Time to Change – From Teaching to Mentoring

Bloom and Fly, a mixed media painting with inks and acrylics, by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

After finishing a series of canvas paintings, I have felt that it’s time to change. It has been smoldering in me for the whole year, but as we know, the change rarely happens in one go. There’s one big thing that I want to change in my teaching. I want to give more personalized suggestions and encouragement, and enable more sharing and connecting. I want to be a mentor rather than a teacher in the traditional meaning. When you start creating art, you need a teacher to follow. But when after a while, you will want to create something from your personal perspective. Then you will benefit more from observations about your art. When you have someone to help you see the possibilities in your expression, you will find it easier to grow your creativity. During this year, I have developed my online workshops in that direction, and the results tell me that I should continue on that path.

Questioning Your Talent vs. Willingness to Learn

Paivi Eerola and her paintings. She has spent a year creating a series of paintings and mentoring artists.

While pondering which paintings to frame, I was also thinking artist colleagues that have helped me to analyze my work in a new light. That’s one reason why I also want to enable connections between people who love to create art and even more importantly, want to change their art.

Here’s what I wrote on my Facebook page today:

“Am I talented enough?” – Pondering about it doesn’t take you forward. Replace it with the question: “Am I willing to learn?” Because art like any field has a set of principles and skills that you just need to know and practice.

Then there’s imagination and originality. Is that the talent that we talk about? I don’t think so. They are also skills that can be learned. They are about self-exploration, tolerating quiet time, being open to what inspires and irritates you.

When you see something that raises negative emotions, start questioning: “Why do I see this as a threat?” By answering, you will understand more about yourself, about people in general, and get the curiosity that makes you step out of the conventional. Your empathy and imagination will grow, and you become more willing to learn.

My art journal page from 2010, and my painting from 2017.

Paivi Eerola's art journal page from 2010, and her painting from 2017. Growing as an artist and becoming a mentor.

The Change Is in The Nuances

This week, I reorganized my art supplies and found an old art journal. Funny enough, there was this page: “Time to Change.” And when I compare it to the piece that I just painted, it looks quite similar if you omit the clumsiness.

Paivi Eerola's art journal page from 2013 and a glimpse of her newest painting.

Then I realized that the painting that I had created a year ago also looks quite similar. I sat by it holding the new piece, and it felt like the two come together.

Paivi Eerola and her paintings.

In art, the change is in the nuances. Many of your characteristics won’t change during the time. But how you express, invent and gain more self-knowledge will. Sometimes people say that they wish they would have started creating art sooner. I totally relate to that. I had a long break in creating when I was a young adult. But then, art is not just executing; it’s also about living. People who have more life’s experience than me, always make me humble. They have more to express, deeper insights to deliver. When I can help, inspire, and encourage with that, it makes my life meaningful as well.

Art Journaling and Mentoring

Paivi Eerola's art and her new sketchbook by The Pink Pig.

One thing that I don’t want to change is that I will keep on talking about art journaling. I believe in playing with ideas and not just creating big pieces. To me, a full sketchbook or art journal can be more of a treasure than a single canvas painting. Now when I have been painting bigger canvases, I also missed having a big sketchbook. So I purchased one that is twice the size than Dylusions Creative Journal that I usually use. It’s manufactured by a company called The Pink Pig from the UK.

Paivi Eerola and her art journals.

Bloom and Fly – Stay Tuned!

While browsing the art journals, I was planning for the upcoming spring season. Next year, I will run a new community called Bloom and Fly, and it’s for all who want to learn together with me. It will have a separate fee, but it will also include mentoring days, monthly live sessions and led discussions. You can share and work on any project there. So if you want support for creating from any of my self-study classes or any other art project that you desire to finish, join Bloom and Fly! The registration for the spring will open on Black Friday, Nov 24th. I will have a special discount for early birds so make sure that you won’t miss it!

Moleskine watercolor journal. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Hopefully, you are as excited as I am! If you haven’t subscribed to my weekly emails yet, now is the time!

