February 7th, 2021
Over two months have passed by since I wrote my last blog. In reality, I wrote a post about a month ago, but lost it in the process of trying to publish it and decided to wait a while longer under the very uncertain times we were experiencing. Now I feel the time is ripe for another entry.
I have been busily working on creating a new website that concentrates on my original works for sale. I am about to publish https://helenatiainen.com, which I created on wix. In California, Alameda County and City of Berkeley, all non-essential workers are still asked not to work indoors with others outside of their household. I am one of these folks. I have not been able to work with my clientele in person for nearly eleven months at this point. I am self-employed, currently mainly unemployed and I am hoping to create more income with my art. Future will tell how this goes. Making money from my artworks has happened many a times in the past, but mainly when I have participated in exhibits of one kind or another, or a client has commissioned me to create art for them after having seen some of my works. With the current restrictions, even the exhibit titled Water by Nordic 5 Arts at the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa, has been closed to the public for months and there is currently talk about extending this exhibition until mid June this year. But museums do not sell artworks they are showing, so, my painting, Waves and Swirls, will not be offered for sale until after I get it back from the museum.
From now on I will be publishing my blogs on my website at wix, https://helenatiainen.com, so, follow me there if you wish to read my blogs in the future. On wix you will be able to comment on my blogs, even if you are not a member. At least this is what I think you will be able to do as a visitor. I do hope that you will follow my blogs on my upcoming site!
December 2nd, 2020
This is the first blog I am writing since September. The political craziness and Covid-19 pandemic drained me to a degree that besides making art I did not know what I wanted to say in a blog. The amount of lies and conspiracy theories and increasing amount of illness and deaths in the US were overwhelming me and I basically had a hard time believing what was going on and was wondering how many things that were unthinkable were allowed and even tolerated. I am still having a hard time with all of this, but I decided to reflect in a blog on how all of this has been affecting me.
I have not been able to work with any of my clientele in person for over eight months now, since I am not considered an essential worker as an artist and interior designer and professional organizer and also because my clients, many of whom are vulnerable, are scared of getting sick and want to avoid close contact as much as possible. Basically I am forbidden by the state to carry on my usual business activities since middle of March. At this point Alameda County is back in the purple tier, the most restrictive one of the different tiers. There is currently a mandatory curfew order in regard to all nonessential activities from 10 PM until 5 AM every day. I have spent so much time indoors in the past eight months that I kind of feel like I am imprisoned here in a house arrest. I know that things could be worse but this image is not very uplifting and certainly does not add to my well-being. We also had horrendous fires here in California in October which made the air quality really bad even in the SF Bay Area. I have never seen skies so dark and orange and such a lack of light from the sun. It was apocalyptic.
But back to the current day. Greg, my life partner, and I are trying to follow the restrictive orders the best that we can. Except for shopping for food and other necessities and getting take-out from restaurants occasionally and doing laundry, all activities have been handled from or at home. I did go to a dentist a while back for a cleaning and check-up. Greg and I have been getting a lot of sleep and sitting by and working on the computer for hours every day. We have also been streaming much entertainment/shows and movies on TV. We have not had any visitors since mid March. For a while I was sort of suffering from an artistic block and found it hard to motivate myself to make art, but one day not too long ago I decided to just do it and since then I have been making art nearly every day, at least drawing for an hour or two or more and creating digital art and designs on the computer. I am currently working on two colorful ink drawings by hand, which might turn into mixed media if I decide to involve color pencils in them. These works already have titles. They are Together and Hello and I recently completed and published the Keep Dreaming mixed media drawing, which illustrates this blog. I will be publishing this drawing here at FAA/Pixels in near future. I have already published it at RedBubble where it is available printed-on-demand on a number of products.
I am currently participating in an exhibition titled Water at the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa: https://vesterheim.org/exhibit/water-contemporary-art/. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, this museum is currently closed to the general public. Hopefully sometime by April 2021 they will be able to open before this exhibition is over. I have also participated in some online virtual exhibits since March 2020 and a postcard exhibit that took place in Singapore. I am looking forward to the day that we can actually go and see exhibits in person without worrying about spreading a virus. I hope this day will come. Right now everything seems uncertain, but there is a promise of some vaccines becoming available in near future. I also recently heard about a nasal spray that is being developed to prevent illness from Covid-19.
