Freedom and Fear of Drawing – with Students of Peony and Parakeet

Asian Bunny, an illustration by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

I dedicate this blog post for drawing, but I want to talk about cross stitching first. It’s one of my long-time hobbies, and I find it relaxing. I don’t have to make any decisions, use any imagination, just follow the chart, and the result will be just like I wanted it to be. Cross stitching is like a simple house plant. If you give a little bit of time for it fairly regularly, it will grow even if it doesn’t feel like so at first.

Paivi likes cross stitching

I can choose complicated charts or simple ones, and easily adjust the attention required for stitching. But there’s one problem that always remains: pixelation. Each image is made from single square-shaped stitches. No matter how complicated the design is or thick the fabric is, the pixelation is there.

Christmas at Gingerbread Lane, a cross stitching project in progess

Working with single stitches is not only a visual problem. It’s also a problem if we want to create more freely. Then we need a medium that allows faster and more flexible thinking. Like drawing. There are many kinds of drawing styles. When I want to experience creative freedom, I don’t do sketching using a pre-made model. (The photo shows a recent Renaissance-style painting in progress. I have designed it first in Photoshop.)

A sketch for a Renessaince style painting, by Peony and Parakeet

A Fear for Freedom – A Fear of Drawing

When I want to feel free, I don’t want models. Then it’s just a blank paper and a pen and a wish for a glimpse of imagination.

But freedom and fear are strangely connected. About three years ago, when I planned to leave my day job and start an art business, I warned myself. I told how I would no longer be anyone noticeable. I would have no office, no place to go every day, no colleagues to discuss with, no job title, no respect from others, no self-esteem. I would live in the darkest edge of the society and completely against the way of life I was taught. With these stories, I tried to prevent myself making the life change, and at the same time, I knew I had to try it. I had to turn the page and start a completely blank one.

Drawing on a blank page, by Peony and Parakeet.

I often connect with the same fear when I start drawing. That I am no one, that I have no power, that it is overwhelming and I don’t know what to do. But then, it’s the same gate that leads to the most wonderful feeling: the feeling of freedom.

Before I left my day job, I started to follow other self-employed women online. I listened to podcasts where they told their stories, and they all had one thing in common. They had put what they already know into use and then learned more. It made me list all the skills that I had and be more content about the decision I had made.

Paivi just before her life change

Drawing Factory Teaches You to Draw from Stick Figures

Still, on this day, I find it both assuring and inspiring to acknowledge what is already there before starting something new. So last year, I wanted to create a mini-course about line drawing, using the same philosophy. That was how Drawing Factory was born. It teaches you to start from stick figures and then move on to flowing lines and more imaginative illustrations.

Drawing Factory, a line drawing mini-course that helps you to lose your fear of drawing. By Peony and Parakeet.

Student Artwork

I offered Drawing Factory as a part of Imagine Monthly Fall 2016, the series of monthly mini-courses. See some of the gorgeous pieces that my students have made from the course! Another central theme in the course is Japan, the land of pretty details and high productivity and that has inspired Denise Dineen, Linda Robson, Christie Juhasz, Stepanie Carney, Marie Jerred, and Kathy Gallant, too.

Denise Dineen, USA. Student Artwork from the mini-course Drawing Factory.

Linda Robson, Canada. Student Artwork from the mini-course Drawing Factory.

Christie Juhasz, USA. Student Artwork from the mini-course Drawing Factory.

Stephanie Carney, USA. Student Artwork from the mini-course Drawing Factory.

Marie Jerred, Canada. Student Artwork from the mini-course Drawing Factory.

Kathy Gallant, Canada. Student Artwork from the mini-course Drawing Factory.

Overcome Your Fears for Line Drawing – Buy Drawing Factory!

Drawing Factory is now available as a single self-study class. >> Click here to buy!
You can also buy the whole bundle of five art journaling classes, published last year as Imagine Monthly Fall 2016.

Thank you for supporting my journey now and during the last three years!

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12 Responses to Freedom and Fear of Drawing – with Students of Peony and Parakeet

  1. Cindy R says:

    I took your Imagine Monthly 2016 Fall and learned so much! Still practicing those lessons. I have noticed that my work is expanding and creating from my own imagination is somewhat easier the more I work. It really expanded my creative side. I am hoping to sign up for another lass soon Thanks for giving me this opportunity.

  2. Mary W says:

    You are the very definition of power! You possess magical powers that rhave the ability to elease another person’s power to create. Take a bow and listen to the applause – you deserve a standing ovation!

  3. Nea says:

    Will always love your work Paivi. You are inspiration with every color and line. I am grateful for everything you have taught me.

  4. saundra weed says:

    Your comments are always so inspiring. And every time I get one of your e-mails I feel like I’m visiting an old friend. I love hearing about your other projects….stitching, knitting, etc. I think all artists need to have a “mechanical” non thinking project in the works,. Something that we enjoy, keeps us productive, and lets our mind re-new while our hands are busy. My “go-to” projects are quilting , knitting, and fabric manipulation.

    • Päivi says:

      Thank you, Saundra!! So well said about the “non-thinking” projects. I also love quilting, knitting, and all kinds of embroidery. Spinning wool is also relaxing!

  5. Elaine Wirthlin says:

    In every class I take from you I learn more than I ever dreamed I could. I learn not just techniques, but I learn that I am more capable than I ever dreamed I am. You inspire the best in each of us with your expert lessons and gentle guidance throughout each class. Thank you, Paivi, for being brave and sharing your life adventure with us. You hold a special place in my heart.

  6. Paula Haynes says:

    I will take one of your classes in the near future. I am booked pretty solid right now but I am always encouraged by your blog post and your art, which is so inspiring. Thanks