October 31st, 2019
In 2012 I started an ambitious project titled The Joy of Design. These works are small square original acrylic paintings on stretched canvas, ranging in size from 6 by 6 to 10 by 10 inches at this point, but maybe also larger or smaller in future. There are currently 53 completed original acrylics in this series and I am currently working on a few more. Some originals have been sold, due to people really wanting to purchase these paintings, but majority still remain unsold. I am aiming at painting 100 originals total in this series, which I will continue to scan and use these scans as building blocks for other arrangements that I will sell in digital and print format. There is already a large quantity of these derived artworks and one of the categories is The Joy of Design Mandala Series Puzzles. At the time that I am writing this blog I have created nine arrangements of seven puzzles each and as a final note, a compilation of all nine arrangements in six of these puzzles to this point, so, a total of 69 Mandala Puzzles, all created with a selected set of images put together in different order in each arrangement. This series is about altering perceptions and seeing differently. Strange magic happens when the original painting scans are moved around in arrangements. The effect is very kaleidoscopic and the new connections reveal new visions and beings and magical worlds and apparitions in the eye of the beholder. All of these associations happen in the mind of the viewer and even I to this date see different things appear in these abstract works than what I originally perceived. I now invite you to check out the works in The Joy of Design Mandala Series Puzzles and to let your mind wander and see what you will find! https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/helena-tiainen?tab=artworkgalleries&artworkgalleryid=396824
September 28th, 2019
This past month I have been very busy organizing and designing an upcoming art event titled FinnART 2019 - Finns & Friends: Arts and Crafts at the Berkeley Finnish Hall. This event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6, from 11 AM to 6 PM, at the historic hall in Berkeley, California, located at 1970 Chestnut Street at University Avenue. All are invited and admission is free.
I am one of the two currently active volunteer cochairs and coordinators and my main responsibility has been to enroll artists and makers to participate and make sure all follow through with what is needed from them. But I have also been the treasurer and the graphic artist and space planner and task master and so much more for this event. Much more than I ever imagined has become my responsibility since one of the originally three cochairs and coordinators had to withdraw from active leadership early on, but after the process had been started. She and I have organized some three or four successful FinnART events in the past, I believe the last one took place in 2007. Thankfully we do have a couple of very active and helpful participating artists who have truly given their best to assist with tasks like online marketing and helping design signs and posters and ordering them as well. I am truly thankful for all the assistance I have been receiving from these most generous participants and also my cochair and coordinator, who is a novice to planning art events and whose main responsibility has been managing the downstairs cafeteria and the silent auction table to benefit the maintenance of the historic Berkeley Finnish Hall. Some artists have opted to donate their arts and crafts to this silent auction, which will end on Sunday, October 6 at 4 PM, two hours prior to the event closing, at which point the winners will be notified.
Making my own art, all except drawing and digital mixed media, has taken a back seat due to my workload. I truly dream of making more paintings, instead of organizing my own art and products for the upcoming event, in which I am also a participating artist. Time is precious and there is only so much any one person can do, so, whatever is in the front burner gets priority. And FinnART 2019 has seriously been a priority for me and I imagine for all involved in the past month or so. But all the plans are coming together and this is promising to be a most interesting event. If you are in the vicinity do come and see the art and crafts of the thirteen participating makers, myself included. We have painters and sculptors and jewelry makers and photographers and ceramists and glass fusion artists and more. We have fine arts and dream catchers and elves and all kind of scarves from handmade to printed and mugs and totes and greeting cards and so many more magical creations. Two of the participants also make herbal healing salves and potions. I am personally looking very forward to this fair and all that the makers have to offer. But hey, you are all invited, so, come and see for yourselves!
