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Peony and Parakeet

Eurovision 2021 Collage Party & Flash Sale!

This week, we are celebrating Eurovision Song Contest and I am running a Flash sale – Decodashery is 50 % off!

Hurry and buy now! The sale lasts only a couple of days. It ends on Saturday 22nd May 2021, midnight PDT (9 am Sunday in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where the contest takes place this year)!

Eurovision Song Contest Brings People Together

I have always watched Eurovision Song Contest, but after we had here in Finland in 2007, I became a big fan. When I sat in the audience of a rehearsal between Finnish men from the countryside and two urban Europeans, it felt like we truly are a big diverse family. And last year, when there was no contest, but only a television show, I cried with my fellow Europeans when seeing the empty streets of the big cities.

But last Tuesday, when this year’s first semifinal started, it felt incredible and I knew that I wanted to make something to celebrate the contest here on my blog too. So I selected a few from this year’s songs and asked the little paper people of mine to dress up and got creative with lighting when taking photos of them. Eurovision 2021 collage party – let’s start the show!


Let’s start with my favorite of this year – France’s Voilà.

Arranging handpainted collage pieces.

The song is so elegant and beautiful, I love it!

An illustration of Eurovision 2021 - France


Lithuania’s Discoteque is another favorite.

Arranging handpainted collage pieces

Even my husband likes it, and he is very critical when it comes to Eurovision Song Contest. He also helped me with taking the photo!

An illustration of Eurovision 2021 - Lithuania


Moldova’s Sugar has definitely the best video. The videos and the stage performances are often a bit different, but I absolutely love the delicious colors in the video and am excited to see the song in the second semifinal this evening.

Arranging handpainted collage pieces

Sugary brightness goes so well with the song!

An illustration of Eurovision 2021 - Moldova


Sweden’s Voices is really good – of course! Our neighbour Sweden always beats Finland in music and we try to accept that bravely.

Arranging handpainted collage pieces

I switched off the lights and took a flashlight to get the stylish darkness that I admired on Tuesday when Sweden was in the first semifinal. They got through to the final, of course!

An illustration of Eurovision 2021 - Sweden


Yes, I am typing it right, not Austria, but Australia! Australians have been fans of the contest for so long that they are now part of the big European family. I think this is the fourth time already. Sadly, Technicolor didn’t make it to the final, but I definitely want to celebrate the love for Eurovision across the globe, so here’s my setting.

Arranging handpainted collage pieces

Then I switched off the lights and moved a studio light so that it looks very … well, technicolor!

An illustration of Eurovision 2021 - Australia


Malta’s singer Destiny has a wonderful strong voice. I think she is the best singer this year, and I had a paper doll that looks quite like her (despite the skin color!).

Arranging handpainted collage pieces

So here’s to Malta’s Je Me Casse!

An illustration of Eurovision 2021 - Malta

Eurovison 2021 Bonus – Norway

Norway’s Fallen Angel is so funny weird that I wanted to make my version of it.

Arranging handdrawn and handpainted collage pieces

An angel wolf and a sheep as a devil! Not quite like in the show, but you get the idea.

An illustration of Eurovision 2021 - Norway

I hope you enjoyed this post, the contest, and the flash sale of Decodashery!
I usually never have a discount this big so now is the time to grab this wonderful class!

DecodasheryUse any paints you have – watercolors, gouache or acrylics, you choose!

Create for the Inner Child – Painting and Drawing on Scraps of Paper

This week I have a new free video for you! It’s about using small paper scraps for playing and dreaming, but it also goes deeper. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Whether you want to play, be “on the bridge” or paint freely, welcome to my online classes!

Building and Breaking – Revealing Artistic Potential

This week, I talk about the hidden potential behind artworks and how we can reveal that by not only building but also breaking.

Modern Maximalist

Modern Maximalist, a surface pattern collection by Paivi Eerola.