I so wish that people would take this virus seriously and wear masks and keep their distance and not travel when not necessary. We are currently watching out for a surge from the Thanksgiving travel of millions of people, the consequences of which remain to be seen. I truly and sincerely hope that you will stay safe!
PS The original drawing, Keep Dreaming, is available. Contact me for more details, if you are interested.
September 22nd, 2020
As we come to another season, this time the fall here in the Northern Hemisphere, many things will likely be changing. It is almost time to vote here in the United States, and we as a nation have an opportunity to choose differently than we did four years ago. I hope and pray that people will be choosing love, and not hatred. The whole world is in deep need of healing and it is love and unity and peace that heal, not hatred and fear and separation. As so many say, this is likely the most important vote so far in most people's lifetime. This vote may determine historic directions and may in the long term define whether we are going to go toward light or dark as citizens of this planet. So, citizens of the United States, choose what you vote for by thinking ahead for seven generations, and not just immediate personal rewards. Wisdom and foresight are called for like perhaps never before. May all of us have the insights and knowledge to choose our stands wisely.
This brings me to what makes me feel whole. As you most likely know, I love painting and also drawing. There is something about the mere movements involved in art making that I find deeply healing and purposeful. I see these movements as a dance and a meditation, And these movements, whether large or small, release something through me that creates form out of the formless. These movements give inner visions actual physical bodies. They create brave new worlds. There is no other act that human beings perform that does this the way that arts do. This is why for me making art is a most powerful form of self-expression. It is also a most powerful form of communicating that which sometimes is hard to express in words. I have come to understand that what matters to us in life is very much up to us to decide. We are the ones that individually either find or do not find importance in the numerous different pursuits in life. What calls for you? What gives you purpose? What makes you love living?
August 27th, 2020
The past several months have been very challenging for so many of us. Now August is almost over and the pandemic is still very active in the United States. Many of us have not been able to work with other people in person for nearly six months. Yet, any time I go out I see people not wearing masks and/or not keeping proper distance to each other. Some people's ignorance really irritates me and also makes me very sad. More and more people out there in the world are acting as if we were over the COVID-19. Well, the truth is that we are not. And the longer people do not take precautions, the longer all of us likely will have to endure the consequences. This is a tricky virus. It spreads even from people who have no symptoms but are carriers nevertheless. Those folks are ideal for this coronavirus, which is looking to survive and spread as much as possible. Please people, take heed. Do not let this virus be smarter than you are!
On top of the worldwide pandemic, lightning fires in California and wildfires in many other states have been taking their toll. Enormous acres of beautiful forests, including old redwoods, have burnt down. We have lost some very beautiful state parks and campgrounds, like Big Basin, here in California. Some people have lost their homes and more. Thousands have had to evacuate. All of this has been very burdensome on top of the pandemic. Right now in Louisiana and Texas and many more states, hurricanes and tornadoes and tropical storms and floods are causing great destruction. Seems like mother nature is furious. And we are no match to her power.
At the same time, political conventions are taking place. Many tales are being told in order to sell the "goods". It never fails me how ironic life can be and how unreal and out of touch human beings can be. Yes, in life funerals and weddings happen at the same time all over the world. People are born and people die and somehow life goes on here on planet earth. Existence is truly tragicomic by nature and one person's floor will always be another person's ceiling.
All of these current developments have truly made me question what is important to me in life. At this point I am taking a deep look at what gives me joy and purpose and is worthy of me devoting my time to it. You could say that I am spiritually in a very green growth period and I am pretty sure that I am not in this alone!
August 1st, 2020
It is possible that we are in the dark before the light. Someone I read recently pointed out that for the majority of people in the world, life has gotten better in the past 50+ years. They based this understanding on research conducted globally.
We often forget how difficult and challenging life on this planet has been in the past for most people. Now, with the internet and social media, we are more informed about what is going on even in the most remote parts of the world than we were only thirty years ago. And then there are the improvements in science and other technologies also that have vastly improved the life of those who can afford to enjoy these advancements. And yes, I know, everything on planet earth comes at a cost and not everyone has benefited from the developments at this point.
