Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

New Beginnings in Art-Making

Let’s think about new beginnings and give one to our art-making!

One example of the course Liberated Artist Revisited - being wild and free in the beginning and more focused in the end. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

In recent months, I have felt that a new era has begun in my life. It has been surprising. I have thought that I am already too old for anything new – that the new beginnings in life have already been experienced, at least in terms of working life. But it just so happened that my work as an artist has a new beginning thanks to the grant for creating digital art.

At the same time, I have gained a new perspective on the past and my artistic development. Now, it feels that life with its changes is full of new beginnings, and art, too, is full of them! There are big beginnings and then smaller beginnings within them.

Valuing Randomness and Intuition

I developed the latest course Liberated Artist Revisited, because I wanted to relive the idea of the old course Liberated Artist. I wanted to relive that time in 2015 when a new beginning meant letting go of excessive control and surrendering to happy accidents and intuition. Because isn’t it the case that whenever a new era begins, we need faith in chance and intuition – so, the art of letting go!

Paivi and her art. Read more about her new beginnings.

At the current new beginning, I have been thinking about what I have to give up. Because, couldn’t you say that life with its changes is full of not only beginnings, but endings, and ask if the same applies to art? While making the course Liberated Artist Revisited, I listened to Paivi from 2015.

Liberated Artist - Banner from 2015.
Old banner from 2015.

Younger Paivi was very prompt: Step A and Step B and so on. If I compare her and I, I am partly different and partly similar. I would do some things differently now but in many ways., I am still quite the same artist. The new course Liberated Artist Revisited is a dialogue between the old and the new. You could also say that I have changed as an instructor a bit. Nowadays, I want to open up your artistic thinking, not so much to exclude options.

Mixed media art-making in progress. New beginnings can include randomness and happy accidents.

Life is so grand that everything that once had a beginning, stays in our hearts for a long time, even if it has ended. It’s the same in art. I can smile at Päivi after more than eight years, but not ironically, but warmly. “It’s wonderful to create something new with you again,” I say to young Päivi, and it’s also wonderful to invite you all to a new course again!

Liberated Artist Revisited – Buy Now!

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

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!

Life After Death – Commissioned Art

This week, I have a commissioned art piece to show you. I have fewer words than I normally do – not only because the project is confidential, but also because this project went beyond words in many ways.

Floral tribute painting. Commissioned art piece. Oil on canvas. By the artist Paivi Eerola, Finland.

Last fall, I got a commission for this oil painting. It was ordered by a man in memory of his recently deceased spouse. We brought elements of the wife’s life and references to what she liked into the painting. The painting is, therefore, a secret portrait, from which loved ones recognize familiar things, but which do not need to be explained to strangers, unless they want to.

Commissioned Art – Sketch First

I started with a digital sketch. Here you can see the sketch and the final painting side by side.

Making commissioned art. A digital sketch made in ProCreate and a final oil painting. By Päivi Eerola, Finland.

I painted the sketch freely in the ProCreate app. The sketch is more abstract than the finished work and is more about the impression than the details.

Painting Process

After the sketch was approved, I ordered the canvas. The size of this piece is 50 x 40 cm (about 19.5 x 15.5 inches). Here are the first blurry layers.

Starting a flower painting. A commissioned art in progress.

I worked several sessions and let the painting dry for 1-2 weeks between the sessions.

Working on a commissioned art piece. Painting flowers layer by layer.

The sketch helped with the painting process so that I could save my energy on the details.

Final Treatments

When the painting was finished, I photographed it outdoors. The natural light is wonderful now when Finland has a lot of snow, but the shoot had to be done quickly.

Photographing a painting in natural light.

I varnished the painting with Gamvar after the photoshoot.

Varnishing an oil painting.

I like to think that varnishing was like giving a special blessing to the painting.

Spiritual Meaning

This project made my work as an artist feel even more meaningful than before. I learned more about what kind of artist I am.

A detail of a flower painting by Paivi Eerola, Finland.

