Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Kaunosielu – Painting and Drawing Sensitivity

Kaunosielu is a Finnish word for which I don’t know an English equivalent. It means a dreamer who loves beauty, but the word has an ironic undertone. This romantic soul, alienated from everyday life, cares little about taking care of practical matters and frequently stops to admire the beauty around her.

Kaunosielu, oil on canvas, 70 x 60 cm

I’ve been thinking about people’s yards in my neighborhood a lot lately. The new houses have a small lawn area, a wooden patio, and a row of white cedars. These homes are advertised as “easy-to-maintain yards” in real estate ads. And yet, it often happens that when time passes, a few violets or a peony bush appear. It makes me believe that we all are “kaunosielu people” who have a sensitive heart and eye for beauty.

Analyzing a painting.

So my Kaunosielu painting is dedicated to that part of you who stops after seeing something beautiful. This topic was challenging for me because I usually express movement. Here, however, it’s all about staying rather than leaving and looking rather than running away.

Inspiration from Pastel Drawings

I am making a series of paintings for an exhibition called “In the Mood of Albert Edelfelt” and I have browsed a lot of Albert Edelfelt’s (1854-1905) works. Surprisingly, his pastel drawings fascinate me the most. Look at this woman, for example – or rather – her dress!

Albert Edelfelt, Dalinin kevätlaulu. Pastels on paper.
Dalinin kevätlaulu – Dalin’s Spring Song by Albert Edelfelt

I see a similarity with flowers in old portraits. The outfits are pleated like the petals of ​​flowers and the lines form interesting patterns.

I also started using chalk brushes in the ProCreate app. Here is a digital pastel drawing: peonies and strawberries.

A digital pastel drawing created in ProCreate. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

I have done oil pastel work for the course Innovative Portraits, but now I dug out the soft pastels.

Drawing with soft pastels.

Soft pastels are more chalky than oil pastels and maybe a bit more difficult too because, unlike oil pastels, soft pastels also need fixative.

A pastel drawing in a sketchbook. Floral abstract by Paivi Eerola.

This is just a small notebook and a small piece but I like to practice between bigger paintings.

Kaunosielu on Canvas

My painting Kaunosielu is painted in oil, but it is close to pastel artworks in terms of color scheme and the use of lines.

Päivi Eerola and her painting Kaunosielu

The painting is inspired by a lovely pastel drawing by Albert Edelfelt called “At the Window.” I was lucky enough to see this work authentically in the Albert Edelt exhibition of the Ateneum Art Museum. This piece is 68 x 62 cm, so it’s quite large for a work drawn on paper. And look at that frame!

Albert Edelfelt, At the Window, pastel on paper.

I was especially fascinated by the composition, and as soon as I started my painting, I felt that now it was coming: Kaunosielu! I had been planning to do a piece called that for a long time.

Abstract oil painting in progress.

I wanted to incorporate haziness and vagueness into this painting, but at the same time use strong variations in darkness. With the big differences in color value, I wanted to create a sense of presence similar to Albert Edelfelt’s paintings.

Abstract floral oil painting called Kaunosielu in progress.

When I took this photo in the morning sun, it felt like the moment stopped and two Kaunosielus came into the picture.

Paivi Eerola and her painting Kaunosielu.

This photo shows so well how darkness and light go hand in hand.

This Week’s Challenges for Your Art-Making

  • Empathize with the kaunosielu personality: Examine what it means to be an impractical but sensitive sielu – soul!
  • Examine old portrait paintings. Dind the similarities between flowers and luxurious dresses.
  • Be bolder with contrasts. Enhance your expression by combining pastel colors with really dark blues and browns.
  • Experiment with soft pastels or oil pastels or mimic their effects with other art supplies.

I hope all these tips inspire you to start creating!

How to Paint a Fantasy Horse Figurine

This week, we apply art to something different than usual. We use our skills to transform a Schleich horse or other plastic figurine into a fantasy animal.

Two customized Schleich horses in a flower field.

