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Creating Hope – Artist’s Mission

This week, I show three small paintings and talk about my mission of creating hope.

Playground, a small oil painting by Paivi Eerola.
Playground – Leikkikenttä, 22 x 27 cm, oil on canvas

Even if we have had some winter wonderland sceneries recently, the weather hasn’t been so great in Finland – icy roads, rain, darkness … And now, the horrendous news came about the war in Ukraine.

Winter scenery from Finland.

But this post is not about war, but the opposite. Namely, a long time ago, I realized that my word is “hope”. Here’s the story:

I visited a hospital to see my old ant, and another old woman grabbed my hand. She wanted me to say something that would take her pain away.

I still remember her desperate eyes begging for consolation.

We discussed shortly but then I ended the conversation by saying that I am quite young and I don’t have all the wisdom. She nodded, turning off the glimpse of hope she had got when I entered the room. At that moment, I knew that I wanted to do more of that hope thing, but how.

Nowadays, I try to transfer hope to every painting, and to every class as well. Yesterday I dug out small canvases that looked quite hopeless. I had started them last year and used leftover paint from bigger paintings. Then they had looked just ugly paintings that might not ever get finished. But now, all they missed was some hope!

Oil paintings in progress.

So I painted hope: saturated colors over muted ones, light glow over heavy shapes, rising wings on the top of descending petals – signs of life.

Creating hope. Artist's mission. Oil painting in progress.

I wanted to remove the harshness and replace it with gentleness.

Creating hope, artist worktable.

I also added the much-needed drop of utopia as well.

Promised Land, a small oil painting by Paivi Eerola.
Promised Land – Luvattu maa, 22 x 27 cm, oil on canvas

After leaving the hospital, I cursed myself for not giving the old woman what I called false hope. But now I think that the correct word is fantasy.

We all need fantasy to keep going.

Fantasy didn’t come to my young engineer’s mind, and it would have required the kind of bravery I didn’t have. But now, when I paint, I can do brave too.

Breakthrough, a small oil painting by Paivi Eerola.
Breakthrough – Läpimurto, 22 x 27 cm, oil on canvas

The qualities that don’t seem to be a part of me, can still exist in my art.

Three small oil paintings about hope. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

It gives me hope as a human.

Oil paintings by Paivi Eerola, Finland

Whether I use oils and canvases or colored pencils in a journal, all I create is hope. A gift that was initiated by a stranger in a hospital bed.

Artist Paivi Eerola and her paintings and drawings

I am looking for March when the new class will begin!

Fun Botanicum - an online class about drawing and coloring plants, by Peony and Parakeet.

>> Sign up here!

20 thoughts on “Creating Hope – Artist’s Mission

  1. I love your story of finding hope in your own way. I would not have known what to say to the hospital patient either. I would have wanted to help her in some way but would not have known how. I am so glad you have found a way to provide hope in your paintings. they are so beautiful and I smile every time I see one. thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Thank you Paivi….I needed your words this morning after watching the news and seeing the brutality.
    I think we all make more gestures than we realize to give hope to each other and artistic endeavours are such a beautiful way to live “from the heart”.
    Thank you again.

  3. Even a gentle holding of her hand for a few minutes would have comforted her. I spent a few weeks in the Palliative Care ward with my dying husband. There were other patients too. There was not much about looking forward that mattered. Some talked for a few minutes about their loves and passions. I listened….held their hands and offered my empathy to them.
    Your art now sings with colour. That is exactly what the world needs now as we watch in horror the unfolding madness of delusion.
    I enjoy your posts and art very much.

  4. I love these beauties! It takes bravery to be able to see future beauty and hope in unattractive backgrounds, or in run down old structures, for an architect. To believe you can make them come alive, have a new fresh life. It takes hopefullness to be a designer of any kind! I nevet thought of it that way. Courage and hopefullness!

  5. It is an important story because even though you couldn’t do anything at the time, the experience stayed with you and somehow lives through your work! What words of solace could you have given her? Well, perhaps at a different time you might have thought of something soothing and kind, but what the old lady asked for was impossible! To relieve her of physical pain or psychological pain (perhaps both) would not be something a young person could suddenly conceive of in words or in deeds. I think we all have stories like this– situations in which we have felt helpless and wished, in hindsight, that we could have acted better. But there are no accidents (in my opinion) and as I said, your artwork will continue to speak what is true for you. That is so important!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Lynne, I can so relate with it. Mistakes are great learning points, helplessness is a good teacher too.

  6. Precious Paivi
    I’m praying for you and all of your countrymen. I heard the word Finland in the news and dropped everything to hear what was being said. I have a friend in Finland. You do so much for artists and the world sharing your knowledge and your beautiful works. I feel I have a friend in you and feel
    I know some about you through these emails. GOD bless you and keep you from harm. The whole world is watching and praying.

    1. Thank you, Cynthia!! It’s very upsetting time in Finland, we have been fighting against the big giant in the 1940s. My father was a soldier in the war.

  7. Paivi, Your words bring that very thing: HOPE. This situation close to your own home is frightening and we cannot undertake another world war, which my father was in. I have his diary that he kept daily for six months on a ship, and am now reading excerpts from it monthly on a conference call with my family. The word hope was in his pages and he hoped for the best all along, serving on 7 different ships. Funny, how a chance meeting with that lady changed your life and you have gone on to offer hope to all of us. All the best to you!

    1. Thank you, Sandy! I have also read my family’s war letters from the 1940s, they are both moving and frightening. The diary that you have is a treasure!

  8. Päivi, I noticed this above: “The qualities that don’t seem to be a part of me, can still exist in my art.” Intuitive painting, freedom to express and empathy are subjects you touch on in your classes. They are surely helping you to acknowledge those inner qualities you refer to.

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