Create Fantastic Art!

Fly to your imagination and paint the emotion.

Peony and Parakeet

Colored Pencil Fantasy Art – From Sunnyland to Starryverse

This week, we go from happy and light to adventurous and dark. This is how adventurous colored pencil fantasy art is born!

Imagine walking in a sunnyland through sunshine meadows, seeing pinks, fresh greens, smiling yellows, and trotting happily along a path that feels pleasantly warm and soft. And then, suddenly, something dark hits you, and you no longer feel the ground. Should you fight back to the sunnyland? Or try to figure out what this new place is that feels like a deepwater or a starryverse? That’s what happened to me with colored pencils.

An illustration of a fantasy woman. Colored pencil art by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I have made drawings for the upcoming class Intuitive Coloring, and it’s been fun. Happy pictures have filled my studio, and bright colors have got shorter.

Colored pencil art in happy colors by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

But then, boom! Somebody wanted to come out, and she was not a smiley face.

Intuitive art in progress.

“Let’s make you smile,” I told her. “Let’s take away the darkness, and you will fit better with others. So, here’s a rose that will guide our path back to the sunnyland.” But she didn’t stay behind the flower, and her eyes refused to smile.

Creating colored pencil art layer by layer. In progress image.

It’s easy to follow intuition when she plays with the butterflies promising good things and much harder when she takes you to a less defined zone. For example, can I let go of not drawing an arm or a leg? Not that I would specifically enjoy drawing them, but because humans do usually have hands and feet.

Colored Pencil Fantasy Art

I didn’t know what was what, but I let her appear anyway.

A detail of a fantasy illustration by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

While spending time in this strange place, it started to feel exciting and inviting.

I found myself thinking: why do I give restrictions to my imagination when pens and paper don’t set them? When imagination hits our intuition – or is it vice versa – why not just let go and see who’s the little monster that wants to come out.

I want to fit and belong, and yet, it’s not always so.

My art and my expectations don’t always meet. But the dark starryverse feeds the bright sunnyland, and I need both to keep the sun shining and fairies moving forward.

Creating fantasy art with colored pencils. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

How’s this with your art?

Coloring with the Inner Child

This week, let’s get excited about colored pencils and embrace the inner child!

Butterfly Child - colored pencil art by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I used to play with colored pencils as a child. Not just use them for drawing and coloring, but also treat them as dolls. A brand was their surname. I had Caran d’Aches, Derwents, Lyras, … My sister was coloring while I played with the pencils. So, it often happened that someone precious got blunt and tired in my sister’s hands and needed some loving care after coming back to my play.

Colored Pencils – Do Yours Need Some TLC?

Some weeks ago, when taking the jars of colored pencils out of the cabinet, I sighed: “I want a new set; these are getting quite short.” But if I look at my diverse selection of pencils in child’s eyes, all they needed was some sharpening and close observation – what is the family name, who could this little pencil be?

Playing with colored pencils. By Paivi Eerola.

I picked a tray for a smaller selection so that I can get to know them again: “Hello, Cretacolor! Let’s work together!” And then, I made some mixed selections and drew more, and it felt as much fun as a brand new set. I also found some small sheets of paper, and it felt as satisfying to fill them as it is to knit with leftover yarns.

Cretacolor monolith pencils in use. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Coloring with the Inner Child

The same difference in attitude goes for drawing and coloring. As adults, we may color some random shapes, feel disappointed in their composition, and try forcing the image out. Or we can change the rational to irrational. Then, like a child sees a person in a pencil, we see life in a simple shape. What could be its counterpart, and where could be its reflection? And could it remain blurry – breathe better without outlines?

Illustrations by coloring freely and embracing the inner child. Colored pencils art by Paivi Eerola.

Instead of controlling the big picture, we can reveal the personality behind each shape. The image will then grow slowly but naturally, and we get to release our inner child.

Releasing the inner child - Colored pencils art by Paivi Eerola

This post includes sneak peeks of my upcoming class Intuitive Coloring – Stay tuned!

Intuitive Coloring – Examples and Thoughts

This week, I show sneak peeks and process pics of simple intuitive colorings and talk about intuitive art.

Intuitive art with colored pencils by Paivi Eerola

Since I made the last free video “Colored Pencils – Intuitive Approach,” I have been thinking about free coloring. First, it felt like I have explored it thoroughly in the e-book Coloring Freely and in the class Inspirational Drawing. But as soon as I began to make some notes about intuitive coloring, I realized that there are things that I haven’t shared in these blog posts or in my classes so far. Many of them are things that seemed complicated and heavy at first, but the more I have experimented with them, they appear to be very simple and light.

