Find a Focus for Your Art

"I am listening", an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

Here’s my latest art journal page with colored pencils. It is called “I Am Listening.”

Drawing Process

I knew that it would be a good moment to create art when I heard about a live broadcast of an opera La Traviata. To enhance the atmosphere, I adjusted lighting and closed sliding doors in the room where I was creating.

Evening of opera and art, by Peony and Parakeet

When I started drawing, I had no idea what the final result would represent.

First phase in creating an art journal page, by Peony and Parakeet

And even when I began coloring the page, I had no clue.

Creating a drawing on an art journal, by Peony and Parakeet

But once I had worked for a while, I saw the face appearing on the page. Soon I knew that the drawing would be about listening to music and how it activates the whole brain. I have experienced that personally, but Finnish researchers have proved it scientifically too.

"I am listening", a detail of an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

Focus Sets You Free!

I used to hate people who repeated: focus, focus, focus! I questioned back: “Isn’t experimenting an essential part of creating art? Shouldn’t art set us free, instead of steering us to a narrow path?”

But after finding my focus, I realized that I had had misconceptions. The focus should not be a single subject like “birds” or “faces,” certain supplies like “acrylics” or certain style like “cubism”. The focus should not come from outside, but inside. It should answer the question: “When thinking of self-expression, where are you best at?” This kind of focus will lead you to see more possibilities. You will experiment more and you will broaden your perspective.

I did not mistakenly listen to dramatic music in the suitable surroundings. I used it as a tool to bring out where I am best at – visualizing experiences, systems, and transformations. That’s my focus. Whatever I doodle, I can feel free as I do not have to worry about what will appear. My focus will feed my subconscious and my imagination.

For some of my students, the focus has been “feelings in relationships”. For some, it has been “fairy tales” or “mysteries.” Some have been skillful in seeing “the beauty of everyday life,” others thrive on “atmospheres of dimensional spaces.”

"I am listening", an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

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27 Responses to Find a Focus for Your Art

  1. Mary W says:

    Thanks for the link to the scientific study info. Our brains are a constant source of scientific discovery for what we intuitively already know – music makes us happy. I think one day they will prove that flower fragrance has some nutritional value also as we smell those glorious smells because they make us happy. Art and music (all our senses) seem to draw awareness of life on this earth. I’m so thankful for how my mind wonders and is rewarded from your work, both in producing art and in researching it.

    • Sue Fujii says:

      Hi, Mary W
      I really enjoy reading your opinion on the sites we each seem to follow …DLP and Paivi’s to name a couple. Paivi is really amazing….are you taking her Inspirational Drawing class on June 1st? If so, I’ll be watching for your posts…always very enjoyable to read. Have a good day!

      • Mary W says:

        Thanks so much – yes I’m taking her class and can’t wait. I like your name as it sends up feelings of an exotic island of paradise. I will be watching for you in class, a new friend to get to know better through art.

        • Sue Fujii says:

          A new friend to get to know better through art….sounds wonderful. I’ll be keeping in touch…you, too, okay? See you in class. Hugs

    • Päivi says:

      Thanks, Mary! Yes, fragrances – thank you for mentioning those as inspiration sources! Sue and Mary, I am so looking forward to meeting you and other long time readers in the course!

  2. Awesome blog post and Artwork!

  3. Empe says:

    Very interesting article, thanks for sharing your insight. 🙂

  4. joanne says:

    I love reading your blogs what interesting perspectives — I love your artwork and am so happy that I met you thru 21 secrets pavi —

  5. nia says:

    I love your art work, this is so beautiful. Thank you, love, nia

  6. Sue Fujii says:

    Good Morning, Paivi….I usually don’t have enough time in the morning to sit and read all the wonderful blogs that appear in my email…but yours being one of my favorites, I find the time when they show up about once a week. I decided to start reading your posts on the sidebar of your blog this morning. I started with “Pets” (under Themes)….and met Stella. What a little cutie! As you can see from my email address, I’m also a quilter and I have made quilts for my dogs, even though I haven’t put in the work when it comes to the beautiful embroidery. I was blown away (again) with the artwork as I scrolled down to see all the cute pictures of Stella. So impressive! I’d like to add that you’re such a lovely person, so very talented and so welcoming when inviting us into your world. Thank you … only 20 days to go before your Inspirational Drawing class…can’t wait! Sue

    • Päivi says:

      Yes, Sue, can’t wait meeting you and many others who have been following my blog! Making dog quilts is my hobby and luckily I have two beagles who love their blankets!

  7. Lynda says:

    What a great post and process. I’m amazed at your finished piece. I’m off to read that study. Thanks for the inspiration this morning.

  8. Lynne says:

    Such a beautiful dreamlike quality in this piece. I particularly like your idea of using the outer as a “tool” to open the door of the inner. Wonderfully inspiring!

  9. Sunny says:

    Wow! Really love this one, Paivi!

  10. Rosemary says:

    Hi Paivi, I thought that I might not be able to do the inspirational drawing course, as we would be away from home (with no access to internet). But…it looks as though we will be home after all. Yay! I hope it isn’t too late to sign up in a few days time? Can’t wait! Loving your blog, Paivi.

  11. Sue Fujii says:

    Good Sunday Morning, Paivi
    I just watched a really interesting movie from Netflix. It’s called Tim’s Vermeer. Here’s the description of the movie that was on the envelope….”Teller, of Penn & Teller fame, directs this absorbing film about inventor Tim Jenison’s quest to solve one of art’s greatest mysteries: How did Dutch master Johannes Vermeer paint so photo-realistically 150 years before the invention of photography?”
    All the while I was watching it, I kept thinking…”Paivi would love this movie!!!” I hope you get a chance to watch it….it is fascinating and it fits in with your knowledge of technology and art. Hugs, Sue

    • Päivi says:

      Oh, Sue, thank you for mentioning this!! I looked up at the iTunes store and it is available there! Once I have a moment, I will buy and watch it!

  12. Rosemary says:

    Hi Paivi, I’ve signed up to your course. Very excited and really looking forward to getting started 🙂