How to approach a potential muse – part II

Me and Karin earlier today.

Remember the girl I saw a few weeks ago, who could be a potential muse but I didn’t know how to approach her (read the post here)? Well, I did approach her with my wish to get to know her and to put her into my work somehow. She said: “Yes, I would like that very much”.

An artist has a heart within the heart dedicated only to creativity and artistic expressions – and sometimes it falls in love with a theme, an obsession, a person or a place. This happened to my artist heart when I first saw this girl. Her name is Karin, a young and promising Swedish actress. We will be collaborating with some creative ideas soon and I just want to capture her beauty and energy with my camera.

I feel so inspired. My artist heart is filled with both love and new ideas. ♥

My Laura Palmer photo shoot with Domenique (2009)

While watching the old episodes of Twin Peaks, I was reminded of the time I did my own take on Laura Palmer with Domenique in a photo shoot (2009), inspired by the famous photo where she’s wrapped in plastic. I had to recreate a wet and rocky beach in my studio. Here is a short documentary I made with video footage from the shoot:

The face of time

I have never been this busy before. I am working non stop with various creative projects. I feel like I have neglected this blog for a while – but there just aren’t enough hours of the day to cover everything I want to do and say. I have so many ideas and so little time. When I think about all those years when I was blocked and didn’t make art, I shiver. I lost so much time.

I am still working on my painting and editing the portraits of my parents. It is very emotional. I can see every little detail of their skin texture and new lines I’ve never noticed before. Their faces are so familiar to me, yet somehow always new to me. They tell the story of time, life and at times they remind me of my grandparents faces. I imagine that I am able to see my own future in their ageing features as well.

I will show you the portraits as soon as they are finished. This might be something I could do – take people’s portrait (for money) and edit them with my unique technique in PhotoShop. I don’t know. I haven’t thought of myself as a photographer in a long time. But I love it. Just as I love writing. Painting. Making digital collages. I have so much I want to accomplish but the thought that I won’t have enough time for all my projects, worries me.

I can’t afford to waste or lose anymore precious time. It is after all, the essence of life itself.

Lava

It feels wonderful to be painting again. I find so much inner peace when I am being creative like this. I feel like a volcano with an endless source of magic lava. It is almost like a compulsion, the need to erupt over and over again and never wanting to stop. My home is here. In the lava.

Today I collaborated with my parents in a photo shoot. It was so much fun. When Johnny gave me the camera for my birthday I told him: “I am already working on 10 projects right now – damn you! Now it will be 11.” And I was right – all I want to do now is to take pictures. I am both a portrait painter and a portrait photographer but I haven’t had a camera in almost 10 years so I feel rusty, I need to practice on the people I have access to. My ambition is to make these portraits look like tintypes. I have been studying tintypes and wet plate collodion photography for days now. Let’s see if I can figure out how to do this in PhotoShop.

A morning inside a snow globe

It is a grey yet promising morning. Yesterday’s therapy session is still on my mind. It was so intense and shook my whole world. “Therapy is like a snow globe” said my therapist when I told her that. “I shake your world and everything looks like it’s starting to fall apart and then all the pieces are flowing around in the air, slowly falling to the ground and then it finds peace and stillness in your mind.”

I will devote this weekend to making art and write on my Swedish writing project. I need to be creative again. It was good to take a break and to recharge – I have lots of new energy to put into my work now. Although it’s hard to feel energized when you watch the news and see all those poor Syrian kids gasping for air in the latest gas attack. Life itself can be hard, but people are choosing to turn it into a living nightmare. What is happening in Syria is truly shocking and atrocious.

My art is about the nature of the human mind, body and spirit – I wish those three components were acknowledged and respected as a whole by every human on this planet. Life is precious, we are all precious. Both wars and abuse are the opposite of this acknowledgment. Nothing good can grow where the respect, for the human life or the planet we inhabit, is missing.

Making art based on this philosophy feels more important now than ever.

About houses

I am working on The Yellow House piece and I am pushing myself to get the feeling just right. I want the house to be both inviting and alienating at the same time. The style is much more graphic and stylized than I usually use, perhaps studying graphic design is starting to rub off on my art as well.

My inspiration for the piece comes from many sources, but mostly from the rigid and primitive style of old American colonial paintings. This is my inspiration folder for The Yellow House:

I love how childlike these paintings are, their simplicity and lack of perspective or rules.

I can’t wait to see all my digital pieces about home and houses framed and ready to be exhibited.

Here are some of them:

The satisfaction of capturing the right expression

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Painting “The Mask”, 2009.

I am positively exploding of creativity and imagination in my art right now.

But I get overwhelmed and fatigued at times. It is such a satisfactory feeling to be able to capture the images and ideas that pops up from nowhere in my mind. I call them “spiritual sketches” because they are like visions born in another dimension of my consciousness. I can’t describe how they are formed or how come they match my style so I can capture them precisely as they look inside my head. All I know is that it makes me feel free and powerful in a way. I am free to create my own worlds on my own terms – my way. I just have to stay true to my spiritual sketches.

