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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!

Seeking Balance

August 3rd, 2019

Seeking Balance

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!

Taking Pleasure in Small Things

July 2nd, 2019

Taking Pleasure in Small Things

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.

Busy Times

May 31st, 2019

Busy Times

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!

Think Round Fine Arts Opening Reception

April 1st, 2019

Think Round Fine Arts Opening Reception

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!

After The Rain

March 2nd, 2019

After The Rain

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.

Welcome to February

February 3rd, 2019

Welcome to February

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!

Goodbye 2018

January 2nd, 2019

Goodbye 2018

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!!!

About Making Art and Designing

November 30th, 2018

About Making Art and Designing

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.

About Drawing and Painting

October 31st, 2018

About Drawing and Painting

I have been drawing a lot lately. Mainly because I can do this so very spontaneously without much preparation and effort. I have been very busy handling many issues in my life and getting hold of a pad of paper and some ink pens is basically instantaneous. When it comes to drawing I also admit that I truly enjoy the movements that my hand makes with a pen or pencil on the paper. When I work with ink I do not make any pencil sketches but draw directly with ink on the paper. There is no erasing these markings, so anything unexpected will change the direction of my drawings, which are stream of consciousness anyway with one thing leading to another. Rarely do I use any external objects or people for reference but draw directly from my mind and imagination. To me drawing is a form of meditation. But so is painting, which I hope to continue in near future. I have some works in progress waiting for me to continue. But setting up to paint always requires more of my time than drawing and since I paint with acrylics and not oils, I also aim at using all the paints that I put on my palette during any session. It is normal for me to paint four or more hours at a time. I get totally emerged in making art and painting and there is always some previously unknown point that I need to arrive to. Or at least I need to make sure that I use up all the paints before they dry up. LOL

Appreciation and Hope

September 28th, 2018

Appreciation and Hope

These days the news are mainly filled with sad and bad and mad stories. We are definitely living in turbulent and chaotic times and many attitudes and values are hitting the fan seemingly spinning. I am hoping that this is the proverbial dark before the dawn. Change is in the air and old structures always need to be torn down to create room for the new. This demolition applies to both archaic notions about life and people and societies as well as just plain bad choices and values of those in power that have caused much destruction and outlived their questionable importance. Extreme opinions and reactions seem to be common now and there is much emotional commotion in the world. Patriarchy seems to be taking a nosedive and nobody wants Nero fiddling while Rome is burning. Looks like many people have had enough and they are not going to take it anymore. This brings to my mind the saying about the nature of worldly power. It really does corrupt even some well meaning people, not to talk about those whose intentions were selfish and greedy from the very start. Hatred and darkness and ignorance have risen to the top and even if they try, they cannot hide any longer. But I truly hope that all of this is another necessary phase in healing that which has been boiling below the surface for a very long time. I must say that I am optimistic about the possibility that the world just might be in a global healing crisis.

During any healing crisis things often get worse before they get better and even though it may be hard to see, I feel like there just might be light at the end of the tunnel. In times like this hope and appreciation can be powerful centering forces. Simplicity is one of those things that has great beauty and clarity and healing power. Things that are important to us and our survival and happiness can become grounding and nurturing and can make us focus on what is working for us in the world. This is why I painted Gifted By Nature. This painting of two peaches started with two delicious real life peaches and expanded from that to me thinking about the value of clean dirt and water and all the good things that make life possible and even enjoyable on this planet. Nature has gifted us with so much good that nowadays most of us mainly take for granted. I find that thinking about these things, like in this case, thinking about peaches with appreciation, is very centering. Life can be simple and wonderful instead of chaotic and nerve wrecking. When I concentrate on the simple things that I appreciate in life my focus automatically shifts from feeling hopeless to feeling more hopeful again and I feel my energy starting to move to the direction I wish to go. It is very true that happiness is an attitude that we can choose to experience by focusing and centering on what makes us feel good. After all, our own thoughts can take us down or lift us up. Do remember this when you find yourself at the mercy of your own mind. Life, just like vision, always happens in the eye and understanding of the beholder. Every one of us reaps our own interpretations on what is happening in the world. And in the meanwhile, independently, life goes on in the bigger picture.

