Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Dolls and Angels – Video Blog Post

This week, I have a video blog post for you! I talk about dolls and angels – winter, the new class Doll World and Christmas memories, among other things!

Paivi Eerola and her paper dolls.

You will also see my table at the recent sales event. I hope you enjoy the video!

Dolls and Angels – Watch the Video!

Links to Related Blog Posts

Related Online Classes

Preparing for Sales Events

This week’s post is about something that I have been doing lately: preparing for sales events!

Sale items for art sales events

I participate in four events:

For me, this is a lot! Fortunately, I have had time to prepare. For example, I got the deadline for the suggestions for the curated group show on Sept 1st. I was then able to apply and have new work specifically painted for the gallery.

Of these four, I am most anxious about the 2-day Christmas sales event even if it’s the smallest one! I have a sales table there, and I haven’t been preparing one for ages. I enjoy selling face-to-face, so it’s also something that I look forward to. It’s also great to see all kinds of sales items on one table and make a nice selection.

Selecting Sales Items – Delivering the Experience of an Original

Even the smallest sales table is a chance to strengthen your artistic voice and communicate your art brand. Most customers may buy postcards and other affordable items only, but still – we want to give them the whole experience. People have come back to me saying: “I remember you. I bought one card from you a couple of years ago, and I look at it every day.” I like to think that with the card, they also buy a piece of the world I am presenting to them. That’s why I always try to include original art as well.

Here’s one of the small paintings that I just finished. It’s called Samettikukan sointi – The Sound of the Marigold.

Samettikukan sointi - The Sound of the Marigold, 20 x 25 cm, oil on canvas, by Päivi Eerola, Finland
Samettikukan sointi – The Sound of the Marigold, 20 x 25 cm, oil on canvas

The Sound of the Marigold is a sister to a piece that I showed you earlier called Ruusun henki – The Spirit of the Rose. But when I placed the paintings side by side, I wanted to make adjustments to the rose painting so that its’ color scheme is less similar. So here’s the new version of The Spirit of the Rose:

Ruusun henki - The Spirit of the Rose, 20 x 25 cm, oil on canvas, by Paivi Eerola, Finland
Ruusun henki – The Spirit of the Rose, 20 x 25 cm, oil on canvas

Here are the two versions together so that you can compare the changes.

Before and after finishing touches, finishing a painting
Before and after – Click the image to see it bigger!

I am going to have small stands for them so that they will stand out from the rest of the selection.

Two small paintings by Paivi Eerola, ready for a sales event

There are also a couple more small oil paintings. They are still in progress, but I hope to finish them soon so that they have time to dry.

Small paintings in progress

I have noticed that people who don’t regularly go to art events forget the difference between a photo and an actual painting. – like it would be the same browsing the feed or picking a postcard as watching an original.

A6 and A5 printed cards for sales events, by Päivi Eerola, printed at Moo.com

On my sales table, prints will dominate in quantity. And because most of them are pictures of oil paintings, I also want to deliver the experience of an original oil painting. With the four small ones, I can hopefully present one medium-sized original, maybe Forest of Wishes.

What A Part of Your Audience Expects to See

In my experience, some people are interested in a specific art technique. Previously, when I had the sales table at a similar event, there were some who wanted to talk about watercolor painting and were disappointed that I only had one example or so. These are people who are art hobbyists themselves and who are potential customers for my classes.

Watercolor paintings for sales events, by artist Paivi Eerola

I used to paint a lot in watercolor, but lately, not so much because they don’t sell as well as oil paintings and have a low price point. Because I need to make a living and because I enjoy creating big paintings, I have focused on oils. But this time, I thought I would take a bunch of watercolor paintings with me and set the price lower than expected. If I still actively sold watercolor paintings, I wouldn’t do that, but now I see the chance to reach this part of the audience and show my watercolor work.

Watercolor paintings for sale, by artist Paivi Eerola

Because most elements of my style were developed in watercolor first, these pieces fit well with cards that have oil paintings.

A5 cards with satin finished, printed at Moo.com, Paivi Eerola's art for sales events

These cards came out gorgeous! They have a satin finish and are bigger and thicker than standard postcards. I ordered them as well as the cards from Moo.com (affiliate link, but I would recommend them without one too!)

