Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Belonging Somewhere as an Artist

This week, I share my word for 2024 and thoughts about the good and bad in the sense of belonging. I also have a new finished painting!

Muutosvoima - Driving Force, acrylics on canvas, 2024. An abstract floral painting by Paivi Eerola, Finland.
Muutosvoima – Driving Force, acrylics on canvas, 2024.
See more pics at the Taiko art store!

I haven’t used acrylic paints on a canvas for a long time. But now I wanted to paint faster and not wait for the layers to dry.

Painting Freely

This painting took me a couple of long evenings and I deliberately left it abstract, because the subject of the painting is not about the flowers, but about the power rising from the ground.

Here’s how the painting started: loose strokes and juicy colors.

An abstract acrylic painting in progress. Read thoughts about the sense of belonging by Peony and Parakeet.

It’s easy to fall in love with colors, but when you want depth, you also need muddy colors: browns and greys.

Creating abstract art. Adding muddy colors to bring attention to the other parts.

I like to use several different brushes in one painting, and my favorite brushes are very thin.

Abstract art. Painting details with a thin brush.

The title “Muutosvoima – Driving Force” sums up what I want to tell with this painting. Muutosvoima could also be translated as “power of change.”

Paivi Eerola and her painting Muutosvoima - Driving Force.

I believe that the best power of change is not the hype created by others, but the inner enthusiasm that has a grounded tone. Because isn’t it so that flowers only bloom when the earth warms up? Sunlight alone is not enough.

Belonging Somewhere – The Good and The Bad

I’ve been thinking about togetherness lately. It’s a wonderful feeling. For example, last week when many people commented on my post, I felt happy that this blog brings us together. One of the best things that has come with the internet is that you can be pretty weird and still find like-minded people.

Abstract florals, a detail of a bigger painting.

However, the sense of belonging has its danger. Art is about walking your own path. Encounters are important, but you also need to go in the other direction to create something unique. As a teacher, I have often thought about how I could better guide people in their own direction.

Brush strokes on canvas. Painting loosely and in an abstract style. Pondering about the sense of belonging.

Art is like a pot that you have to break first and then put together again. The pot can be broken in many ways and at best, you find your own way to put it together. You need a driving force to break the pot and then persistence to rebuild it.

Finding Your Places in the Art World

In my career as an artist, I have often wanted to be like someone else. I have envied popular artists and then later realized that I wouldn’t want to create the kind of art that they do. I realized that I would like to be popular in creating something else and somewhere else.

Signature on a canvas painting. Pondering about the artistic identity and the sense of belonging.

With experience, the art world opens up. Instead of one hall, you begin to see numerous smaller rooms. What is popular in one room can be overlooked in another. Being an artist requires a lot of self-esteem and the power to move from one room to another.

Holding a painting in the spring garden.

When you find one room that feels like your own, the sense of belonging is at its greatest. However, it’s better to move between several rooms and find many groups. At best, the artist acts as a bridge between different things.

My Word of the Year – Do You Have One?

My word for 2024 is Integrate. This year I have allowed myself to do more diverse things, but on the other hand, I have tied all the pieces together so that one benefits the other.

Have you chosen a word for this year? How has it been realized?

8 thoughts on “Belonging Somewhere as an Artist

  1. Wonderful to see what you have been breathing life into.
    I also appreciate considering your perspectives on art.
    ‘Integrate’ is an interesting companion word, a word I have never considered walking through the year with, but must have so much to offer.

  2. This blog of yours almost answered your question to me. I loved your course but I didn’t want to keep creating my art in that (your) image. I am certainly incorporating what I learned here but I don’t want to keep painting the same style. I’ve been at art making my whole life as a student/teacher/professional artist. I come up with ideas by taking risks. Sometimes that works out. Also, I thought more of your students would post their work and lots of artsy discussions, but that doesn’t seem to have happened. I wish we could “talk shop” more but it’s really not enough to do by texting a sentence or two. I am grateful for all that I learn.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Adrienne! The community Bloom and Fly is most active when an online workshop is running. I have run an artist coaching program called The Exploring Artist in the past and that was full of discussions about artistic goals and such. We also had face-to-face meetings online. But when people sign up for a coaching program, it’s a much bigger investment both in time and money, and they are willing to share more, show some vulnerability too, and that always evokes conversations. But I think we have had great discussions in the regular community as well. It only takes a few members to open up. I welcome you to do so too! What we need, is often up to ourselves.

  3. Unfortunately, I don’t paint any more. I prefer art in black and white, with (sometimes) a splash of colour from pencils or small watercolour pans. Black ink on white paper is my favourite form of art, probably because I love details. Päivi, I wish I could be a great painter like you, but I can’t. My mother was a graduate of the School of Art at the Art Institute in Chicago, Illinois. She also graduated from the University of Chicago, majoring in Art. A lot of my family were interested in the arts. My grandmother played the piano and loved to sing. Her daughter (my aunt) was a great vocalist and accompanied old orchestras on the piano. My mother’s brother (my uncle) was Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin (Madison ).

    My word for this year is CONCENTRATE. I need to think about one thing at a time, and not keep ‘too many irons in the fire’, as the saying goes. My speciality is in writing plays, poems and short stories. Now I have to concentrate on writing a book about a Pict.

  4. My word of the year is ENDURANCE. Sometimes the artist’s journey toward finding my own voice and style is difficult, and then I get distracted by just reading and studying about different methods and materials instead of actually practicing. I know I need to practice in order to improve and really find out what kind of artist I am, which means continuing in the face of adversity. I chose this word because I was inspired by Ernest Shackleton. His family motto was “fortitudine vincimus” which means “by endurance we conquer” and he named his ship The Endurance. Despite great disaster, he led his expedition home from Antarctica without losing a single member of his crew. I too want to lead my expedition home (find my artistic voice) without setting aside a single member (aspect of my artistic self/member of my inner world).

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