Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Restarting a Painting

This week, we talk about restarting an old painting or restarting creating so that we have a new confidence and freedom.

Vapauden puolesta – For Liberty, 45 x 45 cm, oil on board. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.
Vapauden puolesta – For Liberty, 45 x 45 cm, oil on board

This piece called “For Liberty” was been painted on the top of an old work. It was a bit challenging to photograph because it’s painted on wooden paint board – a very smooth surface that reflects light. But before I go into more detail, I want to tell a story from my childhood that has had a big impact on me. If you have taken my classes, you might recognize my passion for acting!

“Open Your Arms”

I have been an enthusiastic actor as a teenager. Once I was the lead in a school play directed by the teacher. He was a very good director. “Spread your arms,” ​​he told me when we were practicing a scene. For a teen, spreading the arms was a huge gesture. I still remember how my hands reluctantly opened and released from the grip. But wide open, I suddenly had a sweet sense of confidence: I owned this arena and I was going to get an audience too. Everything will be fine and even better than before!

My friend and I had been chosen to the school play because we had a private play club that we had put together. I wrote the script for the plays and we performed them to our class. It was great that our native language teacher allowed the performances. The teacher Varpu Lehtolainen and the teacher who directed the play, Taavi Lehtolainen, were married. Their creativity was inspiring. Their daughter is Leena Lehtolainen, who later became a famous author in Finland – no wonder!

Confidence for a Restart

When a person makes another person free, the feeling that he ignites is not based on successful performances in the past. The new self-confidence comes from seeing what will be possible in the future. You can go back and start over as many times as you want. Everything will be fine.

In 2020, I made an oil painting called “Wreath Maker.” However, I failed in varnishing and did not put it on display or for sale. The painting is painted on a board instead of a canvas, and it is quite challenging as a surface.

Wreath Maker, an oil painting that was restarted

When the local artists’ association asked for works with the theme “Red, White, Blue”, I came up with the idea of ​​sanding off the varnish and doing a new painting on top, somewhat based on the old one.

Restarting a painting

As soon as I started painting, there was this “spread your hands” feeling. I wanted to free the painting from its constraints and give the flowers their own roles.

Oil painting in progress.

Rubens’ paintings of battle scenes from the 17th century came to mind, and I wanted to make a grand theme too – where people wake up to defend their own values ​​and the flags are flying high.

Restarting to Release the Visual Voice

I have painted this in parts and between the sessions, I have been building a new course, where freedom is also a central subject. I wish I could be a teacher like Taavi Lehtolainen: “Spread your hands, control your space!”

Artist Paivi Eerola from Finland and her painting "For Liberty."

Art always does well when the flowers are allowed to grow freely and each in its own way.

A detail of "For Liberty." Oil on board. By Päivi Eerola.

A painting is released when it finds its meaning. I feel that’s what happened to this piece. The previous version was okay, but the message is now clearer, the painting is more airy, and the flowers are now more diverse and expressive.

When you want to fine-tune your visual voice, maybe this kind of freedom is what your art is lacking?

What do you think?

8 thoughts on “Restarting a Painting

  1. When will the new class, Freely Grown, be ready for us to join? I so enjoy your classes and this one entriques me. Thanks for all you share with all of us.

    1. Thank you for asking, Alice! The registration for Freely Grown will start after a couple of weeks and the class will begin in late October. I hope you can join!

  2. I think you are like Taavi Lehtolainen. You teach with such enthusiasm. I for one have really began to stretch my artistic arms. Thank you.

  3. Wow! Fantastic painting, Paivi.
    The original version was stunning already but it was fascinating to share your process to revitalize it into a different style and energy. Your creativity and spirit of adventure is truly inspiring. I love the way you combine materials and techniques to create new effects and processes. And as your blog readers/fans/followers we are truly blessed to have you share this so generously. Thank you again for a wonderful blog post. I don’t always write comments but all the ones I read are such a light in my day. Have a lovely weekend yourself. Here in Japan I am a bit further ahead in mine! 🙂

  4. Such a lovely message in your post.
    Spread your hands, control your space……
    I had a dance teacher that told us to use the length of our arms and hands, legs and feet, which truly offered a feeling of freedom and expression to my movement. I still think of that at times. Don’t be shy.
    Your painting is so lovely.

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