What to Leave Out

Many times, I have put everything I have on the sales table, and that’s never been a good thing. You might have potential best sellers, but bringing items that don’t make sense to them will ruin the sales. For example, I brought fabrics with my designs and some craft items to an event focused on fine art. And vice versa, I took some original art to a craft show. Yes, you might get some sales from the odd items, but confuse most of the audience.

Price can be a reason to exclude some too. For example, if the organizer takes a percentage of the sales or if the price of the sales table is high, selling the most affordable items doesn’t necessarily make sense. And vice versa: when people come for good finds on their way to the shopping center, selling the biggest and most expensive pieces can be hard.

This painting – Tiger’s Eye – has been waiting to get to a curated exhibition that interests art collectors. Now I am happy to pack it and two other paintings for a big gallery show.

A big painting varnished for the gallery show, by Paivi Eerola, Finland
Tiikerinsilmä – Tiger’s Eye after varnishing

My oil paintings always get a varnish and a hanging wire so that they are ready for hanging on the wall.

In my experience, original art that is ready to hang is more tempting to buy than pieces that require, for example, framing. However, if the price point is very low, it doesn’t always make sense to frame the pieces. Whatever the case, it’s always good to present a unified collection and leave out some that are too different in size, style, or frame than others.

When selecting work for the small postcards, I left out many paintings I like and value. For example, many of my big paintings are not so great for postcards. Their details get lost in the tiny size, and their subject is more suitable for decorating interiors than sending wishes.

And then some paintings are quicker but more suitable; for example, Kukkiva maa – Flowering Earth that I painted in acrylics for the class Floral Freedom.

Postcards for sales events, selling and marketing art

I think it’s perfect for a postcard – full of colors and flowers!

How You Will Be Remembered

Many times when I have been preparing for the events, my behavior has been on my mind: Am I able to show my enthusiasm? How could I not only make sales but be remembered afterward too?

But the best answer here is quite technical. You should have something to give that has your contact information on it. And all your products should have your name and website – or at least an email – on them. I use the same tactics, the same generosity that is, that I have used with selling online courses. I give something for free and invite people to see if I am suitable for them. On the sales events, I have small cards that have different pictures – details of my art – and I invite people to pick one that they like.

Moo mini cards for art sales events

This begins a conversation about their likings about them, and when they have the mini card, I can serve them better and be remembered too.

The postcards also have contact information printed on the back.

Back side of a postcard, printed at Moo.com, designed by Päivi Eerola

There’s also another artwork as a frame.

Back side of an A5 card, printed at Moo.com, designed by Päivi Eerola

I think about these features as generosity as well. I have taken the time to design the back to make the cards even more valuable.

Sales Events Are the Opportunity to Test

Even if it’s good to have a unified style and selection, the sales event is also an opportunity to test new ideas and approaches. I like to do tests that are not big new things but hidden in the small stuff. This time, I made a postcard of my colored pencil work to see how many people can recognize the medium and how many are interested in this style of drawing.

Paivi Eerola's art on glossy postcards, printed at Moo.com, ready for sales events

This postcard is composed digitally of many colored pencil pieces.

Digital collage of colored pencil artworks by Paivi Eerola

As you know, I am not just an oil painter, but also love colored pencils. It would be fun to talk about them too.

This leads us to my course sales event on Black Friday weekend. All classes will be on sale and registration for the new class Doll World will open. Doll World will begin at the beginning of January.

Sneak peek at Doll World - drawing poses and clothing, an online art class
Sneak peek at Doll World – drawing poses and clothing

During the years, I have learned that if I love the class, there’s a possibility that you will love it too. The same goes for all art really. We have to pamper it and give attention to its needs. And when the course or the painting asks: “Will there be anyone for me?” we must say: “Yes, my dear – kyllä kultaseni – sometimes it will just take a little bit of time.” We both feel vulnerable about this.

Paivi Eerola with her oil painting The Spring of Dreams - Unelmien kevät
Unelmien kevät – The Spiring of Dreams ready for a big gallery show

P.S. The engineer in me says that this is not a comprehensive article about setting a sales table. But I intend to share some pics when I set the actual table on December 3-4 at Galleria K, Vantaa, Finland. So stay tuned for Black Friday sales and future blog posts!

Expressing Winter Memories

This week, I have a new winter-themed painting, and we talk about the many approaches for expressing winter and memories of any season.

