Why Every Artist Should Art Journal? – Facebook Live Recording

I had my first public Facebook live yesterday! If you missed it, watch the recording below. As this is a live recording via the Facebook app, the quality of the image and the lip sync aren’t brilliant. If you are interested in art journals and using them for growing as an artist, it’s worth watching!

Let me be your art teacher: Subscribe to my weekly emails!

Knitting and Painting – A Video Visit to My Studio!

"Channel into The World", an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Watch the video behind this painting and in the same time, see Paivi's studio!

This time I have something for you who likes to watch long videos. I love to knit (especially Leftie scarves) while watching video podcasts, so maybe you can pick up a project too and come to spend some time in my studio, talking about crafts, art inspiration, and painting supplies. I will create a craft-inspired art journal page and show many other pieces too.

A Day at the Studio – One Video in Two Parts

It is a really long video, so I have divided it into two parts. The first part is an introduction to a small project that I paint on the second part. The second part also shows some painting supplies. I hope you will enjoy both of them!

Here’s the first part:

And here’s the second part:

Planet Color begins at April 24: Reserve your spot now!

Life in an Art Journal – Dylusions Creative Journal Flip-Through

An art journal page spread from Peony and Parakeet. Dylusions Creative Journal. See the flip-through video!

Don’t miss a flip-through video in the end of this blog post!

Four years ago, I purchased a new art journal – a big one. It was Dylusions Creative Journal, the largest size. In the beginning, I wanted to do everything “right.” I wanted my journal to have pages that are well-thought and carefully executed. The first couple of spreads went ok, but then, ugly pages started to appear. They were pages that I had just started but got tired on the way. Or pages which began so ugly that I didn’t feel like finishing them. But the longer I used my journal, the more I realized that I could have fun with those ugly pages. I could add more simple motifs and then color them all. I could add black paint and leave only some of the background visible. I could add more ugliness, and once it hit the saturation point, it became – something else.

Self portrait by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Sign up for her class Inspirational Drawing 2.0!

I am interested in learning all kinds of visual styles. Art journaling has supported it. One day I played a fashion designer and made a quick line illustration with poodles and all. It didn’t look inspiring back then, but a long time later, I had a lot of fun coloring it.

An art journal page spread from Peony and Parakeet. Made in Dylusions Creative Journal. See the flip-through video!

That’s what I love with art journals. The pages don’t get lost, and the ideas don’t get forgotten. Sometimes the ideas are abstract and timeless …

An art journal page from Peony and Parakeet. Made in Dylusions Creative Journal. See the flip-through video!

… and sometimes they are illustrations about what’s happening around the world.

An art journal page from Peony and Parakeet. Made in Dylusions Creative Journal. See the flip-through video!

Filling the pages in a random order adds its flavor to the journal. A grid-like paper patchwork felt innovative once, but not anymore. It feels pretty stiff, especially when there are freely doodled elements on the opposite page.

An art journal page spread from Peony and Parakeet. Dylusions Creative Journal. See the flip-through video!

But I don’t want to rip off the pages that don’t seem to fit. I accept them all. They are all explorations on the land of Art and Imagination. Sometimes I didn’t get very far, but I believe that all the trips benefited each other. I also believe that when painting on canvases, I feel more confident because I have played freely in my art journals.

Dylusions Creative Journal – Watch the Flip-Through Video!

See all the pages of my large Dylusions Creative Journal!

Enjoy drawing by starting from stick figures! – Buy Drawing Factory!


Mixed Media Seascapes – 5 Tips for Expressive Art

Notice the new, useful categories for the blog posts, see the sidebar “Posts by Theme” or if you are in mobile, see the end of the page!

Sometimes I regret creating my art on the journals. When I created these mixed media seascapes for the mini-course Stormy Scenery, I wanted to keep the journals open and visible for days just to get back with the process and look at all the colors. And when I saw what my students had created, I secretly wished the same – that not so many weren’t in journals but frames. I want to share some art made from the mini-course and share some tips for expressive seascapes.

