The Artist as Mystic

The Artist as Mystic

I’ve taken more time for painting the past months than before. Painting more has been a dream I’ve had over 20 years, but it has never become a steady practice. I draw and paint (mostly digitally) a lot of course, as part of illustration work. But now I’m talking about my own personal, artistic practice.

For a long time I felt like I didn’t have enough of something.. a message? time? a style? courage? Something was blocking me from really finding my own expression. Technically I have been able to draw and paint “perfectly” since I was about 19 years old. The thing that was lacking was something else.

Of course making money is an issue, since living as a visual artist in Finland is not very easy. Most artists earn money other ways than creating art. That’s just the reality.

But I can feel that some of the blockage is gone now. I feel a completely new kind of confidence in what I’m doing. I have also changed my life quite drastically the past 6-12 months, and perhaps this has something to do with it. Part of the changes have to do with developing better practices when it comes to how I take care of my body and mind. I’ve always felt a pull towards the mysticism that can be found in artistic expression, but now I am ready to surrender to it completely ā€“ for the sake of fulfilling my purpose in life, which is to connect to others through art.

So I have written a new artist statement, concerning my personal artistic work:

I choose the content of my paintings intuitively. The flowers, plants, bodies, hair and so on are all connected to events and emotions in my personal life. Images come to me in dreams and meditation and often have symbolic meaning to me. Every painting contains some of my lived experience. I have surrendered to the mysticism of this process, even though Iā€™m otherwise a skeptic and proponent of scientific thinking. However, the purpose of art and science is the same: to understand the true nature of reality. I find much greater freedom to pursue truth in art, even though it is counterintuitive to do it through mysticism. And even though my paintings might seem just decoratively pretty, my aim is to create a kind of meditation. The artworks are meditations. The state I am in when I paint is meditative, and I hope that anyone who lays their eyes on the paintings will feel an urge to become still, observe and listen to themselves. I hope the paintings can connect us in some way, and bring a sense of oneness with the world.

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Autumnal activities (portrait series and exhibition)

Autumnal activities (portrait series and exhibition)

Time for an update! Besides being with the cutest baby ever, I’ve started editing my book manuscript and working on an art project when I have the time (which of course is almost never, but I can find a few minutes of time for art every now and then).

The new project is actually not that new, I’ve had it on my mind for a long time, but in the form of a diffuse inspired feeling. I’ve taken a lot of photos of my oldest daughter when she plays with clothes and scarves, and felt like painting or drawing her.

During summer I made this pencil drawing on paper:

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Then I got the idea to try acrylics (that I’m not so used to using, source of inspiration: Maija Hurme) and paint a year old Instagram photo that I’m especially fond of:

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And now I’m trying Kyle’s brushes (Happy HB) on Photoshop for a very fine pencil line:

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I’d also like to paint some very large scale acrylic paintings of these same poses, and really explore them. What feelings do the different techniques and sizes create? This is a playful project of exploration! We’ll see where it goes. I’m hoping to create a body of work around this theme that could be used for an exhibition.

And speaking of exhibitions: right now I have a ten minute film of my digital fantasy illustrations rolling in the public library. I’ll post the film here in October when the library exhibition is over! Here’s the flyer (in Swedish):

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