Winter Night's Poem - Talviyön runoelma, 60 x 80 cm, oil on canvas, by Päivi Eerola, Finland.
Winter Night’s Poem – Talviyön runoelma, 60 x 80 cm, oil on canvas

Here’s my newest painting called Winter Night’s Poem. This time, the Finnish name is much more beautiful: Talviyön runoelma. I wanted to give the painting a poetic name – like Shakespeare’s play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Kesäyön unelma” but something more wintery. So I come up with the Finnish name, which sounds so romantic (if you know Finnish that is!), and then translated it to English as accurately as possible.

I painted this piece for the local artist association’s winter-themed art exhibition. Winter sceneries aren’t really my thing, but I wanted to take the challenge. I started by exploring Japanese woodblock prints and made a small colored pencil study that is more like a fall scenery, but that has similar abstract elements than in the final painting.

Colored pencil art. An abstract scenery.

I talked more about this colored pencil piece in October’s video blog post.

Winter Memories

I found it challenging to get emotionally connected with the theme. As Finn, I do know winters. They are cold and dark, and there’s not much that I enjoy about them. As a child, I lived further north, and winters were even colder and darker. Here’s a picture of me in 1974 when I was 5 years old.

Winter memories from 1974.

However, I have one special winter memory. Earlier this year, in one of the weekly emails, I wrote about Avicii‘s music and how it brings the memory to my mind:

When I hear A Sky Full of Stars, I am a little girl on a cold Tuesday evening in Eastern Finland. After participating in an icon painting group, I walked down the snowy hill looking up. The starry sky was blue-black, I realized. Not black like for those who glance carelessly or blue like for those whose skies were always blue. Working with colors had made the world look more beautiful.

I also remember getting an idea for a poem that I later wrote down. It was something about the starry sky. And there was a melody too. The sight, the words, and the sounds all formed this beautiful winter memory. And isn’t it so that memories are full of sensations of all kinds? Why should we then paint only what we see?

But then I heard myself saying: “Paivi, remember that it’s a winter-themed exhibition. It has to look like winter!”

How Does Winter Look Like?

In 2013, I made this hand-drawn collage for Christmas cards. It has a decorative approach to winter. Snow, hearts, berries, pastel colors – they all form a light-hearted and entertaining take on winter.

Hand-drawn paper collage, 2013.
A hand-drawn paper collage from 2013

An even more obvious choice would be to paint a realistic winter scenery with snow, trees, and such. Here’s a watercolor painting from 2018:

Fall and winter, two seasons in watercolor, Paivi Eerola's painting from 2018.
Two Seasons, watercolor, 2018 – From the class Watercolor Journey

My idea was to paint both fall and winter into the same piece. This is a class project from Watercolor Journey where we paint all kinds of sceneries in watercolor.

Winter in a Poem

But the more I thought about winter, the more connection I felt with the abstract side of it. I didn’t want to just paint an empty-looking scenery in black and white. I wanted the lights and darks to have a rhythm.

Starting an intuitive painting about winter.

My favorite poet Eeva-Liisa Manner has a winter poem that I have read hundreds of times because it was in a little poem book my family had. For a small child, the content felt strange, but the more I read it and the more I grew, I fell in love with its rhythm. The poem doesn’t rhyme, it’s free verse, very modern. But still, when I read it, I feel the rhythm, and when it ends, it feels like you have listened to a song, not read a poem. The words have been thrown into the air, carelessly, and yet, it feels like everything has a purpose. It’s like every word would have fought to get into to poem, and after accepted, they are ready to fly beautifully, each on their turn, and then to get mixed up even more elegantly in the reader’s mind.

Maybe you too, love poetry and have experienced the same. The words glow like jewels and have a long effect even if the time spend on the reading, is just a minute or two. Isn’t that what we aim for in visual art too?

Abstract painting in progress.

Wonders of a Winter Night

More than thinking about realistic scenery, I approached the painting with a poetic mindset. I imagined the sounds and rhythm of a winter night and visualized those. I trusted that the result will look wintery even if the painting is abstract.

Abstract painting in progress

I also thought about how things move, and one of my favorite details is the curvy black wind that blows snow.

A detail of Winter Night's Poem - Talviyön runoelma, oil on canvas, by Päivi Eerola, Finland.

Carelessly painted ice-like objects are on the top, and the sound of ice is visualized below them.

