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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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The cost of oblivious daydreaming was always this moment of return, the realignment with what had been before and now seemed a little worse.

— Ian McEwan, Atonement

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Visualize

A Pencreation

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Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.

— Lloyd Alexander

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Looking back, I guess I used to play-act all the time. For one thing, it meant I could live in a more interesting world than the one around me.

— Marilyn Monroe

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Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

— Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist

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I have been a Maladaptive Daydreamer since the age of four.

What is Maladaptive Daydreaming? you may ask. It is also referred to as “excessive daydreaming.” It is when a person daydreams almost to the exclusion of reality.

And I am not the only one.

I used to get caught daydreaming in class until I learned to focus my attention when it was needed.

On my own time, however, I have been capable of daydreaming for up to eight hours or more within a day’s time. Then feel guilty and depressed about the time spent daydreaming – as well as the daydreams not being real – for the remainder of the day.

Within the last few years, I discovered I am not the only person who daydreams excessively. After speaking with a couple of people I know, I researched “excessive daydreaming” on the Internet. It is called “Maladaptive Daydreaming” by those who suffer from it as well as the few psychologists and other members of the medical community who acknowledge it even exists.

You may think that spending all of your time in a fantasy world would be ideal.

Take my word for it, it isn’t.

Because while a person spends hours on end inside her or his own daydreams, the world is, quite literally, passing right by.

Once back in the real world there is the guilt of having spent so much time doing, well, absolutely nothing in the eyes of the real world. It is a little on the ironic side how much a person can accomplish in a daydream but it counts for nothing in reality.

Then there is the fact that those daydreams are not real. This fact alone was enough to spiral me into a depression that I couldn’t shake for days.

Maladaptive Daydreamers are not easily recognizable. Many of us function in the real world, holding jobs, having families, going to school. Many of us are capable of daydreaming in the midst of a conversation. At the movies. While we drive.

The argument can be made that excessive daydreamers hurt no one except themselves.

That is an outright lie.

I happened to learn that two of my friends were also excessive daydreamers. Neither of them is willing to give up the daydreaming habit. Yet both have so many goals and ambitions they would like to accomplish.

I am not opposed to anyone who wishes to remain an excessive daydreamer. It is very difficult to give up daydreaming, especially when you have done it for most of your life.

But the harmful aspects of this malady hit home for me when one of those friends broke a very important promise to me because she chose to daydream rather than keep her word.

That really started me thinking: Had I ever hurt someone because I was daydreaming instead of doing something I had promised? When did I began to daydream? And why? Why was it so important to me to daydream? What am I escaping from by having all these daydreams?

I followed this thread of thinking for quite a few months after the incident with my friend. The answers were startling and eye-opening. And painful.

Last year, after a great deal of research and soul-searching, I put together a book about my experience: “An Introduction to Maladaptive Daydreaming.”

I put this book together in an effort to, not only help myself, but with the hope it might be helpful to others. It cites case studies, lists helpful and informative websites and contains some suggestions that might be beneficial to those who wish to get their daydreaming managed or under control.

I am by no means an expert on the subject. Nor have I “overcome” or given up daydreaming. I still engage in daydreaming, but I daydream when the opportunity to do so is there: like on my commute, while I’m watching television and, particularly, during the time I sit at the computer at my job typing the same data over and over again.

Most importantly, when I am working on a novel, I use that daydreaming to write. I’m sure most writers would call that “visualization” but call it what it is: it’s daydreaming. But it is a very important tool. It is very helpful in accomplishing those goals and ambitions.

I have used my daydreaming to self-publish six fiction novels and six non-fiction books, including the aforementioned “Maladaptive Daydreaming” book.

Maladaptive Daydreaming is a serious and very real condition. Similar to an addiction (in my opinion), it is hard to control and harder to give up. It does not mean that a person is weak-minded: on the contrary, excessive daydreamers are mostly very creative people, forming characters and entire plots within their own imaginations. Like any other condition, it is not something which should be scoffed at or made light of. I can personally vouch for how vicious a cycle it is to get into and how difficult it is to find one’s way out of.

Yet it is neither recognized nor acknowledged by the majority of the medical community as a valid condition which requires treatment – not medical drugs – but a real understanding of the person and what he or she is going through. And how he or she can be helped.

I, personally, look forward to the day when more research is done on this subject and treatment programs are more widely available. Not to mention the time when it is recognized by the medical and psychological community as a real and treatable condition.

The links to the book, as well as a slideshow on YouTube, are available below.

Maladaptive Daydreaming https://www.createspace.com/3878011

Maladaptive Daydreaming http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyDOVB1_S6Q&feature=youtube_gdata

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