Posts Tagged ‘artist’

Scandinavia with its lush green pastures, picturesque mountains, rich blue lakes and European architecture is bound to inspire the creativity of any artist. SIPOWORK

As artist Sipo Liimatainen says, “Inspiration may come unexpectedly out of virtually anywhere.”

Liimatainen was born in Helsinki, Finland, one of three countries which comprise the Scandinavian Peninsula. Sweden and Norway are the remaining countries considered part of Scandinavia.

Even though he spent his childhood in the downtown area of Helsinki, Liimatainen now lives in the natural beauty of the countryside.

“I love nature and the way in which the colors vibrate to me,” Liimatainen says. “That’s why nature’s colors frequently play a role in all my creations.”

Liimatainen began his artistic career in the early 1980s by doing custom work on automobiles, portraits, walls and other surfaces. His first official pieces was a jungle-themed mural for a fashion shop.

“I started to work when the store closed,” Liimatainen says. The wall was 15 feet wide by 4 feet high.” When the store opened the next morning, Liimatainen had completed the work.

Liimatainen appreciates artists whose work differs from the mainstream such as Dali, Picasso, Monet and others. Indeed, Liimatainen’s own work can be considered non-traditional. Colorful, bright, eye-catching abstracts dominate his digital art and his passion for art shines through.

Passion is an integral part of creating art. “Ambience of working and a passion for that,” says Liimatainen. “And fearlessness to express familiar things by fresh and creative ways is crucial.”

Raised by a single mother, Liimatainen learned to use his imagination at a young age. “Daydreaming and imagination, as well as taking responsibility, are still strong in me,” he says.

Transitioning from traditional painting to computer art came naturally to Liimatainen. As the decade of the nineties came to a close, he sought new forms of expression. Through digital creations he “found my very own method of working.” He creates works using fractal, 3D and painting softwares side by side, putting each piece together like a puzzle.

Liimatainen has good advice for beginning artists: “Be open-minded to those who can help you. Don’t attempt to conquer the whole world by doing this and that. Think twice about who you are and who you want to become. Align all your efforts in that direction and hold steady, even when your faith is shaken and it seems that your work won’t lead anywhere. Remember that overnight success usually means ten to fifteen years of hard work.”

That advice is actually good for everyone.

Visit Liimatainen’s website, follow him on Twitter @SipoArt or visit his page at Fine Art America.

Pen has self-published 20 titles in print and e-book formats. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle, is a fictitious account of an EMP attack on the United States with women heroes. Visit Nero’s Fiddle website at http://bit.ly/1yYsNH2 follow her on Twitter @penspen or visit her website at www.penspen.info 


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Freedom and introspection are the only two rules Jacqueline Athmann lives by when it comes to creating her art.


Growing up in a suburb of Minneapolis, she was encouraged to paint when her sister purchased a canvas for her at the age of eleven. She was mesmerized shortly after by a magazine ad with wet paint splotches and dripping wet paint drops.

She recently began a “Wet Paint” series inspired by that ad.

“Once the paint dries, the paint color dulls and darkens and never has the same look and feel,” Athmann explains. “This is what inspired me to start photographing the painting as I paint so I could enjoy the paint longer.”

Photography is a passion for Athmann in addition to painting. It is “a great way to be artistic when I’m unable to be in my studio or am not inspired to paint.” She confesses she is still learning photography but it keeps her active and interested in the surrounding world.

She particularly admires the work of Bansky whose political and social commentary can be seen on walls, bridges and buildings in numerous cities around the globe.

“I love Bansky’s humor, rebellious nature and the simple yet dramatic way that he sends his message,” says Athmann. “I believe we would have a great conversation and learn from each other.”

After watching  a video on YouTube where she paints “Consoling Strength” I recognized Athmann’s wonderful outlook and attitude.

“My paintings are created in chaos and with a lot of surrounding plastic in the immediate area…typically very thick with layers of paint,” says Athmann. “This kind of work is usually over 15 layers of paint or more.  Getting the right look takes time and the process is something I enjoy very much.”

Of course, the viewer may not recognize the layers but certainly can appreciate the finished product.

Relying on intuition, Athmann doesn’t have a plan when she steps in front of a canvas, though it is something she is working on. “I have been known to step in front of a canvas, work for over 8 hours without a break,” says Athmann. “Once I start, it’s very difficult to stop.”

For Athmann, painting alleviates anxiety and daily stress. It frees her mind from racing thoughts and worry. Just the glistening paint makes her happy.

