Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Painting Flowers Freely with Watercolors

This week, I share thoughts about my new course Freely Grown, and about its central idea of allowing the painting to grow freely.

Freely Grown 4. A watercolor painting by Päivi Eerola, Finland. Finished with colored pencils.

I’ve been in a really good mood lately. I have two great sources of joy. The first is that a new period in my life will begin this month when I start a year-long half-time grant period for digital artwork. Another source of joy is the new course Freely Grown, which I started making in the summer and whose material I have now been finishing.

Freely Grown

This course has been like a friend to me and I hope it will be like that to you too. Like paintings, courses also have their own character. This course is both playful and goal-oriented. I usually look for a suitable course name for many months, but this one gave me its name right away and I haven’t even thought about alternatives!

I’ve been so enthusiastic about the subject of the course that the abundance of plants is appearing in the work planner too.

Decorating a planner with colored pencils. Drawing plants.

Painting Flowers Freely

I am really inspired by the idea that a plant can grow freely. I don’t think it has to be a wildflower at all. Even if a plant grows in a flower bed, the gardener can let it sprawl. Similarly, our lives can have certain routines and restrictions, but still, imagination can grow freely.

When the brush spins and twists on the paper, it’s wonderful to indulge in its play. The painting can also grow freely.

Starting a watercolor painting. Splashes and paint.

I like to consider that a painting is an independent party, not so much an extension of my own self. When I relax a little about what I want and let the painting suggest a direction, a new kind of pleasure is offered, even an adventure!

Painting flowers with watercolors. Painting freely and intuitively.

A surprising thing in this painting was that the largest flower suggested turning away from the viewer. I wondered if I could let it do that. Would the setting look impolite?

But when I study old flower paintings, their natural charm is that the flowers stretch out in every direction. So why couldn’t we let our flowers grow freely where they want?

A still-life by Jean-Michel Picart, oil on canvas, 1600-1682
Jean-Michel Picart, oil on canvas, 1600-1682

Only when the painting was about to be finished did I realize that the flower turns towards the light as if to welcome a new era! When you give the painting freedom, you always get more than if you strictly control it.

Working on a flower painting. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

I think this A3 size (11.7 x 16.5 inches) is really nice because it’s big enough. It’s hard for the flowers to look expressive if they are very small.

Coloring on Watercolor Painting

When I finish with colored pencils, I aim for the colored parts to continue painting naturally.

Creating flower art. Finishing a watercolor painting with colored pencils.

Here you can see a close-up of the coloring. I always leave watercolor visible too.

Painting flowers freely. A detail of a watercolor painting finished with colored pencils. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

I’ve done a lot of colored pencil stuff in the last couple of years and the number of pencils has reduced. But it’s fun that every now and then I can buy an out-of-stock color and introduce a new arrival to the old pals.

Painting flowers freely with watercolors and then finishing the painting with colored pencils.

I love this abundance of flowers – born by painting freely, without reference pics!

Watercolor flower paintings by Paivi Eerola

I hope you will come to the course!

Freely Grown >> Sign up here!

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