Peony and Parakeet

The Power of Boredom

When I was a child, my most prevalent feeling was boredom. It felt like childhood was a long wait for things to happen, life to start. I was at the mercy of others and dreamed of the time when I could do it all by myself.

Moments of boredom are necessary for creativity. Digital collage made of hand-drawn and hand-painted elements. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

At that time, in the 1970s, there was no iPad to keep me company. Instead, I often grabbed the only picture book from the shelf where my parents kept their books. It was a softcover book about old paintings. I was staring at Monet and Manet while my mother cooked us dinner. The book wasn’t big, and the images were small. But this way, culture was introduced to me at a young age. Having this one book on the shelf, my parents unknowingly affected my life’s journey.

I was browsing the book in a colorful living room.

It had yellow, orange and red textiles and a grey sofa. Later, the colors were changed to warm green, and brown. It was all fine before my mother bought greyish mint green curtains. She was exhilarated about the color and kept talking about how well mint green fitted with the rest of the decoration. I, in turn, was in shock – cool green doesn’t fit with the warm tones! Every time I was in that room, the curtains made me feel uncomfortable. I waited for the day to pick my own palette!

Enjoying colors. Digital art made of handpainted and handdrawn elements. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

My sisters were living in a red room. It also had white, so it was quite cheery, but I didn’t like the colors. Even the table had a red frame, and it bothered me quite a bit. When my sisters moved away, and the room became mine, my parents traveled to the nearest big town Joensuu to buy new wallpaper. And when they came back, surprisingly, my father, who never had anything to say about the colors, had chosen little yellow roses! “Aww … everything has to be changed to yellow now!” I cried. My mother agreed. They bought curtains that had yellow flowers, a yellow clock, a carpet that had yellow and brown, and sunny yellow bedcovers for the two beds that the room still had. 

Back to childhood. Watercolor painting and a photo of a clock. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and parakeet.
I still have that clock!

I was thinking about these colors all the time.

Did everything match? What I liked and what I didn’t like? I assumed that all people were similar, contemplating their color choices, walking around their homes, thinking about the tint of the curtains.

Digital art made from handpainted and handdrawn elements. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

My first art book got abandoned when I started using the local library. It had huge books filled with master paintings. For years, I sat in the library and waited for my life to begin. I admired the colors, and Picasso and Matisse became my favorites.

Boredom increases creativity. Digital art that uses hand-painted elements. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

At a young age, I knew that green is not only green. It could be muddy green or mint green or something between. And when I was accepted in the local icon-painting group, I also learned that there can be a strictly defined range of tones. It was so satisfying when my teacher told me that I had produced not only an acceptable but beautiful blue for the background. We all used the same amount of the same pigments, and still, every one of us had a slightly different blue. Amazing!

Digital art from hand-painted elements by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Read about how her childhood affected her art!

When walking to my home from a group session held at the cellar of the nearest church, I looked at the dark starry sky and admired its deep shade against the white snow. The number of colors that I was able to see was growing all the time.

Illustration by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

All this seemed insignificant back then.

I was just filling the moments of boredom while waiting for my life to begin. And then, finally, I grew up, moved away, went to study, met my future husband, got a dog and a good job, built a career, bought a house. 

Paivi Eerola and her art.

But when I am creating, these events feel less important. Instead, I want to get back to those childhood years trying to remember every single dull moment and detail, including the tone of my yellow bedroom. I am dependable on that boredom. It defines me as an artist. Everything genuine and sincere in my art can be connected with my childhood, with the age of boredom.

Leaf Chapel, a watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet

Does your childhood show in your art? Do you aim for the images that you see other people create, or are you geared to finding your own? This is one of the carrying themes in Lesson 2 of Magical Forest, starting on February 1st.

Hop along! The class ends at the end of April, and you will get Lesson 1 right after the registration. >> Sign up here!

Intuitive Painting in 60 Colors of Arteza Gouache Set

"Refresh", a gouache painting using all 60 colors of Arteza gouache paint set. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Paint with me! This week, I have a video tutorial of making an intuitive gouache painting with Arteza Gouache set.

Arteza gouache paints, Arteza water brushes, Arteza watercolor paper.

In addition to the gouache paints, I also use Arteza water brushes, Arteza watercolor paper (mine is A4 from Arteza’s UK store, but here’s the link to the similar paper in the US store), and Arteza Fineliner. These supplies are all donated to me by Arteza (US Store, UK store). You can get 10% off with coupon code peonyandparakeet1. This coupon is valid till Oct 25th, 2019.

Intuitive Gouache Painting – Watch the Video!

Gouache Comparison – Arteza vs. Schminke

Arteza’s gouache paints are very affordable compared to artist quality paints. I have few tubes of Schminke Horadam Gouache paints, and with the price of 60 colors of Arteza, you can only get a few tubes of Schminke!

But of course, there are differences too. Schminke, manufactured in Germany, has a higher pigment level than Arteza, manufactured in China. These tubes are both Burnt Sienna, but Arteza’s color is much more pastel and creamy.

Comparison of Arteza gouache and Schminke Horadam gouache paints.

Most of Arteza’s colors have names that are not pigment names. They describe the tone very well and sound tempting, like “Blush Pink.” But if you have used to dealing with pigments and their individual qualities in transparency and archival quality, it can feel frustrating. If pigments are individual spices, Arteza’s gouache paints like spice mixes – easy to use for beginners, but a bit joyless for professional cooks.