August 3rd, 2019
I find myself in a dilemma in regard to time. There simply does not seem to be enough of it when it comes to everything that I wish to accomplish and also at the same time maintain some balance in my life. Seems like something in my life always has to give, whether sleep or pleasure or something else that is seemingly optional and can be postponed to make room for some mandatory task with deadlines. Just like most people, who are not independently wealthy, there are the things that I have to do to maintain basic order and also to stay on top of bills and bookkeeping and everything else that it takes to keep a roof above my head and some level of sanity in regard to my day to day life. I would rather the dishes and most of the time cooking, which I used to enjoy, and cleaning and other mundane tasks would take care of themselves! But no. Can you tell I might be stressed out? I need my sleep and rest. I literally yearn for moments when I do not do anything at all but sit and breath and exist in the here and now. These moments in real life are rare and few. Most days I do not have any time to meditate, which I know would be a very good thing for me to do. I often live in a seeming overwhelm. The life of a self-employed artist and designer is full of challenges and long work hours, many with no predictable pay, and this is the life I have chosen to live. Most of the art I have produced recently is either drawing and/or digital mixed media and design. Just yesterday I ordered some stretched canvases. Yes, I am planning on making some more paintings on canvas in very near future! And somehow I will have to find a way to balance my life better. What this means in reality is currently a big question mark to me. I will have to do some soul searching to see what I can let go off to make room for what is most important to me. Life has been pulling me in so many directions lately and I know I will need to become more focused in order to find more balance. But there are just so many things I want to do and every year seems to go faster! There is a part of me that thinks I should just go with the flow and another part that thinks that I need to limit and prioritize my activities and involvements and set clear goals. Right now I am not sure which part to listen to since I find wisdom in both methods. There are times that going with the flow is the right thing to do. There are also times that having a plan and following through with the plan is very effective and satisfying. It is not easy feeling divided. So for now at least, I will choose to go with the flow as much as possible on this Saturday and see where it takes me. I know from past experience that rigidity in any form has never worked well for me. Sooner or later it only brings out my inner rebel!
July 2nd, 2019
I have to admit that releasing stress has been more than challenging lately. There are many things going on in this world that are of extreme concern to anyone with feet on the ground and even if my own life is basically okay with no major crises I see suffering everywhere and it makes my heart ache. Homelessness in Berkeley is alarming, as well as elsewhere in this world, whether refugees fleeing their homes in search of survival and better life, or people outcast by society for one reason or another. Life is extremely challenging for many and with rulers that are uncaring and only have interest in their own prosperity, life on planet earth can turn into hell for humankind. We are living in very challenging times and cultivating happiness has become tasking. I try not to take my own mind chatter too seriously since I know that turbulence is the nature of the mind, but I tend to get sucked into negative thought patterns fast and furious and I can feel the tension in the air. This is where taking pleasure in small things steps in for me, because I know that there are still also many good things going on in this world where duality is the name of the game. Trees and plants and water and earth and animals have always been a huge healing source for me. I try to spend as much time as possible in natural settings instead of in the cities where everything humanity shares, whether desirable or deplorable, is always concentrated. In my heart of hearts I believe that we can create a better world, but it starts with caring and compassion. There really is no better advice in regard to living than the golden rule. If we all would do unto others as we would like to have done unto us, this world would change. Based on my observations, there is simply too much selfish and self-centered activity going on with people. Me, myself and I first kind of attitudes do not serve the good of the all. Never have and never will. Everything on this planet is one and we are all in the same boat. Energy here only changes form, it never simply disappears. Eventually we all breath the same air and drink the same water. And nothing is really solid or separate. We now know that molecules travel through what we call dense matter constantly. This world is a place of wonder. This world and all existence is mystical and magical beyond our ability to comprehend. Remember to find joy in taking pleasure in small things. I know I will. After all, in the bigger picture, there is no great or small and everything is relative.
May 31st, 2019
It has been nearly two months since my last blog. I have been so busy with many aspects in my life that I simply have not had the time to create another blog article until now, at the end of May. I do not even know if anyone reads these blogs, except when I post them on Facebook and get some likes or feedback. Whether anyone will read these or not, I made a commitment to write them and they do serve a purpose as a form of diary. I get to reflect and share by writing these blogs. See, the truth is that my life has been sort of chaotic lately. Seems like I have had more than my share of things to handle and not much time for pleasure or fun. I hope to change this in the coming summer months. I acknowledge that I have arrived at some sort of crossroads and have to prioritize again what is truly important to me as a person and as an artist. This requires some deep observation, meditation and soul reflection. There is a part of me that truly wishes to simplify my life. I long to go into the nature and spend more time listening to the sounds of bubbling creeks and running rivers and ocean waves and soft summer winds rustling the leaves of the trees. And of course all the lovely music created by wildlife. I really long for the redwoods, where we have made many animal friends in the past and have had some of the most magical experiences in our lives. Luckily it looks like me and my partner will soon be able to go camping again. I was recently gifted a Dodge Grand Caravan by my mom and there will definitely be room to do lofty camping in this vehicle that is new to me. Once I get over handling some very necessary things in my life and have some more time in my hands, camping trips will become a priority. I find time spent in nature to be very healing and rejuvenating and inspiring. You might not be able to tell, but much of my art is inspired by nature, even in its very abstracted forms. I am really not a city girl in my heart of hearts. Ever since I was a small girl, time spent in nature has always nurtured my soul significantly. I think that more than likely elementals are some of my very true muses!
