Peony and Parakeet

Four Steps to Finding Your Passion in Art

Paintings made for the workshops Planet Color and Nature In Your Mind. Canvas art by Peony and Parakeet.

I have two painting workshops coming up in October. It’s terribly exciting. It has been an investment regarding both the time and the other bits and pieces to create the classes. I have tried to create as coherent, useful and fun classes as possible, taking all the comments and suggestions into account without losing the focus and the real benefits that these workshops can provide.

Planet Color celebrates color in a 7-step process.
Nature in Your Mind creates a natural connection between the mind and the brush.

Finding Your Passion in Art

This blog post is a pre-session for Nature in Your Mind. With this post, I want to show how much potential and passion you can have as an artist. I also hope that you will sign up for Nature in Your Mind, discover more possibilities and get personalized guidance while having a great time painting!

1) Discover through Experimenting!

Think about art as an exploration journey! Through experimenting, you can pick ways that feel most natural and enjoyable to you. Just like there are thousands of species of birds, there are many ways to paint. If you use only one technique and one approach to painting, it’s like sitting on a balcony and listening to the same bird every morning. But if you stand up and go walking in nature, you will hear a variety of melodies.

Discoveries happen through experimenting. Try painting with a dry brush, a wet brush, a brush that has thin paint, a brush that has multiple of colors, etc. Start painting with one thought and then change your focus to another one. Learn to see the possibilities of an unfinished painting instead of judging it like it’s already finished. Start with safe and easy and then be open to small mistakes that can show you a new direction. If you weren’t able to mix an even color, embrace the variety of colors, the painterly look and go to a new path from there.

Experimenting with brush, finding a passion in art. By Peony and Parakeet

Three Levels of Experimenting

The way you paint most naturally isn’t what feels most comfortable at first. Staying on the balcony is easy. You can tell everybody that you have this friend, the bird that sings to you every morning. But you don’t know what you miss out if you only stay friends with one technique or one theme or one way to plan your painting.

My painting workshop Nature in Your Mind contains experimenting with paint in three levels.

Painting workshop Nature In Your Mind by Peony and Parakeet

First, playing with the way you look at things by changing the perspective in the middle of the painting.
Second, playing with a theme by building abstracts from realistic images.
Third, playing with control by taking turns with controlled and loose strokes.

While experimenting with these, you can pick ideas and techniques that suit the best for you and then start applying them to your art. You can set new goals and see how your art can bring more enjoyment not only to you but other people as well.

2) Listen What Other People Say about Your Art!

Let’s get back on the balcony. I remember the time when I felt totally lost in art making. It was like I had opened the door but didn’t see any birds singing. I felt alone. But then, I got tips on how to attract birds. I drew and painted what I saw other people do too. I felt like I had company but still, I felt limited. I was one of the many who had the same bird singing on the balcony. Sometimes it even felt like we were competing with whom the bird would sing the loudest.

A detail from digital art by Peony and Parakeet from 2011.

The situation changed when I started listening what other people say about me. I expanded my attention to how my art affects others. I found many comments extremely useful, even if the person was a family member, a blog reader, an art teacher or anyone who saw my art. First, there was just a word or two that I could grab. When I felt like I was following a path that was hardly visible, I found asking follow-up questions beneficial. I asked: “Why did you like this picture?” or even “Why didn’t you comment anything?”. The comments led me to strange places. But as I continued, my images changed, the voices got louder, and I heard more birds singing.

A detail of a mixed media piece by Peony and Parakeet. From 2011

But I wasn’t quite there yet. I hadn’t found what would personally resonate with me. After trying to see the big picture from people’s comments, I understood why we read horoscopes, click through personality tests, search for our personal style. We try to see our originality – where our talents truly are.

3) Accept That Your Flaws Can Be the Best in You!

I used to beat up myself for being too demanding, a perfectionist. I blamed myself not being good with routines either. To get through the mundane work, I have reinvented the wheel too many times. My husband has found the perfect way to make a bed and fill the dishwasher. I have found many different ways, and I am in search for more.