Comparison of Arteza gouache and Schminke Horadam gouache paints.

The differences between these paints are small, and it requires an eye for nuances and experience on pigments to notice them.

Comparison of Arteza gouache and Schminke Horadam gouache paints.

When painting, Arteza’s creamy paints are like family vehicles, easy to maneuver. Schminke’s gouache paints are more like sports cars, quick to react with water and more suitable for fine brushwork.

Traditional vs. Acryl Gouache – Reacting to Water

Some gouache paints are marked as acryl gouaches. It means that they are not opaque watercolors as gouaches normally are, but translucent acrylic paints. I had some Turner acryl gouaches (made in Japan), and you can see the difference below. Unfortunately, I didn’t have similar magenta tone, but the color doesn’t matter when testing how the dried layer reacts to water. Both Arteza gouache and Schminke Horadam bleed, Arteza a little more than Schminke. But acryl gouache doesn’t bleed at all!

Comparing traditional gouache to acryl gouache. Arteza, Schminke, Turner.

Bleeding is not necessarily a bad thing. Actually, I prefer paints that bleed because I often like to remove color in later stages.

A detail of Paivi Eerola's gouache painting. Painted with Arteza gouache paint in 60 colors.

Bleeding wasn’t any problem when making this painting either. I used both thin and thick paint quite effortlessly.

Finnish artist Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I hope you enjoyed the video, and let’s keep creating!

Let’s share the passion of creating art!
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Embellish with a Hand-Drawn Frame

Flower Gardener's Dream. Illustration by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Do you remember this piece? I drew it in June but back then it looked much more modest. It was only black and white, and there was no hand-drawn frame.

I rediscovered the drawing when I was going through recent drawings and paintings. I will attend a group exhibition called “Flower Gardener’s Diary” in September. I have quite a lot of work that goes under that title. In fact, if the exhibition would be called “No Flowers This Time”, I would be in trouble.

Doodling a Hand-Drawn Frame

I had given it a title “Flowers for the Soul” for this piece, but I thought I could rename it as “Flower Gardener’s Dream” if I would polish it a bit.

Black and white fairy drawing by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. See how this changes when a hand-drawn frame is added to it!

I cut a larger piece of paper and started drawing rough doodles around it. I can doodle quite quickly because I have been practicing a lot lately. I haven’t only drawn a bunch of exercises and additional examples for the class Magical Inkdom but also learned a lot when watching myself in the videos while editing them. It reminds me of athletes who train themselves mentally by watching their performances. Fortunately, doodling is not an Olympic sport because it would be my obsession to be the one who represented Finland!

Making a hand-drawn frame by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

It always amazes me that what is first just an ugly doodle, becomes a decent drawing after adding shadows and details. The magic of time and effort!

An illustration and a hand-drawn frame for it. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Coloring the Image + My Favorite Color

If I had to name the favorite color of my watercolor set, I would probably say Daniel Smith’s Rich Green Gold. It’s an ugly-looking paste that looks more like Poor Wasted Mud, but when you add water to it, you begin to hear music, feel the atmosphere of a big palace, and you straighten the back because the rich woman inside you is wearing an elaborate dress.

Coloring an ink drawing with watercolors. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Most of that cool yellowish color is Rich Green Gold. Who could not love that luxurious color!

Two Versions – With and Without the Frame

I used double-sided tape to attach the image on the larger paper with the frame. Here are the two versions side by side. Which of them do you like better?

Two versions of the same drawing. The other one has color and a decorative hand-drawn frame. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I am happier with the colored version because it highlights the night scene.

Flower Gardener's Dream, a detail. Illustration by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

After all, this is about us who love flowers so much that they fill our minds also when we are sleeping.

Flower Gardener's Dream, a detail. Illustration by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Hand-Drawn Frame Obsession Continues

I have also been finishing some oil paintings that have been in progress for an embarrassingly long time. Having a deadline is a powerful motivator, eh? I don’t show them all in this blog post, but save them for upcoming weeks. Here’s a snapshot of the tiniest one. She is some kind of flower fairy too, and I am thinking about making a hand-drawn frame around her too. Because this is an oil painting on board, it would require some extra assembly. But I think it would look wonderful if there would be hand-drawn flowers around her. What do you think?

Miniature oil painting by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Come to draw fantastic art (+ fantastic frames) with me – 
Sign up for Magical Inkdom!
Right after the registration, you will get all the lessons published so far, and you are good to start drawing! >> Sign up here!

3 Weird but Working Tricks for Portraits

Here’s the replay of yesterday’s free webinar “3 Weird but Working Tricks for Portraits”. There was a slight delay with some pictures, but I have edited the recording so that it won’t show there. I hope you will enjoy these ideas and mindsets!

Drawing Faces – Refresh the Way You Make Portraits!

In my new upcoming class Innovative Portraits, we will discover new paths to painting and drawing portraits. We will gather ideas, make sketches to process them and find solutions to the problems that have caused frustrations. This class also includes a 3-month membership in my art community Bloom and Fly so you will also get monthly live sessions and weekly feedback Tuesdays.

Innovative Portraits, drawing faces and portraits in mixed media. An online art class by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Innovative Portraits – Reserve Your Spot Now!

The early-bird price is available when you sign up before Sept 16, midnight PDT.
>> Sign up NOW!

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