This week, I have exciting news! A new online course is coming up in October and the early-bird sale has begun.
The course will begin on Oct 20th. The early-bird sale ends on Oct 1st, 2023, at midnight PDT. I hope you will join!
This week, I talk about how gardening inspires both my husband and me. The garden is present in these two new miniature paintings as well.
It is already autumn in Finland, but we have summer in our hearts because we have done a lot of work in the garden during the summer. My husband has put all his energy there, I don’t have quite as big a passion. The garden is his canvas, but for me, painting is the most important.
I have a new course in the making called Freely Grown, which I hope to run in late October and get for pre-sale next week. There we will paint layered flowers in watercolor and finish the painting with colored pencils.
Lately, I’ve found my sweet spot in the way I look at plants. I can see both playfulness and soulfulness in them. This perspective has brought new positivity to my life. I think that art always has a lot of possibilities. Making art is like walking down a long corridor full of doors. Now I have found a door where I can be funny and profound at the same time. This insight also affects the creation of the course. I’ve had a lot of fun, although I haven’t compromised on explaining the details.
The garden is my husband’s canvas. He’s been making a bigger water feature all summer. It’s big enough to be called a pond. I wasn’t terribly excited about it, but the further the project has progressed, the more I understand his vision.
One of the hardest things both in art-making and garden life is visioning – so, dreaming! The dream must be simplified so that it can be remembered during the making. All projects have ugly phases. The dream must still be maintained.
Even these miniature paintings, for which I use leftover paints from the palette, looked pretty terrible at first.
However, I had a dream and knew these would become really nice.
I also made small paintings like this earlier this year, remember?
See this blog post for more pics!
In the spring, we hired a professional garden planner to draw a plan for a part of our backyard.
It was a bit like taking a course. We got points of view from a professional and she helped us to see further in our dreams. With that, I learned a lot about plants and how to plan a garden like dividing a house into rooms. It is not very far from a painting.
Think about a painting as a place that has its own identity. My small paintings are like tiny closets but bigger ones often like halls.
See more pics about this big painting in this blog post!
The pond is entirely my husband’s work – although he has probably watched all the pond-building videos on YouTube!
I feel that the pond already affects my paintings. Do you remember this watercolor painting I presented a couple of weeks ago?
See this blog post for more pics!
I think I already have a little love for that pond, its plants, its reflections, and how it reminds me of Monet’s garden.
However, winter is already coming. Art-making and garden life will be a bit more separate then. But the flowers will bloom on the canvas. And my husband will start watching YouTube again to see what he could create next summer.
Can you relate? Do you have a garden?
This week, we talk about restarting an old painting or restarting creating so that we have a new confidence and freedom.
This piece called “For Liberty” was been painted on the top of an old work. It was a bit challenging to photograph because it’s painted on wooden paint board – a very smooth surface that reflects light. But before I go into more detail, I want to tell a story from my childhood that has had a big impact on me. If you have taken my classes, you might recognize my passion for acting!
I have been an enthusiastic actor as a teenager. Once I was the lead in a school play directed by the teacher. He was a very good director. “Spread your arms,” he told me when we were practicing a scene. For a teen, spreading the arms was a huge gesture. I still remember how my hands reluctantly opened and released from the grip. But wide open, I suddenly had a sweet sense of confidence: I owned this arena and I was going to get an audience too. Everything will be fine and even better than before!
My friend and I had been chosen to the school play because we had a private play club that we had put together. I wrote the script for the plays and we performed them to our class. It was great that our native language teacher allowed the performances. The teacher Varpu Lehtolainen and the teacher who directed the play, Taavi Lehtolainen, were married. Their creativity was inspiring. Their daughter is Leena Lehtolainen, who later became a famous author in Finland – no wonder!
When a person makes another person free, the feeling that he ignites is not based on successful performances in the past. The new self-confidence comes from seeing what will be possible in the future. You can go back and start over as many times as you want. Everything will be fine.
In 2020, I made an oil painting called “Wreath Maker.” However, I failed in varnishing and did not put it on display or for sale. The painting is painted on a board instead of a canvas, and it is quite challenging as a surface.
When the local artists’ association asked for works with the theme “Red, White, Blue”, I came up with the idea of sanding off the varnish and doing a new painting on top, somewhat based on the old one.
As soon as I started painting, there was this “spread your hands” feeling. I wanted to free the painting from its constraints and give the flowers their own roles.
Rubens’ paintings of battle scenes from the 17th century came to mind, and I wanted to make a grand theme too – where people wake up to defend their own values and the flags are flying high.
I have painted this in parts and between the sessions, I have been building a new course, where freedom is also a central subject. I wish I could be a teacher like Taavi Lehtolainen: “Spread your hands, control your space!”
Art always does well when the flowers are allowed to grow freely and each in its own way.
A painting is released when it finds its meaning. I feel that’s what happened to this piece. The previous version was okay, but the message is now clearer, the painting is more airy, and the flowers are now more diverse and expressive.
When you want to fine-tune your visual voice, maybe this kind of freedom is what your art is lacking?
What do you think?
This week has been rainy, but I still want to talk about the love for flowers!
Over the years, my husband and I have become more and more interested in plants. This summer we have renovated our backyard garden and reduced the amount of grass. The garden now has a large pond, a pergola, new trees and shrubs, deep perennial beds, and natural slate paving. It takes time for the plants to take root, but it’s already looking better than before.
The renovation has strengthened my inspiration for flowers and plants. In August, there are still flowers in Finland, but when fall comes, I am comforted by grasses and mosses. In winter, I focus on houseplants. The presence of plants puts my life in perspective, but in such a way that there is room for play and imagination.
I feel my core unit is a flower and everything else is born from that.
When I look at flowers in the wind and rain, the bending of their petals and stems in different directions creates an endless number of abstract compositions. I find it artistically inspiring, but I’m also inspired by the spiritual connection I feel with flowers. Flowers have expressions and gestures just like people have. Any big theme can be expressed through them.
Already in 2017, I wrote about the secret language of flowers and now six years later, I feel I don’t only understand it but can use it myself. This ability has made my art more expressive, and there’s a lot I want to share with you too.
Last month I started to feel the urge to do a new online course. I toyed with many ideas, but again, flowers were the only ones that inspired me. So I have now been building a flower painting course called Freely Grown. It declares love for flowers and explains how to catch their free spirit.
The course is a bit different than many of my other courses, as this one focuses on one project instead of many different ones. The project is first painted with watercolors and then finished with colored pencils.
Painting with watercolors is fun and colored pencils make it easier to finish the painting. It’s much easier and faster than working in oil, but I share many tips that can be used with any supplies. We will paint freely without any photos but aim for a natural impression.
My plan is to start the sale in September and the actual course in October. I hope you will come and paint!