Recent News and a Sketchbook Tour Full of Ideas!

Curiosity by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. A painting from Paivi's sketchbook.

My short blogging break is over and to celebrate that I have a full sketchbook to show you!

The Last Page of the Sketchbook

This morning, there was one page in my big A3-sized sketchbook that wasn’t finished. It was a very ugly one! Even if I covered it with a layer of dark colors, it didn’t please my eye at all.

Sketchbook page in progress. The background before adding elements to it. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

But then I got an idea to highlight just some of the elements and paint a young woman on it. At the same time, I had the opportunity to play with the ideas that I am gathering for the new class.

A painting on a Pink Big sketchbook by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

I am often fighting against time when I am creating. When I make videos for the classes, I have only 1-3 hours for each project. My principle is that class videos are for guidance and inspiration and nobody wants to watch me paint for a day or two. Even if I speed up most parts, I usually include so much background information and art theory that I have to limit the time that I spend with painting or drawing. And often for blog posts, I have the same couple of hours even if it’s a bit easier if I don’t record the process or try to build a pedagogical package. So when painting this one, I would have liked to continue for a longer time, but I kept telling myself that the sketchbook is not where you make a detailed painting! Anyway, it’s detailed enough to get the idea.

Foxes and Inspiration from Natural Science

During the summer, foxes seem to have appeared in my art. This one is just a quick graphite drawing, but it’s something that really speaks to me: making new creatures and celebrating the potential and diversity of nature.

Best in Show, a whimsical graphite pencil sketch by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Here’s another one with a fox:

Flora and Fauna , an illustration by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her full sketchbook on a video!

This sketchbook page is inspired by the microscopic world, and even if it’s a loose portrait, it also has a fox ear!

An illustration by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Inspired by microscope images. See her sketchbook tour on a video!

I also have a tiny painting in progress that has a fox, but I will show that later in the fall.

Ready for a Sketchbook Tour? – Here We Go!

I have made a quick flip-through video of the full sketchbook. The sketchbook is from Pink Pig. There’s also a glance of the summer’s big project on the video – our Japanese garden!

Plans for the Fall

Here’s what will happen here at Peony and Parakeet during the fall – come along!

1) July-September: Watercolor Journey, you can still sign up, and if you love watercolors this really is the class to take! (When you sign up you will get immediate access to the material provided so far.)
2) Sept 10 – Nov 30: The Exploring Artist – a soul-searching coaching program for any artist who wants to get clear where to head next! There are only 12 seats available so sign up fast!
3) Oct-Dec: a new class with a working title “Portrait Revolution” as a part of my art community Bloom and Fly.

I hope that you have reserved some time for creating and will join me! And as always, the best way to stay up to date is to subscribe to my weekly emails!

Watercolor Video – Filling a Plain Background

A small watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Watch her video of painting this and how she fills the plain background!

Painting with a wet brush on a wet background is a traditional and proven way to start a watercolor painting. But what then? Representational or abstract? Watch the video!

Fill a Plain Background with Watercolors – Watch the video!

Take Yourself on a Picturesque Watercolor Journey

My class Watercolor Journey is especially for you who admires traditional watercolorists but who wants to be more loose and contemporary in your approach.

Watercolor Journey, an online watercolor art class by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

If you find sketching, perspective painting, careful shadowing and copying boring, but want to learn tips and tricks to let watercolors do half the work for you, you don’t want to miss this class!

Connect the dots between watercolor techniques and your imagination – Sign up for Watercolor Journey!

10 Rococo Art Ideas for Creative Romantics

This week I share some old and new pieces that are inspired by Rococo and give art prompts for all who are like-minded romantics. Let’s send greetings to Marie Antoinette, and create some Rococo-inspired art!

1) Masquerade

Three-Eyed Antoinette, rococo-inspired art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See more of her rococo art ideas!

