Kamloops artist chooses stones — to paint - InfoNews

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Kamloops artist chooses stones — to paint

Helena Paivinen began painting after a diagnosis left her with low energy levels and a memory problem.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Helena Paivinen
October 10, 2019 - 2:23 PM

KAMLOOPS - When Helena Paivinen‎ was forced out of work after falling ill with a condition that affects her memory and energy levels, she struggled to find purpose until she discovered the joy of painting — and an unusual canvas that continues to surprise.

“I used to be a professor of nursing and I’m disabled and I can't work anymore,” Paivinen says. “I've had a hard time trying to find meaning in my life, trying to find passion and joy, so painting is one outlet I can do, and I can rest in between.”

Paivinen‎'s medium of choice is rocks but that's only part of it. A few years ago she started hiding them in public for others to find and she says the practice and process has allowed her to embrace positivity again.

“When I'm doing art, I lose track of time and I become mindful and really focused on what I'm doing... I'm not caught up in my head, I'm not caught up in thinking about my tragedies and my past, I'm really focused on the moment and that's really meditative and really powerful,” Paivinen says.

Paivinen says she leaves her artwork around urban spaces and in nature so people can feel joy when they find one.
Paivinen says she leaves her artwork around urban spaces and in nature so people can feel joy when they find one.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Helena Paivinen

She says she paints about 12 rocks a week and hides them in various areas of the community, and will bring rocks with her when she travels to different areas. She encourages the people who find her rocks to re-hide them or keep them, so long as they do an act of kindness for others or the environment.

“I get such joy in painting and I get to share it with others, I hope that they start to be inspired and start exploring their own creative side and start painting their own rocks,” Paivinen‎ says.

She doesn't only stick to geological canvases. She says some of her bigger works are on display at the Kamloops airport, and she is giving away some of her larger canvas works to the Rotary Club for their Art From the Attic fundraiser. She says she is happy to give her artwork away and hopes to make her art accessible to all.

Paivinen‎ has been interested in art since she was a child but stopped practicing after pursuing her professional goals. 

“Because I'm disabled I've found I have to redefine myself and I find painting is the only thing I can really do now which is kind of cool,” Paivinen‎ says. “I always wanted to be an artist, but I had doubt. Then I got sick and I was like, ‘Okay, what can I do within my capacity?’”

She says her former profession helped to instill a passion for people, which she credits to fuelling the inspiration for her projects today. She says she has been greatly inspired by Margaret Keane, whose husband took credit for her portraits painted with big eyes.

“I love her work because she captures the essence of the soul in their eyes,” Paivinen‎ says. “I used to be a mental health and addictions professor in nursing and I love people's stories… I'm going to start trying to do a big canvas of the big eyes theme.”

You can check out Paivinen‎’s work on her Facebook page. Click here to see her Facebook page for painted rocks in Kamloops called Sisko Rocks.

Paivinen says she has been influenced by the artwork of Margaret Keane.
Paivinen says she has been influenced by the artwork of Margaret Keane.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Sisko Rocks

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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