I have just designed a collection of surface patterns called Modern Maximalist. It’s drawn digitally in Adobe Illustrator and more modern than my work usually is. However, I love modern, especially the 1960s and 1970s styles. I was born at the end of the 1960s, live in a house built in the same era, and my love for retro has been too hidden in my art. But still, I didn’t want to design the collection based only on the images of others, but to build a bridge from my art to design. So, most of the motifs were based on this watercolor painting that I made a couple of weeks ago!

Maximalist, a watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola
Maximalist, watercolor, 37 x 55 cm.

More Artistic Potential by Building and Breaking

Often when we create art, we build. We communicate the big picture and compose bits and pieces so that they work together. We get happy accidents (and sometimes some not-so-happy ones) and aim to make an image where the overall atmosphere takes over the details.

But to reveal more, we also need to break. Then the romantic flower that was painted to represent a dreamer, becomes a more stylish and symbolic figure.

Avant Garden, a surface pattern by Paivi Eerola. From the collection Modern Maximalist.

Yellow flowers and all the yellow washes can be more geometric when they are away from the big picture.

Floral Harlequin, a surface pattern by Paivi Eerola. From the collection Modern Maximalist.
Pansy Power, a surface pattern by Paivi Eerola. From the collection Modern Maximalist.

The juicyness of the fruits and other decorative details can be reorganized.

Fruity Living, a surface pattern by Paivi Eerola. From the collection Modern Maximalist.
Juicy Breakfast, a surface pattern by Paivi Eerola. From the collection Modern Maximalist.
Spiritual Refresh, a surface pattern by Paivi Eerola. From the collection Modern Maximalist.

Picking Ideas from Other Images

We can also add more fuel, and break and pick from other images. This design called “List Maxima” uses motifs from the painting, but also the idea of a list that came from playing with the name of the collection, and fashion pictures that showed puffy and full dresses of the maximalist style.

List Maxima, a surface pattern by Paivi Eerola. From the collection Modern Maximalist.

By breaking and picking, we also develop our ability to curate – to see which inspiration suits what we have already done. It’s an essential part of a style-development and and growing artistic vision.

I saw a pleated skirt on Prince Charles’s wife Camilla Parker-Bowles, not a maximalist style at all, but wonderfully modern so I broke and picked the image and got creative from that.

Camilla Moe, a surface pattern by Paivi Eerola. From the collection Modern Maximalist.

Artists often say to me: “I need to focus!” But by focusing on narrowing, we non-creatively force ourselves to do one thing. By breaking and picking, we can curate all kinds of inspiration and be creative so that it grows our artistic vision.

Sweet Sensations, a surface pattern by Paivi Eerola. From the collection Modern Maximalist.

Revealing the Artistic Potential

No matter where you are in your artistic journey, your art benefits from the idea of building and breaking. Build to go deeper into the experience and break to reveal more ideas and potential! In practice, building often means painting, and breaking is often connected to drawing – even if, of course, you can use any techniques that suit you.

What was first a watercolor painting, could now be a quilt!

A quilt mockup from the fabrics designed by Päivi Eerola. From the collection Modern Maximalist. Read her blog post about revealing artistic potential.

Building and breaking can alternate endlessly when we combine new ideas and results with old ones.

Printed surface patterns. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Here I am breaking and picking to create something new into my art journal.

A paper collage in progress. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Here’s what I built by cutting and glueing new prints and old hand-decorated papers.

A paper collage by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

And I couldn’t resist checking if this could work as a repeat too!

A surface pattern from collage art. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I hope you found this post about building and breaking inspiring!

Need help for finding your artistic potential and building artistic vision? Sign up for my coaching program called Artistic Vision!

Collaged Fashionistas

This week’s post is dedicated to collaged fashionistas – fun paper dolls. It’s for all of us who love to get art inspiration from the world of textiles and fashion.

Collaged Fashionistas - digital art from hand-drawn and hand-painted elements. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I have been practicing surface pattern design daily this month and got quite a lot of patterns already. Of course, all of them are not so great and need more work, but I have really enjoyed challenging myself. I have experimented with all kinds of media – watercolor painting, line drawing, collage, and digital tools too.