1) Play with Colors!

When creating the waves, show how the water reflects the colors from its surroundings. When there’s a storm, there will be a lot that’s moving, and it will affect the colors too. You can show your current state of mind as the sea and bring out the variety of thoughts and feelings. See how Claudia Watkins has made a row of waves with various colors.

Claudia Watkins, UK. One of the mixed media seascapes from Peony and Parakeet's class Stormy Scenery.

Claudia Watkins, UK

2) Create a Connection Between The Sky and The Sea!

If the sea represents you and the sky represents the outside world, how do they interact? Susan Rajkumar has expressed the connection in a brilliant way. It looks like the sea is willing to hug the sun and the overall feeling in the piece is warm and happy.

Susan Rajkumar, India. One of the mixed media seascapes from Peony and Parakeet's class Stormy Scenery.

Susan Rajkumar, India

Sheila McGruer’s sun has left the sea, and it has caused an explosion of energy.

Sheila McGruer, Australia. One of the mixed media seascapes from Peony and Parakeet's class Stormy Scenery.

Sheila McGruer, Australia

Sheila’s piece also has the softness which takes us to the next tip …

3) Express the Softness of Water

Cheryl Rayner shows the softness with both long strokes and splashes of water. With softness, you can practice gentleness towards yourself and others.

Cheryl Rayner, USA. One of the mixed media seascapes from Peony and Parakeet's class Stormy Scenery.

Cheryl Rayner, USA

4) Show The Movement of The Waves

Enjoy the transformation that happens when you focus on creating art! Strokes and lines express the movement. Lorraine Cline’s green sea is captivating because it’s wonderfully dynamic!

Lorraine Cline, USA. One of the mixed media seascapes from Peony and Parakeet's class Stormy Scenery.

Lorraine Cline, USA

Terttu Laitinen has the great eye of the storm.

Terttu Laitinen, Finland. One of the mixed media seascapes from Peony and Parakeet's class Stormy Scenery.

Terttu Laitinen, Finland

5) Make The Scene Look 3-Dimensional!

In any scene and any mind, some things are closer, and some things are further away. Add more 3-dimensional look to make some elements more blurry and some sharper than others. Satu Kontuvuori has a striking focal point where sharp white waves are on the top of the blurry black eye of the storm.

Satu Kontuvuori, Finland. One of the mixed media seascapes from Peony and Parakeet's class Stormy Scenery.

Satu Kontuvuori, Finland

Mackie d’Arge also has a clear focal point and lots of less defined splashes around it.

Mackie d'Arge, USA. One of the mixed media seascapes from Peony and Parakeet's class Stormy Scenery.

Mackie d’Arge, USA

Internal Seascapes – Connect with Your Internal Energy!

The mixed media seascapes shown in this blog posts are made from the mini-course Stormy Scenery which was part of my Imagine Monthly Spring series last year. You can now purchase it individually too. When creating Stormy Scenery, I was inspired by the long chain of seascape painters, especially by J.M.W. Turner and Ivan Aivazovski. I also have a Pinterest board called Internal Seascapes where I have collected inspirational sea paintings.

But in Stormy Scenery, more than just to paint the sea, I coach you through the process of opening up and bringing out your expression. With the mini-course, you are not so much mimicking the sea outside but expressing the power inside. I believe that every artist has a unique power as well as every day has a unique energy.

Create Mixed Media Seascapes!

Use colored pencils, watercolors, and acrylic paints to create expressive mixed media art!
>> Click here to buy Stormy Scenery!

Stormy Scenery, an art journaling mini-course by Peony and Parakeet

P.S. If you want more personal guidance and community support to get deeper in self-expression, you can still sign up for Inspirational Drawing 2.0!

What Artistic Direction to Take?

Explorer's Fountain, an art journal page spread by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

This is my latest art journal spread called “Explorer’s Fountain”. Before showing how I made it, I want to ask you the question that I have been pondering.

