorative painting, jewelry, fabric, etc were also sources of inspiration. Most of the pieces took tens of hours from me to finish. The quickest is “Four Seasons” that I recorded for the class. With the final touches added after the recording, it took less than ten hours to paint. “Queen of Fantasy” took much longer. You can see me starting it in the free video, but I adjusted the painting many times after that.

"Queen of Fantasy", an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Painting a Series – The Most Important Insight

The funny thing about all this is that I wasn’t intentionally painting a series. Working towards the goal of mastering and understanding the old masters’ technique, gave direction to my work. If I had thought about the series more intentionally, I would have probably freaked out! Now when I look back, the most important thing to me was that I expressed the power of flowers in all my paintings but thought about it differently in all the five paintings.

  • For “Living Treasure” I got ideas from gardening.
  • “Strawberry Madonna” connects flowers with fruits and their taste.
  • “Queen of Fantasy” is about flowers representing romance.
  • “Blooming Centuries” tells how flowers have always inspired painters, designers, and crafters.
  • “Four Seasons” shows sisu, a Finnish word for resilience when you work against all the odds and still find the spirit to bloom and prosper.

"Four Seasons", an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

So I had a set of generic themes that were repeated in all the paintings, but different interpretations of them. That made them work as a series but so that they don’t look identical at all. Being very intentional about the series and prohibiting new ideas emerge while working can lead to a very boring result and in my case, it would probably make me quit because the lack of excitement and adventure that keeps me going.

I think this insight could also be useful for those who seek for their style. Rather than painting the same thing and get bored by it, find bigger themes and use your creativity to approach them from different angles.

New Era – New Series

During the past couple of months, I have felt fear when thinking where I want to go with my art. I have contemplated that can I share my plans or just keep them hidden because it’s likely that I will fail. For quite some time, I have felt the need to paint abstract art that plays with textures and geometry. I think many of the paintings of this series already have some of that.

I have a funny name for the style of the new series. It is “kinetic-romantic abstract realism.” “Kinetic” means that I want to include movement that is related to machines. “Romantic” means that I want to express through beauty and relationships. “Abstract Realism” refers to the idea of mimicking realistic surface materials for abstract shapes. Very odd, I know, and it terrifies me.

"Blooming Centuries", an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Creativity is a Living Treasure – Watch the Video!

Before the new beginning, it’s time to celebrate the finished series. I have made a short video of the five pieces and the thoughts that came to my mind when painting them. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the video!

My Painting on Your Wall?

These paintings are also for sale!- Buy them directly from me here!

Loving Vincent and Purchasing Oil Paints

Schminke Mussini oil paints. Photo by Peony and Parakeet.

Yesterday, I opened the door of a local art supply store and headed to a specific shelf. On my way to the store, when walking on the narrow streets in the center of Helsinki, I felt it. The feeling that I got a year ago when I opened a tube of Mussini oil paint for the first time. I was attending an art class about old masters painting techniques, and we used the best oil paints I could imagine. Not that I could imagine so much because I had never used oil paints before. But I didn’t expect to experience that strange feeling. It contained both appreciation and excitement. The appreciation of color, and the excitement to learn more from it.

It was not that I would have been new to color. I had been painting with acrylic paints for a long time. When I was a teenager, I got them from my parents who thought that it was a perfect solution to me. No worrying about toxic painting fluids and still being able to paint with ease. The acrylic paints have developed a lot since that time, since the eighties. They have worked perfectly for my needs. I have found a good brand too. I really like Golden acrylics.

A self-portrait in Vincent van Gogh's style. By Paivi Eerola by Peony and Parakeet.

But now I was standing in the front of a vast collection of Mussini oil paint tubes. I picked the color chart and went through my choices one more time. For a whole year, I had been going through this in my mind: raw umber, zinc white, titanium white, yellow ochre and so on. It had been a mantra that changed a little bit every month. The paints are expensive, and I had to pick the colors carefully. One tube can cost more than 70 euros.

Plan for the Hand and Mind

After trying out the paints for the first time, I went to live in denial. Yes, I had painted the class pieces with oils because they were provided by the class. But the odorless and water-soluble acrylics felt much more suitable for me. After a while, my attitude changed a bit. I let myself dream about the oil paints. I visited the art supply store, touched the clean and shiny tubes, imagined getting just a bit of paint on a palette and make it last for as long as possible.

But dreaming and reality are surprisingly close. It’s difficult just to dream and not to do anything. So I made a plan that felt more like extortion. I had to get my floral painting class finished. I had to get several acrylic paintings finished. I had to figure out where and how I would store the paints. I had to get more information about the oil paints and the painting liquids.

I still had some finishing touches to do for my paintings in progress, but other than that I had followed the plan. So I started picking the tubes: raw umber, zinc white, titanium white, yellow ochre and so on. After selecting the colors, I went for the liquids: poppy oil, turpentine, and glossy dammar varnish.

When I left the store, my mind summarized the past year. Learning the old masters’ techniques had been essential for growing my technical skills. My art had become less imaginative, and more conventional.

Acrylic paintings by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

I had a turning point in 2016 when I felt that my imagination and my hand didn’t function so well together anymore. My imagination wanted to proceed to new territories, but my hand couldn’t follow. But now when my hand is wiser, I can also challenge my mind more freely. Purchasing the oil paints were a reward for the persistence that I have had for the last twelve months. However, it wasn’t the only reward. I was also going to see the new movie Loving Vincent.

Loving Vincent – The Movie

The movie theatre was about 10 minutes walk away from the art supply store. When I arrived, there were several queues for the tickets. I joined one. While I was waiting for my turn, a young man suddenly came to me and asked: “Do you want a free ticket? I have two, and my friend wasn’t able to come.” I happily accepted it and thanked the man. “Is this a sign?”, I asked myself. “Is this the final sign that I should do this – go forward, open the tubes, start painting my newest, odd ideas?” I don’t believe in destiny so much, but at that moment, it felt like Vincent van Gogh was talking to me: “Do that, paint those ideas, just like I painted mine.”

