Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

The Electrical Life of Any Artist

This week I have a consolation post for any artist!

Flying Cats illustrated by Paivi Eerola. Read her article about the electrical life of an artist!
Cats and wings made for the class Magical Inkdom

We start from a movie and then let thoughts fly from top to bottom and come back up.

The Movie – The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Just a couple of days ago, I watched an inspiring movie called The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. It’s a story about the illustrator Louis Wain (1860-1939) who got famous for his cat drawings. Louis Wain’s life was full of misery, he was poor, responsible for five unmarried sisters, lost her wife to breast cancer soon after the marriage, made bad business decisions, and suffered grief and mental illness.

At the Play - an Exciting Moment. A cat illustration by  Louis Wain.
A cat illustration by Louis Wain

And yet, Louis’s cat drawings were fun illustrations full of liveliness and details.

The Two Undertones of Any Day

The movie felt strangely therapeutic. Maybe partly because it expressed so well what I had been thinking lately: how life has both melancholic and uplifting undertones and how important it is to recognize and make room for both of them.

For Louis, life had two separate sides – the harsh reality and the wonderous world of imagination. I think that many of us can relate to that even if in our lives, the melancholic and uplifting undertones would spread more evenly. If I think about my artist life, there have been so many rejections that where I am now is a small miracle. And if I think about the future, more small miracles are needed to move forward.

Here’s a short video about my journey so far.

This video was published on my Instagram account first, so the proportions were optimized for that.

Those Who Believe in You

In the end, you only need to have one person who believes in you as an artist. Many times you can be that person for yourself. Like Louis, the world of imagination has the power to keep the uplifting undertone going.

A detail of the drawing called "Blue". By Paivi Eerola. Read more about her points on the electrical life of any artist!
A detail of the drawing “Blue” from 2019.

But for me, there have been times when a small miracle has been needed – that someone else brings me up. When Louis found supporters in the movie, I thought of mine. They are a part of my electrical life story. Who could be yours?

It wasn’t easy to contact any of them – ask, apply, and reach out just after losing the belief and energy, but doing that has pushed me forward. Sometimes they have been friends, but many times strangers who have given me a chance to connect with their audience. In the art world, and especially in the fine art world, people are hesitant to accept outsiders. But once you get one door open, some others will open up too. The number of your supporters will grow step by step.

Opening Up for Small Miracles

In the beginning, art was something I did in secret. If I didn’t believe in my art, I simply stopped creating for a while. But the more I created, the more I wanted to find connections with other people. First with others who create, and then more publicly. After going public, stopping is much harder because you start to see wider: There must be someone who says yes.

Doll illustrations by Paivi Eerola.

I see that the melancholic and uplifting undertones are wrapped around each other like two plies in a yarn. By expressing both of them, not only a person but also her art becomes stronger – more touching and captivating. It’s then easier to make small miracles happen – have positive electricity as Louis Wain would put it.

What do you think? Have you seen the movie?

P.S. If you want to turn back the clock and learn from 6-years-younger Paivi, here’s your chance! Planet Color, is retiring on Sept 30, at midnight PDT.

Planet Color, a painting class for beginners.

If you are a beginner in painting and want to use acrylic paints more, for example, in your art journals, check this class! Planet Color is now more than 50% OFF before it goes away! >> Buy here!

Painting Moss and Coloring Green

This week is dedicated to moss and all the shades of green!

The Echo of Moss - Sammaleen kaiku. An oil painting by Paivi Eerola, Finland.
The Echo of Moss – Sammaleen kaiku, 60 x 80 cm, oil on canvas

Inspired by Moss

For some gardens, moss is a bad thing, but my husband and I always get delighted when we see moss appearing. It’s like velvet, an ancient treasure, woven hundreds of years ago and still vivid and strong.

Last month, I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book called The Signature of All Things. The protagonist Alma was a moss researcher and the space where she worked and stored her samples felt inspiring because it seemed to be a world of its own. The Finnish title for the book is Tämä kokonainen maailmani – “this whole world of mine,” and I think it describes both the book and moss brilliantly.

