First, a few basic questions – Who are you, what are you doing, where are you coming from?
My name is Carolina Grunér, I paint mostly abstract intuitive paintings and currently live in Sipoo, Finland.
Why painting? How did you start to paint?
I’ve been creative my whole life, but never dared believe I was any good at it. Even though I had painted, I had never actually finished painting before the age of 31, as I always was too scared I would ruin it. This all changed in 2013 when my whole life was turned upside down. Losing many things that had felt important and safe to me, I decided to take it as an opportunity to redo my whole life. I was faced with a lot of my fears at this time and actually found great courage and strength in doing so. So I quit my ”safe” job as well, even though I didn’t really know what I wanted to do instead. One day my gut just told me to paint a painting – and to finish it this time. When I started painting it I, in that moment, found my true purpose in life. I was completely at home, and I felt more powerful, more free, more exhilarated than I had ever before in my life. So I obviously and happily completed the painting, and have not stopped since.
Your paintings are very ethereal and they have such a beautiful, hazy atmosphere – What emotions do you think your works transmit for the viewer?
Thank you so much. 🙂 I hope my paintings bring a sense of peace. A sense of knowing. Of hope. Of joy and light. Maybe a memory of a familiar place that resides inside of all of us. The place that links us all together.
In your artworks, what are the most important elements to yourself? Do you have certain things that you notice to pay more attention to, like colors, structure, shapes, content?
For me the most important element is that I feel that my painting is breathing, that it feels alive. That there is a sense of light and hope in it. When I sense or see this feeling in a painting, I usually know it is ready.
“There is always a reason why something happens. A mistake is most often a chance to see things in a new, broader way.”
What connection do you have to your work? If you make an ”error” on a piece, a stroke or line you don’t like, etc, how do you react? Do you make compromises what comes to those ”errors” or are you chasing the absolute perfection and correct them?
I have learnt to love ”errors” and ”mistakes”. I’ve studied to be an art therapist and there I really learnt and internalised that there is no such thing as errors or mistakes – especially not in creativity. There is always a reason why something happens. A mistake is most often a chance to see things in a new, broader way. So even if it might sometimes feel frustrating that things didn’t go as planned or expected, I try to remind myself of the opportunity it brings. I also try not to go in and correct, as then I feel the work so easily can lose its free energy. Mistakes are beauty. Mistakes are unique. And that’s the beauty of abstract: it will never even be known as a mistake.
What has been your proudest moment with your art?
I feel proud of myself for continuosly believeing in myself. I never really did that before. But when I found the courage to dare paint with my whole heart and soul, I feel like I was reborn. Like I found my wings. And every time I paint I am believing in myself, I am flying. The moment when I truly started painting and found that courage, that fire and belief in myself, is still one of the absolute greatest moments of my life.
How things influence you as an artist? Can you see the influences in your works or has there been a moment that you’ve noticed afterward?
I can easily be inspired by beautiful colour combinations. They can invite me to go paint, in the hope of creating something with those colours, but it usually ends up so that I paint something completely different. My process of painting is completely intuitive and without a plan, and I have found that if I try to steer it with my mind, hopes or expectations, it just ends up with me feeling blocked and frustrated.
While you’re working on new artwork, when and how do you know it’s ready? Is it a clear or immediate moment or does it take time?
This is probably the most complex part of the painting – knowing when it’s ready. But as I said, if and when I see and feel that the painting has come alive, that it is breathing, full of light and hope – that’s when I am truly happy to put down my paintbrushes. It’s a feeling. And it helps to be connected to the heart to know.
What have you learned about yourself through being an artist?
Everything. I’ve learnt to find my inner power. To become at ease and one with it. I’ve learnt my determination. My passion. My skill. To break free from my fears and insecurities. Every painting is like a mimic of life itself. It teaches you so much about yourself. About overcoming fear and doubt. About trusting, about letting go, about surrendering, about believing. About daring, about being vulnerable, truthful. About recognising your insecurities, your conditioning, your inner most self. It’s like holding up a mirror that does not, can not and will not lie.
If you should describe your art with one word, what would it be?