When Is the Beginning of a New Phase?

All artists have phases. But how to know when a new one begins? Is creating a continuum or are there certain points when you make the change? Or at least began to change?

I posted this image to Peony and Parakeet’s Facebook page with the text below, and I want to share this here too:

Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

It wasn’t that long ago when I was 5!

As children, we know what we love. I wanted to be an artist and a teacher. I wanted to write and publish books. I wanted to live with pets. When we grow up, there seem to be more possibilities, and still, they feel less. It’s not much to be a manager when you have dreamed to be an artist. This is how I have felt personally and this is why I think we should do what we have always loved. Because it feels more fullfilling than anything else.

Just recently, art has begun to feel more fullfilling and exciting than ever before. I feel I have new skills, even if I can’t fully point out what they are. I feel I have new thoughts but when I try to grab them, they seem to disappear. My mind is filled with new kind of artistic focus, and still it’s like it has always been there, now I am just more connected to it. This makes me think that I am experiencing some kind of artistic change, moving from one phase to another.

The changing process is like a rain that starts with small drops. You can then decide whether you go back inside or get out and see what happens!

Learning from Practicing

Teaching classes have been small drops to me. As an art teacher I see all kind of styles and seek solutions to many kinds of creative problems. I am often so excited about my students and their creations that my own art feels like a secondary thing. But while I have helped people to bring out the best of their skills and get more clarity for their creative direction, it has been a school to me too. It’s like I have got a gift from my students, being able to build my own focus in a new way. So while you have practised, I have practised too!

large Dylusions Creative Journal

A large Dylusions Creative Journal is almost full and a new one has been acquired.

What’s Your Ambition in Art?

I have never understood the controversy between commercial approach and artistic freedom. I think we should search for the best audience to our art and find ourselves through the process. I know most of the people disagree with this. I do understand that many great art pieces wouldn’t have been born with this mindset. But my own ambition of being an artist doesn’t mean creating world class art and being the greatest of all. I think art as a service instead of end result only. I want to understand how people experience art and develop ways to make creating as fullfilling as possible. – What’s your ambition in art?

Triptych Approach – Create with Me!

Instead of focusing on single artworks, I look for creative concepts and processes. Just recently I got an idea of a triptych. The piece would be created with three different mediums, each taking one third of the final piece. But this triptych would have soft edges so that it would look like a one piece despite of the three distinct elements. Create this triptych with me and while creating, ponder about your artistic direction!

1) Start with Colored Pencils

Color freely with colored pencils so that you fill approximately one third of the page.
Add few small separate colored areas too.

Pondering about artistic direction while creating an art journal page

Using Old Pencils
I use Prismacolor and Garan d’Ache Luminance pencils “officially”. For example all the images of the e-book Coloring Freely have been colored with them. But when I am making a quick spread like this one, I often grab some odd short pencils and use them instead of the fancier ones.

2) Continue with Watercolors

Change to watercolors and paint the second third of the spread.
Try to make the transition from colored to painted areas as soft as possible.
In the end, paint an area that is separate from the main area.

Pondering about artistic direction while creating an art journal page

3) Fill the Rest with Acrylic Paints

Paint most of the remaining blank area with acrylic paint.
Add a small painted area on the right where you have colored with pencils. Acrylic paints can be used easily over colored pencils. Don’t cover too much, let every medium show!

Pondering about artistic direction while creating an art journal page

4) Finishing

Go through the whole page and fine-tune the spread with colored pencils and acrylic paints.
Add little details and nuances, don’t repaint the whole page.

Pondering about artistic direction while creating an art journal page

Here’s is my finished spread again.

Explorer's Fountain, an art journal page spread by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

5) Use Leftover Paint

If you still have some leftover paint on a palette, grab a new page and create a quick abstract!


Here’s mine, called “House with a View”.