Berries surface pattern design by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.
A surface pattern design drawn in Adobe Illustrator

The more my computer gets filled with these designs, the more I want to see how they look when used. After all, a surface pattern is nothing without a surface to put it on!

So I printed some on paper and wrapped a couple of books. I also gathered some handmade stuff just to see how well digital designs fit with my handmade world.

A visual world of Peony and Parakeet

But I wasn’t satisfied at all. Books felt too flat. I needed a figure – a model to dress!

Collaged Fashionistas in Paper

After taking the photo of the books, I remembered someone who would be perfect for it. I created her – or should I say cut her – in 2014. Back then, I used to run art journaling classes in a local scrapbooking store, and I had an idea about a class where we would draw fashion items like clothing, jewelry, and such. But the class was scheduled for May which is a busy month for Finnish women, and it never took place. However, I made an online class called Collageland four years after this idea, and it was also one of the seeds for the class Magical Inkdom. So never underestimate those preliminary ideas that don’t seem to fly off right away!

Muotitalo - an art class brochure from 2014 by Peony and Parakeet. A collaged fashion model the cover.
I was able to find the class brochure from my archives. The title “Muotitalo” means “Fashion House.”

And now I wanted to hire that fashion-obsessed fashionista to showcase my patterns! I wondered if she would still return my calls but phoned her anyway.

“Hi Myriad, are you still modeling?”
“Oh, hi, yes – if it’s for real this time,” she said. “And I want shorter hair!”
“I’ll make you bald,” I promised.

So I cut a new Myriad and I really like what those seven years have done to her!

Making a paper collage doll - a collaged fashionista by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

A Living Doll Gets Back to Fashion

“I like the boots,” she said. “But the skirt feels so heavy!” But she wore it without further complaints because that’s what models do. They get all kinds of silly wraps around them and just keep posing no matter what.

A detail of a collaged paper doll. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

“These boots make me want to go for a walk!” she said joyfully. And so she stepped into one of my paintings like she would own the view.

A collaged paper doll. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

“This is fine art,” I said to her. “Models like you don’t belong in these kinds of paintings.”
“Oh nonsense,” she responded. “This is a windy Siberian meadow, and it’s just perfect for the shoot. What kind of clothes do you have?”

I had a lot to show her but here’s one project that may interest you especially. Last year, I made a surface pattern in watercolor.

Painting a surface pattern in watercolor.

I wasn’t fully pleased with it but I had stored it anyway. This week, I made some leaf motifs in illustrator and mixed them with the pattern, and it looks like batik now. I wanted Myriad to wear this!

A watercolor batik surface pattern design by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

From Paper to a Digital Fashion Model

To get the pattern on Myriad, I made a new version of her in Adobe Illustrator. I marked different parts in different colors and layers so that I could dress her in Adobe Photoshop.

Collaged fashionistas in paper and in digital form. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I added some shadows and additional effects and put the painting that I made last year in the background with some blurry effects so that the clothes would stand out.

Collaged Fashionistas - digital art from hand-drawn and hand-painted elements. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Here’s a closeup of the watercolor design. Her cheerful scarf has hand-drawn motifs.

A collaged Fashionista - digital art displaying surface patterns. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

And here’s a closeup of the skirt and shoes that have a pattern too.

A detail of a digital art work displaying surface patterns. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

My planner for 2021 has a quote from Kandinsky: “There’s no must in art because art is free.” To me, it means challenging myself. That after all that I have learned in the last seven years, I can still feel the same freedom as a beginner. And that if we push ourselves creatively, our world keeps expanding and we accept more than one technique, or one style, or one truth. Art is never about absolute rights or wrongs because art is free. As a teacher, I find this reminder especially important.

Erin Condren montlhy planner with a customized quote from Wassily kandinsky. Artist's business planner.

Making collaged fashionistas have brought many more ideas of how I can display my designs! More of them in the future posts.

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