Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Add More Creativity to Your Art!

Harvest Stillife, a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

Here is my abstract still-life with watercolors, acrylic paints, and colored pencils, called “Harvest Stillife.” It’s created very intuitively, without any idea of the end result when started. But like so often before, when I selected images for this blog post, I found recent photos that must have been in my mind when I made this.

Photos from my garden

I love the complexity and the number of details that can be seen in these shots from my garden. Many who struggle with creating art overlook the complex nature of reality. In these photos, they only see a flower, bush, and some berries. Instead of labeling the obvious, you can examine all the color variations, different shapes,  sharpness and blurriness of the elements, depth, patterns, the way each color connects with the next … Then you can try to summarize what the hierarchy of all these factors in the photos could be, how all this could be modeled. It seems too complex to describe in a simple way. That’s when creativity starts working for the solution, figuring out what things to bring out without losing the connection to all of it.

A big part of the visuals today has a simple, graphic look. If you get exposed to that a lot, you might think that simplicity is the key to creating good art. I believe it’s totally opposite: complex things are the best source of inspiration. Trying to see complex systems behind simple stereotypes feeds our creativity much more than trying to simplify the simple.

The same idea applies to painting: Embrace the complexity by adding a lot of variation and then bring out the essential.

Painting an Abstract Still-Life

Watercolors and acrylic paints:

Phase 1 of Harvest Stillife, a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

Placing a plastic wrap over the wet watercolor paint to add more delicate details:

Using a plastic wrap to create more details with watercolors

Ready for finishing:

Phase 2 of an abstract still-life, a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

A detail of the finished look, done with colored pencils and a black drawing pen:

A detail of Harvest Stillife, a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

Creating abstract still lives so that they appear naturally is so much fun!

Harvest Stillife, a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

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18 thoughts on “Add More Creativity to Your Art!

  1. Yes, I see the influences of your pictures into the piece. I also see so much more. Within the two dark edged leaves (geranium I think) there appears another small view of trees shedding their leaves. Then behind the main larger tree grouping, I see the “windows to my soul” or what appears to be cathedral windows showing a bright light outside. I love the teeny, tiny view at the bottom of a shore line behind a pond. Everywhere I see things. I was instantly drawn to the beautiful pencil colored area with purples, blues, greens exploding from behind the larger tree right next to one of the windows – as if a rainbow was reflected off the glass pane. This is a gorgeous piece. Each piece seems perfect and different even though they always reflect in your style.

  2. I love this thoughtful and inspiring post, Paivi. Your art creation is beautiful too – and it’s lovely that you share your techniques so generously with your readers! I will definitely try this. Thank you!

  3. Another beautiful piece of work. Hopefully you will be doing this class again perhaps in the summer of 2016. I would love to join now, but have too many irons in the fire for the next several months. I am going to try and do the wrap on my next watercolor, and will look at some of my thousand plus photos to see what I can possible use. Thanks for your wonderful post

  4. Paivi, this is a wonderful artwork. I can feel your emotions when comparing the recent photos and the end result. Wonderful. wish I could paint in this way too, free and from the bottom of my heart. I´m looking so forward to the next course.

    1. Thank you, Marion! I feel that painting this way is always really exciting and engaging! I want to share that happiness with others too!

  5. Such a soulful image. Thanks for sharing your comments re inspirations around us most of the time, and how to capture emotions in your colorful art.

  6. Päivi, i love your artwork, every time i see you painting i want to
    start trying it myself! So i was wondering, you mention what you
    use to color: colors pencils, watercolors,etc, but i want to know what kind of paper do you use that will hold all the different technics you use.Please answer.

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