If we go back another hundred years from 1990, most people had to wait to hear any news outside of their own community for quite a while and got these only mainly via word of mouth from people who traveled or had the privilege of hearing news otherwise.
At this point in history we are all bombarded by all kind of news, both real and unreal, and are exposed to this information whether we want to hear or see it or not. As a matter of fact we are force-fed all kinds of information on a regular basis, unless we turn off all media and stay indoors. Human beings have never before been subjected to such sensory overload of information in the known history. Most of us live in a daily overwhelm.
Maybe this truly is the dark before the dawn. I hope so and frankly this perspective gives me hope. It has become difficult for anyone to hide under the covers for any length of time, which was so easy before the worldwide internet and social media. Maybe human nature has not changed that much in the past couple of hundred years, but man-made world and our view of the world is now definitely constantly changing and expanding. We can no longer afford to live in the ignorance of the past, the cost is simply too high.
Onwards and upwards. I personally hope to see more light on planet earth!
June 11th, 2020
During the past few weeks I have been busy creating art for the upcoming Water themed exhibition at Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa. I shipped the completed painting, Waves and Swirls, with FedEx this past Monday, June 8 and it is estimated to arrive at the museum tomorrow, Friday the 12th. Hopefully all goes well with the shipping since to my dismay I learnt that with FedEx one can only insure a painting for up to $1000 and this piece is valued at $2000. So, may its travels be safe and go smoothly!
The Water Exhibition is a collaborative exhibition involving the members of Nordic 5 Arts, a professional artist's group consisting of members born in or with heritage in or admiration of or inspiration from the five Nordic countries: Denmark and Finland and Iceland and Norway and Sweden. I have shown with this group many a times all over the Bay Area and beyond. This is our first show in Iowa and Vesterheim Museum is in reality a museum of Norwegian heritage.
Creating this painting, Waves and Swirls, 36 by 24 inches, acrylic on stretched canvas, was a true challenge for me. I wanted to create a piece that talks about the constant and neverending flow of energy, water being the metaphor. I wanted to create a piece that talks about how everything great is created from the united small. How even the greatest oceans are built from drops of water. I also wanted to reflect on the fact that our differences are superficial and this rainbow is beautiful and nothing to fear because underneath it all we are truly one and in reality all separation is an illusion.
There are at least five different versions in this painting. It took this before I could declare this piece done. Yes, my artworks tell me when enough is enough and I can stop working on them.
April 29th, 2020
I am glad to announce that my clogged ear has cleared out. The herbal allergy remedy and hydrogen peroxide treatments have done their usual magic and my hearing is just about back to normal in my right ear. Yay! This makes me happy. Now if only we could overcome this COVID-19 crisis in the world...
Many independent artist sites, such as Fine Art America aka Pixels and Redbubble and Zazzle and more are now offering masks. But to my dismay, mainly made with polyester, which is not what the authorities recommend for this purpose. Wearing a polyester mask is not good for many reasons. Polyester is basically plastic and germs, in particular this novel virus, live longer on plastic surfaces. It also does not seem like a good idea to breath through this type of mask. After all, polyester is a synthetic fiber derived from coal, air, water, and petroleum. Minute polyester particles might carry into the lungs, for all we know. And unless proper nontoxic inks are used in the printing process, who knows what else might get into the body of the person breathing through printed polyester. Also, polyester does not "breath' the way that cotton and natural fibers do, so on top of other concerns, this mask might be uncomfortable to wear, unless microfiber, which brings along its own concerns. I notified FAA/Pixels about these concerns and the answer I got back was that they will take my suggestion of switching into cotton under consideration, but for now they will keep on using polyester. Why is it that serious recommendations by experts are not taken seriously? Is maximum profit really this important? More important than health? Yes, polyester is cheap and increasingly common in fabrics. But this is not really a sound solution. After all, polyester is a form of plastic and are plastics not considered environmentally undesirable overall?
