Peony and Parakeet

New Oil Painting and Pretty Art Journaling

This week, I have finished an oil painting and started an art journal that I want to make as pretty as possible. I also talk about my aspire to paint horses and ask how deep you have to know the subject to own it in your art. This post has lots of pics!

Wreath Maker – Painting with Oils Like They Would be Watercolors

"Wreath Maker" - an oil painting by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet

I started this painting in January, and I am so glad that it’s finally finished. Even if this is an oil painting, I used the approach that’s best for watercolors – I started with pale pastels and worked towards darker tones. I really like painting like this, and the result pleases my eye. The pictures below show the process and I have also blogged about this painting in May 2020.

Making of an intuitive oil painting, by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

The Series of Three Floral Paintings

The painting is called “Seppeleentekijä – Wreath Maker”. It’s the last one for the series of three paintings. The two first ones are watercolor pieces called “Jäänmurtaja – Ice Breaker” and “Soihdunkantaja – Torch Bearer.” I made the paintings so that they could be seen as a triptych where the flowers of the two watercolor paintings lean towards the centerpiece. Click the image below to see the series as a bigger picture!

A series of three floral paintings. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

The Shelf of Art Journals – Re-Organizing the Studio

Making the three paintings was quite an accomplishment, and finishing the last piece made me feel empty. What to do next? Well, I don’t know about you, but if I need recreation, cleaning and organizing is the thing! While going through the stuff on the shelves of my little studio, I gathered the sketchbooks and art journals in one place.

Art journals on a shelf. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Smash Books – Do You Still Remember Them?

Smash books as art journals. Pretty art journaling.

I found one almost empty old Smash Book – do you remember the time when everybody had them? See the flip-through videos of my two Smash Books here:

>> Pink Smash Book Flip-Through
>> Black Smash Book Flip-Through

The third Smash Book has a silver back and with that, I remembered how back then, all the art journals were more or less messy. In 2012, I daringly wrote a blog post that asked: “Can’t there be pretty art journaling?”

So it hit me, that the extra Smash Book could continue the tradition of the two past ones and be a pretty art journal. It could also be my tool for encouraging myself to paint what I really want, and not fall into the trap of trying to paint what seems more appropriate. Namely, I would like to paint things like … (gasping a bit)… ahem … HORSES! I tried to make a long list, but all I could think of was HORSES.

Horses – Can only an Expert Paint Them?

You see, I am no expert in horses, I have ridden on a horse only once, as a child, and I have never been living close to a stable. But I had toy horses, and I have always admired their beauty. I have tried to get rid of this disease by drawing zebras for the class Animal Inkdom, and horses for its independent sequel Magical Inkdom, but it hasn’t gone away.

A colorful zebra and a fantasy horse. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Can you paint something you are no expert in? Many years ago, I heard an interview with an artist who said that everything clicked when he started painting cows. He had been living with them most of his life, and he knew exactly how they are. You have to know what you paint, he claimed, as far as I can remember. It makes sense. I love plants and have always been growing some. I feel I know the soul of flowers and in the oil painting that I just finished, I wanted the flowers to reveal their soul, to be chatty and curious, just like they are if you silently observe them very, very closely.

But isn’t it possible to use the expertise for other things too – to transfer the soul of a flower to a horse, and thus, regain the mastery? To use the flowery language from Decodashery to express a moving thing?

Painting with silver and gold acrylics. Pretty art journaling. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Golden Heavybody acrylics.

It doesn’t have to be anything grand at first, just a small art journal page.

A decorative horse painted with silver and gold acrylics. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Pretty Art Journaling Can Be Reverse Creative Exploring

If I can paint a horse in the language of flowers, couldn’t it also be possible to revert the process? Could I make an art journal page from the painting, a sketch after a result?

Pretty art journaling. Making a pretty page. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I want to allow this free flow from one theme and one media to another happen again with this journal.

Pretty art journaling. An inner cover of a pretty art journal. By Peony and Parakeet.

The image of the painting was printed on a sticky canvas bought ages ago. Then I drew and colored the floral frame, and added some gold and silver paint too. Here’s the first spread of the “new” Smash Book – the new beginning of pretty art journaling!