Coloring freely

And it feels fun to color freely on a blank paper, and there’s a sense of playfulness too right from the beginning.

Playing with colored pencils

I am a more-is-more kind of a person, but after making a series of large oil paintings, I wrote a mental note that says “less is enough” in capital letters.

Can Intuitive Coloring Be Taught and Learned?

I have also been thinking about the term “intuition” a lot. Why does it feel so intuitively correct to say that my art is intuitive? And not only that. Why do I want to teach intuitive art? Because isn’t intuitive just about letting go and emptying the mind on paper? Doing what you want, doing what feels right?

Colorful colored pencil art

But as a former engineer, it’s always been hard for me to trust intuition when I am trying something new or reaching for a new level. Then the intuition is confused with the comfortable “same-old-same-old” routine. That old dog always stays close, but intuition and imagination are timid puppies. To find the puppies – that’s where I feel I can help.

Intuitive coloring - a detail. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Would you be interested in this upcoming class?

All In – Finding Uncommon Inspiration

This week, I share my biggest painting so far, and talk about computer games and all the things that should not inspire but that do!

"All In - Kaikki peliin" - oil painting by Paivi Eerola.
“All In” – “Kaikki peliin” – oil painting, 92 x 65 cm

Here’s the last painting of the series that I have been working on this year. It’s called “All In.” The Finnish translation “Kaikki peliin” is perhaps even more suitable because there’s the word “peli” – the game. In this painting, I made every element look like it moves – like in a computer game!

I Am Not a Gamer

No, I am not! Actually, I am the last person who should be talking about computer games because I don’t play them at all. But I have seen some commercials on television and Youtube, and they make my heart beat faster – that’s the tribe where I belong! Despite I hate seeing violence, and don’t usually even watch action movies. Action upsets me. In general, I prefer everything cute and pretty.

Oil painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola.
See the previous stages of this painting in this post!

My Imagination Loves Games

But when I paint, I am not just an artist with all kinds of brushes and tubes. I become a nerd who tries to find the fastest processor and the best graphics driver for rendering 3D from her brain. It no longer matters what kind of art I should create and how art should be created. I change to a guy who moves from one level to the next, always seeking more monsters, more excitement, more points.

A very detailed oil painting. Finding uncommon inspiration. By Paivi Eerola.

Because I don’t play the games, I should not even know how it is like. Yet, I feel I do. Namely, in my twenties, I chose computers over art. I felt I belonged to the world of introverts who built systems – worlds of their own. And now, when I paint, my paintings bring me back to the same setting – how to build a world that operates like a fast-moving game, with many layers and levels.

A detail of an oil painting by Paivi Eerola. Expressing excitement and danger.

This is not what I would have expected. If someone said to me: “Hey Paivi, you should paint game sceneries. Make your own games!” I am pretty certain that a couple of years ago my answer would have been: “You must be kidding. I am a feminine romantic who hates that stuff!”

The Adventure for Uncommon Inspiration

But art is an adventure. It’s not only a journey to a variety of techniques and skills but also an exploration that includes the darkest corners of your mind.

A detail of an oil painting by Paivi Eerola, inspired by computer games. Finding uncommon inspiration for art.

In 1980s, I was a girl who sat in a local library on hot summer days, browsing big books of old art. My dream was to become an artist, but knowing that it would not be safe or easy, I said I wanted to be an English teacher. Between the art books of the library, I saw young boys browsing computer magazines. I went to the shelf after them and knew that I also belonged there – to that group of nerds. And when I saw a computer for the first time, my heart beat fast like for the best painting of a museum.

A detail of an oil painting by Paivi Eerola. Loose brush strokes that express fast motion. Finding uncommon inspiration to discover visual voice and visual language.

Making a series of paintings has been quiet and hard work. I have had lots of self-doubts and melancholic moments between the sessions. But when I paint, it’s all good. My paintings say: “Tell me what you want and we will give it to you!” And often, I don’t know what to reply, but they seem to know anyway. Like I never told them how nerd I am, but they shamelessly reveal everything and apologize for nothing.

Paivi Eerola and her oil painting "All In"

We talk a lot about being unique as artists, but what about if a part of the solution is just to find inspiration that feels uncommon to us. It could be something that we try to get rid of but never seem to manage to do. Or something that we find appalling but still strangely captivating.

What could be your uncommon inspiration? Could the art that you create be a little different from the art that you like to consume? What do you think?

Scroll to top