I’m so excited to have been able to interview my mentor in art Paivi Eerola creator of Peony and Parakeet.  She is from Finland and worked as a software engineer and industrial designer in the past. Her passion for art has driven her to become a full-time artist.

She has developed many classes and I will be forever grateful for encountering her through the internet. I  took my first class in April 2017, and since then I have signed up for many more. She is an amazing teacher always innovating as she looks for ways to boost creativity and imagination. Her classes are easy to follow and she finds ways to connect with you and share different processes that lead a beginner like me to create art. She allows each student to express and communicate through painting and we are not tied up to her personal style. On the contrary, she inspires her students to find their own way.

I stated that she is my mentor because aside from teaching different techniques she also provides feedback that allows me to visualize and analyze my work through different perspectives. For me this is a powerful tool that encourages me to get better and keep exploring in different ways. She guides in a way that leads me to grow  and to help me in the process of creating intuitively and reflecting on what is taking place inside of me while creating.

I hope you enjoy this interview with Päivi and I would encourage anyone who would like to try out her courses to do so.

What inspires you to create online art classes?

Päivi Eerola: In general, I have always been eager to share what I know, and I think I was born with a love for teaching. When it comes to teaching art, it’s especially inspiring to be able to spread the positive change that art has in every person. I love that art is not just about mastering the techniques or just self-expression but combines both. When you can create an image that is bot visually pleasing to you and connects you with the imagination, it’s always an empowering experience no matter what struggles you had while creating. I believe that we can make images that both nurture and challenge ourselves intellectually. Whatever your mood is, there’s always a new angle that you can take and start creating. One of the main things as an instructor is to help you find these new perspectives.

Do you teach beginners or more advanced?

Päivi Eerola: I teach both, and I have both self-study classes and those who include more interaction. Most of the people that come to my interactive classes have been creating for a while but are in need of more inspiration and guidance. Often when you want to move forward, it’s difficult or too slow just to create alone. Also building a community and enabling friendships is important to me. I think every artist should have artist friends for support and company!

What would you say to someone who is hesitant to start creating art?

Päivi Eerola: I would say that every person needs some me-time to connect with their quiet power. I would suggest buying a small set of artist quality colored pencils, placing the pencils in a jar, and putting the jar somewhere where they can reach them quickly. Start coloring a blank journal or squares of a calendar so that there’s a flow of colors from one to another. It doesn’t have to be anything grand. I still do that even if I am a full-time artist!

Have you ever struggled with creating art in your growth as an artist?

Päivi Eerola: All the time! Art is a never-ending path, and there’s always a new level that challenges you and a new direction that you can take. Almost any piece that I create includes some struggling. When I started teaching, I thought I should try to hide my difficulties, but nowadays I try to be as open as possible about it. To my art, visualizing movement is very important, and it has taken a long time to learn how to do it on paper.

The struggles with the expression – what to create and how to deliver it – are the most difficult ones because there’s no one right answer. That’s why art critique generally focuses on the technical aspects like the composition or the sense of depth only. In my community Bloom and Fly, I try to give feedback that includes the expression and imagination as well. I also have a small group coaching program The Exploring Artist that is about getting clear about what you want to do with your art.

See all my classes and subscribe to a free one at www.peonyandparakeet.com

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