Pretty art journaling. An art journal spread with painting and drawing. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Handmade Picture Shelf Finishes the Display

A part of reorganizing was to get a picture shelf on the wall. My skillful husband made it, and I absolutely love it.

A hand made picture shelf for paintings and a small table for displaying art and art journals.

Finished paintings, paintings in progress, and art journal spreads can now be displayed together.

Tell me, what inspires you at the moment?
What do you put in your list of what to paint or draw?

Classes which inspired this post:
Animal Inkdom – Draw and decorate wild animals! – Buy here!
Magical Inkdom – Draw the magic of mysteries and fairytales! – Buy here!
Decodashery – Paint beautiful florals and more! – Buy here!
Flowers masterclass: Floral FantasiesBuy here!

Intuitive Painting Step by Step

This week, we are creating an intuitive painting step by step. This project is more about following a process and mindset than trying to replicate my example.

"Deer to Dream" - an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Follow the step by step instructions for an intuitive painting like this!

I call this “Deer to Dream” because if you look at it from a distance, it looks like a bunch of flowers the view is more interesting when you find the deer. This is a small acrylic painting, 35 x 27 cm (about 13,5 x 10,5 inches).

Step 1 – Explore Mud – Paint a Background

Pick a few tubes and mix colors freely. Allow mud to be born!

Starting a painting. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Don’t expect clarity right from the beginning, but trust that the painting process will purify your mind. The muddy start will make you grounded.

Step 2 – Take a Flight – Paint a Flock

Intuitive painting step by step - Step 2. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

With a bit brighter tones, add strokes so that they make a stream across the painting. Paint dark shapes so that they group the strokes.

Keep the focus on expressing the movement rather than trying to create something accurate and realistic. The groups can be flowers or birds or anything that comes to your mind.

Intuitive painting in progress - Step 2. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Your spirit has raised from the mud and begun a journey to a new world.

Step 3 – Land Towards the Light – Add Bright Pastels to the Flock

Intuitive painting step by step - Step 3. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Mix white to the colors, and add bright strokes to the elements. They are now exposed to light, and the flight is getting closer to its destination.

Intuitive painting in progress - Step 3. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

You can leave the painting like this, but for me, intuitive painting is an adventure rather than a safe performance, something that includes risk and excitement, and we haven’t gone far enough yet. So, let’s keep painting!

Step 4 – Become Adventurous – Paint over the Elements

Intuitive painting step by step - Step 4. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

When we want to deepen the process, disruption is needed. Use a little bit more water and make brush strokes that partly cover what you have painted so far.

Intuitive painting in progress - Step 4. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

New layer is like an emotion that takes over. It makes the painting messier, but also freer and more open to new ideas.

Step 5 – Explore the Wilderness – Paint Details

Intuitive painting step by step - Step 5. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

The painting is now like a wilderness, and you need to know its every corner. Slowly go through every small area and forget the big picture. Make paths from one element to another, allow some parts to become more intense than others, and add little spots and strokes where you want the eye to stop and admire the view.

Intuitive painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Imagine that every shape has a personality and that it’s your mission to make the shapes interact with each other. Connections can be built so that they share a line, a color, or form.

In this step, you begin to experience creative freedom. At first, it’s like a smell that you become slowly aware of. It’s a possibility to take a new direction and follow your instinct. So again, let’s keep painting!

Step 6 – Dare to Dream – Meet a Spirit

Intuitive painting step by step - Step 6. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Dare to dream further than what you would expect in the beginning! Every painting has a spirit and your mission as an intuitive painter is to recognize it. Even if it’s you who created the painting, the spirit is free.

Feeling the presence of the painting’s spirit is often enough, but recently, I have dared to look at it to the eye and paint it too.

You may also want to read my previous post about artistic spirit!

"Deer to Dream" - an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Intuitive Painting Step by Step with Watercolors?

I used acrylic paints for the project but it’s possible to follow the process for watercolors too. Here are my additional tips for watercolors:

  • Start with lots of water and very light tones.
  • Let the painting dry between every step.
  • Slowly darken the color palette of the painting towards the last step.