House with a View, an abstract art journal page using leftover paint, by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Analysing Artistic Direction

When thinking about artistic direction, it’s natural to analyze what’s good at the end result – what do you want to take from that to move forward. But it’s as important to think about the creative process and analyze that what felt good there.

After analyzing both ways, I think that my direction is this. I have always loved art history. I want it to show in my art but in a fresh way. I want to build bridges between old art created hundreds of years ago and today’s contemporary art. My latest art class Imagine Monthly already does a lot of that. But I also want to grow as an artist so that my personal expression grows stronger and so that I can reach more like-minded people with both my art and my classes.

Explorer's Fountain, an art journal page spread by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Challenge yourself to find your artistic direction
Sign up for Imagine Monthly Fall 2016!

Avoid Stiffness with Blurry Coloring!

Spring Bee. An art journal page with colored pencils by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Coloring freely.

This is a recent art journal page made with colored pencils. I call this “Spring Bee.” It’s all about sunny spring arriving in Finland. The page is also inspired by the techniques that I discovered while writing my latest e-book Coloring Freely.

Magical Blurriness

Every spring, when the first flowers pop up, I can’t resist taking photos of them. We in Finland have a long and cold winter. It’s such a joy to see colors, even subtle, again. This spring, I’ve been thinking a lot about softness and blurriness. The more I see it, a more magical the whole world looks. When taking photos, I aim for sharp details, but in the end, it’s the blurriness in the background that makes the image.

Spring flowers

These pictures are from past springs, but they show well how distance, light, and rain cause blurriness. To my eye, blurry elements look soft, magical. It’s like they could be anything my imagination can reach! I believe that this is the way we should look at the world now and then, to see its natural beauty.

Spring photos with blurriness

Less Stiffness – More Blurriness

When your art is less stiff, it allows the imagination to step in. It’s amazing what can appear from those blurry background layers.

Coloring an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

I had no idea what the page would represent before the bee showed up! By freely coloring with odd, short colored pencils found from my growing collection, I continued filling the page. Like in photos, everything doesn’t have to be sharp and understandable in your art. You can let the viewer make their assumptions too.

Coloring an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

In the end, I drew some sharp lines and colored additional dark areas on the front. These welcome the eye to explore the rest of the page.

Coloring an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

This page has been created with colored pencils only. It has no sketching. It has been created just by coloring freely.


When the page was finished, I wrote my thoughts about the magic of blurriness on the opposite page. When I open this spread after few months, I will be happily surprised by the spring feelings.

Art journal page spread by Peony and Parakeet. Colored freely with colored pencils.

From Observations to Coloring Techniques

When I wrote Coloring Freely, I didn’t want just to explain how to use the techniques. I wanted to guide you to observe your surroundings. With the guided observation prompts, you will realize why the techniques work and what kind of insights they are based on. That way you don’t just color rationally, but also connect emotionally.

Coloring Freely - 6 Coloring Techniques to Boost Your Self-Expression

If your images are full of stiff outlines, it’s time to explore the world with different glasses and
start coloring freely!

Coloring Freely:  Buy the e-book!

Monet’s World of Energy

Strokes of Energy, an art journaling mini-course inspired by Claude Monet, taught by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

The famous impressionistic painter Claude Monet inspired me to creates this art journaling mini-course. Strokes of Energy has just been released as a part of Imagine Monthly.

Calmness vs. Energy

When I examined Monet’s painting style, I spent a lot of time with calming blues and greens.

Ultramarine blue is wonderful for Monet style color mixes

But the more I painted, the more I brought energy into the painting.  Even if you feel calm when watching Monet’s paintings, his painting style is much more than just lightly caressing the canvas. Directional strokes and plenty of colors are essential in Monet’s impressionistic style. The most fun part of using the active energy is creating all the juicy details with short strokes of paint.

Create your own Claude Monet painting!