Three-Eyed Antoinette, 2018

2) Passion for Jewels

Rococo by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Rococo, 2015

3) Bird’s Nest

Marie's Bird, a mixed media painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Marie’s Bird, 2018

4) Listening to Mozart

Graceful Aria by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Graceful Aria, 2014

5) Anyone Can Fly

"Envy", from the sketchbook of Paivi Eerola by Peony and Parakeet

Envy, 2017

6) Eye of a Romantic

My Mind's Eye, a mixed media painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

My Mind’s Eye, 2017

7) Ornamental Figure

Orna, a collage from hand-decorated papers by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Orna, 2012

8) Mimicking Embroidery

Embroidered Ornament, colored pencils on scrapbook paper by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Embroidered Ornament, 2015 (colored pencils on scrapbook paper)

9) Loose Ornament

Loose Rococo, a watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Loose Rococo, 2018

10) Softness All-Around

Rococo Dream by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Rococo Dream, 2018

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!

Intuitive Painting with a Reference Image

Intuitive painting with a reference image – can it be possible? Let me show you how!

Madama Butterfly, an intuitive painting from the sketchbook of Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Here’s a painting from my sketchbook. It’s called “Madama Butterfly.” My reference image was this Renaissance painting called “Flora” by Tiziano Vecellio, 1515-1520. I took the photo last summer when visiting Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.

Flora by Tiziano Vecellio. Uffizi gallery. Photo by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

There are very little similarities in these two pieces. The pose is fairly similar, the composition and the facial features have some similarities, but that’s it. The style, the theme, and the technique are all different.

Tiziano Vecellio's painting Flora, and a painting from Paivi Eerola's sketchbook. See how she used the reference for the painting!

The Supplies And the Setting

I like to do fairly quick paintings on my big A3-sized sketchbook. For this sketchbook, I often use Derwent Artbars, a water brush, and Faber-Castell Gelatos because they are easy to layer and I am more relaxed than when working with tube paints. I use acrylic or oil paints for canvas paintings, and working with them is more serious. This time I wanted to demonstrate a concept or a method rather than creating a 30-hour painting.

Derwent Artbars, Faber-Castell Gelatos, and a waterbrush ready for making a sketchbook page.

1) From Intentional to Intuitive Painting

The first idea was to pick the pose and the composition loosely from the reference image and then add geometric shapes to fill the space.

First steps of an intuitive painting that also uses a reference image. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

After sketching the foundation of the figure, the triangles, rectangles, and circles were fun to paint without looking at the reference at all. I painted the face roughly, and then I used the reference image as a guide. But because at this early stage, I didn’t know what I want to express and what kind of person the figure could be, I didn’t bother to spend time perfecting the facial features. At this point, my painting resembles cubistic pieces from the early 20th century.

2) Changing the Style

When creating art for the sketchbook, I like my style to be a bit more illustrational than when I make bigger paintings. Even if I love cubism, I wanted my piece to be a bit more current.

Making an intuitive painting by using a reference image to some parts. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Nowadays, illustrations often use geometric shapes but rather than triangles or rectangles, the shapes are often round, and scallop edges seem to be a bit hit. So I started changing the painting by altering the shapes. This routine work gave me plenty of time to connect with my inner world and work intuitively from one association to another. I tend to be both nostalgic and romantic, so I thought how portrait painters often spend time with the clothing even if they are just a shell. Why not use it as a canvas for the memories, the ideas, and the achievements of the person?

Changing an artistic style by changing angular shapes to round shapes. Example by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

3) From Intuitive to Intentional

After rounding hundreds of triangles and rectangles, I realized that I was painting Madama Butterfly, the opera that I just saw last Saturday! I finished the face after this realization and adjusted other elements so that they fit with the theme.

Madama Butterfly, an intuitive painting from the sketchbook of Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

More Intuitive Inspiration from Opera

This is not the first time I have been intuitively inspired by opera!

>> Tosca

"Tosca" by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Tosca, 2015

>> The Phantom of the Opera

"The Phantom of the Opera" by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

The Phantom of the Opera, 2016

>> La Traviata

"I Am Listening", a hand-drawn art journal page by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

I Am Listening, 2015

>> The Marriage of Figaro

Opera, a mixed media collage by Peony and Parakeet.

Opera, 2014

And there’s also a video about
>> Kaija Saariaho’s Emilie

More About Simple Shapes

>> What to create from simple shapes – 6 ideas

Self-study classes:
>> Planet Color – release your mind by focusing on color!
>> Modern Mid-Century – put a modern twist to simple shapes!

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