You See What You Get

August 31st, 2018

You See What You Get

I am always fascinated by the individual nature of perception and I have come to the conclusion that we all literally only see things that we understand at least partially. The rest tends to escape us. The same seems to apply to focus, which calls for us to look and notice things relevant to what is important to us in the moment. It is possible that these behaviors might serve our survival and growth and even evolution. Or perhaps we are just called to endorse our perceptions of how we think things are and prove our viewpoints right. After all, human beings tend to prove their experiences and expectations right even when these are only one way of interpreting the truly multifaceted nature of reality. We all have to make sense of all that is somehow to keep our sanity, don't we? How many of us actually willingly stop to look at things that we do not understand? If you are one of the people who will just walk on by things that are not obvious to you and immediately call for your attention, how about at some point stopping to see what you might be missing. If nothing else, at least this will be educational. And maybe you will notice something that you did not see before and new ways of looking and seeing just might open up for you. This is why new experiences are so good for all of us. They literally expand our minds and this means that we are profoundly changed by gaining new understandings. How could this not be good in a world where people fight and argue and even kill over small and insignificant issues? Many of us could broaden up our understandings and grow bigger hearts.

Different ways of seeing is what originally motivated me to start my ongoing art project of alterable perspectives. I have been working on my The Joy of Design series since late 2012. I currently have 50 small original square acrylic abstract and semi-abstract paintings in this series and at this point I am aiming at making the total 100. I chose the square format for these individual paintings so that they can be easily and successfully displayed in any of the eight directions, including the four diagonal ones. I also chose the small format, currently ranging from 6 by 6 inches to 10 by 10 inches, so that these works can be displayed in groups and can also be easily scanned and used digitally as part of larger mixed media works. Just the other day some people got what my intention with these works is and that literally made my day. Often in life I feel misunderstood, in particular when it comes to my art. I appreciate that there are people who show interest in my works and most people will comment that they love the colors I use and that the works make them feel happy, but rarely does someone comment further on the interdependent content that to me seems clear. But I also have noticed that when I change, what I see and what stands out for me in my own works will also change. As time goes by I myself discover new aspects in my works. So it is clear to me that perception is fluid and not stagnant. I look forward to growing more as an artist and a human being. I have a desire to alter my perceptions and never to get stuck on just one way of seeing the essentially kaleidoscopic nature of reality.

Art Goes On

July 31st, 2018

Art Goes On

Well. It is the end of July today and it is my name day in Finland. The challenges I had in June spread into July. But now finally it seems that the major issue with the car is handled. It needed a new clutch and flywheel. These fixes were expensive, but necessary. Right now as I am typing this I am wondering about the direction that my art might be taking. For practice I started painting some more realistic works this month, which are still in progress. But I know in my heart of hearts that I am more into fantasy than into reality as observed through the camera lense. I do not really see any purpose in copying what I see out there in the world. Photography does this really well. I am more into the color and form and patterns and flow, into combining what I see with what I feel and what I think might be possible. I am into breaking new ground and into inspiration. But part of me feels like I am standing in some kind of a crossroads situation. Again, as always, time will tell. In the meanwhile, I have been very busy with numerous variations in The Joy of Design series which now has a total of 48 original acrylic paintings in it. Besides being complete small artworks on their own I also use these paintings in part or in full as building blocks in other mixed media works that I create, such as Colorful Expressions - A TJOD 48 Variation, image of which is illustrating this blog today.

Challenging June

June 30th, 2018

This June was difficult for me. I have been on the edge too many times this past month. Numerous issues ranging from general dismay with the affairs of the world to personal problems ranging from our only car breaking down twice this month (it is with the mechanic right now) to lack of income to some painful and annoying health issues have been part of my daily life lately. It has been a roller coaster ride and I am not the drama queen to enjoy these kind of ups and downs. Life can be scary and I have been forced to confront some of my fears face to face this month, which is now on its last day. This time I will not include any images in this blog. I am tired and my only hope is that July 2018 will be kinder. I do need to say that there are a couple of recent promising developments in the air. We shall see how these turn out. Future will tell and hope springs eternal...

