Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

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!

Beginner’s Video Art – Paintings Come Alive

This week, I have a video, but it’s different than what I have ever made so far.

A lot has happened in the last few months, and it has also changed my attitude towards life. I have come to believe in destiny. Usually, when I’ve looked back, I’ve seen my life as loose threads. I remember the words of a professor of control engineering from decades ago: “Miss Eerola, what are you aiming for with your studies?”

I finally have an answer for him, maybe he will read my blog from the afterlife and be pleasantly surprised.

Now I know why I have studied programming, vehicle navigation, robotics, control engineering, and industrial design with 3D modeling. Now I know why the boys playing computer games feel my tribe even though I don’t play at all. Now I know why the nerd in me didn’t die even when I was painting oil paintings day after day.

Unity editor view, beginner's video art.
A view from Unity Editor.

I have programmed this digital work using the Unity game engine. The video has two of my oil paintings in the background: Runaway Sun and Happy Earth.

Beginner’s Video Art

I’m still quite clumsy in this sport. so this is more of a practice piece than a fine video artwork. But I have learned from all art-making that it’s ok to be a beginner. And it’s ok to share pieces that are not the best of you, at least when you look at them after a while!

When my husband saw the video, he wasn’t very satisfied with the outcome. But I told him that it doesn’t really matter if you’re going on a long hike if the first gas station serves a modest meat pie. The journey is long and there will be plenty of experiences – at least if fate works as it has so far!

Thank you to the Finnish Cultural Foundation for the grant, which allows me to make digital art for many more months.

Fantastic Watercolor Sceneries

This week, we explore watercolor sceneries. Landscapes have always been an uncomfortable theme for me, but despite that, I consider myself to be some kind of landscape painter. Even this digital watercolor painting is a landscape.

Watercolor garden, a digital painting in ProCreate by Paivi Eerola, Finland.
A digital watercolor painting in Procreate

Here I mixed the memories of the sunny days of the last fall with the eager wait for the upcoming blooming season.

What Do Landscapes Mean to You?

I think that landscapes are relevant to any growing artist. It is important to look at your relationship with basic themes such as:

  • human or animal – portrait
  • inanimate object – still-life
  • nature – landscape

Of these, I have the closest relationship with the landscape, and through that, I also have a special relationship with places.

Hello Fall, a watercolor painting. See more watercolor sceneries by Paivi Eerola.
“Hello Fall”, a watercolor painting from 2019. See the video of me painting this!

Even if I take photos of interesting sceneries, I am not at all enthusiastic about copying the landscape as it is. I’m a romantic who sees even the ugliest grass field as an exciting jungle. I often crouch down to explore the world from the perspective of a modest plant, where everything looks big and grand.

Spring flowers

The landscape can also be a stage for an event. When I looked out the window of my room as a child, I was saddened by the fact that nothing was happening in the small area of ​​detached houses. However, I paid attention to the house visible on the hill and how its roof seemed to change color in different lighting and in different seasons.

This kind of slow dynamics characteristic of the landscape is fascinating because when we paint we are not prisoners of time. We can fill the view with all kinds of activity. Various colors and states of one object can be gathered and everything can be lifted into flight and movement.

Creating watercolor sceneries in ProCreate.
Creating watercolor sceneries in ProCreate. Here I am working on the details. With two fingers, you can easily zoom in to focus on one detail and then quickly zoom back to the big picture.

By thinking about what a landscape means to me, I have built a bridge to my childhood and enabled creative play.

From Traditional Landscapes to Expanded Sceneries

Even if I now see playfulness in landscapes, it took me a long time to realize that traditional landscape painting can be expanded. You can choose to express a real place, but make a completely own interpretation of it.

Return of the Summer Cloud, oil on canvas, by Paivi Eerola, Finland.
“Return of the Summer Cloud,” oil on canvas, 2023. inspired by the old gardens of the area where I live. See this post to read more about this painting and making the fantasy out of your surroundings.

For me, watercolors have played a key role in this realization. In 2018, I started making small panorama paintings, in which I painted holiday travel memories, picking up details here and there from the photos as if reconstructing the place.