Making of The Echo of Moss

In this painting “The Echo of Moss,” I have wanted to express the two sides of moss – how it enables life but also gently connects us with death. Watch the video to see how it progressed step by step!

I painted this piece in oils in two separate sessions. There was a week of drying time between them. I am not always that quick, but this time I was in the flow state before making the first stroke. Probably because the subject felt both inspiring and familiar, and I love the color green.

Painting and Coloring Moss

Moss is not difficult to paint or draw. You only need softly colored variegated green in the background and then randomly placed dots or short lines on the top. Here’s an example in watercolor.

Painting moss in watercolor.

This piece is a sample from my watercolor class Magical Forest which has a lesson on painting moss.

When working with colored pencils, color a variety of greens in different directions so that single strokes are not visible. You can use browns, blacks, yellows, and blues in layers to get a wide range of warm green shades. No outlines are needed.

Drawing moss in colored pencils.

To get natural-looking spotting, close your eyes and tap your pencil randomly on the paper.

Green Green Green!

Green is my favorite color nowadays. “Every painting can’t be green, Paivi, we want variety,” I said to myself before I started painting this one. I was just like my mother who used to give permission and then remind me that it can’t be expected to happen regularly. “Yes, mother, but I want to be a goddess of green!”

Paivi Eerola and her oil painting "The Echo of Moss"

“Everything is green,” said my husband when I asked him to take this photo.

Paivi Eerola and her painting The Echo of Moss in the garden.

“It’s intentional!” I said to him.
I hope that this post inspires you to explore moss and different shades of green!

P.S. Speaking of color, one of my classes, Planet Color, is retiring on Sept 30.

Planet Color, a painting class for beginners.

If you are a beginner in painting and want to use acrylic paints more, for example, in your art journals, check this class! Planet Color is now more than 50% OFF before it goes away! >> Buy here!

Colored Pencil Blogger – A Video Blog Post!

This week, I have a video blog for you. It’s full of art inspiration, especially if you want to fall in love with colored pencils.

Colored pencil journal spread by Paivi Eerola, a colored pencil blogger. Watch her video to get more colored pencil inspiration.
This is one of the projects that I show in the video.

Stories and Inspiration – Watch the Video!

I decided that I have blogged about colored pencils so much that I can call myself a colored pencil blogger!

The video is longer than what I usually record. Is a 30-minute video too much? Tell me what you think!

Links to the Related Blog Posts

Posts about the colored pencil projects shown in the video:

Posts about the paintings shown in the video:

Extra Post In Memory of Queen Elizabeth

Four Seasons Bouquet - a luxurious black and white drawing by Paivi Eerola

When I was a child, I wanted to be the Queen of England. It was the greatest thing I knew. We lived modestly in a small Finnish town near the Russian border. On Sundays, when we got a thick newspaper and bought a women’s magazine from the local kiosk, we talked about royals in Europe. The greatest of all was Queen Elizabeth, of course. I admired her so much that I got a flower bench under my bedroom window and roses called Queen Elizabeth planted on it.

Queen Elizabeth was my queen back then and still has been. She has been our queen for so long that she has seen more than most of us. With her, a time period that a single human can comprehend and remember vividly now goes away.

We, Finnish people, remember the queen’s visit to Finland in 1976. When my parents saw our politicians taking her to a forest in a walking suit, they were upset and ashamed. I remember my mother sitting on the sofa horrified and even a child understood that our love for forests could have been presented in a more sophisticated manner. But we didn’t get any headlines where the queen would complain about her circumstances, and in fact, we haven’t got much of those during all these years.

So here’s to Queen Elizabeth one more time. She inspired me to dream about jewels and kennels, courts and stables, tartans and silk, and because of her, I looked at forests like they were palaces. It made life so much better then, and it still carries me now when I am an artist.

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