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?

About Creative Freedom

Creative freedom. Examples from the online course Liberated Artist Revisited.

I have often wondered why I am an artist. The first answer that comes to mind is creative freedom. “Creative” and “freedom” seem like easy words at first. Everyone wants to be creative, right? And who doesn’t want to be free?

But creative and freedom are also difficult words. Especially if you think of creativity as the opposite of traditional or familiar, and freedom as the opposite of safety and stability.

I find many things in myself where I love tradition and security. You could call me a homebody, that’s how much I love being at home. If I had to choose between a museum of historical art and a contemporary gallery, I would definitely go to the museum. And I love decorative items and anything small and cute. Also, my studio is always super clean – not what is expected from an artist!

But I still want to be a liberated artist, create a mess, break the formula, and then discover something new out of it. Crafting, or copying reference photos, or drawing the same things year after year, has never been enough for me. I have wanted to blow up the lump inside me, which has accumulated from creative energy that has not been able to get out. That’s why my courses also have a lot of creative freedom.

The idea of ​​the course Liberated Artist Revisited is not to create an image similar to what I do in the videos, but to solve a puzzle that we first create. Creative freedom begins when you realize that there is not only the art of creating but also the art of seeing. When you highlight what you see, you become a liberated artist.

Liberated Artist Revisited - online art course by Paivi Eerola.

Liberated Artist Revisited is a limited edition – only available for purchase until the end of March 2024! >> Buy Now!

Liberated Inspiration – Painting Freely

This week, I talk about liberated inspiration and share what I discovered about 8 years ago.

"Illallinen on katettu - Dinner is Served. A watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola.
“Illallinen on katettu – Dinner is Served”
>> See more pics at the Taiko art store!

Liberated Inspiration from 2015-2016

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the years 2015 and 2016. Then I combined watercolors, acrylic paints, and colored pencils for intuitive still lives. At the same time, I thought about how complex the forms of nature are and how I could create a more finished impression with nuances.

I have those pieces saved in an album. Watch a short video of me browsing the folder! Here you can see only a small part of the pieces – the album is thick!

Liberated Inspiration

These last couple of pieces shown in the video have stuck in my mind. This one:

"Summer is Coming" a mixed media painting by Paivi Eerola, 2016.
Summer is Coming, 2016
See the blog post about making this!

And this one:

Harvest Still Life, a mixed media painting by Paivi Eerola, 2015.
Harvest Still Life, 2015
See the blog post about making this!

Both of these have a dark and romantic atmosphere that can be seen often in historical paintings, but there’s also liberated inspiration – meaning that no one dictates what that kind of painting should or shouldn’t have.

You can be inspired by what you have seen, but only pick the atmosphere from it.

Gerard van Honthorst, Supper with Lute Player, 1619-1620. I took the photo during my visit to the Uffizi Gallery in 2017.

I like this kind of inspiration the most. That you are inspired by something, but don’t take it too literally. Liberated inspiration boosts your enthusiasm but doesn’t tell what the final image should be.

I wanted a similar romantic yet liberated feel for this watercolor painting.

A detail of a floral watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola.

Imagine someone saying: “dinner is served” and bringing you to a table where good company and classical music would make the world look like it’s full of possibilities.

Painting Freely in Watercolor

It has always been important for me to paint freely without models and let randomness meet my imagination. In 2015, I developed a course called Liberated Artist. It was about creating a mess first and then solving it. It was a fun course.

I started this watercolor with a similar mess.

Painting freely in watercolor using liberated imagination. Painting in progress.

Then I switched to thinner brushes to finish the image.

Watercolor brushes for finishing.

I like the way the imaginative scenery, flowers, ornaments, and the table came all together into one image.

A finished watercolor painting that was painted without any models. See more examples of liberated imagination!

Coming Up: Liberated Artist Revisited

The Liberated Artist course is no longer available, but I got the idea to redo a small part of the course. In that, Päivi from 2015 will teach Päivi from 2024! I will follow the old instructions again, but like an experienced student, I also offer a bit of my current knowledge.

Here’s a sneak peek at the new mini-course called Liberated Artist Revisited.

A sneak peek at the new mini-course called Liberated Artist Revisited. By Paivi Eerola.

Liberated Artist Revisited will be published within a few weeks, but it’s likely to be a limited edition – only available for a limited time – so stay tuned!

Beginner’s Video Art – Paintings Come Alive

This week, I have a video, but it’s different than what I have ever made so far.

A lot has happened in the last few months, and it has also changed my attitude towards life. I have come to believe in destiny. Usually, when I’ve looked back, I’ve seen my life as loose threads. I remember the words of a professor of control engineering from decades ago: “Miss Eerola, what are you aiming for with your studies?”

I finally have an answer for him, maybe he will read my blog from the afterlife and be pleasantly surprised.

Now I know why I have studied programming, vehicle navigation, robotics, control engineering, and industrial design with 3D modeling. Now I know why the boys playing computer games feel my tribe even though I don’t play at all. Now I know why the nerd in me didn’t die even when I was painting oil paintings day after day.

Unity editor view, beginner's video art.
A view from Unity Editor.

I have programmed this digital work using the Unity game engine. The video has two of my oil paintings in the background: Runaway Sun and Happy Earth.

Beginner’s Video Art

I’m still quite clumsy in this sport. so this is more of a practice piece than a fine video artwork. But I have learned from all art-making that it’s ok to be a beginner. And it’s ok to share pieces that are not the best of you, at least when you look at them after a while!

When my husband saw the video, he wasn’t very satisfied with the outcome. But I told him that it doesn’t really matter if you’re going on a long hike if the first gas station serves a modest meat pie. The journey is long and there will be plenty of experiences – at least if fate works as it has so far!

Thank you to the Finnish Cultural Foundation for the grant, which allows me to make digital art for many more months.

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