I found the movie very emotional. Every time, I saw a familiar painting coming to live, tears came to my eyes. I realized that this movie had to be published now, not earlier. Vincent’s art has become so well-known during the past decades that it unifies us. Art that was odd for masses of the 19th century is understood by every one living the 21st century. It has become so familiar that it’s sometimes difficult to appreciate it. And still, we need to feel the togetherness that Vincent’s paintings can offer. They are like icons that make us stronger together.

Looking back helps us to move forward. As artists, we are all Vincent’s descendants. No matter how we paint, what technique we use, we know about modern art because of Vincent. We know more than the people of the 19th century, and that enables us to explore art to all kinds of directions.

Loving Vincent – Art from the Students

I want to celebrate Vincent by showing beautiful pieces made by my students. They are made from my class Selfie Fantasy that shows an adaptation of Vincent’s technique.

Christie Juhasz:

Vincent van Gogh inspiration by Christie Juhasz, USA. An art journal page spread made from the mini-course Selfie Fantasy by Peony and Parakeet.

Terry Whyte:

Vincent van Gogh inspiration from Terry Whyte, Canada. An art journal page spread made from the mini-course Selfie Fantasy by Peony and Parakeet.

Denise Dineen:

Vincent van Gogh inspiration by Denise Dineen, USA. An art journal page spread made from the mini-course Selfie Fantasy by Peony and Parakeet.

Gina Meadows:

Vincent van Gogh inspiration by Gina Meadows, USA. An art journal page spread made from the mini-course Selfie Fantasy by Peony and Parakeet.

Patricia Furey:

Vincent van Gogh inspiration by Patricia Furey, USA. An art journal page spread made from the mini-course Selfie Fantasy by Peony and Parakeet.

Stephanie Carney:

Vincent van Gogh inspiration by Stephane Carney, USA. An art journal page spread made from the mini-course Selfie Fantasy by Peony and Parakeet.

Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it?

Imagine Through Art – Buy 5 inspiring mini-courses! (including the Vincent-inspired one)

Creating a Floral Art Class

Art Nouveau Flowers, a hand-drawn paper collage by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Made for her art class Floral Fantasies in Three Styles.

This hand-drawn collage is one of the projects that I have made for the upcoming floral art class Floral Fantasies in Three Styles. It begins on Monday, 16th October and lasts for five weeks. Because developing a new class is a big thing and requires a lot of thoughts, I wanted to share some in this blog too. Now it’s also the best time to sign up because I close the registration once the class begins!

Do You Do Flowers?

Daisies and an ant

The idea for the class came to my mind last spring and honestly, I have been processing it almost every day ever since. I wanted to create an event where we learn from flowers and express our love for flowers.

Some artists declare: “I don’t do flowers!” But I think that in art, flowers are never just colorful plants. When you draw and paint florals, it’s your imagination that’s blooming there. It’s your emotion that grows and fills the blank space. Flowers are perfect ambassadors for the messages that you want to deliver through art.

Peony Love

Are You Still Moving Towards Your Kind of Art?

Yesterday, I read about a famous female composer Unsuk Chin from the local newspaper “Helsingin Sanomat.” She had just won the Wihuri Sibelius Prize of 150 000 EUR.

The journalist asked her:
“When did you find out what you want to express through art and how?”
She answered: “There’s no such moment. I am still moving towards my kind of music, and it’s a continuous struggle.”

I could relate with the reply so well. Aren’t we all there – continuously working towards something that feels more us, that’s more our kind of art!

Digital art from hand-drawn elements by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

That’s why when building classes, I aim for delivering methods that connect with the imagination. It’s challenging, but when succeeding, the results that I see in the participants, are heart-warming. I believe that we all want to learn new perspectives, but they also have to be designed so that everyone can make unique art out of them. In the end, you don’t create to copy but to express, and that’s always a personal thing.

Let Flowers Make You an Imaginative Artist!

So when developing Floral Fantasies in Three Styles, I wanted to find ways that connect us to the beauty and diversity of flowers. I wanted flowers to be food for the imagination, and I wanted you to feel and work as a floral artist in this art class.

Floral Illustrator
Some of you feel the Week 1 most inspiring as it’s about creating floral designs and illustrative work. If you love any of the 20th century’s styles or have been working with textiles or other crafts for some time, it will be inspiring.

Intuitive Watercolorist
Some of you make the most of Week 2 when we get looser and play with watercolors. If you see or feel stiffness in your art, this will be valuable.

Renaissance Painter
I think that for the most of you, the technique that I teach in Weeks 3 and 4 is a new one. It’s a really old painting technique, but I show how you can use it for today’s art. I have built the class so that the everything you learn from Weeks 1 and 2, set the foundation for the technique. We dive deeper into old art and learn to look at the paintings of the old masters in a new way. These two weeks will be especially enjoyable for you who want to find gentleness towards yourself and soft luxury to your expression.

Digital Art created from acrylic paintings by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Giving the Attention to Your Art

In Week 5, we will gather together for a live session and look at the art created during the first four weeks. We will share tips and encouragement, and enjoy your beautiful floral art. For all the five weeks, we will also have a Facebook group dedicated to sharing and discussions. This connecting part is one of the main reasons why I love teaching art so much. I love to see your work and also, dig a bit deeper – see the potential for moving to new directions or fine-tuning what’s already there.

So, I hope to see you in Floral Fantasies – Reserve your spot before the class begins!

Floral Fantasies in Three Styles – Reserve Your Spot Now!