Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

From Painting to Digital 3D Art

This week I have a video that is made for all who love art and love creating art. It’s about my artistic journey from painting to digital 3D art. My new digital creations move and change color on screen and in virtual reality.

3D Art – Watch the Video!

I am currently making digital artwork in a three-dimensional world. I have received a grant for it from The Finnish Cultural Foundation. The project will continue until September 2024, but it has progressed to the extent that it is good to gather thoughts and show some results on a video.

The main programs I mentioned in the video are Nomad Sculpt, Blender, and Unity. My virtual glasses are Meta Quest 3.

The artwork is not finished yet. The most important thing that I need to do is the interaction with the viewer. I will also include sounds. Fortunately, the project still has five months left. The project is part-time, but on the other hand, breaks are good, because the ideas have time to grow.

Traditional 2D Meets Digital 3D

I understand that I am only at the beginning of everything that technologies make possible and where my artistic thinking can go. It’s exciting. For a long time, I have envied how the students of my painting and drawing courses have great enthusiasm to learn new things. Now I have this situation with digital art.

I am grateful to have been born in an era where all this is possible. With digital art, we have something Rubens and Kandinsky would envy. It would be wonderful to show them all this, even if it would be only just this video. I think a certain da Vinci would like to join Rubens and Kandinsky! There have always been artists who have wanted to see into the future and go on a journey to an unknown land. I think this attitude doesn’t break the tradition but keeps it alive.

What do you think?

Designing Cross Stitch Patterns

This week, I have something very different than before: cross stitch!
Buy my first commercial design Primavera from my Etsy shop called Needle and Peony!

Primavera fancy lady portrait cross stitch pattern by Paivi Eerola.

There are two main reasons for designing this pattern. The first is the need for creative play and the second that I couldn’t find anything like this from other designers: a fantasy woman’s facial portrait that wouldn’t be a huge project.

Playing and Drawing in the Stitchly App

My need for creative play comes from being very serious with art this year. I have spent a lot of time in programming computer art and I have been painting a bit too. It’s all great but I started to miss drawing, and especially, making something that is purely illustrative and not so abstract and artistically challenging.

So because I have had cross stitching as a hobby almost all my life, I bought an app called Stitchly and started drawing there – on lunch breaks and such, a few stitches at time. First I just doodled freely with the Apple pen to get to know the app.

Designing cross stitch patterns in the Stitchly app.

Stitchly is easy to use and with the pen, drawing is fun and the squares get filled nicely. Of course, you can also import a photo and let the app create the chart automatically. But to make the image look realistic enough, the stitch count needs to be high and the design … well I don’t think it would be a design anymore, just a pixelated photo. So, when I design, I like to draw with the pen and if I use references, I only use them as inspiration and draw every square myself.

I also like that you can have a custom palette in Stitchly. I have made a palette that has all the DMC colors from my stash, so I can also check the real color when designing.

Drawing and Stitching Faces

When people begin drawing in adulthood, they often start with faces. Eyes, mouth, nose too. Facial features create a connection to the person born on paper. It’s also fun to draw hair and add decorations there.

So, one day it hit me that even when doing cross stitches, I can get company from the character I am stitching. However, couldn’t find a cross-stitch pattern that was a reasonable size and where the character was naturally asymmetrical, but still sparked the imagination.

My stitching time is lonely time in the evening. I clean the studio if I have been painting, and then pick extra glasses and while stitching, watch other cross stitchers’ videos on Youtube, so Flosstube as we cross stitchers call the channels.

Cross stitching in the evening

So when I wanted to stitch a facial portrait of an imaginary person, I decided to draw it in Stitchly. After making the chart, the fun started – I was stitching my own pattern!

Cross stitch project Primavera in progress

Primavera can be stitched in the colors I suggest in the pattern, but since there are only 11 colors, it’s easy to change them as you like.

DMC floss and aida cross stitch fabric

Although Primavera means spring, by changing the colors you can associate a different season or different theme with the character. The decorations are designed to be so general that they don’t limit the character you create.