The Strange Market of Art

May 17th, 2018

The Amedeo Modigliani painting selling recently for 157 million dollars in a Sotheby's auction got me thinking about the very peculiar nature of art sales and market. In 2015 one of Modigliani's paintings sold for even more, at 170 million dollars. This was an artist who in his lifetime created scandals with his nude paintings and much like Vincent Van Gogh, was poor and underappreciated in his lifetime. But now other people prosper and get rich from the art created by these and many other long ago and dead artists. Go figure. So many great living artists have a hard time making a living with their art in their lifetime and yet art is huge business, mainly benefiting others than the people who create or created the art. Somehow this just does not sit well with me. It adds to my sense of lack of justice in this world. Neither money nor art should be the golden bull that trumps good humane values, morals or ethics. Appreciation is good. Fair value is good. But when the wheeling and dealing becomes extreme, I cannot help but think that perhaps some people just really do have way too much money. Art should not be considered so much an investment as enjoyment. It is meant to be shared and seen, not locked hidden in some dark place because it is too valuable to take the risk of being shown in public. Now, if the work is commissioned by a patron, they might have the right to keep it hidden and for their own eyes only. But if the piece was not created commissioned, it should be seen by the world if the artist so wishes. These are my personal opinions that may or may not be shared by you. I think original art should be affordable. Not too cheap nor too expensive but of fair value. The downside of these outrageous auctions is that there are people who think that they, and not the artist, should be able to state the monetary value of any piece of art without knowing anything at all about the time and effort involved by the artist. This can lead to underbidding and low offers which nearly any artist will encounter at some point in their career. We human beings are strange creatures and the more money and power we have the more bizarre the extreme behaviors in some of us will likely become. The art market of some dead artists' work is simply dizzying when it comes to monetary exchanges that take place in the auctions. These are games that some extremely rich and privileged people play while others starve. This world is a very strange place indeed and we have a long way to go to get to the mountain top of humanity. Too many entities in this world still make money in even way more questionable ways than auctioning out the works of dead artists for huge profits. I want to add that I personally appreciate all of my clients and I try to price my art very fairly, based on the size and time and effort I put into any of my works. Thank you to all of you who have bought and continue to buy my art and also buy the work of other contemporary artists! Living artists need your support.

About Blogging

April 4th, 2018

About Blogging

I have decided to blog on average about once a month. Not on any particular day of the month, but monthly, any time between the 1st and 31st day of any given month. You see, the main reason I blog is to give people interested in my art more insight into it from my viewpoint. I know this world is full of bloggers and blogs and overall overwhelming with information coming at us from every angle possible. We all need some space of our own, some breathing room, some peace and quiet. I also know that individual needs and wants can vary greatly from person to person. I myself have a huge desire for harmony and balance and simple enjoyment of existence nowadays. I find the outside world disturbing with all the chaos and violence that comes through the news on TV and the social media. This makes me want to create peace where ever I can. I also find humor to be comforting. You might see an increasing amount of whimsy in one form or another in my work. Some of it might be satire, because I do have a taste for the strange, odd and unusual aspects of life, but I really basically do not enjoy the macabre. So, all in good humor! I appreciate you viewing my blogs and feel free to comment if you are so inclined. Happy Spring to You!

The State of the World

March 10th, 2018

The State of the World

I do not know about you, but most of the time nowadays I feel drained and exhausted. Some of this is due to the challenges I am facing in my own life and some of it has to do with the increasing craziness that seems to be going on in this world. Every day now we hear many sad news. More often than I remember ever before, someone has lost their mind and ends up killing a bunch of people, sometimes including themselves. The amount of stress seems overwhelming and I even know some people who have decided to insulate themselves by no longer following news or participating in the social media. I personally find making art to be stress relieving. I pour the craziness that I experience in the world onto the paper and let it rip. This is how my wild drawings are born. They are pretty much uncensored stream of consciousness in black on white. Or in grey. And sometimes the other way around. Always with a touch of humor, either light or dark. My paintings tend to be more abstract at this point, but some of them, once or twice removed, originate from the drawings. If you are not channeling your emotions into creative action, I highly recommend that you find something that brings you peace and motivation and helps you center. Being an artist who tries to make their living with their art is very challenging and can be extremely frustrating, but I have not heard of any artists committing mass murders lately... so, cultivate your humanity and empathy and compassion by expressing yourself in a non-violent and meaningful way that brings you fulfillment and gives you hope and opens up your heart to love.

Elaborating on The Joy of Design Mandala Series Puzzles

February 20th, 2018

Elaborating on The Joy of Design Mandala Series Puzzles

To me making art is both meditation and exploration. It literally means spilling my mind out on the surface that I create on and to large degree the results are often surprising. I start all of my art with some notion. This may be a very abstract notion, like being drawn to a particular color or colors or forms, or a more specific inspiration triggered by any number of stimuli and observations. But mainly I draw and paint from my mind and rarely use direct external objects or models that I try to capture. The Joy of Design Mandala Series Puzzles take my work to a different level where I use the scans of my handpainted works in The Joy of Design series as building blocks with which I create more art and digital computer software programs make this process possible in a most effective way. In reality I am very much into the micro and macro of things because things can look very different in close proximity and in far distance. I play with these concepts when I use the scans of my handpainted works or drawings to compile images that may contain several, even tens or hundreds of scans. To make things more concrete and give you a perspective of measure, The Joy of Design Mandala Series Puzzles are created with 64 scans each. The works derived from The Joy of Design Mandala Series Puzzles contain much more than this. In the case of TJOD Mandala Series Puzzle 7 Arrangement 3 Multiplied you are looking at an image created with a total of 256 scans. There are works that have more scans than this in them and every increment will change the perspective. Symbolically this is all about widening my own perspectives and seeing differently. And I have to say that it is amazing what can show up when images are combined and united. But it is even more amazing what can happen when people unite for a good cause and call for change. After all, whether we acknowledge it or not, every one of us is part of a much bigger and more beautiful picture than we could ever imagine!