“When I paint, I can create and feel any way I want to,” says Athmann. There are no rules. All art is beautiful to someone.”

Athmann’s philosophy and advice to aspiring artists? Don’t stop. Believe in yourself.  Find your path.  Don’t waste a day.

An attitude everyone should live by.

Athmann’s work can be found here.

Follow her on Twitter @That1chikuknow or on Facebook.

Pen has self-published 20 titles in print and e-book formats. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle, is a fictitious account of an EMP attack on the United States with women heroes. Visit Nero’s Fiddle website at http://bit.ly/1yYsNH2 follow her on Twitter @penspen or visit her website at www.penspen.info  Contact her at mytuppenceblog at yahoo.com to inquire about proofreading, editing and formatting services

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By Pen  

Summer 2006. I had been unemployed for over a year. A business venture failed miserably. No income. No money. No prospects. I don’t remember how I was surviving.  

I sat on my sofa, blindly staring at a 1979 television set with rabbit ears and bad reception on one of the only two channels I was able to get – 46 and 17. I don’t even know what I was watching.  

But I was thinking. And they weren’t pleasant thoughts. And the more I thought, the more compelled I felt to take action.  

I got a stack of typing paper, a pencil and a pencil sharpener. I sharpened the pencil to its finest point.  

Funny. I’ve been writing since the age of ten. I had been sitting there on the sofa for hours, formulating the words in my head until I knew exactly what I wanted to say.  

Funny, but I couldn’t think of a single thing to write. The words had become incoherent, a foreign language to my brain.  

Funny, me being a writer and all, that I couldn’t think of how to kick-start this suicide note. My mind was as blank and as white as the paper in front of me.  

I put the point of the pencil to the paper. But no words came. Unusual for me, as verbose as I am.  

But something did happen. I began to draw lines. Straight lines. Curvy lines. Continuous lines.  

At first, none of the lines crossed each other, even though the beginning and ending points connected. I filled one sheet with these lines, set it aside and began another sheet.  

Eventually, the lines did begin to cross each other, formulating new and distinct patterns.  

So I continued, the patterns and shapes different on each page. Some seemed to be designed although all of them were random. Some looked like something out of Dr. Seuss’ worst nightmare and others were pleasant.  

Even as I created them, I came to think of them as “doodles.” Rorschach and Freud would have had a field day with my doodles.  

I have always been a doodler. Talking on the phone with someone was a great opportunity to grab a pen or pencil and a scrap of paper – an old envelope, a letter, a bill, a napkin – and doodle during the conversation. Such a multi-tasker, am I.  

Oddly, the more I doodled, the farther away my mind travelled from thoughts of suicide. Hour after hour, I just kept doodling.  

I created close to two hundred doodles that night. I kept about sixty because those sixty were the best.  

I fell asleep on the sofa surrounded by my doodles.  

The next day, an artist I knew couldn’t stop raving about my doodles. I thought they were no more than meaningless scratches on paper until a second artist echoed the accolades of the first.  

The more I looked at the doodles, the more I thought these artists were crazy. And who better to know that than I? I, who had transformed a potential suicide note into these crazy, malformed doodles; I was certainly calling the kettle black, wasn’t I?  

One of the artists was kind enough to supply me with paints and brushes she didn’t need.  

I haven’t had a moment since that time to seriously consider suicide or any other personal bodily harm.  

The tools I needed were in my hands and at my disposal: imagination, paints, brushes, canvas, wood and the written word. With those simple tools, I created hope. My artwork is not Picasso. Or Da Vinci. I doubt the word “masterpiece” will ever apply to my art or my written creations (although time will tell). But in my art, in my written creations, is my hope. My salvation.  

The well of despair is all too easy to fall into. It’s ten times harder to crawl out of that well than to fall into it. It is easier to create hope than it is to crawl – bone-chilling, mind-numbing, nails-clawing-by-the-skin-of-your-teeth crawling – from the bottom of a deep well of despair, desperation and depression.  

Within that hole is certain death, be it immediate or long-reaching. Even though death will ultimately claim us all, there is no reason for any of us to give death a helping hand. We each have the tools to dig ourselves out of that cold well. We all need hope to cope. And hope is a gift we each are capable of giving to ourselves as well as to others.  

Doodles are not life-saving devices.  

But several years later I am still alive and kicking. Tethered to my lifeline of imagination, paints, brushes, canvas, wood and the written word.  

And hope.


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