I thought: “What could be a better assignment than building a bridge between life and death?”
What do you think?

Writing About Art

This week is dedicated to writing about art. I tell how I write these blog posts, and why it’s beneficial to write about art.

Watercolor flowers. A watercolor painting called "Juhlan taikoneet" by Paivi Eerola, Finland.
My newest watercolor painting called “Juhlan taikoneet” – those who magically created a party.
See more pics of this piece in the Taiko online art store!

How I Write a Blog Post

I have been writing these blog posts for years directly in English, so, in a language foreign to me. I wanted to develop my language skills and it seemed like the best method, even if the expression was sometimes limited. This year, I started to write these stories in Finnish first. Once the Finnish text is done, I translate it into English. I edit the translation 2-4 times before the story is finished.

Writing about art for a blog post, first in Finnish and then in English.

You might imagine that this is a slow road, but I have developed as a writer in such a way that it feels natural to push the story out first and then edit it. When editing, the subject becomes more clear and the images and texts work better together.

I love the interaction between two languages.

When I write in Finnish, I’m already thinking about English. In Finnish, passive constructions and long expressions are used a lot. I’ll try to be more concise right at the beginning. Words and expressions also differ. In Finnish, I can easily get a relaxed and even humorous tone, but I can’t translate it into English, and neither can machine translators. However, I don’t mourn the matter, I think that the union of two languages ​​is like a marriage: both have to give way.

Starting a watercolor painting.

Joyce Carol Oates talks about having a journal separate from the stories and novels. The journal could be more honest and raw, and use a little different style than what ends in the publication. For me, the Finnish script is a bit like that – a stream of thoughts that gets refined with edits.

The Relationship Between Images and Text

I used to enter the images into the post first and then write the texts directly between them. But these days I work in a word processor so that I only focus on the text. I can write more freely and the texts become more authentic and have more content. I can then fit the images between the text and add captions if needed.

Although I decide the topic of a blog post when I start writing it, most of the pictures exist before the text. I strive to always have new photos and I often plan the collection of images weeks in advance. Since this blog is about art and is aimed at visual people, I need lots of pictures. I want to inspire the reader to make art, so the pictures need also express the process, and not just finished works.

Writing Moves Art Forward

Nowadays, many have left blogging and moved to posting on Facebook or Instagram or uploading videos to YouTube. I too write regularly on my Facebook page and Instagram account. Every now and then I also make a video on YouTube.

But writing is magical. When you write a longer story, you don’t just write to others but to yourself too.

And I am not the only one who thinks that way. Last spring, I participated in an artist coaching program by the Finnish Art Agency, where the coach wanted us to write regularly about our art. She emphasized that working with words is important because visual artists often need to tell about their art.

Writing About Art is Almost Similar to Talking About Art

I believe that all who create art also want to talk about it. It’s just very difficult sometimes. Pictures go to the other side of the words and the ideas get mixed up.

Talking about your art can also feel like pompous boasting, even if the recipient would be interested. Long art stories can also bore the listener if she is not as deep in creating. The same applies to writing, you can feel pretentious or be afraid to bore someone, but when you write it’s easier to notice when you’re stuck and repeating yourself.

Watercolor painting techniques: adding soft spots by wiping the paint off.
When you use good quality watercolor paper, you can make a soft glow by wiping the paint off.

My art has not only developed by drawing and painting diligently. It evolves every time I write about it. It has developed by blog posts, manuscripts for classes, short video posts, and even description texts, where I have to briefly tell who I am or what inspired me to create a certain piece.

Writing brings out problems. You have to focus on what you really want to say and tell who you really are. There will be a temptation to find words that sound great but not say the truth. But if you can overcome the lure of meaningless words, creativity in you wakes up.

I have noticed that when I can put my wishes and ideas into words, they begin to appear in my paintings. Our creativity strives to fulfill our wishes if it can read them. So, that’s why I am writing about art weekly. Thank you for making me do that!

Do you write – or plan to write – about your art? Tell us more!

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