Primavera fancy lady portrait cross stitch pattern by Paivi Eerola.

The hair has three colors of different darkness, the skin has four. The hair band has two colors close to each other. It is easy to change the accent colors of the mouth and eyes, and also the colors of the decorations.

You can buy the pattern for Primavera in my Etsy shop!

Needle and Peony

It feels nostalgic to have something on sale at Etsy again! Long before I became a full-time artist, I opened the Etsy shop called Kukkilintu, then later changed the name to Peony and Parakeet. That little shop had a major impact on my career and life. Most of my customers lived outside Finland and I started communicating more and more in English.

Folk bags by Paivi Eerola, Finland
Me and some of my folk bags in 2008.

Maybe some of the current readers of this blog were my customers over ten years ago when I sold folk bags (currently available as a knitting pattern), handknitted doll clothes, hand-decorated papers and cards!

Now I changed the shop name to Needle and Peony and intend to add some charts over time. Maybe some slow stitching ideas also, as I have some of them too. Last week, I set up an Instagram account called @needleandpeony to show my cross stitch projects – also what I have stitched from other designers.

Which Design Should I Do Next?

While designing Primavera, it hit me that I have a pile of drawings that I have made for classes and that could be turned into cross stitch patterns. When I browsed them, I couldn’t decide what to choose next, so I now ask you – what would you like me to design next? I have picked 5 drawings to choose from, leave a comment and let me know which one is your favorite! Which one of these would make a great cross stitch design?

A) Angel

Angel drawing by Paivi Eerola

See how I drew the angel in 2022: Angel Drawing for the Inner Child

B) Girl

Flower girl drawing by Paivi Eerola

This flowel girl was drawn for the course Doll World.

C) Cat

Funny cat drawing by Paivi Eerola

This cat was drawn for the course Magical Inkdom.

D) Leaf

Folk leaf drawing by Paivi Eerola.

This folk leaf is an older design, from 2015. See more: Art Quilts in a Modern Way

E) Horse

Fantasy horse drawing by Paivi Eerola

This fantasy horse was drawn for the course Magical Inkdom.

Tell me your favorite of the five – A) Angel, B) Girl, C) Cat, D) Leaf, or E) Horse?

Support me in the cross stitch design journey, here’s the link to purchase Primavera!

Artist’s Life – Starting New Media Art

This week, I share my latest new media art and thoughts about my career as an artist. This is a sequel to the blog post called Beginner’s Video Art that was published last month.

Unstill Still Life – Video Art

The video above is my latest artwork “Unstill Still Life.” I have done this largely by programming. I have developed generative algorithms that create and alter shapes. I have designed the individual shapes with a 3D modeling program called Blender. The models and the code are put together with the Unity Engine which is a software environment for developing games.

Inspiration from an Old Painting

With the artwork, I participated in the Finnish National Gallery’s Web3 community Alusta challenge called “Nature and Nourishment.” The Finnish National Gallery has many copyright-free images and the organization encourages artists to use them for creating new media art.

I have taken inspiration for the colors and surfaces, as well as the concept itself, from Fanny Churberg’s 1876 painting “Still Life with Vegetables and Fish.”

Fanny Churberg, still life, 1876.

I love old paintings, so this challenge was made for me. It’s so interesting to examine the brush strokes and think about the 3-dimensional shapes that they are related to. And I have so much to learn in making generative art, that I need small challenges to keep heading forward.

I Will Continue Painting, But …

I am still going to continue painting traditionally but I also want to start a career in new media art. I want to bring back my skills in programming from the years when I was a software engineer and use those for creating art. I also have a degree in Industrial Design that helps a lot with 3D modeling. The grant that I received from The Finnish Cultural Foundation has enabled me to develop my style in new media.

But all this is not only exciting but hard too. Do you know that feeling that comes when you have to start life over again? There is enthusiasm in the air, but also some “oh no”.