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22 Responses to Time to Change – From Teaching to Mentoring

  1. Mary W says:

    Your 2017 is so good. I would love to sit for a long time, looking up close just to experience all the places my brain would take me. I really love the last one pictured that you are holding under the easel. There are a few very clearly defined objects that I want to look into and some more softly painted ones that provide a comfortable resting place to sit and ponder. The colors are magnificent. Gives me the illusion that you painted a book that is open to a page full of inspiration bursting out. It must make you feel so good to look at it.

    • Mackie says:

      Marymary, a note to say how I love your insights, and really miss your storytelling, miss seeing your work, miss you….m.

      • Mary W says:

        Hi Mackie, I miss you all, too. Paivi has built a wonderful community of art lovers with so many beautiful things inside. Just had cataracts removed from both eyes and was shocked by the color and details I was missing. I saw the stars at night for the first time in many years. Strange how you can get used to stuff and forget. Maybe it won’t be so hard for me to work with colors now that I can see them better. I hope to join in again since I love the inspiration and friends that I have like you!

    • Päivi says:

      Thank you so much, Mary! So beautifully said!

  2. Clarissa says:

    Dear Paivi, it’s so wonderful to see your changes and your development in arts as well as in your work as a teacher and mentor! So great!
    I follow you since years and I am a great fan of everything you do! <3 You are so inspiring!! It's a wonderful idea to start this community next year and I am really looking forward to it!
    Love from Germany, Clarissa

  3. Barbara says:

    YES! Päivi. Best of luck for the next chapter of creating your art 🙂
    Barbara from Germany

  4. CARLA says:

    I for one am quite ready, and in need of mentoring…and I am pretty sure you can count me in! You shine in that capacity and I am sure you will only grow to be even more wonderful and skilled at it as you practice doing it more in the future! Just like your paintings. I am very excited about this direction you are going in. Congratulations and I look forward to signing on!

  5. Paivi, you are an amazingly talented artist. I love your work so much. Seeing how your art has changed over the years is truly inspiring. You are also a giving and natural teacher I look forward to seeing what you are going to do going forward and wish you much luck.

  6. Nea Wiseman says:

    Sounds wonderful Paivi! May it be a great success.

  7. Vicky Bossom says:

    I am so excited about your moving into a deeper avenue for mentoring. You have great skill in connecting the spirit of art to the practicality of art. I am totally on board and look forward to being a part of your new adventure! Thank you for throwing down the rope to allow me to jump on the ship journeying toward new ports.

  8. Brenda Bryan says:

    I really miss working with you Paivi. And as I’ve perused your site and artwork over the last couple of years, I’ve seen such growth in your visual approach and self-expression in your art. You truly inspire me and you have such a gift for teaching (coaching) us on a beautifully personal level. I really look forward to working with you again as spring arrives. ?

  9. Mackie says:

    Bloom and Fly….oh Paivi, so perfect, so perfect.

  10. Della Monk says:

    Hello Paivi:

    I came across your blog when I was searching for ideas on how to pare down my art supplies. I know that’s not what this post is about, but I couldn’t comment on the post from 2015. So..I was hoping you could offer some suggestions. First, I have been art journaling for about two years, and was completely in love in the beginning–like a honeymoon. Now, I feel completely disorganized and unmotivated and overwhelmed. I feel like I have too much stuff, but that I don’t have what I really want. Second, I work at the kitchen table. Because I don’t have a “dedicated” work space, I have to clean up all the time so we can have supper. And then whenever I sit down to work, I think about what I’ll have to clean up instead of thinking about my art. I like simple things, and a clean, orderly environment, but I feel utterly defeated at the moment. Any ideas??

    • Päivi says:

      Hi Della, I think that after creating for two years, you are ready to move on from the product-oriented approach to the expression-oriented approach where you pick a limited number of artist quality supplies and start expanding your imagination instead of buying new stuff all the time. Then your requirements for the space will reduce too.

      The new approach puts more pressure on developing your skills in painting and drawing as you step from the world of crafts into the world of creating art. But it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with creating, vice versa!

      I would recommend taking either Inspirational Drawing 2.0 (for drawing and coloring) or Planet Color (for painting) to start the new journey. Currently, they are both 40 % off on Black Friday Sale, so it’s a perfect time to take those! And if you need more support in 2018, I also have a new community that includes mentoring as well. See this page to see the offers: http://www.peonyandparakeet.com/shop/