April 1st, 2019
In the late afternoon and early evening on Saturday, March 30, Nordic 5 Arts Nordic Light had an opening reception at the Think Round Fine Arts gallery in San Francisco. This reception had a good crowd of people and the artwork was well arranged and enjoyed. Overall the air was cheery and enthusiastic and filled with friendly conversations and repertoire. Several people I had invited showed up and commented on the beauty of my artworks. I met and talked with many interesting people, some of them artists I had not met before. I am hoping that there will be many sales from this exhibit. Think Round Fine Arts has a mighty mission. Based on Heidi Hardin, the founder and director, the mission is to create community and to bring people together in spirit of peace and creativity. Their slogan states "Earth is Home. Humans are Family".
I have three acrylic paintings on canvas on the wall in this exbibit and three small works on paper in the bin. My acrylics on canvas are titled "Learning to See", "Creating Unity" and "Peace and Flow". My painting in the image illustrating this blog, Creating Unity, is about bringing together opposites and making this world a better place for all. In this light, the more love and goodwill and acceptance and appreciation there is in this world, the better off everybody will be. We can all cultivate kindness and gratitude and the more there is of these in the world, the more uplifting and positive results we will likely experience.
We had a very successful and friendly reception at the Think Round Fine Arts. Check out Think Round Inc. at www.thinkround.org and I hope you will also end up supporting their very worthy mission! The gallery hours are from 9 to 12 Monday through Friday and by appointment. Our Nordic Light exhibit will continue through May18, 2019. Do go and visit if you can!
March 2nd, 2019
The past month in Northern California has been very wet and unfortunately floods have created a lot of destruction. We have remained safe here in West Berkeley and feel very grateful for this. But the fires last year and the recent floods have shaken up many communities here and have clearly reminded us all about the power of mother nature and the uncertainty that we live with in this world. Life and any earthly possessions can change and be destroyed in a blink of an eye, but luckily most material possessions can also be replaced, unless they are one of a kind, like original artworks. But of course, as long as the artist stays alive, they can always create more and most people who buy art also carry insurance on the art they have purchased. I hope that artists who live in the flooded areas did not suffer immense loss that is hard to recover from and will be able to pick up the pieces and start over again. To me it looks like Guerneville and Forestville and Sebastobol area residents are doing all that they can to support each other after the flood. Sometimes disasters do bring out the best in most people.
My own February experiences were mixed. My interior design and professional organizing business has lost clientele due to people moving out of the Bay Area and also not being able to continue working with me for their own personal reasons. But at the same time my creativity has been high and I have been making a lot of art and designs, both painting and digital. I will be participating in a Nordic 5 Arts group exhibition in San Francisco this coming April and May at the Think Round gallery. This exhibit is titled Nordic Light and I created a new piece that got accepted into this show together with two of my previously completed paintings. I will be showing three acrylics on canvas titled Creating Unity, Learning to See and Peace and Flow together with the numerous works of sixteen other fellow artists. This is promising to be a show worth seeing with a wide variety of styles and approaches to the theme of Nordic Light. My own approach concentrates on the inner light with the magical Finnish midsummer reflections on a time of the year when the sun never totally sets but only dips right below the horizon leaving Southern Finland in twilight for a couple of hours before it rises again. I have sweet memories of these warm midsummer nights in Finland scented with the sweet intoxicating scent of the blooming lilacs and midsummer tea roses and the delight of the birds singing all night long. I will always treasure these beautiful and precious memories.
Life is a mysterious mixture of light and dark, of pleasure and pain, of laughter and sorrow, of loss and gain. Life is an endless flow of energy from one form into another. Life is beautiful and at its core, all life is love.
