Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Artist’s Life – Starting New Media Art

This week, I share my latest new media art and thoughts about my career as an artist. This is a sequel to the blog post called Beginner’s Video Art that was published last month.

Unstill Still Life – Video Art

The video above is my latest artwork “Unstill Still Life.” I have done this largely by programming. I have developed generative algorithms that create and alter shapes. I have designed the individual shapes with a 3D modeling program called Blender. The models and the code are put together with the Unity Engine which is a software environment for developing games.

Inspiration from an Old Painting

With the artwork, I participated in the Finnish National Gallery’s Web3 community Alusta challenge called “Nature and Nourishment.” The Finnish National Gallery has many copyright-free images and the organization encourages artists to use them for creating new media art.

I have taken inspiration for the colors and surfaces, as well as the concept itself, from Fanny Churberg’s 1876 painting “Still Life with Vegetables and Fish.”

Fanny Churberg, still life, 1876.

I love old paintings, so this challenge was made for me. It’s so interesting to examine the brush strokes and think about the 3-dimensional shapes that they are related to. And I have so much to learn in making generative art, that I need small challenges to keep heading forward.

I Will Continue Painting, But …

I am still going to continue painting traditionally but I also want to start a career in new media art. I want to bring back my skills in programming from the years when I was a software engineer and use those for creating art. I also have a degree in Industrial Design that helps a lot with 3D modeling. The grant that I received from The Finnish Cultural Foundation has enabled me to develop my style in new media.

But all this is not only exciting but hard too. Do you know that feeling that comes when you have to start life over again? There is enthusiasm in the air, but also some “oh no”.

Building a CV

For a full-time artist, most opportunities are based on a CV.

That was not a problem when I graduated in software design in 1996. I thought: “I have plenty of time to grow my CV.” Then, when I graduated as an industrial designer in 2009, life seemed to be halfway over, but I was able to get quite a decent CV by combining some old and new projects.

When I started working as a full-time visual artist in 2014, I didn’t think about CVs at all at first.

Paivi Eerola from 2015 with her art journal.

The picture above is from 2015 when most of my art was in art journal pages.

But when I moved forward in painting, the reality hit me – it was very hard to get accepted to exhibitions and organizations without a CV. Mine was practically blank at first, and it has taken a lot of time and effort to add rows to it.

Paivi Eerola and her oil paintings. Art exhibition.

The picture above is from last summer at the exhibition organized by The Albert Edelefelt Foundation. See more pics in this blog post!

New Media Art – New Career?

And just when I thought that life was almost over at the age of 55, this new media digital art came into my life and it hit me – I’m a beginner again with an empty CV. So, I need and want to participate in challenges, competitions, and exhibitions, to get accepted again. And I want to believe that I still have time to create this new kind of art, not only paintings.

Back side view of Paivi Eerola's video artwork "Unstill Still Life." New media art.
Screen capture of my video artwork. View from the back of the scene.
Some leaves of the big plant are connected to an invisible virtual camera that moves around and sends a mirror image to them.

I learn new things about generative art every day and I am amazed that I have been given this long life to experience it. Gratitude is the overriding emotion that emerges from this new beginning. I am lucky in what I have seen in the development of information technology and what I have been able to develop and be involved in developing in the past. I want my future CV to tell the story of a girl who wanted to become an artist as a child, who fell in love with computers as a teenager, and who finally has the artistic vision and the technical tools to combine the two.

Looking Back Enables Seeing Forward

If you have been following my blog for a while, you must have noticed that my blog posts are often self-reflective like this one. Visual art-making needs self-reflection too. It’s useful to go back and see how things have changed to make future changes and take steps forward.

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!

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.

Flower Time – Watercolor Video

This week, I have a treat for you – a free video about painting flowers. In the video, I claim:

“When you create art, sometimes it’s adventurous “bird time,”
and sometimes driven by the need for beauty and comfort, so “flower time.”

Janonsa sammuttaneet, watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola, Finland. Watch her video Flower Time to see more of this!
Janonsa sammuttaneet, watercolor, 29.7 x 42 cm

I believe that we are not only inhabited by an inner bird but also by inner flowers. At the adventure, the flowers are only seen as passive decorations. But when you get friends with the flowers, you notice that they are active characters who like to get together. The inner bird is a hermit adventurer, but flowers tell the common story. This togetherness is also what we need as humans.

