It all started when we moved out to my Father's ancestral woods...
The world of imagination opens up
When I was four years old, we moved to my Dad’s childhood forest, to live in a small valley where he had built us his dream house. I loved it. The maples, rowans, pines and spruces immediately became my best friends. My mother, who easily moved in the world of imagination, supported this new abundance by reading us story after story. The stories of Anni Swan, Zacharias Topelius, Hans Christian Andersen, The Thousand and One Nights, the art of Rudolf Koivu, this is the rich world of my childhood. Fairies, horses, panthers, elves, talking to animals were a part of my every day imaginary life. At some point I realized that growing up meant leaving all this behind. I resisted that for the longest time. When I was thirteen, I had an awakening. It seemed everyone around me was feeling powerless to change what they did not like about life. I could not seem to find even one person who was happy. I felt clear about not wanting to live my life like that, but wondered if there were any alternatives.
This is when I decided to go out on a quest. I was going to find people who were happy and then I was going to learn how to be happy, myself. It was a time before life coaches, even psychotherapy was more of an anomaly in our little town. So I started reading and reading. Just everything I could get my hands on. Paul Brunton, Gabrielle Roth, Natalie Goldberg, Jane Roberts, Richard Bach, Julia Cameron, Anne Lamott, Clarissa Pinkola Estés.
Around me, my life was crumbling. My mother and father were desperately unhappy, both in their own ways. My sister also. Sometimes it seemed impossible that the things I read about in my books were even possible. I used to plant small notes to myself around the house.
“Change is possible.”
“It is safe to express your creativity.”
“The present is your point of power.”
Switzerland, the exchange year
It was as if all the emotions and feelings I had frozen down inside myself started to thaw. My experience of the youth culture in Bern was very different from the one in Helsinki. No alcohol, no sexual tension, very little popular culture. Instead, there was suddenly room to write poetry, make art, meet friends who saw the artist in me. Meet people who saw me as I saw myself. Not as the weird outcast of my past life. Not as someone trying to keep the family together. As an artist, trying to make sense of and express this exploration of life. I had my second awakening in Switzerland and realized that the dreams I had only kept in my heart just may be possible. A seed was planted.
I decided to create a life worth living. At that point, at eighteen years old, I knew I wanted to be an artist. Painting brought me to the core of my existence, time and time again. There were obstacles galore. I wasn’t sure if I was talented, my father was vehemently opposed to the idea, thick skin was a joke, it was rather like I had no skin at all and I had a deep seated depression that made every day life a challenge. But there was something that staid in my mind from all the studying I had done. The thought that the present is our point of power, that we can trust our impulses to lead us forward.
Healing the past, coming to the present
So my twenties was filled with healing, learning to live with my Beloved Engineer, whom I had started dating a few years after my exchange year and slowly implementing my increasing trust in life into my artmaking. With every ounce of my being I fought my way closer to art. The inner programming I had received at home, that helping others is most important, art is worthless, was changing very very slowly. So as I educated myself in visual arts, I also studied coaching, social work and expressive arts.
It wasn’t until 2010, already a mother of two, graduated from art school since six years, that I knew I had to decide. If I was going to be an artist; I. Had. To. Start. Painting. I had to stop hating myself for who I was. I had to stop rejecting the core of myself. This is when I painted the watercolor “I Open up to Love”.
After I decided that I chose to paint, chose to be an artist, I had to take on my resistance to creating and being seen. If you’re interested in that journey, you may want to visit my old blog at Color Is Action. I worked at creating something each day and learning to accept the point where I was at, while putting effort in becoming a better painter, learning more about acrylic color and mixed media. The balance of staying open and vulnerable enough to paint and yet strong enough to talk about my art, connect to art collectors and stay visible in the world was akin to lifting weights. I got stronger as time went by.
Of course, people like Seth Godin, Ted Orland, David Bayles and Steven Pressfield and their books were instrumental to this learning. My art show DreamMaker, HeartBreaker, in August 2015 was a tribute to the Dreamer, to how our dreams mold us, challenge us and help us (make us) let go of what no longer serves.
And then for something completely different
In the beginning of 2016, I noticed something new while making art. Although the impulses to paint still come from inside, something new had happened. It is as if I had given birth to my art and it was no longer inside of me, in the shape on an inner artist, but instead a phenomenon I could communicate with in a new way. This lead to the size of the paintings growing and the working time increasing, as well as the amount of layers in each painting. A new kind of imagery started growing.
This is where I am now, writing this story that keeps changing, as I keep changing my reality and view of the world.
Through the years, I’ve come to understand that this is my place in the world. Painting is my way of being. I work in layers and layers of mixed media and explore phenomena that arises in the life of a practicing idealist. When a collector connects to a painting and brings it to their home, the circle is complete.
I am grateful for all the beautiful people I get to meet through this journey and all the stories we are sharing. My hope is that my art can convey a strong sense of interconnectedness. That although we are all here on a sovereign journey on this planet, none of us are ever truly alone, because we share this experience and have the ability to connect, to love, to share our vulnerability and humanity.
What I’m working on now:
Sustenance is what I’m exploring right now. What kinds of sustenance do we need, to keep our dreams going? What if we burn out? Who are the ones that have traveled this path before and what did they learn? How to make a living, living our dream? How to keep our hearts from hardening?
No answers, yet, and only two paintings, both works in progress. This is proving to be another adventure of a life time, though. 🙂