About My Drawings

February 12th, 2018

About My Drawings

Just in case you have not noticed, I create drawings that usually work in two or more directions. The ability of an image to work in more than one orientation has become increasingly frequent and important in my art. This has to do with my curiosity and experimental mind and the way that I look at both my inner and outer worlds. Like I have mentioned before, I look at things the way that most people do, which is for the role that these things play in my life. I also look at things as just color and form and besides this I seek to see what those forms and colors resemble otherwise. What else can I see outside of my usual ways of looking and perceiving? This leads to very imaginative pursuits. One might call it visual stream of consciousness poetry. I think imagination is one of the biggest gifts that we have. After all, whether good or bad, everything humanity has created started in somebody's imagination! Also, new and different ways of seeing and looking can truly broaden our horizons and maybe enable us to come up with new solutions to problems that have plagued humanity for ages. It is good to change our perspectives. So how about it? Are you willing to look at what you see with fresh eyes? Can you see differently? Can you turn your previous notions upside down? There is no right or wrong in this pursuit. Remember that play is important for both mental and emotional wellbeing.

About The Joy of Design Mandala Series Puzzles

January 26th, 2018

About The Joy of Design Mandala Series Puzzles

You might be familiar with my The Joy of Design acrylic painting series, which is ongoing with currently 43 completed original paintings in it. If you are not familiar with these originals, I invite you to take a look at my The Joy of Design Series Originals Gallery here at FAA/Pixels. All of these paintings can hang in any of the eight directions either alone or in groupings with each other. They are all created with pure joy of expression that flows from my heart through my hands to my brush and onto the canvas.These paintings are all abstract and semi-abstract. They are organic, figurative and geometric abstractions and they range from 6 x 6 to 10 x 10 inches in size. Future paintings may introduce other measurements in square format. Anything is possible and this remains to be seen. All of The Joy of Design Mandala Series Puzzles are created with high resolution scans of the original paintings. Currently there are six completed TJOD Mandala Series Puzzles, with nine arrangements in each and I have just completed number 2 arrangement in The Joy of Design Mandala Series Puzzle 7, so, there are seven more arrangements for me to create in Puzzle 7. The nine arrangements in each series are completed by arranging a set of chosen scans over and over again in different ways to create variations of what is possible with the chosen set of scans. I see this process as very symbolic. Human beings tend to view any chosen circumstance in one way and rarely play with the factors to see what else might be possible. In the Mandala Puzzles, I deliberately take on viewing other possibilities and create different outcomes by altering the placement of the 64 individual panels that built the bigger picture. This allows me to see things differently, since what is placed next to each other defines the illusions that show up in these mandalas. I see this as creative play with some delicious eyecandy that hopefully empowers others as well to look differently than the way we are used to looking and seeing. Mind is a powerful tool and hopefully it will stay flexible and not become stagnant. In order to create a better world, we need to create better visions and change the way we are used to looking at things. The Joy of Design Mandala Series Puzzles are created to encourage creative abstract thinking. As a matter of fact I would love to find a way to create an alterable puzzle play with this series of digitally collaged acrylic paintings. Much more is possible than using the scans I have chosen to create nine variations of each puzzle. I see the potential as totally limitless and not bound by any representative forms, like puzzles usually are. I myself have already created hundreds of digital collages by using and also altering the original art in The Joy of Design Series. I invite you to contact me, if you have any questions or might be interested in creating digital puzzle games with the originals in the TJOD series of paintings.

