Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Art Exhibition in Villa Albert

This week, I have photos from the group exhibition I am currently participating. It’s called Taiteilijat Edelfeltin tunnelmissa – artists in the mood of Edelfelt. And here are four of us from left to right: photographer Niclas Warius, painters Kristina Elo and me, and another photographer Maarit Lehto. The sculptor Kaj Lindgård is also in the exhibition, but missing in the photo.

Photographer Niclas Warius, painters Kristina Elo and Päivi Eerola, and another photographer Maarit Lehto. The artist of the group exhibition in Villa Albert.
Photo by Mika Lindqvist.

The red wooden cottage in the background is a summer studio of the famous Finnish painter Albert Edelfelt (1854-1905). It is in the possession of a private foundation Albert Edelfeltin säätiö that cherishes the memory of Edelfelt. Even if it’s just a small cottage, the location in Southern Finland is beautiful – near the sea and very near Porvoo, which is a small town popular with tourists.

Haikko, Porvoo, Finland. The forest path to Villa Albert.

Albert Edelfelt painted here in summer and then went to France for winters.

Albert Edelfelt's summer studio in Porvoo.

When you look at the studio from the sea, you can see the gallery Villa Albert behind it. The foundation built it in 2019.

Albert Edelfelt's summer studio in Porvoo.

The gallery is a nice space with a small shop as well. All visitors who come to see Edelfelt’s studio, come first to the gallery to buy the tickets.

Villa Albert, museum shop

The head person of the gallery Hanna Kaarina Syrjäläinen is very skilled at hanging the exhibitions. I was so satisfied with how my paintings were displayed. Here an editor of a local magazine interviews me before the opening.

Artist Paivi Eerola's interview at Villa Albert.
Photo by Mika Lindqvist.

The foundation organizes concerts and other cultural events in the gallery. I think my paintings look great behind the grand piano!

I had 12 paintings in this space and four minis in a separate showcase.

Paivi Eerola's paintings at Villa Albert.

The gallery was full in the opening. The gallerist made a lovely speech about the exhibition.

Artists Maarit Lehto, Päivi Eerola, Kristina Elo, Niclas, Warius and the gallerist Hanna Kaarina Syrjäläinen. Opening of the exhibition at Villa Albert. Photo by Tiina Apilo.
Photo by Tiina Apilo.

Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of the other artists’ pieces, but do visit these websites to see their work:

It is an honor to be in the company of these artists!

I had a good time in the opening meeting new people who like this kind of art that has a connection to art history.

The artist Paivi Eerola talks about her work at Villa Albert. Photo by Tiina Apilo.
Photo by Tiina Apilo

After working on the paintings alone for a long time, it’s so nice to hear what others see in them and tell about the creation process that started early this year.

At the opening of an art exhibition. The artist Paivi Eerola talks about her work. Photo by Tiina Apilo.
Photo by Tiina Apilo

My paintings were mostly from this year, but there were some from the last year. I think it is a cohesive collection and as a whole, maybe best what I have presented so far.

Finnish artist Päivi Eerola and her paintings at Villa Albert, Haikko, Porvoo, Finland.
Photo by Mika Lindqvist

The exhibition continues until October 1st, so if you are in Finland this fall, do visit the Albert Edelfelt Studio Museum Villa Albert!

P.S. See the previous posts to see the paintings more closely. I still have a couple of pieces to show you, and now I feel the urge to draw, so more art to come in the next weeks as well!

Disappearing Garden – About Transience and Creating the Best You Can

I’ve been painting for the exhibition “Taiteilijat Albert Edelfeltin tunnelmissa – Artists in the Mood of Albert Edelfelt”, which is in August-September. Now I want to present the main work of my new series to you. It’s about transience and called “Katoava puutarha – Disappearing Garden”.

Katoava puutarha - Disappearing Garden, 100 x 80 cm, oil on canvas, by Paivi Eerola.
Katoava puutarha – Disappearing Garden, 100 x 80 cm, oil on canvas

There is sadness in this painting. For years we had a neighbor who liked gardening. She fell ill and died and the rich garden has now been turned into a lawn. It made me think about how perishable we are, including our work. We are disappearing gardens, no matter how much we would like to think otherwise. So let’s enjoy our flowers while they still bloom!

