Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

In the Mood of Albert Edelfelt

This week, I present you a Finnish artist Albert Edelfelt and talk about my upcoming exhibition.

This month, Albert Edelfeltin säätiö – Albert Edelfelt’s foundation contacted me. They invited me to participate in a group exhibition in their villa starting in August. I went to sign the contract this week.

Päivi Eerola & Hanna Kaarina Syrjäläinen, Villa Albert, Albert Edelfeltin säätiö
Me and Hanna Kaarina Syrjäläinen from Albert Edelfelt’s foundation

This is very happy news! If you have read my blog for some time, you know I love art history. Even if I follow contemporary art actively, old paintings inspire me more. Many of the techniques that I use for my paintings are old, even if the expression is abstract or half-abstract. So, one of my secret dreams has been to display my paintings with historical ones.

Albert Edelfelt

Albert Edelfelt (1854 – 1905) was one of the most famous Finnish painters. He painted portraits and landscapes and, in my opinion, was exceptionally skillful in sceneries that had a group of people. He also made illustrations, studied and worked in Paris, and lived in Haikko, Finland, where his foundation is also located.

Albert Edelfelt sketching
Albert Edelfelt, photographed by Pietinen, 1905

Here’s a better picture of the painting “Onkiva ukko” – a guy fishing – that you can see in the background of the first photo, taken in Villa Albert of Albert Edelfelt’s foundation.

Albert Edelfelt, Onkiva Ukko, Villa Albert, Albert Edelfeltin säätiö
Albert Edelfelt, Onkiva ukko, oil on canvas, 1896

One of Albert Edelfelts most famous paintings, especially in France, is the portrait of Louis Pasteur. And many of his female portraits are so romantic, look at this one, for example!

Albert Edelfelt, Parisienne Reading, oil on canvas, 1880
Albert Edelfelt, Parisienne Reading, oil on canvas, 1880

And look how careless the strokes are here, still expressing the essential so skillfully!

Albert Edelfelt, Portrait of Young Woman, oil on canvas, 1882
Albert Edelfelt, Portrait of Young Woman, oil on canvas, 1882

But Albert Edelfelt didn’t only paint young beauties. See this one:

Albert Edelfelt, Women Outside the Church at Ruokolahti, oil on canvas,1887
Albert Edelfelt, Women Outside the Church at Ruokolahti, oil on canvas,1887

Browse more here: a big collection of Albert Edelfelt’s paintings

Last year, there was Albert Edelfelt’s big exhibition in France, and it’s now in Göteborg, Sweden, then later in May in Finland.

Villa Albert and The Haikko Area

Edelfelt’s studio is still up. It’s a small wooden cottage and a popular sight. Villa Albert is a new building in the same courtyard. It has a gallery space and a gift shop.

Villa Albert, Haikko, Porvoo
Villa Albert, gift shop, art gallery, Haikko, Porvoo, Finland
Inside Villa Albert, a view of the gift shop

The Haikko area is beautiful. The sea is right there, and a beautiful manor hotel, Haikon kartano, is only a walk away.

The surroundings of Villa Albert and Albert Edelfelt's art studio in January 2023
The surroundings of Villa Albert and Albert Edelfelt’s art studio in January 2023

This area is very different in summer, much more welcoming than in the picture that I took this week. Here’s Albert Edelfelt’s painting of his villa in Haikko, currently privately owned but still up and located near the studio.

Albert Edelfelt, The Artist's Summer Villa in Haikko, oil on canvas, 1905.
Albert Edelfelt, The Artist’s Summer Villa in Haikko, oil on canvas, 1905.

It takes only 15 minutes to drive to an atmospheric old town Porvoo, which is also a very popular tourist attraction.

Entering Porvoo old town
Entering Porvoo, the old town has a lot of wooden buildings

Artists in the Mood of Edelfelt

I will be painting a new series for the exhibition called “Taiteilijat Edelfeltin tunnelmissa” – Artists in the mood of Edelfelt. Even if Albert Edelfelt was a portrait painter, my intention is not to paint portraits but plants. I am excited to pick inspiration from his work, though!

The exhibition will have four other artists too: another painter Kristina Elo, photographers Maarit Lehto and Niclas Warius, and a sculptor, Kaj Lindgård. I am very happy to be displayed with these wonderful artists.

Aug 8 to Oct 10, Taiteilijat Edelfeltin tunnelmissa (Artists in the Mood of Edelfelt), Villa Albert, Haikkoo, Porvoo.

