Carolina Grunér is a Finland-based artist with an international following. Her larger-than-life paintings, guided by her intuition, are truly something special. We asked her about her creative process, what fuels her, and where she finds inspiration. And yes, we also want to fill our house with her artwork.
When did you realize that you wanted to pursue art as your career?
It wasn’t really a conscious decision for me to have art be my career, it more fell into my lap. I had just turned 31 and gone through a huge life change. A long relationship had ended, I had had a health scare, and feeling I had nothing to lose I decided to quit my job of eight years as well, even if I had no clue as to what I wanted to do with my life. I had always loved drawing and had dabbled in painting, but never dared finish what I started, scared that I would ruin it. So this one day in January of 2013 I just got this strong feeling to put out on Facebook that I would paint a painting out of the first theme anyone gave me. I felt that putting it out there for all to see, would motivate me to finally dare finish a painting. I got a theme straight away, and I instantly knew what to do. I took out my oils and brushes, and in painting that painting, I, all of a sudden, after 31 years of looking, found myself and just knew that this is what I was supposed to do in life.
Where do you go for inspiration when you’re stuck?
I’ve found that if and when I get stuck, trying to keep on painting or trying to get inspired has the completely opposite effect on me. So if and when I experience these feelings I now just let it go and go do and focus on something else. Giving myself time and space and permission to for example just play with my daughter, forgetting the thought that I would need to be working or painting, usually lights the creative spark inside of me.
What is your favorite part about making a new painting?
I love the beginning. Especially on large canvases, where it feels like the possibilities are just infinite, and one gets to be a part of the creation with one’s whole body. There’s just something so magical and powerful about beginning that journey of letting something come to life and be born through you.
What room in your house is your favorite? Why?
At the moment we live in a very small and cosy old wooden house, which is so small that it basically is just one room – so I love our whole house. I am also so blessed to have my own big studio right next to our home, which is like a second living room. I love making my creative space feel like home. A space that looks and feels like me, where I can come to just sit or meditate or play my singing bowls, or wrap up some paintings and have some tea or coffee.
What changed for you over the past year?
Outwardly nothing really changed that much, as we live outside of the city surrounded by nature and already live quite a calm and relaxed family-centered life. Inwardly I feel I have learnt to find a new sense of peace and trust in life. When everything seems to be so uncertain on the outside, I feel it’s a huge opportunity for one to seek stability and peace within. So I am very grateful for the mental challenges the past year has brought me, as they have helped me find new levels and dimensions within myself.
What is the most important reason people should fill their home with art?
I found myself becoming a real art collector during the last year. My mind wanted to freak out over all my art purchases, as it didn’t really feel the times were the best to keep investing in things, but my heart knew better. I’ve gotten so much joy out of the paintings I’ve filled our home and my studio with. For me the art I buy always has a meaning, a message. A reminder of something. So each piece becomes almost like a power animal – inspiring me, empowering me, reminding me of what feels good and what I want in life. I find art to be so incredibly healing, empowering, magical and uplifting. It can truly give us so much if we only dare follow our heart and buy that piece that feels like it was created for us.
What is your favorite thing to do after a long work day?
Now, coming to spring and summer, I can’t wait for those long and light evenings, where one can sit in the garden and just listen to the birds and the sounds of nature. Nature is my absolute favourite place to be.
What is something you’re excited about right now?
Right now I am really excited about my new pace of creating. What the last year also has taught me is to honour my inner rhythm more. To learn how to sense it. My creative rhythm has become much slower in the sense that I create less often, but when I do create, I feel I get so much more done. Having been used to basically creating and/or working every day since I began painting in 2013, this new way of being really feels so exciting to get to know and explore.
Do you think our home affects our mental health? If so, how?
I feel that our home reflects how we feel and what we believe inside, and vice versa. For me, personally, my home is the most important thing. I am a true home body. For me home needs to feel good. To be beautiful. Cosy. A safe and comfortable place and space for everyone who lives in it and visits.