“Janonsa sammuttaneet” could be translated to “those who have quenched their thirst.” In this painting, I thought about wallpaper and how its flowers jump from the wall to quench their thirst.

Flower Time – Watch the Video!

Everytime I see a bird flying across a landscape, I feel the need to paint something big, dramatic, and immersive. Art invites us to fly high and see far – to live the adventurous life of a brave bird. Imagination is our inner bird that wants to experience new things and move forward … Watch the video!

More instructions for flowers in watercolor: Buy my newest course Freely Grown!

Flower Portraits

I used to think of flower paintings as still lifes, but now I look at them as portraits. The delicacy of flowers makes my inner bird rest and roots me in a comforting life. From the inner bird’s point of view, there are always new sceneries to travel, and the world is never enough. But from the flowers’ point of view, it’s always good to look close to one’s heart and express that we are enough.

Valosta voimaantuneet, watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola. Watercolor flower art.
Valosta voimaantuneet, watercolor, 29.7 x 42 cm

“Valosta voimaantuneet” is Finnish and means “Empowered by Light.”

Think about birds and flowers as symbols for two kinds of art – the other is adventurous and escape-seeking, and the other is easier to digest and connection-seeking.

What do you think of this? Do you have more “bird time” or “flower time?” Leave a comment!

Why Draw in Black and White?

I have often asked myself: “Why draw when you can paint?” And as someone who loves colors, it hasn’t always felt appealing to omit them. Still, one of the biggest things in my artistic development has been to find a connection to my childhood through black-and-white drawings.

Virtual Reality, an illustration drawn in ProCreate using an iPad and an Apple Pen. By Paivi Eerola.
Virtual Reality, drawn in ProCreate using an iPad and an Apple Pen.

In this week’s blog post, I want to inspire you to draw things you love in black and white. If you want to practice ink drawing with me, see these courses: Animal Inkdom and Magical Inkdom!

My Way to Drawing in Black and White

It’s been over thirty years since my father’s death. He was quite distant, but I still vividly remember when he drew horses when I was a child. The horses were not noble and streamlined like in the picture books, but furry sympathetic characters. It was as if my dad really knew these animals.

So it was no wonder that when I participated in the Inktober drawing challenge in 2018, my drawing style borrowed a short hair-like line from my father. You can say that at that time, I fell in love with drawing. Nowadays, I still draw in black and white every time I want to visualize something through my thoughts. I now have an Apple Pen and Procreate, but I sometimes draw on paper as well.

See a quick 4-minute flip-through video about one of my sketchbooks!

See more pictures of the children’s book illustrations: The Beauty of Science – Illustrating a Children’s Book

Why Draw? – Move from One Idea to Many!

Drawing visualizes the invisible and makes us think deeper. First, the idea is wavering and could take any direction. But as the details increase, the big picture also grows. Therefore, it’s important for me to let the pen linger in small areas. I find pleasure in putting tiny pieces in place so that they are part of a bigger story.

Drawing in black and white. Paivi Eerola answers to the question: Why draw and why draw in black and white?
See this drawing finished in the blog post: All Things Necessary in My Artistic Journey

There are two good things about drawing with a thin black marker pen. First of all, the pen mark cannot be erased. You have to figure out how to make the wrong stroke a part of the drawing. It has often happened to me that the core of the picture was created while correcting a mistake. Another advantage is that when you don’t have to worry about colors, you can focus on shapes and patterns in peace. And of course, you can always color the drawing afterward, for example with colored pencils or watercolors.

Why Draw? – Connect Your Art with Your Origin!

I believe that anyone who has drawn for a while will develop an understanding of why they draw. I have a feeling that I was created to express things through ornaments. For me, an ornament is not just a picture, but a whole language. When drawing ornaments, I’m on the border between writing and illustrating, and feel that I am doing something important. As if I belong to those authors to whom poetry appears as pictures.

Black and white ornament. An illustration by Paivi Eerola.

It’s confusing, but this connection between drawing and writing seems to have arisen in me when my father drew a horse. Of course, I didn’t know how to break it down like that as a child, but I now think of my father’s horses as ornaments that summarized the origin of our family. It wasn’t the most elegant possible, but I still wanted to give it wings. Nowadays, every time I draw, I feel close to where I am coming from. I hope that by drawing you too will find wings for your origin!

What would you like to draw? Leave a comment!

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