Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Belonging Somewhere as an Artist

This week, I share my word for 2024 and thoughts about the good and bad in the sense of belonging. I also have a new finished painting!

Muutosvoima - Driving Force, acrylics on canvas, 2024. An abstract floral painting by Paivi Eerola, Finland.
Muutosvoima – Driving Force, acrylics on canvas, 2024.
See more pics at the Taiko art store!

I haven’t used acrylic paints on a canvas for a long time. But now I wanted to paint faster and not wait for the layers to dry.

Painting Freely

This painting took me a couple of long evenings and I deliberately left it abstract, because the subject of the painting is not about the flowers, but about the power rising from the ground.

Here’s how the painting started: loose strokes and juicy colors.

An abstract acrylic painting in progress. Read thoughts about the sense of belonging by Peony and Parakeet.

It’s easy to fall in love with colors, but when you want depth, you also need muddy colors: browns and greys.

Creating abstract art. Adding muddy colors to bring attention to the other parts.

I like to use several different brushes in one painting, and my favorite brushes are very thin.

Abstract art. Painting details with a thin brush.

The title “Muutosvoima – Driving Force” sums up what I want to tell with this painting. Muutosvoima could also be translated as “power of change.”

Paivi Eerola and her painting Muutosvoima - Driving Force.

I believe that the best power of change is not the hype created by others, but the inner enthusiasm that has a grounded tone. Because isn’t it so that flowers only bloom when the earth warms up? Sunlight alone is not enough.

Belonging Somewhere – The Good and The Bad

I’ve been thinking about togetherness lately. It’s a wonderful feeling. For example, last week when many people commented on my post, I felt happy that this blog brings us together. One of the best things that has come with the internet is that you can be pretty weird and still find like-minded people.

Abstract florals, a detail of a bigger painting.

However, the sense of belonging has its danger. Art is about walking your own path. Encounters are important, but you also need to go in the other direction to create something unique. As a teacher, I have often thought about how I could better guide people in their own direction.

Brush strokes on canvas. Painting loosely and in an abstract style. Pondering about the sense of belonging.

Art is like a pot that you have to break first and then put together again. The pot can be broken in many ways and at best, you find your own way to put it together. You need a driving force to break the pot and then persistence to rebuild it.

Finding Your Places in the Art World

In my career as an artist, I have often wanted to be like someone else. I have envied popular artists and then later realized that I wouldn’t want to create the kind of art that they do. I realized that I would like to be popular in creating something else and somewhere else.

Signature on a canvas painting. Pondering about the artistic identity and the sense of belonging.

With experience, the art world opens up. Instead of one hall, you begin to see numerous smaller rooms. What is popular in one room can be overlooked in another. Being an artist requires a lot of self-esteem and the power to move from one room to another.

Holding a painting in the spring garden.

When you find one room that feels like your own, the sense of belonging is at its greatest. However, it’s better to move between several rooms and find many groups. At best, the artist acts as a bridge between different things.

My Word of the Year – Do You Have One?

My word for 2024 is Integrate. This year I have allowed myself to do more diverse things, but on the other hand, I have tied all the pieces together so that one benefits the other.

Have you chosen a word for this year? How has it been realized?

12 Spring Art Ideas from Over the Years

This week, I share spring-themed art from the past 10 years and give ideas for creating spring art.

12 spring art ideas from over the years by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

There’s a variety of ideas and I hope everyone can find some that inspire to get creating!

#1 – For Beginners and Dull Moments

Doodle spring flowers with the mindset “more is more”!

Doodle easter flowers. For beginners and dull moments. See more spring art ideas!
Easter Flowers, mixed media, 2013.
See the blog post: Subconscious Art

Course recommendation: Collageland

#2 – For Self-Explorers

Express your spring energy by following this step-by-step exercise: Bursting Circle

Bursting Circle, mixed media art exercise by Peony and Parakeet
Bursting Circle I, mixed media, 2014.
See the blog post: Bursting Circle

Course recommendation: Inspirational Drawing

#3 – For Free Spirits

Splash color and let everything grow from there!

Free Spirit, acrylics on paper by Paivi Eerola, Finland. Abstract floral art.
Free Spirit, acrylics, 2015.
See the blog post: Art is Freedom

#4 – For Those Who Want to be Freer

When you want to be freer, the art of seeing is as important as the art of creating.
See the video of making “March Still Life”: Painting in Liberated Style

March Still Life, mixed media art, see more spring art ideas by Paivi Eerola.
March Still Life, mixed media, 2016.
See the blog post: Painting in Liberated Style

Course recommendations: Liberated Artist Revisited and Freely Grown

#5 – For Minimalists

Pick a small piece of watercolor paper, moisten your watercolor pans, and let water do the trick.

Easter Flowers, a simple watercolor painting.
Easter Flowers, watercolor, 2017.
See the blog post: Easter Still Lifes in Watercolor – Video Included!

