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Making Art to a Theme

June 11th, 2020

Making Art to a Theme

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.

The Masks

April 29th, 2020

The Masks

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...

The New Normal

April 21st, 2020

The New Normal

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...

Challenging Times

April 4th, 2020

Challenging Times

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.

Spring Is In The Air

February 29th, 2020

Spring Is In The Air

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!!!

The Great and The Small

January 31st, 2020

The Great and The Small

I know, I know. Everything is relative. And some people's ceilings are other people's floors. I know this and I personally have a tendency to make mountains out of mole hills. I think that I inherited this tendency and I have put considerable effort into taming the negative side effects of this in my life. You see, I have a very vivid imagination that can take me on a magic ride in the blink of an eye. The plus in this tendency is the ease in thinking creatively. The minus is hypochondria. In times of stress the latter raises its disturbing head more often than the pleasant creative thoughts. I cannot help that I am a sensitive and I tend to pick up and react to vibes, both good and bad. I have heard someone describe this as being an antenna, and I think this description hits the point. Whether I want to or not, I will pick up emotions that others are experiencing. The fact that I know this makes it easier for me to manage and release. For a long time I did not know where to draw the line, but years of tuning in have taught me many things, like the fact that all life experience is unique, relative and individual. At least in the interpretation of what happens. We all have our own ways of seeing and understanding, mainly based on our life experiences and learning and perspective as well. At this level there is no right or wrong, no great or small, except in our own perspective and understanding. In reality there only is all that is and our interpretations of all that is. We are the proverbial blind men touching an elephant and giving out interpretations based on what we experience and feel with our senses, often forgetting that it is what we do not know that we do not know that usually gets us into trouble. The human condition can be very humbling indeed but I have great hopes for a better world, even when the skeptic in me thinks that all is lost. My heart of hearts never really seems to fully turn its back on the optimist in me. And this is a blessing that cultivates all that is good in my life.

Sometimes You Do and Sometimes You Do Not Do

January 2nd, 2020

Sometimes You Do and Sometimes You Do Not Do

Now that the holidays are over, maybe I can welcome some more order in my life. Looking back into the past couple of weeks, my life seems occupied by everything but what I think forwards my art and artistic ambitions. But maybe this was the break that I needed, although part of me is scolding the other part that took on celebrating and having fun in an overdose after recovering from a very bad cold that went on for over two weeks. I feel like now it is time to get more principled about being an artist and I hope that I will be able to do this. There are so many tasks that need to be handled and I would rather just paint and make art than handle these tasks. I will somehow need to find a way to make the menial tasks tolerable or even enjoyable and I know this will take a shift in perspective. Usually concentrating on the results, the goal I am aiming at, helps me take care of things that I do not find so very palatable. But I have been in a burnout. Some days it is easier to do what needs to get done and other days this seems nearly impossible. It would be great to be able to hire others to take care of tasks that I would rather not be involved with, but I am not in a financial situation where I can do this on a regular basis. So, here I come, bookkeeping and cooking and tending to my garden...there is a strange kind of satisfaction in completing anything that needs to be completed,,,but it is just not as delicious as completing a piece of art successfully...or selling one...or the process of making art...I know what almost any of you must be thinking: Just do it! I do know that thinking about it is not going to get it done and becomes just a big waste of time. After all, as a professional organizer, I have many ideas in regard to how to be effective and get things handled. I more than likely now need to listen to my own advice. Happy New Year to all!!!

Dreaming

November 30th, 2019

Dreaming

In the past month I have planted the seeds of many new goals and desires in regard to my art and creative endeavors. Next I will need to create schedules and concrete plans on how to follow through with the coming steps with minimum struggle. As you know from my past blogs, I am compelled to create art. But I have come to realize that in order to feel more fulfilled and purposeful I need more advice and information on how to expand my audiences and sales and connections. I want to step on the next level! So, I have enrolled on a couple of courses and programs that I hope will give me the boost and knowledge and mentoring and support that I am seeking. I can do all the work I have signed up for at my own pace, which makes it possible for me to take it on and I am looking forward to seeing what will grow from these seeds that currently carry unknown to me potential. Yes, I am asking for positive change in my life! And as you can probably imagine, this is both exciting and scary all at once...not unlike anything new and different and potentially life changing! Yes, I am now daring to allow myself to have bigger dreams than before and I thank you all for your continued support in whatever form it takes!!!

Carrying On With The Joy of Design Mandala Series Puzzles

October 31st, 2019

Carrying On With The Joy of Design Mandala Series Puzzles

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

Organizing FinnART 2019

September 28th, 2019

Organizing FinnART 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!

 

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