Coming Up in This Blog

This spring, you will see me painting for the exhibition, and I will also share some details of Albert Edelfelt’s life. Between those, I will be posting more playful posts – drawings and journal pages – so, as usual, art history, my oil paintings, and more illustrative work will alternate in this blog. I hope you find all this very inspiring.

Inspired by Nature – Finishing a Series of Paintings

This week, I celebrate a big finish – the series of ten nature-inspired oil paintings that I started in July!

Four small oil paintings by Päivi Eerola, Finland. How to plan and finish a series of paintings.

The series has four small, four medium-sized, and two big paintings. All of them are some kind of floral landscapes.

Small Paintings + Video!

I worked from big to small. I like to start the series boldly and then pick ideas from them for smaller pieces. This is the last painting – Rapunzel of the Garden:

Puutarhan Tähkäpää - Rapunzel of the Garden, a small oil painting by Paivi Eerola.
Puutarhan Tähkäpää – Rapunzel of the Garden, 20 x 25 cm. See more pics in the Taiko art store!

Because of the small size, this painting required very thin brushes and a lot of precision. Here’s a 1-minute video where you can see me painting it:

These are the rest of the small paintings:

Varjon lohtu - Comfort of the Shadow, a small oil painting by Paivi Eerola.
Varjon lohtu – Comfort of the Shadow, 20 x 25 cm. See more pics in the Taiko art store!
Samettikukan sointi - The Sound of the Marigold, a small oil painting by Paivi Eerola.
Samettikukan sointi – The Sound of the Marigold, 20 x 25 cm. See more pics in the Taiko art store!
Ruusun henki - The Spirit of the Rose, a small oil painting by Paivi Eerola.
Ruusun henki – The Spirit of the Rose, 20 x 25 cm. See more pics in the Taiko art store!

I like the idea of having a secret tiny treasure, so I try to make the small paintings look like that.

Medium-Sized Paintings

The medium-sized paintings are in two parts: two are smaller, and two are bigger. I like to paint “sisters” – so two paintings in a row or at the same time so that they complement each other. It’s an easy way to create variation in the series.

Toivomusten metsä - Forest of Wishes, a medium-sized oil painting by Paivi Eerola.
Toivomusten metsä – Forest of Wishes, 40 x 50 cm. See more pics in this blog post!

I like to name each painting of a series so that the titles have some kind of similarities. For example, the previous series all had celestial bodies in their names, and the one before that was a V-series – all the titles started with the letter V. This time, the similarity is not perhaps so evident, but it’s there – all the titles have a genitive form.

Unelmien kevät - The Spring of Dreams, a medium-sized oil painting by Paivi Eerola.
Unelmien kevät – The Spring of Dreams, 40 x 50 cm. See more pics in this blog post!

Four seasons are also present in this series. Expressing seasons is an idea that I could repeat in future series too.

Talviyön runoelma - Winter night's Poem, a medium-sized oil painting by Paivi Eerola.
Talviyön runoelma – Winter night’s Poem, 60 x 80 cm. See more pics in this blog post!
Currently on display at the exhibition “Talven taikaa” in Galleria K, Vantaa, Finland.

In every series, there are paintings that have seeds for the next one. In this series, I like how abstract I went with Winter Night’s Poem, and the natural look in The Echo of Moss inspires me a lot. These two will set the foundation for the next series.

Sammaleen kaiku - The Echo of Moss, a medium-sized oil painting by Päivi Eerola. read her blog post about creating a series of paintings!
Sammaleen kaiku – The Echo of Moss, 60 x 80 cm. See more pics and a video in this blog post!

Usually, I am exhausted after finishing a series, but this time not so much. I have many ideas and already ordered the canvases. I like to plan the size of the series and the sizes of the paintings beforehand. Before I even begin to make any background studies, I have ideas on interiors they could fit or galleries or exhibitions they could go to, and decide the size based on those.

Big Paintings

Even if all my paintings are my children, I can’t help picking my personal favorite of the series. In this one, it’s Tiger’s Eye.

Tiikerinsilmä - Tiger's Eye, 100 x 80 cm, oil on canvas, by Paivi Eerola, Finland. See her blog post about finishing a series of paintings.
Tiikerinsilmä – Tiger’s Eye, 100 x 80 cm.
Currently on display at the gallery Gumbostrand Konst & Form.
See more pics in this blog post!

Tiger’s Eye is a sister to another big painting – Queen of the Night.

Yön kuningatar - Queen of the Night, 100 x 80 cm, oil on canvas. By Paivi Eerola, Vantaa, Finland.
Yön kuningatar – Queen of the Night, 100 x 80 cm. See more pics in this blog post!

I like the drama in these big paintings.