#6 – For Travelers

Paint a spring panorama. More examples: Watercolor Panoramas to Express Travel Memories

Spring in Scotland, watercolor panoramas by Paivi Eerola.
Spring in Scotland, watercolor, 2018.
See the blog post: Watercolor panoramas to Express Travel Memories

Course recommendation: Watercolor Journey

#7 – For Beautiful Mess-Makers

Beautify the mess by adjusting the details: paint frilly edges and draw fine lines!

After Winter, a floral watercolor still life by Paivi Eerola, Finland.
After Winter, watercolor, 2019.
See the blog post: Freely Born Watercolor Florals

Course recommendations: Floral Fantasies and Freely Grown

#8 – For Journalers

Decorate a journal cover with your original art! See more instructions in this blog post: Painted Paper Collage

Art journal cover. See more spring art ideas!
Art journal cover, mixed media collage, 2020.
See the blog post: Painted Paper Collage – 6 Tips for Intricate and Fun Art

Course recommendations: Collageland and Decodashery

#9 – For Bird Watchers

Take this challenge to move from illustration to fine art:
Step out of your comfort zone and think about a bird shape as a canvas for expressing its surroundings.

Blackbird, oil painting, Paivi Eerola, 2021.
Blackbird, oil on canvas, 2021.
See the blog post: Pros and Cons of Becoming an Artist

Course recommendation: Floral Freedom

#10 – For Art Lovers Who Procrastinate

Reduce watching those photo-realistic colored pencil videos and start coloring freely. One heart shape can lead to many and start your flight to the world of imagination!

Illuminated Heart, spring art ideas in colored pencils. By Paivi Eerola.
Illuminated Heart, colored pencils, 2022.
See the blog post: 5 Reasons Why I Love Colored Pencils

Course recommendations: Intuitive Coloring and Fun Botanicum

#11 – For Wannabe Fantasy Artists

Find the story first, then its surroundings! A character is not only described by his face.

Magician's Tea Party, oil on canvas, 2023. By Paivi Eerola, Finland. Alice in Wonderland inspired art. Spring art ideas.
Magician’s Tea Party, oil on canvas, 2023.
See the blog post: Wonderland Art – Inspiration from Alice in Wonderland

Course recommendations: Magical Forest and Magical Inkdom

#12 For Artists at Heart

Our creativity has winter and spring too. We need each other to keep the inspiration going – to turn the winter into spring.
A challenge for you: How can you make a new start – create a new spring for your art?

Mixed media art. Liberated artist Revisited, an online course by Paivi Eerola.
“I Will Be Back”, mixed media, 2024.
See the blog post: New Beginnings in Art-Making

Course recommendations: Liberated Artist Revisited

Bonus Idea #1: Spring Art Display

Gather your art on a side table for display! Make a collection of all kinds of pieces – even the smallest drawings and collage pieces can look fun this way.

Spring art display. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Most of these are from her course Decodashery.
This picture is from 2020 when I was making the course Decodashery.
I have a plastic plate that is the same size as my table.
It protects my art, and it also protects the tabletop when painting in watercolor.

Bonus Idea #2: Listen to This!

I also have a music recommendation: “Kevät”

Kevät is spring in Finnish and the song was presented by a Finnish girl band Tavaramarkkinat in 1985. Here’s an English translation of the lyrics. The tone of the song is melancholic. This kind of controversy between melancholy and joy is one of the most inspiring things in spring, I think!

P.S. PostScript for Spring Art Ideas

We still have a lot of snow in Finland, and I miss spring so much! In these spring art ideas, I wanted to combine my yearning for spring and the celebration of being a full-time artist for ten years. The actual anniversary is in September, but I want to celebrate this life span the whole year of 2024.

One part of the celebration has been making the course Liberated Artist Revisited where I invite you to paint with me – to follow directions from Paivi many years ago, and then create more with the current Paivi. At the same time, you can ponder, how your art-making has changed and will change.

Liberated Artist Revisited - online art course by Paivi Eerola.

Because of the 10-year celebration and the nature of personal stories, Liberated Artist Revisited is a limited edition – only available for purchase until the end of March 2024! >> Buy Now!

Ninety-Ninety Rule for Art-Making

This week, we talk about the agony that’s associated with finishing.

Käännekohta - Turning Point, oil on canvas, 50 x 61 cm. Painting by Paivi Eerola, Finland.
Käännekohta – Turning Point, oil on canvas, 50 x 61 cm.

Last fall, I had a turning point when I started making digital art. I’m not giving up painting, though. There will be just fewer oil paintings this year.

New Start

This year’s first oil painting started already in October last year. First, I made a mess with pastel hues. Then I began to figure out what kind of personality the painting could be.

Starting a new intuitive painting.

This kind of intuitive painting is wonderful and for example, my latest course Liberated Artist Revisited is based on it. Instead of the model, we study the painting itself and let it go in its own direction.

Painting in progress. Studio view.

When I paint, I often listen to some talk or music program at the same time, that’s why the iPad is also visible in these pictures.

Ninety-Ninety Rule

Programming and painting have a lot in common. One of those is definitely the ninety-ninety rule. It states that 90 percent of the work is done effortlessly and takes only 10 percent of the time. And the remaining 10 percent is difficult and takes 90 percent of the time!

Intuitive painting in progress. By Päivi Eerola, Finland.