I have a soft spot for plastic horse collectors, and I follow many of them on Instagram. One of the most inspiring accounts is Lightning Leoo (@lightningleoo). Leo has organized community challenges on Instagram and Discord. I have participated in them a couple of times. Like Leo, most of those who customize collectible miniatures aim to make the animal look more realistic. However, I want to be more playful with colors and ideas.

Step 1 – Choose a Theme and Paint the First Layer

Start by choosing a theme that gives ideas for the coloring. The animal figurine here is a brown Schleich foal and my theme is daffodil. I used acrylic paints to make the legs green, the body yellow, the hoof orange-red, and the tail and the main white – just like the flower!

Scheich horse and the first step for customizing it. See more instructions!

At this point, the animal doesn’t look nice at all, but that’s ok. The idea is just to cover the original paint and make a simple foundation for the decoration.

Step 2 – Add More Tones and Decorations

After covering the original color with the theme colors, mix more tones of those colors. For example, if you have used one green in the previous step, now mix more green tones – cooler and warmer, darker and lighter, brighter and more muted. Add slight variations of tones on the top of the first color layer so that what used to be one solid color has now a gradient of tones. This makes the color more natural. Note: you can use this technique in any art!

A Schleich horse customization in progress.

In this project, I created color mixes of all kinds of greens, oranges, yellows, and whites.

At this point, you can also start decorating the figurine and use these color mixes in decorations, eyes,You and other details.

Decorating a Schleich fowl.

Get ideas for decorations from the theme! I painted small daffodils.

Step 3 – Optional – Add Shadows with Soft Pastels

Soft pastels make the figurine look more real and highlight the best parts. First, scrape them with a sharp blade to get color powder. Use a small brush to spread it where the shadows are, for example, where the leg meets the belly. You can also soften the color changes with pastels.

Repainting a Schleich fowl.

Attach the powder more permanently by spraying the fixative over it. Notice that after attaching the powder, you can continue with the finishing touches in acrylics!

Step 4 – Take a Fantastic Photo!

We always should take a good photo of the finished work, but with a fantasy horse, it is very rewarding. Find a place where you can fool the eye about the scale and bend down to take a photo a bit upwards.

Photographing a repainted Schleich fowl.

Another option is to make a gallery set up so that the background is white and the figurine is photographed like a piece of art.

Finished fantasy fowl repaint.

Another Example of a Fantasy Horse Repaint

Here’s a Schleich horse that is bigger than the Daffodil fowl. My theme for this one was peach. The decorations are simple, but there are many tones and lovely gradients.

A fantasy horse figurine, repainted Schleich horse by Paivi Eerola.

Making one foot in a different color adds drama and a bigger horse is easier to paint.

Two Schleich horses repainted by Paivi Eerola, Finland.

It was fun to photograph these two together!

Taking photos of Schleich horses. These are repainted fantasy horses.

Natural light creates its own effects and makes the fantasy look real.

Miniature horse figurine photography.

Horizontal lines in the background make the movement look more real.

Repainted Schleich horses.

Gift Box for Fantasy Horse

These small fantasy horses are great for presents. I gave the fowl to my friend who owns not just a collection of plastic figurines but a real horse too. I found a sturdy box that I had got when ordering paint tubes.

A gift box for a fantasy horse.

One side had writing on it, but I painted a floral decoration over it.

A gift box for a fantasy horse.

Creative Play as an Art Form

Playing has always been important to me. When I play, I get ideas that go beyond the ordinary and that combine different fields. In 2020, I even made a painting about the power of play called Steppe Wind.

Playing with fantasy horses. "Steppe Wind" - an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola, 2020.
Arotuuli – Steppe Wind, acrylics on canvas, 2020. See more about the painting process: Painting an Intuitive Fantasy

In the course Magical Inkdom, we draw and decorate paper horses and other animals.

Hand-drawn paper horses and a decorated background. Drawing a fantasy horse.
Horses and a fantastic background from Magical Inkdom

By playing we can enjoy the beauty and be comforted. It’s like we enter the same big hall of art but from a different door. Then when it’s time to get more serious, we have new energy and new power to overcome our fears.

Two repainted Schleich horses. Fantasy horse figurines.

That’s why I want to bring up topics like painting and photographing figurines in this blog.

What do you think?

Scroll to top