Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

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.

Enrich Your Art – Play with Shapes!

This week it’s time to get inspired by shapes and start playing with them!

Art play with shapes. "Visionäärit - Visionaries", colored pencils, from 2023. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.
“Visionäärit – Visionaries”, colored pencils, from 2023.

My dear reader, I guess you follow my blog because you love colors. And yes, isn’t it wonderful to choose, for example, a colored pencil from among several different colors: “Should I pick pink or red, hmm?

Art play with simple shapes. "Walking the Dog," mixed media, from 2018. By the artist Päivi Eerola.
“Walking the Dog,” mixed media, from 2018.

I have a degree in industrial design and maybe that has influenced me to think like this:

A color is a child. A form is a mother.

Colors take spurts freely on the paper while forms set limits. But you can play with form too!

Back to Nature, acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola, 2020. Playing with organic shapes.
“Back to Nature”, acrylics on cardboard, from 2020.
See more about making this in this blog post!

There is no need to turn the mother into an old woman who only sees the reality.

The soul of any shape is abstract and yet, even a simple shape has an expression. It’s fun to draw random shapes and then carefully alter them.

Retro living. Mixed media art. 2017. Art play with shapes.
“Retro Living,” mixed media, from 2017.
See more about making this in this blog post!

Shapes form a design language that you can constantly enrich. Don’t just draw isolated geometric shapes, but combine them to get more interesting ones!

The Secret Language of Peonies. Art journal page. Mixed media.
The Secret Language of Peonies, from 2017.
More about making this in this blog post!

When you have a shape on paper, give your full attention to it.

Art Play with Shapes

Talk to the shape! Interview it!

Don’t ask what she represents, but what kind of world she would like to create around herself.

Paradise, acrylic painting, by Paivi Eerola, 2020. Playing between realistic and abstract.
“Paradise,” acrylics on paintboard, from 2020.
See more about making this in this blog post!

Ask where she belongs, and what kind of shapes she would like to meet.

"Arotuuli - Steppe Wind," acrylics on canvas, from 2020, Paivi Eerola, Finland. Abstract painting with horses and a variety of shapes.
“Arotuuli – Steppe Wind,” acrylics on canvas, from 2020.
See more about making this in this blog post!

Shapes can take you to imaginative places where realistic and abstract meet. Once you have been traveling for some time, you will notice that the delicacy of art is in the form, and the color – the child – is there only as a spice.

Jupiterin malja - Jupiter's Bowl, oil on canvas, 2022, by Paivi Eerola, Finland. Full of shapes and movement.
“Jupiterin malja – Jupiter’s Bowl,” oil on canvas, 2022.
See more about making this in this blog post!See more pics on the Finnish Art Store Taiko!

Art play with shapes – What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments!

Flower Time – Watercolor Video

This week, I have a treat for you – a free video about painting flowers. In the video, I claim:

“When you create art, sometimes it’s adventurous “bird time,”
and sometimes driven by the need for beauty and comfort, so “flower time.”

Janonsa sammuttaneet, watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola, Finland. Watch her video Flower Time to see more of this!
Janonsa sammuttaneet, watercolor, 29.7 x 42 cm

I believe that we are not only inhabited by an inner bird but also by inner flowers. At the adventure, the flowers are only seen as passive decorations. But when you get friends with the flowers, you notice that they are active characters who like to get together. The inner bird is a hermit adventurer, but flowers tell the common story. This togetherness is also what we need as humans.

“Janonsa sammuttaneet” could be translated to “those who have quenched their thirst.” In this painting, I thought about wallpaper and how its flowers jump from the wall to quench their thirst.

Flower Time – Watch the Video!

Everytime I see a bird flying across a landscape, I feel the need to paint something big, dramatic, and immersive. Art invites us to fly high and see far – to live the adventurous life of a brave bird. Imagination is our inner bird that wants to experience new things and move forward … Watch the video!

More instructions for flowers in watercolor: Buy my newest course Freely Grown!

Flower Portraits

I used to think of flower paintings as still lifes, but now I look at them as portraits. The delicacy of flowers makes my inner bird rest and roots me in a comforting life. From the inner bird’s point of view, there are always new sceneries to travel, and the world is never enough. But from the flowers’ point of view, it’s always good to look close to one’s heart and express that we are enough.

Valosta voimaantuneet, watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola. Watercolor flower art.
Valosta voimaantuneet, watercolor, 29.7 x 42 cm

“Valosta voimaantuneet” is Finnish and means “Empowered by Light.”

Think about birds and flowers as symbols for two kinds of art – the other is adventurous and escape-seeking, and the other is easier to digest and connection-seeking.

What do you think of this? Do you have more “bird time” or “flower time?” Leave a comment!

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