Building a CV

For a full-time artist, most opportunities are based on a CV.

That was not a problem when I graduated in software design in 1996. I thought: “I have plenty of time to grow my CV.” Then, when I graduated as an industrial designer in 2009, life seemed to be halfway over, but I was able to get quite a decent CV by combining some old and new projects.

When I started working as a full-time visual artist in 2014, I didn’t think about CVs at all at first.

Paivi Eerola from 2015 with her art journal.

The picture above is from 2015 when most of my art was in art journal pages.

But when I moved forward in painting, the reality hit me – it was very hard to get accepted to exhibitions and organizations without a CV. Mine was practically blank at first, and it has taken a lot of time and effort to add rows to it.

Paivi Eerola and her oil paintings. Art exhibition.

The picture above is from last summer at the exhibition organized by The Albert Edelefelt Foundation. See more pics in this blog post!

New Media Art – New Career?

And just when I thought that life was almost over at the age of 55, this new media digital art came into my life and it hit me – I’m a beginner again with an empty CV. So, I need and want to participate in challenges, competitions, and exhibitions, to get accepted again. And I want to believe that I still have time to create this new kind of art, not only paintings.

Back side view of Paivi Eerola's video artwork "Unstill Still Life." New media art.
Screen capture of my video artwork. View from the back of the scene.
Some leaves of the big plant are connected to an invisible virtual camera that moves around and sends a mirror image to them.

I learn new things about generative art every day and I am amazed that I have been given this long life to experience it. Gratitude is the overriding emotion that emerges from this new beginning. I am lucky in what I have seen in the development of information technology and what I have been able to develop and be involved in developing in the past. I want my future CV to tell the story of a girl who wanted to become an artist as a child, who fell in love with computers as a teenager, and who finally has the artistic vision and the technical tools to combine the two.

Looking Back Enables Seeing Forward

If you have been following my blog for a while, you must have noticed that my blog posts are often self-reflective like this one. Visual art-making needs self-reflection too. It’s useful to go back and see how things have changed to make future changes and take steps forward.

With the newest course Liberated Artist Revisited, I invite you to paint with me – to follow directions from Paivi many years ago, and then create more with the current Paivi. At the same time, you can ponder, how your art-making has changed and will change.

Liberated Artist Revisited - online art course by Paivi Eerola.

Liberated Artist Revisited is a limited edition – only available for purchase until the end of March 2024! >> Buy Now!

Beginner’s Video Art – Paintings Come Alive

This week, I have a video, but it’s different than what I have ever made so far.

A lot has happened in the last few months, and it has also changed my attitude towards life. I have come to believe in destiny. Usually, when I’ve looked back, I’ve seen my life as loose threads. I remember the words of a professor of control engineering from decades ago: “Miss Eerola, what are you aiming for with your studies?”

I finally have an answer for him, maybe he will read my blog from the afterlife and be pleasantly surprised.

Now I know why I have studied programming, vehicle navigation, robotics, control engineering, and industrial design with 3D modeling. Now I know why the boys playing computer games feel my tribe even though I don’t play at all. Now I know why the nerd in me didn’t die even when I was painting oil paintings day after day.

Unity editor view, beginner's video art.
A view from Unity Editor.

I have programmed this digital work using the Unity game engine. The video has two of my oil paintings in the background: Runaway Sun and Happy Earth.

Beginner’s Video Art

I’m still quite clumsy in this sport. so this is more of a practice piece than a fine video artwork. But I have learned from all art-making that it’s ok to be a beginner. And it’s ok to share pieces that are not the best of you, at least when you look at them after a while!

When my husband saw the video, he wasn’t very satisfied with the outcome. But I told him that it doesn’t really matter if you’re going on a long hike if the first gas station serves a modest meat pie. The journey is long and there will be plenty of experiences – at least if fate works as it has so far!

Thank you to the Finnish Cultural Foundation for the grant, which allows me to make digital art for many more months.

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