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Pros and Cons of Becoming an Artist

This week, I share my newest painting, and thoughts about a life change after becoming an artist – even if I don’t quite know where I will be heading next myself.

Blackbird - Mustarastas, an abstract oil painting by Paivi Eerola
Blackbird – Mustarastas, oil, 60 x 73 cm.

All my life I have wanted to be an artist. But first, I went to study software engineering because it was a much more sensible thing to do at a young age. And I loved computers. How can a girl love machines so much?

There’s this girl in me who looks in the future and gets excited about technology. And then there’s another girl who looks back to history and wants to paint like Rubens or Kandinsky.

Oil painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

Pursuing the Dream of Becoming an Artist

After I got my degree in 1996, I repeated to myself “Paivi, you are a master of science – “diplomi-insinööri” for a couple of years. It felt so unbelievable!

But I had this other dream that I wanted to pursue, and it felt like my life would be too short for that. So many years were given to technology. However, in 2014, about seven years ago, I decided to give it a go.

Paivi Eerola in 2015, after leaving a day job to become an artist
Paivi in 2015, after leaving a day job to become an artist

Every day since then I have banged my head against the wall between the outer and inner world. I have learned to draw freely, get intuitive with watercolors, illustrate animals and magical fantasies, and paint flowers and abstracts.

Experimenting with watercolors
Experimenting with watercolors in 2019

I thought that I would be learning and teaching for the rest of my life, never coming home, but fully enjoying the journey.

Breaking Through in Becoming an Artist

However, this year, I found myself breaking through, seeing a new horizon. I had to really push myself to give finishing touches to my newest class Floral Freedom, and after reading Wassily Kandinsky’s book “Point and Line to Plane” the final small pieces fell in their places. It was like a big equation in an engineer’s mind became solved, and I found myself whispering: “Paivi, you are an artist.”

Painting abstract art, by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

And similarly, as after graduating in 1996, the achievement felt unbelievable. But this time, its tone was different. It was not a validation received from others but from myself and thus, felt more holistic and life-changing. Yes, I may have been an artist for others for some time already, but finally, I have become an artist in the eyes of myself. It has made me want to put recent paintings side by side and continue the series boldly and unapologetically.

There’s also unexpected sadness in this happiness. The imaginary world that I have been building for the last years has fully opened, but with that, something has closed too. The old routines are gone. I no longer question what I should create in terms of subject or style. All I have to do is to fill a palette and start painting.

I am still unaware of what’s coming next. How to sustain myself. How to live after solving a puzzle that has been in my head for 53 years.

Blackbird in a New Territory

Blackbird - Mustarastas, an oil painting by Paivi Eerola
Blackbird – Mustarastas, oil, 60 x 73 cm.

Every morning when I open the door, I see blackbirds in our front garden. They seem modest and hard-working. They rarely rest, and when they sing, it seems to be for a purpose. These colorless birds don’t ever surprise or make my head spin.

But yesterday, I noticed that a blackbird had left the garden and entered my inner world. And it was so delightful, like a sign of hope in all the unawareness and misery that I have had recently. Isn’t it amazing that someone so insignificant as a blackbird can reach a soul, even secretly? That someone so plain and muddy can shine so brightly when it lands in another territory!

Paivi Eerola surrounded by her art. Read her story about becoming an artist!

I hope you’ll stick with me, take my classes,
and hop in where ever you are in your artist’s journey.
I promise to stay around and help you as a teacher and a coach

at least for the rest of this year.

20 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Becoming an Artist

  1. I am so surprised to read this. Ever since I heard of you I thought you were a full time artist as you are so accomplished, you have so much talent and skill, your pages are so creative. However you see yourself, to me you are an inspiration.

    1. Thanks so much, Ali! Yes, I have been a full-time artist for almost seven years, but always seen myself more of a teacher and a coach.

  2. I’m happy you decided to follow your dream of becoming an artist. You have inspired me in so many ways with your videos and blog posts. Not just artistically, but also somehow on a more spiritual level of connecting with art, nature, and imagination in several completely new ways and combinations. I look forward to take your classes someday 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Identity surely is an important part of us and our wellbeing. I have have been struggling with mine for few years, as health issues have forced to put goals and hobbies on hold. I still wait for that realisation of “who am I” that will open up possibilities instead of closing them. Reading about your breakthrough made me feel like celebrating, as that is a precious turnpoint. Oh and I have been really impressed how lovely brushstrokes rhythm your paintings lately. They outcome is like music!

  4. Pavi, I have found this saying helpful. “Uncertainty is the necessary companion of the explorer”.

  5. I’m so glad you finally feel this within. Lining up our soul with our practical world is such a feat. I’m not sure I’ll ever get through the web. You are so inspiring. Even though my family left Scandinavia in the early 1900’s, my core resides there. I hope someday to be able to afford one of your paintings 🙂 I love the one you are holding in 2015. You are such a master of color!

  6. Beautiful painting Paivi. I love the direction you are taking your art. It has been fun watching you develop your style, even from a distance. I enjoyed your Floral Freedom course. You have great gifts as an artist and as a teacher. I get the sense that you might be at a crossroads, but I trust that whatever direction you move will be the right direction for you. It is important to listen to and follow your soul. Blessings.

  7. I think it might be really exciting for you to focus only on creating for a while. I definitely want to keep in touch with you so I hope you keep writing to us! I would love to read a book about your entire life. Hint, hint!

  8. I’m glad I could experience at least part of your journey. Your artwork and messages have always inspired me. I too have experienced achieving life goals and afterward feeling a little sadness or emptyness. The search for what comes next can be a bit troubeling, but I’ve recently realized that staying open and following my heart is the key. We don’t need to see the path clearly, we just need to rely on that inner guidance system, as you have already done on your journey to recognise yourself as an artist. Thanks for sharing all you are with us!

  9. Bravo, Paivi! You have been an integral part of my artistic journey and I thank you for using your gifts in teaching and encouraging all your students. Wishing you the very best in the exciting days ahead!

  10. I wish you the very best, Päivi, whatever path you take! You are certainly an artist and a very inspiring one, and I’m very thankful for the encouragement you share and have shared in different forms: your classes, art group, blog posts, and YouTube videos.

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