I hope that people know better than to purchase potentially harmful products to remedy a potentially deadly situation. After all, in the end we are all responsible for our own health, whether we acknowledge this or not. Stay safe and make sound choices! There are so many unknowns in the current picture...
April 21st, 2020
Now everyone who goes outside to public places is legally required to wear a face covering here in Alameda County and five other counties in the Bay Area. They will not enforce this until next Wednesday, but it is now required. It is not that easy to acquire masks here in the US, so, many will have to either wear scarves or bandanas or make their own one way or another. There is now a market for fabric masks. I noticed today, to my surprise, that even FAA/Pixels has added masks, but this does not show publicly yet. I made my latest posted art available as a mask, with a minimal profit for me. But hey, if this trend of face coverings goes on, maybe many of us will have to wear something to stop droplets from traveling for quite a while, so, perhaps this is going to be a new apparel item and we might as well make the best out of this horrible situation as well! Why not have unique art masks, if those can be afforded!
Stay well and stay safe. I personally am suffering from a clogged right ear due to allergies. This happens to me once or twice a year in one ear or another and drives me batty every time because telling the direction where sounds come from becomes very distorted! Being able to hear "equally" well with two ears is a blessing. I know, most of us have slightly better hearing in one ear, I do not recall whether this is left or right. Anyhow, this condition also shall pass, like everything in life does...
April 4th, 2020
Last few weeks have been unlike anything else that I have experienced previously in my life. The world has become a strange place where physical distancing of six or more feet from people who do not live with you is required. All but so called essential workers are ordered to stay home. Everything seems turned upside down from the way we usually live our lives due to COVID-19 worldwide. As an artist and designer I am one of those non-essential self-employed workers. Since I choose not to work with hoarders and my specialty is aesthetics and functionality in my organizing services, I am basically now without ability to look for more clientele to work with in person and am on hold with my other clientele. This is sad. But not as sad as people dying from this virus. However, I do wonder how we are going to dig ourselves out of the looming recession that seems inevitable. None of us know how long the restrictions and mandates are going to last. Nearly everyone's life has been seriously disrupted and disturbed by these new realities that are not so easy to adjust to. As an empath I am having a difficult time. Even though I am personally getting by, I feel the pain and the suffering going on in this world and hope that a vaccination will be available soon and that we will be able to put an end to this virus and return to more normal life, which likely will never be the same as it was before. Maybe there is a blessing even in this suffering. Things we have taken for granted will likely be perceived not so much for granted after this storm has passed. More unity is possible. More kindness is possible. More respect is possible, as long as personal biases and prejudices are not allowed to take over the potential for goodness within humanity. This could be and also should be a big wake up call for us earthlings! We are all in the same boat and that which is a threat to one of us is also a threat to all of us. Let us choose peace. Let us choose love.
February 29th, 2020
I recently completed a mixed media digital work that started its life as an abstract ink and pencil and prismacolor drawing on paper that I scanned and altered and transformed. I titled this piece Every Thing Out Of No Thing and I ended up creating three versions of it, naming them Every Thing Out Of No Thing 1 and 2 and 3. These three versions then ended up creating a larger digital collage titled Every Thing Out Of No Thing - A Triptych, which was eventually transformed into Every Thing Out Of No Thing - A Triptych Spring Version, the image of which I have linked to this blog. I find the process of making art so very representative of any process in life .My mind keeps on being involved with things until they reach some form of completion. Now that I have created this work, A Triptych Spring Version, some part of me thinks that I should alter the individual works titled 1 and 2 and 3 into Spring Versions as well and make these public for the sake of balance and alternative arrangements of preference, should anyone like to have prints or printed products of these alone or use them in a different order than I did in the A Triptych Spring Version. I may end up creating these works. But first I have to photograph my latest ink and pencil on paper drawing titled When The Cat Jumps Out Of The Bag, which I hope to publish soon. Do you think it is a good idea for me to create the Spring Versions of the Every Thing Out of No Thing 1 and 2 and 3, which will be in light pastels for most part, just like in the A Triptych Spring Version? Let me know if you have an opinion about this. In the meanwhile, Happy Spring to All, beginning March 19, which will arrive most likely prior to my next blog here on FAA/Pixels!!!