For example, in this part of the painting my intuition was working fluently, and finishing these details was also easy. I especially like that beige flower near the edge.

A detail of an abstract floral oil painting by Paivi Eerola.

But the further the painting progressed, the less often I worked on it. I wasn’t satisfied with the center and the soul of the painting was missing. I looked at it every day, but all my ideas seemed too ordinary.

Then when I finished the video artwork last week, I suddenly got ideas for the painting. First, I brought similar greenish tones and then, by keeping my mind on the video, I solved the puzzle stroke by stroke!

Painting flowers in progress.

The name was now easy to find: Käännekohta – Turning Point.

A detail of an abstract floral oil painting by Paivi Eerola.

The ninety-ninety rule applies to the fond factor as well. It’s easier to like an unfinished painting than one that is close to a finish. When under 90 percent, you can see the potential and ignore the unpleasant parts by saying that the piece is not ready yet. When working on the last 10 percent, things get more complicated and there are times when you hate the piece!

Old Supports New

During big changes, I have often thought that I leave the old completely and jump fully into the new. But this time I feel that the old and the new support each other.

Käännekohta - Turning Point, oil on canvas, 50 x 61 cm. Painting by Paivi Eerola, Finland.

Life is an interaction between the past and the present and that applies to art-making as well.

Liberated Artist Revisited

With the newest course Liberated Artist Revisited, I invite you to paint with me – to follow directions from Paivi many years ago, and then create more with the current Paivi. At the same time, you can ponder, how your art-making has changed and will change.

Liberated Artist Revisited - online art course by Paivi Eerola.

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

5 Tips for Quick Abstract Flowers

This week, we paint quick abstract flowers freely without any references.

Quick abstract flowers in acrylics. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

I have a black Dylusions Creative Journal and make small paintings there occasionally. It is especially good when there’s still paint left on the palette at the end of the painting session. I think it makes sense to use all the paint, and not throw the leftovers in the trash.

Art journal filled with flower paintings.

I don’t use any gesso but paint directly on the page.

Quick abstract flowers in acrylics. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

When I painted pieces for the course Liberated Artist Revisited, I noticed that there had been a long break in acrylic painting and some of the tubes had started to harden.

A quick abstract floral painting. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

It motivates me to paint in the black art journal again because I don’t want those paints to go to waste. And sometimes it’s nice to paint something small quickly and see what comes out most effortlessly.

Quick Abstract Flowers – Five Tips!

I like painting abstract flowers, and thick paints are very suitable for abstract flower paintings. Here are my five tips for painting flowers quickly.

1) Start from the Old Mess

The fastest way is to start from an old painting.

I have a lot of pages in my journal where I’ve hastily painted shapes with leftover paints.

Starting to revamp an old painted page. Painting on an art journal.

Continuing the beautiful mess feels much more effortless than starting a new one from the beginning.

Abstract flowers in progress.

For example, here’s one page that still waits its turn to become a finished painting.

Abstract flowers in progress. In a black square Dylusions Creative Journal.

Most of my beginning messes are much more messy though!

2) Dark-Bright-Light

Include all three degrees of darkness in one painting.

Make color mixes and compare them in terms of darkness. By including all three – dark, bright, and light – you can achieve depth and atmosphere.

Mixing acrylic paints on a palette. You can use old lids as a palette.

Make clear larger areas so that you can point to different places in the background and say, there is dark, there is bright, and there is light.

Painting quick abstract flowers by using different color values.

Flowers can have all three – dark, bright, and light colors.

3) Forget the Real Flowers!

Don’t think too much about the real flowers.

Don’t think about what a rose looks like or what flowers you want in your painting. All that stiffens your expression.

A messy beginning of an art journal page.

Focus on the colors and let the flowers form from the brushstrokes.

Using a palette for painting quick abstract flowers.

After all, a flower is just a few colorful strokes and a line for the stem.

A small floral painting in progress.

Use your imagination when you look at your work in progress!

4) Leave Room for Spirit

Not everything needs to be defined or look like a flower.

Flowers are concrete matter, so let the colors express the spirit!

Painting flowers in an art journal. Playing between abstract and representational.

If you want to be extra quick, sharpen just one flower near the center and leave the others more abstract and vague.

Detail of a floral painting.

5) No Forced Feelings

Open yourself up to an emotional experience.

The speed of the painting depends highly on how soon you get an emotional connection with yourself and what you are doing. Let even the darkest thoughts come. For creativity, everything genuine is equally good.

Painted spread in a Dylusions Creative Journal. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

The beauty of making art is that imagination creates abundance and eternal life from almost nothing – from the leftover paint and leftover energy. And the more often you create, the more you get out of it!

Quick floral abstract from leftover paints.

Liberated Artist Revisited – Buy Now!

In Liberated Artist Revisited, we time-travel to meet the teacher – Paivi from 2015, and create new art with her.

Liberated Artist online course

This course is both for the left and right brain. The young Paivi gives systematic instructions while the older Paivi enjoys her freedom and ponders about art-making and life in general.

Paivi Eerola and quick abstract flowers in her art journal.

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

Scroll to top