February 3rd, 2019
Life can be so amazing. One day you may feel angry and frustrated and the next day all is well and even marvelous. Last Friday was a challenging day for me. I had overloaded myself with tasks to handle and many of these tasks were not what I wanted to do, but they had to get handled, and they did. But by the end of the day I was peeved. To my delight, after a good night's long sleep, I woke up feeling happy today and for no particular reason that I was aware of. Perhaps my body chemistry was in good balance today, or perhaps I had a subconscious sense of good things coming. I am not a person who is looking for fame, but recognition is always nice and uplifting. I belong to some artist groups on Facebook and have received some awards for my art in these groups, but never two in one day! Today I received an award for Best Drawing in Abstract Designers Group for my Gentle and Savage pencil and ink drawing. And a Special Award for my mixed media work in Abstract Expressions Group titled Higher Love - Heart of Hearts. I just joined the Abstract Expressions Group earlier today! Both of these awards surprised me and added to my good mood. I, like any other exhibiting artist, need recognition for my art and I am very grateful when I get this kind of soul food. So, thank you all for your support and encouragement and appreciation! It never goes unnoticed, so, keep it coming. Sales are great, but if you cannot afford to buy art, you can always acknowledge the works you like or love!
January 2nd, 2019
The year that just ended was one of the most challenging years I recall in my life. Many precious things broke down and developed problems, from our car to my computer and so much more. But somehow we got by and survived these at times extremely financially burdensome situations. Nothing that money would not solve happened to us, but at the same time my income diminished. I must say that I am glad we are going toward more light again as we slowly move toward spring. I feel better when the days are longer. Even though I am a night owl, too much darkness is depressing to me. The fires that took place in Northern California were horrendous. I have never in my life dealt with such poor and hazardous air quality and this is nothing in comparison to the loss that the fire victims experienced and likely are still experiencing. The strange thing about media is that once something else happens, yesterday's news become old fast and the focus shifts into the new disasters. The public is often left wondering about the developments that occur after the headlines change. Seems like everyone's attention span has become very short indeed. I think I followed news way too much this past year and found myself upset and annoyed at what I was hearing more than a few times. The whole political scenario could be enough to drive one crazy, not to talk about all the other annoyances and troubles in the world. Anyone who denies climate change should have their head checked. Seriously. This past year had so many different natural disasters happen all over the world that there clearly must be a link between climate change and the increased storm and fire and flood activity we have been experiencing globally. I hope it is not too late to make a difference in regard to this but I sense that time might be running out. After all, the glaziers are melting and the sea levels are rising even faster than earlier estimates. Seems to me that mankind creates many of its own calamities through ignorance and denial and irresponsible behavior. Leaders and decision makers could use a good dose of common sense and foresight. It is time that we show respect toward life on the planet Earth and not so much respect for money and greed. In spite of all the troubles in my own life and also life at large, I have managed to keep on making art and designing. Actual painting with acrylics on canvas has not been in the forefront due to issues with money and time, but I have been drawing and creating digital and mixed media art. If you have any ideas in regard to getting funding for paint and other art supplies, please, drop me a line! Happy New Year 2019 to Everyone!!!
November 30th, 2018
This past month my focus has been on digital art and design. Although I love getting my hands dirty with paint, digital art allows me to make very fast choices and changes and get good results in a fraction of the time that it takes me to create a completed painting by hand. As a designer, digital art is a great media for me and I often start creating surface designs for textiles and more with full or partial scans of my handpainted art and drawings. Also parts of photographs I have taken are not out of the question and very likely I will be moving even more to this direction in design in near future, at least to experiment. I work in many two dimensional media and occasionally create three dimensional works. I mainly paint with acrylics, which in my case usually have been layered many times to get the results I seek. I draw with ink and pen and pencil and also create mixed media and as earlier indicated, digital art. My subject matter ranges from abstract colorful works that are created to be mainly pleasureful eye candy to deeply spiritual and socially conscious yet surreal and most of the time playful works with strong aspects of abstraction. All of my art reflects my visions and understandings and at times I am called to paint more realistically, but my focus is really in imaginative art that deals more with inner visions, values and fantasy. My choices of subject matter and method are based on my passions and on what calls for me and attracts me enough for me to put the time into bringing it artistically into fulfillment. I expect people to see different things in my works based on their own passions and understandings. If you like my style but cannot find exactly what you are looking for, I invite you to commission me to make customized art or designs for you! It would be my pleasure to help bring more visual enjoyment into your life.