I have the luxury of having thousands of pages in my therapy notebooks and diaries, filled with raw material for my two new collection of works. I am refining my personal mythology and adding to it, little by little every day, just by studying my own notebooks. I can see how I’ve had some ideas in mind for years, but it’s first now that I can turn them into art. Sometimes ideas has to grow and mature before they are ready to be explored and turned into an artistic expression. Timing is an important factor when you are making art based on your own experiences and emotions. You need enough distance so you can explore and study the emotions without getting caught in them – but you can’t be too removed so you can’t connect to it anymore. The balance fascinates me.

Gloomy

Yesterday

It’s a gloomy day and I feel just as gloomy. One failed painting was all it took for the stupid self-doubt to seep into my system again. The painting was an experiment and I knew it could turn to shit (which it did) at any moment. I know I am probably too hard on myself. One failed painting – I am allowed! But I just feel low and annoyed. The new ideas I have are both interesting and challenging and I should give myself time to explore them instead of judging each failed attempt to use them in my art. I have to learn how to be more forgiving to myself, how to separate ‘failed attempt’ from feeling like a ‘failure’.

I keep forgetting about the word my therapist said I have too little of; patience.

Someone also told me: “for each failure, you are one step closer to your goal.” I guess it’s true. When toddlers learn how to walk, they are closer to their goal every time they fall over.  The trick is to get back up again.

And again. And again.

My birth

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I am taking a day off, just relaxing and contemplating. The creative flow is amazing but I have to make sure it’s not adding stress to my life. I haven’t worked this hard in years. It is good to feel swept away by my creativity – and to feel a little out of control at times. To let my imagination and creativity lead me and not the other way around. This is the reason why I have never felt truly lonely in my life – because the creativity and my imagination has been my companions. The times of a deep sense of loneliness only comes when I am not creating.

Next month I will take part of a panel discussion in Stockholm about horror, but nothing is more scary than watching the Trump administration at work. I feel like I can’t add anything to the world of horror that is not already coming out of Washington at the moment.

My self-therapy work has shifted from dealing with themes of my past to solely dealing with plans and strategies for future challenges. I now have a step-by-step plan how to get out of my current situation of being broke to reaching a more successful place – and a list of necessary resources I have to use to be able to do it:

  1. self-discipline
  2. stress reducing and finding balance within
  3. focus (eliminating distractions and negative energy)
  4. understanding my value as an artist
  5. no doubting or hesitating
  6. patience

Since I have a plan, a strategy and a list of must-have resources, I simply have no excuses left, to stay in my comfort zone of isolation. I am pushing myself out into the world like I am giving birth to my own life.

My Birth by Frida Kahlo, 1932

“My Birth” by Frida Kahlo, 1932

Moving forward

Today in my studio, working on “The Remains Of Lolita”

I am completely into the flow of my creativity and I am working on 10 digital pieces and paintings at the same time. But I am not stressed, I feel better than I have in a very long time. So many problems have been solved.  I am free from distractions and fears at the moment. It’s just me and my creativity – and Johnny for one hour a day during the weekdays when he’s at lunch. It’s all I need to keep moving forward.

One step closer

It is a cold day and I can’t seem to get warm even if I’m buried under the blankets right now. Perhaps I’m getting sick again.

I’ve been working on two new digital pieces lately and they are very personal. The more I am letting go of the past, the more raw material I find to use in my art. What a nice reward. And the more distance I get from all the pain, the more details I’m able to add to my personal mythology. It’s hard to see such charged details while still being deeply connected to the pain. It blinds you.

My therapist thinks I’m making such good progress that we are starting to wrap up the treatment. Learning about codependency has been a great breakthrough for me in my therapy work. So much is starting to make sense now. It will take me a long time to learn how to deal with this issue but there is a lot of information to find about codependency, so I don’t really need a therapist to guide me through it.

I guess this is a little step closer to becoming more independent – and complete.

The force of the flow

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Work in progress

It’s been such an intense month. I’ve created 5 digital works and I have 5 in progress right now. I am also working on 5 paintings at the same time. That’s 15 artworks, completed and in the making, in January alone. Just to understand how special this is, I will remind you that I only made 4 artworks in total during 2014. I need to slow down, but I’m just having so much fun – it’s hard to go slow when I am so deep into this amazing flow.

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I am so full of ideas. I don’t know what to do with everything that pops up in my head every day. I have many new ideas for writing projects, artworks and future endeavors. I am not complaining, I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, but I don’t know how to handle it. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. I also feel rich – and grateful. I have this talent that is like a treasure chest with a never ending surplus of imagination and creativity. As long as I am lucid in my head, able to use my hand, eyes, feet, lips or whatever physical aid I need to be able to create, write or speak, I will be loyal to what’s in that treasure chest.

