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Is Your Painting Introvert or Extrovert?

This week, I talk about the personality of paintings. Some are extroverts, some introverts!

Kotona Plutossa - At Home in Pluto, 90 x 140 cm. Oil painting by Paivi Eerola.
Kotona Plutossa – At Home in Pluto, oil on canvas, 90 x 140 cm

This oil painting, “Kotona Plutossa – At Home in Pluto,” is a part of my series Linnunrata – Milky Way, where I explore planets and outer space. (See previous work: the Earth here, Venus here, and the Sun here!)

Many Inspiration Sources

Earlier this year, I saw a documentary about Pluto, and it felt more familiar than many other planets that I have only read about. In the series, I imagine how the Milky Way could bloom and only take a small dose of the facts about the Planet.

Pluto’s ice volcanoes started the painting, but then I brought in more ideas. The central idea for this painting was home decor. I love mid-century modern houses and furniture, and many of the shapes have a similar feel.

A detail of Kotona Plutossa - At Home in Pluto. Oil painting by Paivi Eerola. An example of an introvert painting. Read more about introverts and extroverts!

Tricia Guild’s fabrics were another inspiration source. I have been her fan for decades and don’t even have to look at her photos to know what kind of florals she would like to bring to the painting.

Introvert or Extrovert? – Changing the Approach

Even if Pluto is a dwarf planet, this is my biggest painting so far. My style is detailed, and there’s a lot of space in 90 x 140 cm (about 35,5 x 55 inches). There were moments when I felt very unsure about how to proceed because when I asked the painting, it stayed quiet. “Can you hear me, Pluto?” I whispered several times. No response.

This painting clearly was an introvert. I felt like I wanted to quit.

I recognize this syndrome – what I call Big Picture Syndrome – by its signs:

  • You feel the need to look at the piece only from the big picture perspective, as a quick stroke here and another there would magically make everything work. In truth, you don’t yet have a clue what the carrying theme for the piece is, and should discover it by making the details more inspiring.
  • You feel negative about your potential as an artist but try to convince yourself that the piece is good enough. That someone will like it. And at the same time, you know it’s only an excuse for quitting. The truth is that some pieces are harder than others. Some paintings are extroverts that begin to speak to you right away. And some are introverts that need more time to open up. No need to blame yourself for that. Just keep working and trying to figure out what the piece wants!

“Can you hear me, Pluto?” I asked after bringing in new ideas and adjusting colors and shapes. I was relieved when she answered shyly “Pluto hears.” And when I finished the painting, it felt like coming home.

A detail of Kotona Plutossa - At Home in Pluto. Oil painting by Paivi Eerola. An example of an introvert painting. Read more about introverts and extroverts in this blog post!

Listening to an introvert painting is always helpful for learning new things about yourself. I became more aware of how much textiles and fabrics inspire me and I want to show that more later too. If you only accept extrovert art, moving forward is more difficult.

Childhood of an Introvert

Another thing that came to my mind was this small crayon piece from about 40 years ago. ( Read more about this one here!)

A childhood crayon drawing by Paivi Eerola.

When I put it here, I am astonished at how similar these two pieces look. No wonder she was so shy, there are a lot of years between us!

A Finnish artist Paivi Eerola and her big painting "Kotona Plutossa - At Home in Pluto." She talks about paintings being introverts or extroverts. How do you know if your painting is introvert or extrovert?

Everything has changed, and nothing has changed over the years, isn’t that so? Introvert or extrovert – try it!

Preparing For the Solo Show

My first solo show Linnunrata will be in June, and it’s keeping me super busy! I still have a couple of paintings that are not finished, and there are lots of edges to paint, hanging wires to attach, and varnishing to do. My current plan is to show 18 paintings, and every single one still has something that I need to do before the show. And there are posters to design, marketing to do, a lot of work!

Linnunrata will be at Gallery K, Tikkurila, Vantaa in June 3-19, 2022.

9 thoughts on “Is Your Painting Introvert or Extrovert?

  1. Well, it is clear from your childhood painting that you were born an artist! I read the story of that piece and can relate to a lot of what you told there. I’m glad you found your way back to art, almost a seamless continuation of what you started as a child, it is a true gift to anyone who comes across you and your creations!

  2. Paivi – this painting moved me in a way that has never happened before. I heard music like Holst’s Planets, and felt the chaos of creation. It was an extraordinary feeling that has shaken me with its intensity.

    I love your art and have seen how you have grown and changed over the last few years since I’ve been following you. Thank you for giving me this experience; the painting might be an introvert, but the depths of her feelings are infinite.

    1. Thank you so much for your beautiful words, Jakki! I am glad the painting’s spirit was able to touch you!

  3. I love the photo of you standing next to the big painting! I am excited for you and your show . I know you will accomplish the remaining tasks.
    Sending much love and peace from Texas!

  4. Wow! your big painting is full of personality. Thanks for sharing the idea of introvert and extravert paintings. Now I am inspired to talk to my paintings; I am an introvert and work best when soft music is playing in the background and I have time to focus on what is in front of me on an easel.
    I enjoy your blog so much.

    1. Thank you, Barbara! I often listen to music too, not in all stages but some. Non-melodic contemporary music or classical music is my current preference.

  5. Oh my goodness Paivi, I have fallen in love! The paintings are outstanding! So glad that you shared! Thank you..,I hope you sell out! Wish I could go to your show. That sure would be an experience…. Best regards and many sales!

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