Color the Emotion

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Everyday Life as an Artist

This post is about my current everyday life.

I was going to tell you that my life has been very ordinary lately: I wake up in the morning, take the dogs for a walk and start painting. In the evening, I practice my ideas with the ProCreate app or knit and let my subconscious work on art-making.

Paivi Eerola and many paintings in progress. Read about her everyday life as a visual artist in Finland.
Paintings in progress. I always bring them from the little studio to our larger library room to dry.

But if my dead parents heard about this life, they would claim that it’s not ordinary at all!

Visiting Exhibitions

Last week, I went to the big exhibition presenting the work of Albert Edelfelt at the Ateneum art museum in Helsinki. When I sat down to listen to seminar presentations about his work, my parents came to mind. They would have liked to see the exhibition. And they would be amazed to learn that I went to see it because of my work. I wanted to examine Edelfelt’s brush strokes in real life because I’m currently painting works for the show called “Taiteilijat Edelfeltin tunnelmissa – Artists in the Mood of Edelfelt.”

At the Piano, oil on canvas, Albert Edelfelt, 1884.
At the Piano, oil on canvas, Albert Edelfelt, 1884.

It’s important to me to see what other artists have created. It makes me feel connected, discover new techniques, and it inspires me to do things a bit differently than what I see. I often ask: what’s lacking if this would be my work? In the painting above, I would have added abstract elements on the top, depicting music.

Pressures of Everyday Life

All work becomes mundane when you do it systematically and goal-oriented. There will be pressures that you didn’t even think about in your dreams. You have to remember to order the supplies in time, plan the sizes of the paintings, the subjects, and the schedule for each one, pick up dog hair from unfinished works at the time of shedding, clean the paint tubes, wash the brushes carefully, wonder if anyone likes the painting and worry if it’s finished or not. Making a series of paintings is always a financial investment.

Oil paint tubes. Artist's everyday life.

But when I am washing the floor from oil paint stains or doing something else mundane related to painting, I want to remember how wonderful it is to work on this project.

Painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola, Finland. Read about her everyday life as an artist.

After all, I love art history, and the very thought that my paintings go to the place where Albert Edelfelt spent his summers is inspiring.

Everyday Ponderings

Lately, I’ve been thinking about why I always deal with longing in my paintings. I easily lean into nostalgia. Albert Edelfelt depicted people and landscapes realistically, but he also sometimes dealt with history and went back in time.

Queen Blanche, oil on canvas, Albert Edelfelt, 1877.
Queen Blanche, oil on canvas, Albert Edelfelt, 1877. Blanche of Namur, the queen of Norway and Sweden, lived in the 14th century.

However, the difference between me and Albert is that he was interested in how things could have really happened and did detailed background research. I’m more inspired by how things could have gone differently.

Painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

I don’t know how my parents thought my life would turn out. Many times it has gone differently than I would have guessed myself! Sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. Life as an artist is very unpredictable. Just when you think you have to stop, a new project comes up.

Everyday Task – Planning for the Future

Painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola. Read about her everyday life as an artist.

One of the hardest things in being an artist is to always move forward and think bigger. When this year’s plans are set, the next year begins to worry.

Garden in the morning in Finland.

Artists are always in progress and very similar to gardeners. When a person says: “My garden is now finished,” you know that it’s the beginner speaking. Gardens are never finished!

Painting in progress. Garden-inspired painting. Comparing gardens and creating art.

It’s the same thing with art – you will find yourself, but then you will change and have a new you to find. I try to get the most out of this everyday life because it too is about to change for sure.

9 thoughts on “Everyday Life as an Artist

  1. I enjoy meandering throughout your artful thoughts … Art dictates the mental well-being of the world as it continuously changes on our canvas. It is like a session of therapy seeking the unknown vibration of time and space to discover life’s journey, which is continuously evolving and neverending within. Change is inevitable, but it is the inner root of the soul’s memory which makes life mundane by refusing to accept the mysteries that surround us. I agree, finding a place of familiar repose such as an art exhibition, classical concert or even sitting in the garden often rejuvenates the inner circuitry and opens the portal to life’s dimensions of creativity with new breath.

  2. A friend says” a good home is never finished”! I enjoyed your writing . Sometimes I feel sad that my mother won’t know how my life turns out but that is better for her because no parent should see their children die, right? At the same time I think have is the only person really cares unconditionally.

  3. You’re not alone, Päivi. I always worry about my art. I’d like to paint like Monet, or even like my mother, but I’ve scarcely looked at a brush or pencil recently. Artists are perfectionists, which is why I’ve done so little painting – but art isn’t just painting, is it? It’s also found in poetry, prose, music and dancing. I’ve been so, so busy trying to write a book that my nerves are frazzled. Please remember not to do as I do. Just stand back and take a deep breath, relax, hold your art up to a mirror, and you’ll see how wonderful it is – AS ALWAYS in your case, Päivi. 😍

  4. Such an inspiring article,Paivi. Your soul shows in everything you do and that makes me happy. In this busy sometimes overwhelming world your reality and focus is worth following. Warm thoughts Annette

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