Inspired by: Tove Jansson – Tuoli


It’s the 10th of the 10th today! And that means Riikka and I have been creating something with a particular theme or thing in mind again and it’s time to share the results in a new Inspired by post!

The ‘thing’ for this month is the painting Tuoli by Tove Jansson:


Riikka choose this painting after she had been to see an exhibition to mark the 100th anniverary of the birth of Tove Jansson at Ateneum Art Museum. She told me she thought I would have loved the exhibition.

I certainly love Tuoli. I’ve only seen tiny images of it online and in the brochure… and I can tell that it’s beautiful. The colours… The brush strokes… The chair… The proportions… I love it.

But… I didn’t know what to do with it for Inspired by. I wanted to use paint, for sure. And the colour scheme was obvious too. But other than that I was blank.

I know it must seem strange to some of you, but I’ve never read a Moomin book in my life. I don’t know why, but it seems to me that the Moomins aren’t that big of a thing in the Netherlands. Or maybe they aren’t in my family (we read Annie M.G. Schmidt and Astrid Lindgren instead). I do remember a Moomin TV-series in my teens, but by that time I wasn’t interested in kids cartoons any more.

Needles to say, I wasn’t familiar with Tove Jansson either. So I decided I needed to find out more. I couldn’t visit the exhibition in Helsinki, so I opted for an online field trip instead.

First stop was the amazing official Tove Jansson website. And then I found the BBC documentary Moominland Tales: The Life of Tove Jansson online. It was captivating. I loved learning about Tove Jansson’s life story and it’s especially fascinating to see how Tove’s personal life is reflected in her work.

All this unfortunately did not really help me find out what to do for this Inspired by though…

I had no other choice than to just start somewhere and work through it. So I opened my art journal, gathered my paints, filled a container with water and… went to work.


I started with mixing acrylic paint to match the colours in the (oil) painting. Then I tried to mirror the blocks of colour in the painting. Halfway through I gave up on matching it exactly… and went my merry way.

This is what I ended up with:


I loved playing with paint! Brushing, scraping or rolling it on, painting over it again, bringing colours back… Mixing colours… Getting it wrong and then attempting to make it right again…


I didn’t know what to paint on top of all the layers, so I decided to doodle with a black paint marker. The idea for the circles came from a basket I had seen at an interior design fair:


And last, but not least: the Moomin quote was featured in the documentary. It stuck with me. It’s an example of how Tove’s personal life/feelings seemed to seep over into her work.

Conclusion: this was definitely an inspiring Inspired by! I’m glad I now know a little bit more about Tove Jansson, her work and her fascinating life!

Now it’s time to visit Riikka. I can’t wait to see what she’s created!

Thanks for stopping by!

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