A detail of Winter Night's Poem - Talviyön runoelma, oil on canvas, by Päivi Eerola, Finland.

Probably the childhood memory of the winter night has stayed with me because it’s a little bit scary to walk alone in the cold and in the dark, under a few street lights only.

A detail of Winter Night's Poem - Talviyön runoelma, oil on canvas, by Päivi Eerola, Finland.

The color scheme was one of the challenges. I didn’t want the painting to look off-puttingly cold. Instead of only using blue and white, I brought a wide variety of tones but so that most of them are quite dark or pale.

A detail of Winter Night's Poem - Talviyön runoelma, oil on canvas, by Päivi Eerola, Finland.

Fortunately, winter is not here yet, but usually, we have the first snow in November. So the garden scenery will change soon!

Paivi Eerola and her painting Winter Night's Poem - Talviyön runoelma

I hope this blog post inspired you to express winter or any season that you have fond memories of!

Creating a Protector of Good

This week we get inspired by spiritual and ornamental art and create a protector of good.

Protector of Butterflies in Colored Pencils

Protector of Butterflies. Colored pencil art by Päivi Eerola, Finland.

Halloween is not an official holiday in Finland, but we have All Saints’ day soon. I started gathering images for this blog post in the spirit of All Saints’ day, but soon realized that this kind of art has a special role in my life in general. There are times when I want to create art to protect all the good things in life.

Colored pencil art in progress. Creating a protector of good.
A careless sketch becomes alive when colored pencils step in.

In the small colored pencil drawing, I was thinking about the beauty of butterflies and created a protector for them.

Colored pencil art in progress. Cutting out a scrap relief. A protector of butterflies.
After cutting the motif out, I do some finishing touches.

At the same time, I created a protector for my sensitivity, and it feels good to have one in my box of joy as I call the collection of hand-drawn paper reliefs.

Protector of Everything Sacred in Collage

Back in 2011, when I wasn’t a full-time artist yet, I made this paper collage from hand-decorated papers.

Madonna paper collage from 2011 by Paivi Eerola. See her ideas for creating a protector of good.
Paper collage from 2011

I wanted to express the atmosphere of a sacred space. My hand-drawn lines were clumsy, but I cut the papers so that they look decorative. I painted icons as a child, so I made the woman’s face in that style. I still like this!

Protector of Flowers and Plants in Oil

In 2018, I was practicing oil painting and explored all kinds of organic shapes. I first painted all kinds of plants and then changed the orientation, and added the madonna. (More about the process in this blog post.)

Madonna of the Heart, oil painting by Paivi Eerola
Madonna of the Heart, oil on canvas, 2018

The frame of the painting has a real silver coating, and I think it fits the image beautifully.

Painting and Drawing Precious Artifacts

We can paint and draw precious things that make us feel protected, like candles and crosses. I found these two gouache paintings from my archives today.

Gouache paintings: a candle and a cross
Small gouache paintings from 2019

Ornaments can also be more imaginative, like these hand-drawn collage pieces.

A paper ornament of hand-drawn collage pieces. By a Finnish artist Päivi Eerola.
Handdrawn collage pieces from 2019

You can compose paper pieces together so that they look like a talisman.

Protector of Light in Watercolor

Now when we are entering dark days in Finland, I feel the need to have a protector of light.

Watercolor angel by Paivi Eerola. From her online art class Magical Forest.
Watercolor Angel – a project from the class Magical Forest

This watercolor angel was painted for the class Magical Forest. I developed a method for it so that you first paint the angel figure freely by splashing colors and then add more definition by painting the dark background.

Protector of the Child in Us

I think one of the most important protectors is the one who protects the child in us. I painted this icon in the early 1980s when I was about 10 years old. It was my second, and as you can see, I wasn’t very good at varnishing back then – too much linseed oil!

Madonna and Child icon.

The teacher of the icon painting group, Irke Petterberg, helped me with the details of the faces. I wasn’t eastern-orthodox; I just happened to live very near the church and love art-making. It was wonderful to be accepted as a part of the group which consisted of adult painters. For me, religion felt like a gate to the world of imagination.

Protector of Butterflies. Colored pencil scrap reliefs by Päivi Eerola, Finland.

No matter the religion, let’s cherish the child in us and protect the good through art-making.

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