Painting Fantasy Portraits

"New Year", a small acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Watch her creating this on a video!

This year, I have been thinking a lot about the balance between technical skills and the imagination. It seems that when I focus on either one, the other one suffers. Now when the year is nearly in the end, I have wanted to play with the imagination and cared less about the execution. I have always enjoyed creating intuitively: starting without intention and then figuring out what I want to express once the work has progressed.

Fantasy Figures Keep On Appearing!

Recently, I have seen fantasy figures whatever I am creating. I don’t know if it’s because I have been following fantasy artists lately or just that I haven’t been playing with portraits for a while. Here’s one of the colorful clusters from my sketchbook that I turned into a fantasy figure.

Fantasy portrait in progress. See the intuitive approach for painting fantasy figures!

I had a lot of fun with her imagining that she is a digital nomad, re-connecting with nature, running away from her phone!

"Digital Nomad", a mixed media painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her intuitive approach of creating fantasy figures!

Fantasy Portrait in Oil

I also have two oil paintings in progress, and the first one is a kind of portrait too. After the geometric background, I wanted to put a giant pansy in the center, and then couldn’t resist adding a face. I have painted it using a reference for the most important facial features. Then I completed the person with a more loose approach.

Oil painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her tips for painting fantasy portraits!

This is just a beginning of the painting. It will have more details and color.

Painting Fantasy Portraits – An Intuitive Approach

The best fantasy is never borrowed but takes place in your imagination. I think the way to get connected to it, is to start freely without any reference photos. The painting that is shown at the beginning of this post looked like this before I discovered that there’s a face!

Painting fantasy portraits. See Paivi Eerola's intuitive approach!

Painting this one was an exciting process, and fortunately, I recorded some parts of it. I used a couple of tricks that I learned from my skillful artist friend Eeva Nikunen: using a dead color when exploring values and adding an even color wash over the whole painting to make it more unified.

Painting Fantasy Portraits – Watch the Video!

Happy Holidays! – See You in “Bloom and Fly”!

I am not sure whether I blog next week or not. So with this painting about the new year, I want to wish you Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Thank you for being there!

And of course, I hope to see you in Bloom and Fly at the beginning of January! We’ll start by planning your creative goals, then pick easy ideas from Rococo, explore abstracts together, etc. I will help you to express yourself so that it’s adventurous and imaginative!  >> Sign up here!

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18 Responses to Painting Fantasy Portraits

  1. Mary W says:

    I found so many images as you progressed through this but didn’t see the face until you began painting it. This was a surprise for me and I enjoyed this video so much. I had eye surgery recently and it isn’t healing as quickly as normal but hopefully it will soon so I can play again in the new year. Merry Christmas to you and your husband with big hugs and wishes for the coming year.

  2. WOW ….. what an amazing video! I will be watching this one many many times. I admire your creative, intuitive art style and am so awestruck watching this canvas manifest itself over and over. Thank you so much for sharing this video. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  3. Linda says:

    You are genius Paivi – the many changes you made but it still looks like a face, scary at the end! Merry Christmas and a creative new year to all x

  4. Dianne says:

    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing and have a lovely Christmas and New Year celebrations!

  5. Cindy Richter says:

    Thank you doing this for us. I always need encouragement to go with my inner self and let go. I have really been inspired by you to just go with it. My current problem is to know when to do more or when to stop. Difficult decision, but then I remember it is just my art and I can create anything I want! Have a wonderful holiday.

  6. Christina Mitchell says:

    Thank you for posting this video Paivi I found it both instructive and inspiring. My inner critic would have been screaming too but New Year became a much more interesting face as a result. Best wishes Tina

  7. Mackie says:

    Oh, Paivi, what a wonderful gift of your spirit. I am so thankful that I have you in my life. Sending love and hugs from this snowy place to you and your husband and critters there in Finland.

  8. M Parton says:

    Merry Christmas, Paivi, to you and your husband. Thank you for all the wonderful videos throughout the year.

  9. Ellen Schulz says:

    Lovely! Is the painting in oil or heavy body acrylics? It is an enchanting process and result. :). Your exploration is a story of you that is intriguing and inspiring. The dead color to explore values pops the other colors in a surprising way…I’ll put that in my Bloom and Fly Goals. Thank you for this lovely gift of you!

    Feliz Navidad!
    from Ajijic, Mexico (snow bird from Colorado, U.S.)