But a couple of years ago, I made a test that described how other people see me. The test said that my ability to invent unconventional ideas, make new interpretations of the old things and always aim for the highest standard attract people the most! That’s probably the reason you are reading this blog. I have become more open with the worst in me which, in turn, has inspired me to blog more and create more.  Sometimes the best things in us seem ugly to ourselves. However, authenticity attracts people. Our black can be pure gold to others. Our black can be like soil for the flowers that we can grow from there.

Nature's Spirit, a canvas painting by Peony and Parakeet.

4) Find Your Real Reason for Creating and Put It Into Words

When people ask me why I create, my first answer is: “Because I need to.” I need to have time for balancing my life, be able to reflect what has happened and get energy from creative activities. But the answer doesn’t help me when I am staring at the blank canvas. I need a higher reason to create images that feel meaningful to me. I need more than some inspiring Pinterest boards to connect emotionally with my work. I need a direction, a statement that defines when I have succeeded and what I am passionate about.

I used to have a hard time in evaluating my pieces. Some looked ok, but there was something missing. Others were clumsy and awkward, but I felt connected with them. I wanted to create unique pieces and still, be as good as anyone creating with the same style. I wanted to make my personal version but yet didn’t have a clue what to include and what to exclude. I wanted to express myself but still, play to be someone else. I wanted to escape, yet seek for the truth. I felt I have to focus and limit myself but at the same time, I wanted to be free when creating. It all felt controversial.

My solution has been to find the words that describe the real reason why I am creating. It’s surprising that the words have been the answer because the problem seemed to be visual only. I think that our left brain has to understand what our right brain wants to express. It’s like after naming the birds you would hear them better. Whatever I create I have the same focus. It’s not a theme, it’s not a style, it’s the emotional connection that I want to make through whatever I create.

My Artist Statement

In my art, I want to console people. I want to express grief and sorrow, blacks and browns. But I also want to show the power that is more joyful and that comes in with brighter colors. I want my paintings to have the atmosphere of places that make you connect with your spirituality. I am inspired by churches, libraries, museums and special places in nature. I see spirituality as an uplifting timeless force that has no specific religion. I hope that even for a short moment, my art can be your icon, the image that connects you with your spiritual self. I wish that my art brings you hope no matter what your source of melancholy is. I wish that the images inspire you to overcome darkness, and even more: to go and create yourself.

Free Spirit, a painting by Peony and Parakeet.

When you have your inspiration in words, nature in your mind is a happy place. When you hear the birds singing, you can pick the melodies that resonate with your mission. You can choose techniques, compositions, and colors that you feel most naturally aligned. You may not always succeed, but your mission makes you continue creating. Instead of looking for the perfect technique, the perfect style, the perfect theme, search for what is behind in all that! Search for the mission that makes creating art most meaningful and inspiring to you! That is the real reason why you paint, and that’s also the key to finding more passion for creating art.

I want to help you not only with painting techniques but also with your passion. This is why Nature In Your Mind also has time and assistance for self-reflection and discussion; it’s not only hurrying from one painting to another.

Sign up for Nature in Your Mind!
Join me in painting nature themes, experimenting with techniques and ideas, and then discovering what’s behind in all that.
>> Reserve Your Spot Now!

6 thoughts on “Four Steps to Finding Your Passion in Art

  1. I am always inspired by your blog – it is so erudite in words and breathtaking in color. This particular blog brought tears of deep recognition in my innermost soul – my deepest yearnings were felt if even a little.
    Thank you from the heart for taking the time and energy to communicate with all of us – I appreciate your talent and perseverance so much. Have a wonderful day.

  2. I appreciate you so much for sharing your wisdom and art with us. You seem to inspire me to think and just let go and see what happens. I have learned so much from you and I can see that I am beginning to not judge myself too harshly. Thanks so much!

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