Monet’s Fresh Air to Your Art Journal

A big part of art journaling is about making sketches, experiments and building the collection of pages. But every art journal needs also pages that you want to watch again and again. They are like a breath of fresh air among all not so finished pages.

Paivi and her Monet

4 Published Mini-Courses, 2 More to Come

Alphonse Mucha, William Morris, Friedensreich Hundertwasser and Claude Monet have been my inspiration for this spring. When you sign up for Imagine Monthly, you will get all these 4 mini-courses right after the purchase and 2 more in the coming months.

Imagine Monthly - Art journaling mini-courses inspired by world-class art

Also, you will get to be a part of great community! Every week, when I look at the unique versions my students have made from the exercises, I am in awe. I feel extremely lucky to be part of the group and wish all those masters could still be alive and participate the conversation!

>> Imagine Monthly – Sign up here! 

Step into Hundertwasser’s Ecstasy!

An art journaling mini-course inspired by Hundertwasser! By Peony and Parakeet

An Austrian architect and artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser inspired me to create this art journaling mini-course. Painter’s Ecstasy has just been released as a part of Imagine Monthly.

Getting into Hundertwasser’s Head

Creating the mini-course took a lot of time. I didn’t want to just paint something in Hundertwasser’s style. I wanted to find the elements in his style that support intuitive painting. I wanted to discover the essentials that allow anyone to produce their own work, not just copies. I also wanted to point out the most important nuances that make his paintings so appealing.

Even if Hundertwassers paintings (go check my Pinterest board: “Hundertwasser Hunger”) are so clearly shaped and striking, getting into his head wasn’t easy! I made a lot of sketches and experimented with various art supplies. These art journaling pages are some of the sketches:

Hundertwasser inspired sketches by Peony and Parakeet

Structures from Buildings and Maps

Hundertwasser’s education in architecture affected the way he painted. He used structures from buildings and maps to express himself.  His paintings  tell stories about how humans relate with their environment. It made me think how my desire to paint glassware and ceramics is due to my studies in industrial design. However, I truly enjoyed the techniques discovered from Hundertwasser’s paintings! I am definitely going to continue using those! It’s mostly just watercolor, isn’t it amazing?!

Have some Hundertwasser in your art journal! An art class by Peony and Parakeet

3 Months, 3 Artists

Each of the mini-course has now presented an artist. I must admit that I have been a bit selfish here, picking out artists that truly inspire myself. Luckily I have been blogging for a long time. It hasn’t probably been any surprise that January’s artist was Alphonse Mucha and February’s William Morris.  But my love for Hundertwasser’s paintings might have been a bit hidden. Now when I have found out how he created his paintings, it won’t be a secret anymore!

Imagine Monthly Spring 2016, an art class by Peony and Parakeet

Have Some Hundertwasser in Your Art Journal!

You can still hop onto Imagine Monthly and get all the 3 mini-courses right after the purchase. There are three more mini-courses to come and the community is just wonderful to be in! It is so delightful to see everybody’s unique versions of the techniques shown in the class. Purchase here!

Create Doodled Luxury!

Doodled Luxury, an art journaling mini-course as a part of Imagine Monthly Spring 2016 by Peony and Parakeet

Happy New Year everyone! With the new year, a new class has started. Imagine Monthly is a series of 6 mini-courses, released one by one from January to June. Imagine Monthly is a bit different than my other online workshops. It has a slower pace and you can sign up even if the class is already running. January’s mini-course “Doodled Luxury” has just been released. You will get it right away after signing up!

Why This Course?

I wanted to start the series of 6 mini-courses by showing the potential of free handdrawing. For many, drawing is about being able to copy something realistic but there’s so much more that you can do with flowing lines. I think drawing should be redefined and enabled for everyone. It’s my mission to enable you to enjoy drawing and have great time with your growing imagination! (Want to ponder more about the ability to draw? Read this blog post: “Can You Draw?”