Turbulent Times

January 22nd, 2018

Turbulent Times

Nowadays the whole world seems to be on the edge. Some say that we have never been closer to a nuclear war, at least not since the cold war days. Regardless of all this chaos and turmoil, I remain an optimist at heart, and although some of my art has an edge that turns into political and social satire, I do believe that we can make this world a better place for all. In general, in case you missed this, besides beauty and harmony and eyecandy, I have a taste for things that are strange and peculiar and mysterious and this shows up in my art. I am very drawn to the unknown. Many of my drawings and some of my paintings have aspects to them that could be considered bizarre and surreal in their presentation. This comes to me naturally. You see, I see and look at the world in many different ways. Like everyone, I see things the way they are in regular context but also in the negative space and like many artists, I also see things as just color and form and besides this, I also see things as what they resemble in form besides what they seem to be. Shadows and highlights are particularly great for the latter type imaginative play for me. In my art I try to combine all of these ways of seeing and perceiving. I trust that people who are interested will explore my works to see what they will find in them. Many of the forms I use can be perceived in numerous ways. This is done on purpose although part of this process clearly stems from the subconscious. I have also noticed that when I change I see and perceive different forms and associations in my own art. This has truly convinced me of the following. The world is always a mirror to us. It mirrors back our own understandings of what we think is so and what we see as possible. Things that do not hold a distinction for us are basically not conceivable to us, but become part of the background until we become conscious of them and can find them in the bigger picture. The nature of reality is fluid and never stagnant, even if we perceive it as such. Everything is constantly moving and swirling in the space, even if we cannot see these movements. This is why I have hope for humanity. Even when I cannot see any improvement in the human condition I believe that we can and will change this world for the better. It has taken humanity a long time to make the social improvements we currently enjoy and at times the progress is very slow and even seemingly backward. But I believe that as long as there are people who want to make this world a better place for all, that is the direction we will be headed. That is as long as some authorities in power can keep their fingers off those little red buttons that could end this world.

About Me And Making Art - Part One of an Ongoing Saga

January 20th, 2018

Let me start by stating that although I like to write, I am not somebody who likes to write about my creative processes. Mainly because in my opinion this takes me away from making art and in my heart of hearts I hope that people will interpret my art in their own terms. But turns out that many people like to read about the art they see and artists who create it beyond the descriptions that most artists give in connection to the pieces they publish. So, I have decided to share about me and making art and this is the first blog I am writing in regard to this. So, read on, if you are interested. I will start with early memories. I think it is important that I share that first of all, to large degree and as long as I can remember, I have always felt like an outsider in this world, like a visitor everywhere. Do not get me wrong, I feel a deep connection to Mother Earth, but not to any particular part of her, more like the whole of her. The first thing ever I remember deeply connecting to and feeling a sense of belonging are the stars in the night sky and this was way before I knew that in reality we are stardust. I have never really felt like I belong to any one particular country or place, so, it was not difficult for me to leave my country of birth, Finland, when I felt compelled to do so. This happened, by the way, as an unexpected turn of events that involved my mother getting engaged to an American from Mountain View whom she met in Finland. My mother's plans to relocate to California compelled me to find my own reasons to come to the United States since at that point I was over 16 years old and could not come as a child of my mother due to this. I found out about art schools, since I knew I wanted to study art and eventually, after considering alternatives including Chicago Art Institute and California College of Arts and Crafts, ended up choosing San Francisco Art Institute. It was possible for me to attend an expensive art college because when I was only 10 years old my father had died in a car accident on a business trip and he was heavily insured, which left me with an inheritance which I received when I turned 20. I had graduated from high school one year and three months before I arrived in California. By this time my mother had decided that she could not leave Finland and had changed her mind about getting married to the American. Since I had been accepted to SFAI and had completed all preparations for the move, I decided that I was going to attend San Francisco Art Institute anyway and arrived here in August 1979. Had anybody told me years before this happened that I was going to end up living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I would not have believed them. It was a twist of fate that brought me here. If Bill had not shown up in my mother's life, I would not have thought any further than attending an art college in England. Life can take totally unexpected turns and I truly believe that destiny interfered in my life in this instance and many times since then. I also feel that art chose me. It is the creative expression that stems from deep within the core of my being and I would have a hard time imagining a life where I would not create art and design. Visual arts are my calling and making art and designing give me purpose. I have been painting and drawing and creating art for as long as I can remember and I received my BFA degree from the SFAI in December 1982, at which point I was recently married in November and in early 1983 I received my green card. Making the decision to marry and stay in the United States was a huge decision, even if I never felt like I truly belonged in Finland. I am certain that being an immigrant has only added to my sense of not belonging to any particular place and feeling more like a citizen of the world. I used to feel like I had one foot planted in Finland and the other in United States in California and my head was located somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean. But this does not mean that I felt like a giant. More like a child of the universe.

Check out my events listings

December 5th, 2017

I am currently participating in three exhibits. In Hayward at PHOTOCENTRAL Gallery until January 5, 2018, in Castro Valley at Adobe Art Gallery and in Roseville at Blue Line Arts Gallery until January 13, 2018. All of these galleries are in California. Check out my events listings for more information and I thank you for your interest!!! Happy Holidays to you all!