More to Come – A Big Intuitive Painting in Progress

Artist Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet and her intuitive paintings.

I hope that you enjoyed this project! I also have a big intuitive painting in progress, and I am excited about how it has taken off. I will talk more about it in upcoming posts.

Artistic Spirit between Abstract and Realistic

This week’s theme is the artistic spirit. I share a new painting, glimpses of my painting fever, and inspire you to explore the zone between abstract and realistic art.

"Paradise", an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Here’s an acrylic painting that I just finished yesterday. It’s called “Paradise” and it’s quite big: 61 x 50 cm, about 24 x 19,5 inches.

Painting at Late Evenings and Wee Hours

I like to paint in the late evenings when the world quiets down. Now when it’s summer, Finland floods in light, and nights are short. When the blackbirds begin to sign at 3 am, I know it’s time to wash the brushes.

Starting an intuitive painting. Connecting with the artistic spirit.
Painting abstract shapes. Connecting with the artistic spirit.

After a long night, I rush to the studio in the morning: “What have you done! You’ll never be able to finish it!”

Painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

But with this painting, I decided to accept whatever comes up. And with that, I have a little story to tell. I shared it on Peony and Parakeet’s Facebook page recently, but if you missed the post, here it is, with one of the paintings from the teenage years.

My Story about Artistic Spirit

An acrylic painting made by artist Paivi Eerola when she was a teenager.

As a teenager, I browsed big art books at the local library. I started hanging around with Matisse and Picasso and they said: “Hey Paivi, take this obsession from us, and make the most of it.” First, their inspiration was like a fever: mustpaint…mustpaint… mustpaint. Then, after too many matissepicassos, it became a burden and I went to study engineering.

During the past five years as a full-time artist, I have been hanging around with other guys – like Da Vinci, Caravaggio, and Rubens. Even if I first thought so, they are not much different. After too many rubenscaravaggios, the empty feeling takes over again.

But recently, I went to my studio secretly, picked the brushes, squeezed the paints, and in silence, I met a spirit. It was not me or any of my masters, but the spirit that arrives when we are ready to let go of the ego.

To paint like me, I need to let go of me. I am pretty sure Matisse and Picasso already told this, I was just so impressed by their names that I didn’t listen.

Painting an artistic spirit. An acrylic painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Abstract, Realistic, or Stylish?

Every time I make a class, I don’t only teach but also learn new things. The newest class Decodashery boosted my confidence to paint decorative motifs right from my imagination. Between “abstract” and “realistic,” there’s a zone that’s “stylish.” Then you simplify what’s real, and complicate what’s not. By simplifying, you dig the artistic spirit out of tangible things, and by complicating geometric shapes, you make the spiritual things more tangible.

"Paradise", an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I really like this painting, and hope that you enjoy these close-up pics too.

A detail of "Paradise", an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.
A detail of "Paradise", an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Read her post about connecting with the artistic spirit.
A detail of "Paradise", an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.
A detail of "Paradise", an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Wishing you many happy moments with painting and drawing!

Artist Paivi Eerola holding a painting called Paradise, in her garden.

Back to Nature – and Back to Acrylics!

"Back to Nature", an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

When building the class Decodashery, I started to enjoy acrylic paints again. They have vivid colors, and they dry quickly so layering is easy. This piece is called “Back to Nature.” It has a similar playfulness than this small painting that I shared last week.

"Pinkpolka", acrylic painting on a sketchbook by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I found more old paintings (see this post!) to paint over, but this time I added gesso on the top of the old “masterpiece”, and then painted it with turquoise and green tones.

Painting a green and turquoise background.

Then I painted some rectangles which helped me to invent more shapes.

Painting details with acrylic paints. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and parakeet.

My word for this summer is Refreshing. In the photo below, I am holding “Back to Nature”. The other paintings are still in progress, but I try to make them as refreshing as I can, and also, feel as refreshed as possible after every painting session.

Artist Paivi Eerola, Finland, holding "Back to Nature" and displaying her paintings in progress.

Green seems to be the color now! Is there a word or a color that you particularly love nowadays?

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