Creating with Luxury in Mind

When developing “Doodled Luxury”, I spent a lot of time thinking about the concept of luxury. I think it’s not just something to buy, it’s more about creating something unapologetic and self-sufficient. Something which makes you feel rich in a way that has very little to do with money.

Paivi from Peony and Parakeet and her creative space

While experimenting with  the techniques used in “Doodled Luxury”, I created an art journal spread that summarizes the ideas that I had in my head: bringing a clear focal point, getting inspired by the many layers of luxurious clothes, letting quantity increase the quality.

An art journaling spread by Peony and Parakeet

The spread above is just a background study for the course, but I wanted to show it as an example of how your art journal can contain “idea boxes” which in turn can lead to more advanced ideas like this one:

A detail of the work made in Imagine Monthly, an art journaling class, by Peony and Parakeet

This Alphonse Mucha inspired collage has influences from Marie Antoinette’s period. Can there be anything more luxurious than art nouveau combined with rococo, expressed by handdrawn elements? Doodling truly can produce luxury when there’s more than enough of it!

Experience the power of simple handdrawing and other easy techniques
Buy Imagine Monthly!

Force Yourself to Experiment!

Discus Fish, an art journal page with colored pencils by Peony and Parakeet. Combining realistic drawing and drawing from imagination.

One day at the local library, I browsed the latest issue of International Artist magazine. I must confess that I had to force myself to do that as the magazine showcases a lot of traditional and realistic art, landscapes, and portraits. Especially in the recent ten years, I have been more interested in examining what is seen inside my head, reflected from outside world, than to illustrate the exact images of the outside world. But now and then I like to force myself to examine things that I don’t feel drawn. It makes me more open and allows me to pick ideas that are hidden behind processes that I am unlikely to obey.

So I gave myself a task: pick any photo and draw one element from it! After drawing and coloring the element I was allowed to fill the rest of the art journal page freely. So if I followed the boring routine, I was able to treat myself in the end.

Choosing the Photo

My husband has an aquarium, and I love it. Just recently he bought five new discus fish. I happened to take a photo once they were released to the tank. I thought that this image would be just perfect for the purpose. The more I art journal, the more I think of it as a diary. It’s mainly a diary of my inner world, but this fish is so beautiful that I could happily let it swim to my imaginary world as well.

Blue Diamond discus fish

Realistic Drawing – Sketching the Fish

I don’t usually use a pencil as I like every stroke to be visible. However, this time, I followed the artists from International Artist magazine: they all seem to use pencil or charcoal for sketching. I drew a simple sketch of the fish taking care of proportions more than the details.

Sketching a discus fish by using a photo as a guideline, by Peony and Parakeet

Coloring the Fish

I followed the photo in color choices as well. I just made each of the color more vibrant. While coloring, I also added more details to the fish.

Discus Fish with colored pencils, by Peony and Parakeet. Combining realistic drawing with more free-form elements

After the fish had been finished, I gave myself the freedom to doodle my heart out.


Coloring the fish with colored pencils did not feel particularly inspirational. But when I began adding colors to the mess I had made around the fish, all the fun began! I was able to do anything – yes anything! I thought about water flowing and bubbling freely, and everything started to look more loose and alive, even the fish.

Coloring of an art journal page with colored pencils by Peony and Parakeet

Lessons Learned

After finishing the page, I asked myself, could I create more pages this way: combine realistic drawing with more imaginary elements. Yes, I could. But I think that it would be more fun to create it all freely: drawing the central element first with extra care and then adding surrounding elements. Or pick elements from various photos and construct a scene that way or … All in all, I got few new ideas, and this was a good experiment!

However, I know now why I love drawing that is liberated from all the expectations. It is much more fun and exciting! I also believe that it is good for us to both see and process what we think and feel. It is so liberating to let it all come out on the paper.

Discus Fish, an art journal page with colored pencils by Peony and Parakeet. This started as a realistic drawing and then moved forward.

Let me be your art teacher: Subscribe to my weekly emails!