Impression of an Old Painting

Disappearing Garden has many small details and a lot of work went into them. But because of the subject itself, it seemed important to spend time and patience on this work. I wanted to create the impression of an old painting that reaches across the eras as if overcoming its core problem: transience.

Oil painting in progress.
After the first painting session in May

I usually make paintings in pairs, but this time I had a pair already ready: last year’s finished painting Queen of the Night. It is a dark shade and I wanted to make a light counterpart to it.

Expressing transience: Disappearing Garden and Queen of the Night. Abstract floral art by Paivi Eerola, Finland.
“Katoava puutarha (Disappearing Garden) and “Yön kuningatar (Queen of the Night)”

Both of these works are inspired by bygone eras: the 18th and 19th centuries.

About Transience and Creating the Best You Can

While painting The Disappearing Garden, I thought about how important it has been for me to practice a lot. But recognizing my transience, I now want to paint as well as I can. Life is hectic and a new start is always tempting. I can make dozens and dozens of nice and small pieces and collect likes with them. On the other hand, I can wait for the perfect time and perfect vision: question my artistic core and taste and where my focus should be.

A detail of Katoava puutarha - Disappearing Garden, 100 x 80 cm, oil on canvas, by Paivi Eerola. Expressing transience.

But it’s also so that life is constantly changing. If I don’t capture this moment, will I achieve anything? That’s why it felt important to give this painting as much attention as it wanted.

Artist in the garden

Do these thoughts resonate with you?

Everyday Life as an Artist

This post is about my current everyday life.

I was going to tell you that my life has been very ordinary lately: I wake up in the morning, take the dogs for a walk and start painting. In the evening, I practice my ideas with the ProCreate app or knit and let my subconscious work on art-making.

Paivi Eerola and many paintings in progress. Read about her everyday life as a visual artist in Finland.
Paintings in progress. I always bring them from the little studio to our larger library room to dry.

But if my dead parents heard about this life, they would claim that it’s not ordinary at all!

Visiting Exhibitions

Last week, I went to the big exhibition presenting the work of Albert Edelfelt at the Ateneum art museum in Helsinki. When I sat down to listen to seminar presentations about his work, my parents came to mind. They would have liked to see the exhibition. And they would be amazed to learn that I went to see it because of my work. I wanted to examine Edelfelt’s brush strokes in real life because I’m currently painting works for the show called “Taiteilijat Edelfeltin tunnelmissa – Artists in the Mood of Edelfelt.”

At the Piano, oil on canvas, Albert Edelfelt, 1884.
At the Piano, oil on canvas, Albert Edelfelt, 1884.

It’s important to me to see what other artists have created. It makes me feel connected, discover new techniques, and it inspires me to do things a bit differently than what I see. I often ask: what’s lacking if this would be my work? In the painting above, I would have added abstract elements on the top, depicting music.

Pressures of Everyday Life

All work becomes mundane when you do it systematically and goal-oriented. There will be pressures that you didn’t even think about in your dreams. You have to remember to order the supplies in time, plan the sizes of the paintings, the subjects, and the schedule for each one, pick up dog hair from unfinished works at the time of shedding, clean the paint tubes, wash the brushes carefully, wonder if anyone likes the painting and worry if it’s finished or not. Making a series of paintings is always a financial investment.

Oil paint tubes. Artist's everyday life.

But when I am washing the floor from oil paint stains or doing something else mundane related to painting, I want to remember how wonderful it is to work on this project.

Painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola, Finland. Read about her everyday life as an artist.

After all, I love art history, and the very thought that my paintings go to the place where Albert Edelfelt spent his summers is inspiring.

Everyday Ponderings

Lately, I’ve been thinking about why I always deal with longing in my paintings. I easily lean into nostalgia. Albert Edelfelt depicted people and landscapes realistically, but he also sometimes dealt with history and went back in time.

Queen Blanche, oil on canvas, Albert Edelfelt, 1877.
Queen Blanche, oil on canvas, Albert Edelfelt, 1877. Blanche of Namur, the queen of Norway and Sweden, lived in the 14th century.

However, the difference between me and Albert is that he was interested in how things could have really happened and did detailed background research. I’m more inspired by how things could have gone differently.

Painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

I don’t know how my parents thought my life would turn out. Many times it has gone differently than I would have guessed myself! Sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. Life as an artist is very unpredictable. Just when you think you have to stop, a new project comes up.

Everyday Task – Planning for the Future

Painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola. Read about her everyday life as an artist.

One of the hardest things in being an artist is to always move forward and think bigger. When this year’s plans are set, the next year begins to worry.

Garden in the morning in Finland.

Artists are always in progress and very similar to gardeners. When a person says: “My garden is now finished,” you know that it’s the beginner speaking. Gardens are never finished!

Painting in progress. Garden-inspired painting. Comparing gardens and creating art.

It’s the same thing with art – you will find yourself, but then you will change and have a new you to find. I try to get the most out of this everyday life because it too is about to change for sure.

Response from the Universe

This week, I have exciting news and talk about life’s big decisions.

In the spring, I will only paint canvas, but later this year, in addition to that, I will also paint the virtual world! Namely, I have received a part-time 1-year grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation to produce a digital, three-dimensional artwork called Unknown Land.

A grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation

This is an excerpt of the application that I sent last fall to the foundation.

In my works, I search for a solution to the problems of the external world through the root causes, so strengthening the inner power of a person. By inner power, I refer to imagination and intuition – the human ability to imagine and sense the future. The future is an unknown land.

We can think of this unknown land as a new untouched continent. When we arrive there, everything seems like a newly born fantasy at first, but soon, we will see that this is not the case – only the emphasis has changed. Things emerge from the past, the meaning of which we have previously underestimated. In an unknown land, we are in a state where we no longer want to return to the past, but on the other hand, we cannot escape it. Then it is possible to see the old shadows in a new light and make an effort from that to the new one. Like my paintings, we, therefore, travel between the future and the past – the abstract and representational.

In the project, I will create an interactive virtual reality artwork based on my oil paintings. The project has many kinds of computer work – digital painting, 3D modeling, programming, testing, etc. So, things that feel more like my past self than the current one.

Past’s Big Decisions

Let’s rewind to the 1980s when I was making big decisions in my life. My father had just died. I was engaged but not in love. I sent applications to universities and got accepted by them all. Although I tried not to think about it in the picture below, I knew this would happen: I would move far away to the south to study technology, I would not marry the guy I was engaged to, and I would leave art – at least for a while.

Making big decisions in the 1980s

I had wanted to be an artist but didn’t think the art schools would be as accepting as the universities. I had self-evaluated my skills and talent, which weren’t where they should have been. When I said no to art, I got yes to many good things: intelligent ideas, challenging jobs, better income, etc. I was fascinated by computers, and I believed that the universe wanted me to study software engineering.

But later, it dawned on me that the universe is not quite that simple.

Worlds Are Fighting Over You

Even if I am not a big believer in destiny, I believe that there are worlds that fight over you. No matter how depressed on unpopular you feel at times, remember that some worlds would always do anything to win your heart. And even if you shout to the universe and it remains silent, the worlds are still there for you, waiting for the right moment.

Talviyön runoelma - Winter Night's Poem, oil on canvas, 60 x 80 cm, 2022. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.
Talviyön runoelma – Winter Night’s Poem, oil on canvas, 60 x 80 cm, 2022.

Art didn’t give up on me even if Technology won the battle in the 1980s. There have been big fights since. Last fall, just when Art thought that Technology had been beaten for good, I got excited about VR – virtual reality. Art and Technology have their own ways of capturing my attention. Art is like the beast of my inner world, demanding attention and energy. Technology always attacks outside – sends a few inspiring lines to read about innovations, an abbreviation to figure out, or an invitation to a special event for nerds.

“I will let the universe decide,” I told myself when I wrote the application. But so it happened that the two worlds that had been fighting over me for all my life finally agreed to come together. My life’s big decisions make sense now.

Changes Will Come

I will start the exciting new project in the fall. It will take a lot of my time, and changes will come, but I don’t want to think about them yet. I am painting for the next exhibitions and leading the class Doll World this spring. Then it’s time for Art and Technology to collide.

Butterfly fairies illustration by Paivi Eerola.
The fairies and butterflies from Doll World and the frame from Magical Inkdom

What are the worlds that are fighting over you? Tell us – leave a comment!

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