Search This Blog

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Marja Koskiniemi. Interview

Marja, did you look for the watercolour medium or did this medium find you?
It was watercolour that found me after many years of oil painting. A Spanish teacher at the international art school in Stockholm said that my oil paintings look like watercolours. He suggested that I choose between these two media. My choice was watercolour.

Marja Koskiniemi. Adagio. 56x76

Have you instantly found your personal style? If not, what stages did you pass through?
I wanted to paint strong watercolours from the very beginning, but you have to master different watercolour techniques first. I started by painting thin colours layer by layer with distinct lines. When I gradually increased the amount of water, my paintings became more diffuse. I found my personal style when I changed watercolour cakes into tubes and started working in a large scale.

Marja Koskiniemi. Before The Storm. 56x76 cm

You spend a lot of time in Sweden. Which country, Finland or Sweden, provides you with more inspiration? 
I live and work in Sweden since 1989, but I will always be a Finnish artist. The sea, one of my great inspirations, is the same in Finland and Sweden. Another source of inspiration are the large fields in the beautiful Ostrobothnian landscape in Finland. The fields give the same sense of freedom as the open sea.

Marja Koskiniemi. Song Of Waves. 56x76 cm

Are there some fellow artists or artists from the past who have inspired you? 
When I started painting watecolours I was inspired by the strong paintings of the German expressionist Emil Nolde. I also admire the freely painted, large-scale aquarelles of the Hungarian artist Nandor Mikola who lived and worked in Finland.

Marja Koskiniemi. Break Of Dawn. 56x76 cm

You express your emotions with colours. Is the process fully spontaneous or do you have some plan or fixed idea of the result when you begin to paint?
I have an idea of what I want to achieve. Watercolour painting is, however, an interesting process during which new ideas are born. I lead the colours to a desired result, but often the colours start leading me instead. Accidentally running colour can inspire into something new and unexpected. A perfectly controlled painting is never the most interesting work of art.

If you fail with a painting do you consider it wasted?
 I have learned that you should never discard a painting straight away. Sometimes my artist friends rescue my failed watercolours and make me see the beauty of them. Failed paintings are good material for collage as well. 

Marja Koskiniemi. Twilight Time. 56x76 cm

Most of your works are quite large. Do you paint also in small size?
When travelling it is easier to carry a small block, but I prefer large-scale paintings. Right now monumental watercolours is my big challenge.

How is your textile experience reflected in your watercolour painting? 
My textiles and watercolours influence each other. I painted a silk organza skirt with a big brush in different blue shades of textile colours many years ago. It resembles my three-dimensional watercolour, a blue paper skirt on a mannequin doll in the exhibition "Watercolour in a different way" a couple of years ago in Finland.

Marja Koskiniemi. Tranquility. 56x76 cm

You are also working with glass. Do you find any similarity in approach when you are painting with watercolours and when you are working with glass?
What is most fascinating and at the same time most difficult in watercolour painting and glass fusing is that in both techniques the material lives its own life. You can never fully control the process. Another similarity of these two media is the transparency and the significance of light.

Marja Koskiniemi. Playful Nature. 56x76 cm

You are an accomplished artist who got international awards for your painting. Most of your works are abstract. Is there any need of studying drawing to become an artist? 
Drawing is the basis of all visual art and an important part of the education. My favourite technique is charcoal drawing, which I have been practicing for many years.

Marja Koskiniemi

Can you find some typical features of Finnish art and particularly watercolour?
We can compare two beloved artists, Swedish Carl Larsson and Finnish Hugo Simberg. The motif in Larssonґs watercolours are happy, idyllic family scenes whereas the atmosphere is more gloomy in Simbergґs symbolistic paintings with angels and devils. There is both melancholy and humour in his works. During the past few years Finland has been trying to break away from the traditional watercolour painting. Artists have been encouraged to experiment and paint more freely. This tendency has been visible in several watercolour exhibitions as simplified, free, sometimes three-dimensional aquarelles.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for showing these stunning watercolours. I am impressed by the magnificent paintings!