Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Wild Botanical Art – Create with Colored Pencils and Watercolors

This week, I created wild botanical art. I drew plants with delicate details like in botanical illustrations, but with a few differences. My plants are not any real species, and the jungle where they grow is more like my inner world at its best, not a real location on the planet.

Wild Botanical Art by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Colored pencils and watercolors.

Watercolors First!

Before putting colored pencils into work, I made some backgrounds with watercolors. I had very smooth watercolor paper – hot press quality. My friend Eeva Nikunen recommended Arches Hot Press paper that she has used for detailed graphite drawings. It’s a bit pricey but so smooth and lovely for colored pencils too. However, any smooth watercolor paper would work with this technique.

Painting watercolor backgrounds for wild botanical art.

I used a lot of water for the first layer and made random splotches with a spraying bottle. This kind of wild watercolor painting is fun, but when I tried to pick one of the four experiments for colored pencils, I found the results uninspiring. So I asked myself what kinds of nature’s shapes or colors would I want to see more, and answered: “All kinds of hays inspire me a lot!”

Love for Sharp-Shaped Botanicals

We have lots of house plants that have sharp leaves.

Sharp-leafed houseplants. Inspiration for botanical art.

And when I walk in nature, I always look for hays and how light hits them.

Hays. Inspiration for botanical art.

So, then after some drying time, I made thin lines that went wildly here and there.

Painting lines that are like hays on watercolor backgrounds.

After the lines, I found the green one on the bottom left very inviting, so I chose that for coloring.

Coloring Freely and Wildly

Colored pencils work well on the watercolor background and smooth paper. It was enjoyable to color freely. I didn’t follow the shapes or lines painted in watercolor but created new layers.

Coloring with colored pencils on a watercolor background.

I have started to store my colored pencils in shallow plastic boxes grouped in color families. This way, every pencil gets seen, and the differences between tones are easy to identify.

Should Plant People Draw Plants?

My husband and I are plant people. Our home is filled with house plants and we have all kinds of plants in our garden. It has been quite a job to save the plants from our new puppy Saima!

Beagles enjoy the sun. A house plant as a palm tree.

Plants have also always been present in my paintings. But recently, I have thought that maybe I could focus more on them with colored pencils too. It often feels that I come home when I am inspired by plants and travel abroad when I am creating something else. I want to challenge myself out of my comfort zone, but if there’s a strong resonation, like a secret companionship, should I listen to it?

Wild botanical art with colored pencils on a watercolor background.

More Wild Botanical Art – Playing Mode On!

It was so much fun to work on this project that I wanted to do more. So, I colored these small scraps – a fruit and a leaf!

Hand-drawn scraps for collage art.

And then it was playing time. How wild can this go?

Playing with hand-drawn scraps. Botanical theme.

Create Wild Botanical Art – Five Tips!

  • Start by creating a wilderness that calls you.
  • Color layers of random shapes and lines. When you see something that could be a plant, turn it into one!
  • Don’t worry about identifying the plants – treat them as rarities that only you can find!
  • Make detailed a little more detailed – botanical art goes crazy with details!
  • Revamp – Add some plants from your box of joy!
  • Bonus tip: Nature is full of curves, so make sure you also have some.
Curvy leaves of a house plant. Inspiration for botanical art.

Botanical Art by Ernst Haeckel

Many years ago, a blog reader mentioned Ernst Haeckel’s botanical art. Since then, I have admired his work. Here’s a part of his illustration from 1904. Lots of greens spiced with warm colors and so many details!

Ernst Haeckel's botanical art, a detail of his bigger work.

Mine is not nearly as sharp and detailed as Haeckel’s, but I approve it anyway. Plants have different personalities, and so do their interpretations!

Wild Botanical Art by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Colored pencils, watercolors, some hand-drawn collage.

Tell me, do you like drawing plants? What kinds of plants especially?

Intuitive Coloring Explained + Extended Black Friday Sale!

This week, I have a new free video for you, inspiration from my drawing classes, and there’s also an extended Black Friday Sale going on! Exciting!

Extended Black Friday Sale – Shop Here!

Online art classes by Peony and Parakeet. Drawing classes and more.

All classes are 25% OFF!

Now is the time to get the classes you have been thinking about!
>> Shop Here!

The sale ends on Nov 29, midnight PST.

Intuitive Coloring Explained – Watch the Video!

This video is an excerpt of the live speech that I gave for my art community Bloom and Fly this month. It introduces a fresh way to think about drawing and coloring. Lots of art-making inspiration is packed into this 6-minute video!

The classes mentioned in the video – Intuitive Coloring, Inspirational Drawing, Animal Inkdom, and Magical Inkdom, as well as all my painting classes – are 25% OFF during the extended Black Friday Sale. >> Shop Here!

More Inspiration from My Drawing Classes

The longer I draw, the more things come together. Not only so that I find more inspiration from the individual previous pieces, but also so that they describe a world that’s lively and ever-expanding. I also feel that my classes are like doorways to building a world of your own.

In Intuitive Coloring, we travel from one meadow to another lesson by lesson and play on the way.

Colored pencil art by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. She creates this in the class called Intuitive Coloring.
Intuitive Coloring has lots of different easy and gentle techniques that your colored pencils will enjoy!

In Animal Inkdom, we start with little creatures and the animals get bigger lesson by lesson.

Insects from the class Animal Inkdom. See Peony and Parakeet's drawing classes.

Insects and butterflies are simple to draw, but decoration makes them look fantastic!

A hand-drawn butterfly by Peony and Parakeet. From the class Animal Inkdom.

Animal Inkdom is one of my most popular classes, maybe because it’s so playful! I had to edit out some of the laughs and smiles because I had so much fun drawing these that it would be a bit disturbing! And after Animal Inkdom, I couldn’t stop, but made an independent sequel – Magical Inkdom!

Horses, wings, and frames from Paivi Eerola's Magical Inkdom. It's a lot of fun to mix and match all the hand-drawn parts. More drawing classes at Peony and Parakeet.
Horses, wings, and frames from Magical Inkdom. It’s a lot of fun to mix and match all the hand-drawn parts.

Art is a journey, so combining previous work with the new one, has often made me see new possibilities.

Paivi Eerola's drawing classes. Here's a cat from Magical Inkdom and a journal spread made from older collage pieces, inspired by the class Collageland.
Here’s a cat from Magical Inkdom and a journal spread made from older collage pieces, inspired by the class Collageland.

Inspirational Drawing is based on doodling and creating meshes from lines, but also on picking inspiration from images. I still collect inspirational images and use them indirectly in this way.

Inspirational Drawing - one of Paivi Eerola's drawing classes where inspirational images guide how you doodle.

All Classes Are 25% OFF!

Now is the time to get the classes you have been thinking about!
>> Shop Here!

The sale ends on Nov 29, midnight PST.

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 Voil√†.

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!

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