Nature Inspired The Series of Paintings

Often, people ask an artist: “What inspires you?” and the artist responds, “Nature.”

But I think that it’s really important for an artist to get more specific. For me, it’s the plants – who they want to be and what kind of world they hope to build. I love to imagine what kind of personalities plants have.

A flower girl. Colored pencil art by Päivi Eerola.

In the upcoming class Doll World, the plants become alive as flower girls!

Doll World - an online art class for drawing people in adorable nature-inspired dresses.

Come to draw people in nature-inspired dresses – Sign up here!

Out in the Open – Feelings from the First Solo Show

This week I talk about my first solo show called Linnunrata (The Milky Way)
and share thoughts and feelings that being out in the open has evoked in me.

Here’s one of the last paintings that got finished for the solo show.

Court of Uranus, Uranuksen hovi. An oil painting by Paivi Eerola. Adventurous time traveling.
“Uranuksen hovi – Court of Uranus”, 70 x 120 cm, oil on canvas
Click the image to see it bigger!

I started it in April when there were too many water puddles in Finland.

Water World

walking in spring

Water blocked roads and filled fields. It was frustrating and ugly and at the same time, magical and beautiful! I realized that I could watch the mud or look further and see the sky and the trees. Their reflections created a miraculous underwater world.

Puddles in spring

Just like the planet Uranus, this imaginary world had no solid matter – only gas and water!

Pressure Rises

Because I wanted to present my best work at the show, the pressure for bringing out the best of my skills was high. When I started the painting, its identity and colors were weak and the composition weird. I was worried if I get it finished in time.

Starting an oil painting

It took many layers before the painting was finished. Because I like to keep the layers thin and fairly separate, lots of time was spent on drying between the sessions. My studio got too small, and there were paintings drying everywhere!

Paintings drying for the show

I find it quite nerve-wracking to handle wet paintings!

Unexpected Turn

I usually never change the orientation of the painting in the middle of the process, but this time I did. I felt that I could open the space more by doing that. However, I think this piece works in both ways, what do you think?

Court of Uranus, an oil painting by Paivi Eerola, upside down
Upside down
Court of Uranus, an oil painting by Paivi Eerola
Actual orientation

Hanging Plan for the First Solo Show

One of the most challenging things when painting for the show is to keep the overall selection coherent. I had a hanging plan right from the beginning, and I updated the plan after each painting. Here’s how the plan looked before the actual hanging.

The problem with the last paintings was not only to create unique artworks but ones that would also complement the overall collection. I formed small groups from the paintings to give visual rhythm to the exhibition.

We mostly stuck with the plan.

Hanging an art exhibition

I wanted it to be noticed as a main piece of the right side wall. But Court of Uranus was such a strong piece that I wanted to move it to a more central place.

Paivi Eerola's first solo show Linnunrata - The Milky Way.

I left some space around it so that it stands out. This painting causes bittersweet feelings in me, being both beautiful and spooky at the same time. It has been interesting to hear how people see it.

Gallery Space

My show had four walls on the lower level. The building is from 1957 and the walls and the floors are protected. The wooden walls did not bother me, I think my art goes well with them. Here’s a better picture of the gallery space.

Paivi Eerola's first solo show Linnunrata - The Milky Way.

The two big paintings on the white back wall At Home in Pluto and Jubilee in Neptune were painted when I was middle of the series. I think it’s best to paint some smaller pieces first before making the largest ones. I used Neptune for the poster of the show.

Galleria K, Vantaa, taidelainaamo.

When the main pieces are done, there’s more room for something unexpected. That’s how Court of Uranus was born.

Court of Uranus feels like the painting defines me rather than I would define the painting. It seems to display my future and show what more I could do.

A detail of an oil painting called Court of Uranus. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

The big yellow flower is perhaps the most beautiful thing I have ever painted, and still, it makes me uncomfortable, like I have gone too far, revealed too much.

A detail of an oil painting called Court of Uranus. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

I like how light-weighted the flower is. Like she has no worries at all!

At the Opening of the First Solo Show

Riika Anundi‘s show was also her first, and we had an opening together. I gave a speech, we had nice sparkling wine and delicacies, tens of guests, and a very enjoyable atmosphere.

First solo shows of Päivi Eerola and Riika Anundi, Galleria K, Vantaa, Finland

I had invited both relatives and old friends from the past decades. It was wonderful to relax and enjoy after the hard work that the show required.

At the first solo show

Every series has a painting that looks forward. In the picture above, I am talking about Vanitas, the painting that I made last year.