I am a lucky person, because what I create and put into the world somehow comes back to me like a beautiful reward. Every week, people send me warm and generous messages about my art. Not all people get such feedback when it comes to their work. I don’t think people thank their mailman for delivering the mail on time every day, or send positive feedback to the pilot after a successful flight. Being an artist is to work with the mind, heart and soul as the raw material for an expression – and then send the expression into the world to be looked at, judged, bought, ignored, praised or ridiculed. It takes a lot of courage to do that, but it can also be so rewarding. And when I am having a shitty day, things like this reminds me of my mission and why I am displaying my heart and soul  in the public arena:

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Email from yesterday

The life of an artist is not easy. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot. I can’t even see myself having children when all I want is to be alone in my studio working non-stop for hours, days, weeks. My kitchen is a mess, I haven’t had the time to watch movies lately and I can’t find the time for other things I love to do, like reading, writing, making notes and research about psychology. I need to find a good balance for this flow, or I’ll disappear into it completely.

An experimental phase

I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve wasted so much time – and that time is so very precious. I am waking up from a million mistakes and I can’t afford to waste more time on the wrong things. It stresses me but also motivates me and keeps me inspired me at the same time. I have so much I want to do. I have so much to give. So many things I want to prove to myself.

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work in progress

When it comes to my digital work, I am in an experimental phase and I’m having so much fun! I love it. Most of the times I don’t know what I am doing, but I am trying new things and that’s how I learn. Being self-taught is all about trial and error. I welcome mistakes and ugly drafts, which I eventually abandon. They are all important steps of practice and refining my technique.

The flow

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Trying to capture panic in “The Wound”

I am really painting again. No self-doubt, no hesitation, no fear – just me having fun in the studio. And even if the subject matter is very disturbing and painful for me, I don’t feel sad or anxious while working – I’m just letting it all out and as it leaves my heart and end up on the canvas, I am healing even more. Last night I ended up in that wonderful flow of creativity and passion that I’ve missed so much and I couldn’t sleep because of the rush from the flow.

One of the best things I’ve done lately is to define what my idea of ‘the perfect artistic expression’ is to me. I made a list of what I’m trying to achieve with my artistic voice, and if I just follow the list I will have no reason to doubt myself or compare myself to other artists:

  1. Capture strong emotions in their primitive state

  2. Use vivid colors

  3. Find a balance between light/dark and playful/serious

  4. Simplicity and a clear composition (no unnecessary details or a realistic approach)

  5. The expression should not be flattering or perfect in an obvious way

  6. The expression has to feel like ‘home’ to me

The stories behind my art: “My Secret Lover”

Untitled work, 2008

Untitled work, 2008

It happens that I never finish my digital pieces. I don’t know why, perhaps they’re lacking a good composition, or the storytelling doesn’t work. But sometimes I steal one or two details from the unfinished works and put them in a different context and then everything just works. They come alive. This is what happened with ‘My Secret Lover’ [2012]. It was originally part of this chaotic composition [above]. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking while I was making it, but it just didn’t work out. It’s too busy, too cluttered and the story doesn’t make sense at all.  A giant Pinocchio wedding cake with bugs, Batman, toy soldiers, cocks in the sky, eyeballs and some strippers?  What was I thinking?

So I stole the stripper with purple hair riding the tin chicken [placed in middle/right area of the piece] and put her in a much more serene space. And it worked.

"My Secret Lover" by Mia Makila, 2012

“My Secret Lover” by Mia Makila, 2012

Here it is, framed, hanging on a buyer’s wall:

"My Secret Lover"

“My Secret Lover”

A new direction

I took the day off to rest. I’ve been working hard on the painting this week and I’m a little rusty – it’s been a long time since I was able to have this kind of deep focus. I get easily drained. But I am not complaining,  I feel really happy. My mojo is working, I feel sexual and inhibited while painting, even though the painting is very controlled and well balanced. But there is so much happening inside me. At night I have these dreams where I’m finding new rooms in my house,  rooms I didn’t know about.  That’s how it feels like inside me right now. I’m finding new space to occupy. New land to conquer. More of me.

I’m letting go of all the bad energies, I’m not holding on to any anger, regret or bitterness. Perhaps that’s why I’m taking this painting in a new direction. The original theme was rage, but it’s just not there anymore. I’m trying out some new things, both in my technique and in the themes. I have such a big treasure chest of a private mythology now since all those years in therapy. The symbols of the mythology is slowly getting integrated in my art. It is really exciting. My new art is more personal. I feel naked, but in the best of ways.

I finally have a title for my new work – “The Core”, and I think it’s a transitional piece. Something that has both my past and my future in it. A new Era is coming and a new artistic language is emerging from my core. I’ll let it speak up. Loudly and proudly.