This week, I share a revamp of a small painting and talk about painting style.
Here’s my newest piece that I am quite fond of. But wait! This isn’t totally new, but a revamped one.
Husband Didn’t Approve
Earlier this month, I made a small painting that didn’t get approval from my husband.
– “Unfinished,” he said.
– “No, it’s just loose and abstract,” I claimed.
But soon after, I considered adjusting something a little. My husband has good taste, and I appreciate his opinion. Like most Finns, he is brutally honest, and often that’s what I want to hear, even if it would hurt a bit.
But what to do with this one? Maybe just make a couple of clumsy shapes a bit curvier. But after having a wonderful conversation about conventionality with a friend who is also an artist, I felt that I could do it – go from one extreme to another.
Several Levels of Style
During the last couple of months, I have been trying to define my approach to art as levels of some sort – when should I go abstract, when do I want to make illustrations, and when my style needs to be decorative or design-oriented.
I have always thought that these levels are connected to what supplies I use. Like this:
If I paint, I am more abstract.
If I draw, I go in the illustrative direction.
And if I embroider, it’s just decorative work for relaxation.
But it shouldn’t always have to be like that. The opposite could happen too.
Untraditional Use of Supplies – Mixing Levels of Style
Last summer, I started to do slow stitching – random simple stitches on fabric. Surprisingly, what first felt like decorative needlecraft started to produce abstract art. This piece is not traditionally decorative at all.
And many of my recent images in colored pencils have been quite abstract and painterly, like this spread from my colored pencil journal.
The art world is full of presumptions based on supplies.
Colored pencil artists replicate photos.
Watercolorists throw water on the paper and wait for the landscape to appear.
Abstract painters do it for interior design.
Decorative is reserved for folk artists.
And so on!
But I have come to the conclusion that supplies don’t define the levels of my style. I can freely choose how much I want to show each level of style in one piece.
So, we can break what’s expected and do what we want!
Inspiration from Many Styles
The same unrestricted approach applies to inspiration.
I went to Sinebrychoff Art Museum to see floral paintings, but the most inspiring piece was a traditional textile – what??? When I looked at the photos taken from the exhibition, it felt like a dirty secret.
There were many old masterpieces in oil, but a small traditional textile captivated me.
“How can I be so inspired by that?
I shouldn’t think about that anymore.
At least, don’t tell anyone!”
But my creativity has a mind of her own when it comes to inspiration. If I look at my Instagram saves, sometimes I like to see old palaces or churches, and other times I find simple and rural terribly inviting. I love old portraits, but I am not particularly fond of painting humans myself. I consume all kinds of kitsch – banal florals, round-eyed dolls, plastic horses – like crazy, but I also love modern and straightforward that’s not similarly pretty at all.
And now, my creativity told me to revamp that abstract painting and go wild with decorative strokes.
“Take it to the Kitsch goddess,” she shouted.
“No one will like it,” I heard myself saying. But then it hit me that maybe we could do it together. I asked my inner Kandinsky: “Would you go decorative with me?” He nodded quietly but without hesitation.
And so it happened that Mrs. Decorative, Mr. Abstract, and Miss Illustrative all painted together. It was a lot of fun!
Which One Do You Like Best – Before or After?
Which painting style do you prefer? It would be interesting to hear, leave a comment!
I have no regrets and my husband approved too. While I am waiting for the painting to dry, I glance at it frequently, smiling.
The painting follows a tradition but still feels like a breakthrough. I can now see further and wider. I could mix different painting styles in one big piece and bring a wider variety of inspiration into one work. So often, I have tried to move to the next level in technique, but now it feels that I need to level up artistic thinking!
News from My Little Studio
I have lots of painting work to be done in April. My private exhibition in June is still half-empty, but that’s partly a happy problem. My paintings have sold well, and I have a new prestigious gallery representation. The gallery is called Gumbostrand Konst och Form. I think it’s a great fit for my art because they also sell design pieces. Here’s my page on their website.
My home feels like a work in progress.
The little studio space has unfinished paintings, and big blank canvases are waiting in the library room.
I also have a new online class going on – Fun Botanicum!
It’s so wonderful to see work from the students and have conversations about art. It makes all the other work less lonely, and I feel blessed to lead the lovely community. Especially now, when most of my spare time is spent worrying over the world situation, it feels good to be connected and also, serve others.
You can still hop in, sign up here!