Vanitas, oil painting by Paivi Eerola, Finland
Vanitas, 65 x 81 cm, oil on canvas, 2021

This painting, especially the top left corner, led my thoughts to outer space and thus, it was essential to display it at the Milky Way show. I don’t know where the court of Uranus is leading me, but it definitely sets a new direction.

Court of Uranus, a detail of an oil painting by Päivi Eerola, Finland

Even if the colors are dreamy and pastel, there are also technology-inspired details in the painting.

Life After the Solo Show – Open Question

Lastly, I want to show you an old crayon drawing, made as a teenager at school. The subject was the underwater world. Even if I have always hated swimming, never been diving, and never liked water, the drawing came out naturally. Like I had known what I was made to paint already back then.

35 years before and after, developing an artistic style and skills

This post is perhaps more like an open question than an answer that closes everything. Time will tell where my journey goes next! Thank you for walking (or swimming) with me!

Linnunrata – The Milky Way is open from June 3 to June 19, 2022.
Last week! Thursday-Friday 11-17, Saturday-Sunday 12-16
Galleria K, Asematie 7, 01300 Vantaa, Finland

Painting the Best Work for the Show

This week, I present the main artwork for my solo show in June and talk about the pressure of painting the best work.

Juhla Neptunuksessa - Jubilee in Neptune, 90 x 140 cm, oil on canvas, by Paivi Eerola.
Juhla Neptunuksessa – Jubilee in Neptune, 90 x 140 cm, oil on canvas

This oil painting, “Juhlat Neptunuksessa – Jubilee in Neptune,” is a part of my series Linnunrata – Milky Way, where I explore planets and outer space. (See previous work: Pluto here, the Earth hereVenus here, and the Sun here!)

Painting the Best Work – Feeling the Pressure!

I have had terrible pressure to create my best work for the show. Especially the two big pieces on the back wall needed to reach the next level, not that I was able to define what that would be. So I couldn’t pre-process and plan the paintings in my mind. I had to trust the brush and the intuition and start painting.

Beginning a new painting and producing your best work. Painting in progress.

This size (about 35,5 x 55 inches) was also new for me, so I felt like being in a new territory. But several smaller paintings of the same series had already been made, so it was a continuum too.

Extrovert

Last week I talked about introverts and extroverts, and this painting definitely was an extrovert. From the beginning, it knew what it wanted and kept talking to me gently but determinedly, and all I had to do was listen to its spirit.

A detail of Juhla Neptunuksessa - Jubilee in Neptune, 90 x 140 cm, oil on canvas, by Paivi Eerola.

I felt like the painting gently carried me over a mystery of life and took me through the gates that I would not have dared alone. I don’t usually talk about the painting process in this mysterious way, but this time, it all felt pretty magical.

A detail of Juhla Neptunuksessa - Jubilee in Neptune, 90 x 140 cm, oil on canvas, by Paivi Eerola.

One part of me, the inner engineer, was wiping the sweat from the outside pressure, and the other part of me, the inner artist, couldn’t care less. She was only serving the needs of the painting.

A detail of Juhla Neptunuksessa - Jubilee in Neptune, 90 x 140 cm, oil on canvas, by Paivi Eerola. Quick strokes, but painting the best work.

I am very happy about the brush strokes – many of them have been created fast, but they still look pretty flawless.

Creating a Panoramic View

I wanted the two big paintings to be individual in identity but still share some parts when placed side by side. This way, the overall view of the gallery’s back wall could be panoramic.

Two oil paintings to create a panoramic view. By Paivi Eerola.
At Home in Pluto and Jubilee in Neptune side by side

To achieve this, I needed to finish the pieces so that they were placed side by side.

Whales in a Small Bond

My studio is a small room attached to our home, and the two whales were much too big.

Trying to paint the best work. Paivi Eerola and her big oil paintings.

But I managed anyway. In art, I don’t want to live a life where everything needs to be perfect before I can do something. I want to accomplish paintings like this right now and can’t wait for a better situation. And I love our home and working from home, so I just have to make things work. Fortunately, we have quite a lot of wall space in the other parts of the house so that the paintings can dry elsewhere.

Main Promotion Piece for the Show

The new painting is airy, but there are a lot of details too. I am very fond of this piece and feel relieved.

A detail of Juhla Neptunuksessa - Jubilee in Neptune, 90 x 140 cm, oil on canvas, by Paivi Eerola.

This painting is the artwork in all the promo material for the exhibition. See the press release here! Because the show is in Finland, the text is first in Finnish but scroll down the page to read the English translation.

Paivi Eerola and her oil painting for her first solo show.

My first solo show Linnunrata will be June 3-19, 2022 at Gallery K, Vantaa, Finland.

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