Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Art-Making and Garden Life

This week, I talk about how gardening inspires both my husband and me. The garden is present in these two new miniature paintings as well.

Two miniature oil paintings, inspired by a garden. By Päivi Eerola, Finland.
“Kesän viemää” (gone with summer) and “Syksyn tuomaa” (brought by fall), miniature oil paintings on canvas, 6 x 6 inches

It is already autumn in Finland, but we have summer in our hearts because we have done a lot of work in the garden during the summer. My husband has put all his energy there, I don’t have quite as big a passion. The garden is his canvas, but for me, painting is the most important.

Freely Grown – and a New Sweet Spot

Päivi Eerola and her art, inspired by a garden. Watercolors and colored pencils on paper.

I have a new course in the making called Freely Grown, which I hope to run in late October and get for pre-sale next week. There we will paint layered flowers in watercolor and finish the painting with colored pencils.

Lately, I’ve found my sweet spot in the way I look at plants. I can see both playfulness and soulfulness in them. This perspective has brought new positivity to my life. I think that art always has a lot of possibilities. Making art is like walking down a long corridor full of doors. Now I have found a door where I can be funny and profound at the same time. This insight also affects the creation of the course. I’ve had a lot of fun, although I haven’t compromised on explaining the details.

Making a Dream Come True

The garden is my husband’s canvas. He’s been making a bigger water feature all summer. It’s big enough to be called a pond. I wasn’t terribly excited about it, but the further the project has progressed, the more I understand his vision.

Building a pond for the garden.

One of the hardest things both in art-making and garden life is visioning – so, dreaming! The dream must be simplified so that it can be remembered during the making. All projects have ugly phases. The dream must still be maintained.

Even these miniature paintings, for which I use leftover paints from the palette, looked pretty terrible at first.

Miniature paintings in progress. First dark layers.

However, I had a dream and knew these would become really nice.

Two miniature paintings inspired by a garden. By artist Paivi Eerola.

I also made small paintings like this earlier this year, remember?

Four miniature paintings by paivi Eerola.

See this blog post for more pics!

Planning a Garden

In the spring, we hired a professional garden planner to draw a plan for a part of our backyard.

Garden perennials. End of summer in the garden.

It was a bit like taking a course. We got points of view from a professional and she helped us to see further in our dreams. With that, I learned a lot about plants and how to plan a garden like dividing a house into rooms. It is not very far from a painting.

Two minuature paintings. Oil on canvas.

Think about a painting as a place that has its own identity. My small paintings are like tiny closets but bigger ones often like halls.

Runaway Sun – Karannut aurinko, 70 x 120 cm, oil on canvas. By Paivi Eerola.
Runaway Sun – Karannut aurinko, 70 x 120 cm, oil on canvas.

See more pics about this big painting in this blog post!

Art-Making and Garden – Back to the Pond

The pond is entirely my husband’s work – although he has probably watched all the pond-building videos on YouTube!

I feel that the pond already affects my paintings. Do you remember this watercolor painting I presented a couple of weeks ago?

Freely grown flowers and water. Watercolors and colored pencils on paper. By Paivi Eerola.

See this blog post for more pics!

I think I already have a little love for that pond, its plants, its reflections, and how it reminds me of Monet’s garden.

Pond view.

However, winter is already coming. Art-making and garden life will be a bit more separate then. But the flowers will bloom on the canvas. And my husband will start watching YouTube again to see what he could create next summer.

A closeup of a miniature painting inspired by garden life. By Paivi Eerola.

Can you relate? Do you have a garden?

Love for Flowers by Painting and Using Colored Pencils

This week has been rainy, but I still want to talk about the love for flowers!

Art for the love for flowers. Painting with watercolors and finishing with colored pencils. By the artist Paivi Eerola, Finland.
Watercolors and colored pencils, size: A3

Over the years, my husband and I have become more and more interested in plants. This summer we have renovated our backyard garden and reduced the amount of grass. The garden now has a large pond, a pergola, new trees and shrubs, deep perennial beds, and natural slate paving. It takes time for the plants to take root, but it’s already looking better than before.

The renovation has strengthened my inspiration for flowers and plants. In August, there are still flowers in Finland, but when fall comes, I am comforted by grasses and mosses. In winter, I focus on houseplants. The presence of plants puts my life in perspective, but in such a way that there is room for play and imagination.

Coloring with colored pencils over watercolor painting. By Paivi Eerola, Finland.

I feel my core unit is a flower and everything else is born from that.

Growing Love for Flowers

When I look at flowers in the wind and rain, the bending of their petals and stems in different directions creates an endless number of abstract compositions. I find it artistically inspiring, but I’m also inspired by the spiritual connection I feel with flowers. Flowers have expressions and gestures just like people have. Any big theme can be expressed through them.

Oil painting in progess. Love for flowers by the artists Päivi Eerola.
A new oil painting in progress. The theme is liberty – will share more pics later!

Already in 2017, I wrote about the secret language of flowers and now six years later, I feel I don’t only understand it but can use it myself. This ability has made my art more expressive, and there’s a lot I want to share with you too.

Coming Up! – Freely Grown

Last month I started to feel the urge to do a new online course. I toyed with many ideas, but again, flowers were the only ones that inspired me. So I have now been building a flower painting course called Freely Grown. It declares love for flowers and explains how to catch their free spirit.