Small watercolor panoramas. See more watercolor sceneries by Paivi Eerola!

See this post to read more about these watercolor panoramas!

Holding a small watercolor painting.

I also had a small sketchbook where I made watercolor sceneries, some realistic, some fantasy. See this post to watch a video about keeping a watercolor diary!

Florence, Italy in a watercolor journal. By Paivi Eerola.
Florence, Italy – From the course Watercolor Journey

And of course, I also made the course Watercolor Journey from my insights.

In this course, you travel between imagination, memories, and reality. >> Buy here!

The Journey Continues

At the moment I am painting a small ditch, from which I have grown a beautiful landscape on a large canvas.

By the ditch.

In the painting, a lot is happening and nothing is static or insignificant.

Oil painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola.
Oil painting in progress.

In art, the only limit is our imagination. It doesn’t matter where we live, in our paintings we can make it the place we want to travel to next!

Art and Familiar Things – Inspiration from Sounds and Surroundings

This week is about getting inspiration from familiar things like songs and the sounds of the surroundings.

Poutapilven paluu - Return of the Summer Cloud, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm. By Päivi Eerola, Finland. Inspired by familiar things and surroundings.
Poutapilven paluu – Return of the Summer Cloud, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm.

I live in an area built in the 1960s. I love the mid-century modern tile houses and their old-fashioned gardens with apple trees and bush hydrangeas. One year, at the end of May, apple trees were blooming like crazy, and when I took the dogs for a walk on a sunny afternoon, I heard a family having a graduation celebration, singing beautifully in a choir. I felt I could touch the air and see the melody traveling on it, flying like a swallow, carelessly yet skillfully.

A detail of Poutapilven paluu - Return of the Summer Cloud, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm. By Päivi Eerola, Finland.

Visualizing Familiar Sounds and Songs

A similar kind of inspiring sight happens when I hear Aretha Franklin singing “Say a Little Prayer.” In the chorus, the choir sings the melody, and Aretha just throws in some sounds. It’s like she is the background singer there, except she’s not. The timing of the single notes is perfect, and their sound is powerful. I see her singing as lines that are effortless without being worthless, ornamental without being traditional.

See this post from 2014 for tips for using music as inspiration: 5 Ways Music Can Improve Your Art

A detail of Poutapilven paluu - Return of the Summer Cloud, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm. By Päivi Eerola, Finland.

When an old house is demolished, and that happens too much nowadays, they destroy the garden too. I see this constantly happening in our area, and it’s heartbreaking. I don’t look at the surroundings like a property developer but as an artist who seeks visual music. I want to see the old-fashioned songs: lines that are born when birds fly over the scenery, curves that butterflies make on the flowery fields, shadows that scream, and sunspots that quietly fade away. All that sound and movement creates music that inspires me to paint!

Paivi Eerola and her paintings. Read how she gets inspired by familiar things.

Northern Splendor – Seeing Familiar Things as a Fantasy

Usually, I have gone on an adventure to faraway unknown regions when painting, but in this series that I am working on, I’m in Finland, where gardens and nature alternate. I paint the light of northern summers and connect that with architectural ornaments.

Pohjolan loisto - Northern Splendor, oil on canvas, 60 x 70 cm. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.
Pohjolan loisto – Northern Splendor, oil on canvas, 60 x 70 cm.

In this painting, I imagined how a French couple from the 19th century visited Finland.

A detail of Pohjolan loisto - Northern Splendor, oil on canvas, 60 x 70 cm. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

They then saw how the palaces and churches of Central Europe do exist in Finland too, but all this splendor is in nature instead of buildings.

A detail of Pohjolan loisto - Northern Splendor, oil on canvas, 60 x 70 cm. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

My dream is to paint like Aretha sang – like it would all be careless strokes, yet so intentional and so creatively put that they break the surface of what’s ordinary and familiar.

Read That, Watched That, But Can It be Renewed?

I am currently working on a painting for a group exhibition. My theme is Alice in Wonderland!

Paivi Eerola in her studio. Read how she gets inspired by ordinary and familiar things.

It’s a tale that has been heard so many times. How to break through it? Exciting!

What familiar things inspire you?

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