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All In – Finding Uncommon Inspiration

This week, I share my biggest painting so far, and talk about computer games and all the things that should not inspire but that do!

"All In - Kaikki peliin" - oil painting by Paivi Eerola.
“All In” – “Kaikki peliin” – oil painting, 92 x 65 cm

Here’s the last painting of the series that I have been working on this year. It’s called “All In.” The Finnish translation “Kaikki peliin” is perhaps even more suitable because there’s the word “peli” – the game. In this painting, I made every element look like it moves – like in a computer game!

I Am Not a Gamer

No, I am not! Actually, I am the last person who should be talking about computer games because I don’t play them at all. But I have seen some commercials on television and Youtube, and they make my heart beat faster – that’s the tribe where I belong! Despite I hate seeing violence, and don’t usually even watch action movies. Action upsets me. In general, I prefer everything cute and pretty.

Oil painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola.
See the previous stages of this painting in this post!

My Imagination Loves Games

But when I paint, I am not just an artist with all kinds of brushes and tubes. I become a nerd who tries to find the fastest processor and the best graphics driver for rendering 3D from her brain. It no longer matters what kind of art I should create and how art should be created. I change to a guy who moves from one level to the next, always seeking more monsters, more excitement, more points.

A very detailed oil painting. Finding uncommon inspiration. By Paivi Eerola.

Because I don’t play the games, I should not even know how it is like. Yet, I feel I do. Namely, in my twenties, I chose computers over art. I felt I belonged to the world of introverts who built systems – worlds of their own. And now, when I paint, my paintings bring me back to the same setting – how to build a world that operates like a fast-moving game, with many layers and levels.

A detail of an oil painting by Paivi Eerola. Expressing excitement and danger.

This is not what I would have expected. If someone said to me: “Hey Paivi, you should paint game sceneries. Make your own games!” I am pretty certain that a couple of years ago my answer would have been: “You must be kidding. I am a feminine romantic who hates that stuff!”

The Adventure for Uncommon Inspiration

But art is an adventure. It’s not only a journey to a variety of techniques and skills but also an exploration that includes the darkest corners of your mind.

A detail of an oil painting by Paivi Eerola, inspired by computer games. Finding uncommon inspiration for art.

In 1980s, I was a girl who sat in a local library on hot summer days, browsing big books of old art. My dream was to become an artist, but knowing that it would not be safe or easy, I said I wanted to be an English teacher. Between the art books of the library, I saw young boys browsing computer magazines. I went to the shelf after them and knew that I also belonged there – to that group of nerds. And when I saw a computer for the first time, my heart beat fast like for the best painting of a museum.

A detail of an oil painting by Paivi Eerola. Loose brush strokes that express fast motion. Finding uncommon inspiration to discover visual voice and visual language.

Making a series of paintings has been quiet and hard work. I have had lots of self-doubts and melancholic moments between the sessions. But when I paint, it’s all good. My paintings say: “Tell me what you want and we will give it to you!” And often, I don’t know what to reply, but they seem to know anyway. Like I never told them how nerd I am, but they shamelessly reveal everything and apologize for nothing.

Paivi Eerola and her oil painting "All In"

We talk a lot about being unique as artists, but what about if a part of the solution is just to find inspiration that feels uncommon to us. It could be something that we try to get rid of but never seem to manage to do. Or something that we find appalling but still strangely captivating.

What could be your uncommon inspiration? Could the art that you create be a little different from the art that you like to consume? What do you think?

12 thoughts on “All In – Finding Uncommon Inspiration

  1. Not only is this an incredibly beautiful painting it is one that reveals great insight and courage on your part Päivi. I hope it enlightens the parts of you suppressed and even oppressed because of socialized self judgement. Perhaps the gates of an internal prison unlocked will see you soar to even greater heights. All of you is unique and magnificent. Much love to you.xxx

  2. It is a rare person such as you who can embrace the transitional phases of self discovery while sharing it all with others. I’ve enjoyed watching your journey and learned so much from what you share. The hidden things I see in myself are only the things that hold me back. Perhaps I just need to create more art.

    1. Thank you, Cheryl! Writing helps in this self-discovery but yes, I think it’s important to create a lot too. For a visual artist, having a regular routine and always learning new techniques and ideas are maybe more important than to be able to put everything into words.

  3. This painting is so mental. Sometimes I feel like the painting. I get speeded up and I become a bundle of thoughts that take me deeper and deeper into myself. It’s hard to get back to the light sometimes. It’s very revealing and truthful.

    1. Thank you, Phyllis! I love what you wrote and feel so too. Sometimes we want back to the light and sometimes deeper and deeper. That’s the game of the mind!

  4. A very informative and absorbing post, Paivi! Since I already commented in Bloom and Fly, I will just say here that your painting is bewitching; it’s daring and exciting and your exploration into the “dark” is essential–I think it captivates all of us, because it is a side that is common to all, even if we don’t want to admit it!

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