The course is a bit different than many of my other courses, as this one focuses on one project instead of many different ones. The project is first painted with watercolors and then finished with colored pencils.

A sneak peek to an upcoming online course Freely Grown, instructor Paivi Eerola.
A sneak peek of the course project!

Painting with watercolors is fun and colored pencils make it easier to finish the painting. It’s much easier and faster than working in oil, but I share many tips that can be used with any supplies. We will paint freely without any photos but aim for a natural impression.

A detail of a watercolor painting that has been finished with colored pencils.
This closeup shows how colored pencils can enhance watercolor painting. Notice the thin lines and strengthening of colors!

My plan is to start the sale in September and the actual course in October. I hope you will come and paint!

Beautiful Blog Post

This week is about creating beauty, and I have a beautiful blog post for you.

Pansies, pansies, pansies. An illustration for a beautiful blog post by Paivi Eerola.

Violets on an Adventure

Ten years ago, an old yard tiling gave us a surprise. Renovating it had been on our to-do list, but there had been other things to do in the house. But we were lucky.

Life in a pot, a detail.

The violets planted in the pot had looked at the tiling and its gaps with completely different eyes. What an opportunity for seeds! So, the following year, we were able to enjoy the glory of flowers in the surprising place.

Pansies give a beautiful surprise.

Creativity is a flower that wants to break free from its pot and get on an adventure. Abundance is allowed and ugliness can enable beauty. 

A beautiful blog post about real pansies and painting beautiful flowers.

A painting that starts with a few ugly brushstrokes can be decorated
to rich and beautiful.

Beautiful Decodashery

Paint beautiful flowers in the online class Decodashery. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

My online class Decodashery is about creating beauty that easily finds its purpose. This kind of art is not just fun to make but perfect for cards and gifts.

Decodashery is one of my personal favorites. The videos are inspiringly colorful and uplifting. You play with the tradition of decorative art and create beauty that people have always found attractive. >> Buy here!

Fantastic Watercolor Sceneries

This week, we explore watercolor sceneries. Landscapes have always been an uncomfortable theme for me, but despite that, I consider myself to be some kind of landscape painter. Even this digital watercolor painting is a landscape.

Watercolor garden, a digital painting in ProCreate by Paivi Eerola, Finland.
A digital watercolor painting in Procreate

Here I mixed the memories of the sunny days of the last fall with the eager wait for the upcoming blooming season.

What Do Landscapes Mean to You?

I think that landscapes are relevant to any growing artist. It is important to look at your relationship with basic themes such as:

  • human or animal – portrait
  • inanimate object – still-life
  • nature – landscape

Of these, I have the closest relationship with the landscape, and through that, I also have a special relationship with places.

Hello Fall, a watercolor painting. See more watercolor sceneries by Paivi Eerola.
“Hello Fall”, a watercolor painting from 2019. See the video of me painting this!

Even if I take photos of interesting sceneries, I am not at all enthusiastic about copying the landscape as it is. I’m a romantic who sees even the ugliest grass field as an exciting jungle. I often crouch down to explore the world from the perspective of a modest plant, where everything looks big and grand.

Spring flowers

The landscape can also be a stage for an event. When I looked out the window of my room as a child, I was saddened by the fact that nothing was happening in the small area of ​​detached houses. However, I paid attention to the house visible on the hill and how its roof seemed to change color in different lighting and in different seasons.

This kind of slow dynamics characteristic of the landscape is fascinating because when we paint we are not prisoners of time. We can fill the view with all kinds of activity. Various colors and states of one object can be gathered and everything can be lifted into flight and movement.

Creating watercolor sceneries in ProCreate.
Creating watercolor sceneries in ProCreate. Here I am working on the details. With two fingers, you can easily zoom in to focus on one detail and then quickly zoom back to the big picture.

By thinking about what a landscape means to me, I have built a bridge to my childhood and enabled creative play.

From Traditional Landscapes to Expanded Sceneries

Even if I now see playfulness in landscapes, it took me a long time to realize that traditional landscape painting can be expanded. You can choose to express a real place, but make a completely own interpretation of it.

Return of the Summer Cloud, oil on canvas, by Paivi Eerola, Finland.
“Return of the Summer Cloud,” oil on canvas, 2023. inspired by the old gardens of the area where I live. See this post to read more about this painting and making the fantasy out of your surroundings.

For me, watercolors have played a key role in this realization. In 2018, I started making small panorama paintings, in which I painted holiday travel memories, picking up details here and there from the photos as if reconstructing the place.

Small watercolor panoramas. See more watercolor sceneries by Paivi Eerola!

See this post to read more about these watercolor panoramas!

Holding a small watercolor painting.

I also had a small sketchbook where I made watercolor sceneries, some realistic, some fantasy. See this post to watch a video about keeping a watercolor diary!

Florence, Italy in a watercolor journal. By Paivi Eerola.
Florence, Italy – From the course Watercolor Journey

And of course, I also made the course Watercolor Journey from my insights.

In this course, you travel between imagination, memories, and reality. >> Buy here!

The Journey Continues

At the moment I am painting a small ditch, from which I have grown a beautiful landscape on a large canvas.

By the ditch.

In the painting, a lot is happening and nothing is static or insignificant.

Oil painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola.
Oil painting in progress.

In art, the only limit is our imagination. It doesn’t matter where we live, in our paintings we can make it the place we want to travel to next!

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