I reached out to Carolina Grunér on a far-fetched dream. I knew I wanted to feature artists doing amazing things and creating beautiful work through Star Castle Spotlights, but I had no examples to show and no numbers to provide. Since I’ve been following Carolina’s work for awhile and have always been in awe of the incredible work she creates, I figured it was a long-shot to get a response, let alone a one-on-one interview, but she surprised me by quickly answering my message and submitting deeply though provoking, inspirational answers to all my questions.
I’m proud to share her good vibes and energy with all of you!
How did you first discover your love for painting?
I have loved to draw and paint my whole life.
That, and writing, has been my escape and my safe haven for as long as I can remember. As a young girl I remember dreaming about and wishing that my grandfather - who was an artist - would have still been alive to teach me how to paint. I was always very insecure about my skill, never daring to finish or show to others what I created.
In 2012 my life changed drastically, and that, for me, was the best thing to ever happen. I was faced with all my fears, and was proven that I could handle and survive it all. It left me very strong and with a newfound sense of courage and freedom. And all of that ultimately led to me daring to take a huge leap of faith, quit my job, and dive into painting full on - and finally show to others what I can do.
To this day, I am so incredibly grateful that my life did not go as I wanted it to go back then, but instead opened up a path that has been the most fun, challenging and exhilarating one I’ve ever been on.
What are 3 words you'd use to describe your unique art style?
Powerful, feminine, soulful.
What has been your biggest struggle to getting where you want to be creatively and how did you overcome it?
The biggest - and in my opinion only - obstacle is our mindset.
Because with the right mindset we can find ways to work without money. With the right mindset we can find ways to be creative, to show our work, to find people to work with, ways to find the time to do our work, and so on. Basically everything.
I believe I am exactly as successful and as creative as my mindset at this time believes me to be. Which can be quite frustrating at times, when one would just like to blame everything on someone or something else. 😆 But we really are what we believe ourselves to be. That is something I have seen sooo much proof of during these past six years. Being an artist and being an entrepreneur requires constant growth mentally and emotionally - IF one wants to grow bigger, reach more people, sell more works.
I'd love to hear a little about the studio / space you've created to work in and how that impacts your process & final product.
With this studio I needed to start from scratch, as I had sold and given away all of my things when moving to New Zealand from Finland. At the time it felt like the right thing to do (and it was), but when I got here I started missing my old paints and jars and all of my beautiful things so much. It was actually a much tougher process to go through, to start from scratch, than I had ever imagined - as when without all of those things I realized I felt I had lost my whole artistic identity. I had given away the tubes and brushes, the easel, all the memories, where I six years ago found myself. Sounds dramatic, I know, but we can get quite emotionally attached to things. ☺️ Anyhow, I rebuilt my paintbrush stock (so much fun!), found myself a new easel, ate lots of jam to get new jars, decided to change the brand of the colours I use - and give it a go.
This space was and is just so incredible, that I don’t feel it needs much more than that view, a good work bench to work from, a cosy seat, some hand picked flowers, messy pink brushes, and that’s it. 😍
I’m learning that starting over, reinventing oneself is a good thing - even if IT’S challenging.
This space, with its completely new energies, and the whole move to New Zealand has made me go sooo much deeper into myself, to find and dare explore new dimensions - and I feel that can be seen in what is being created here.
How do you know when a painting is done?
It’s a feeling. Like a tingle. Sometimes it’s more obvious than others. And when it’s obvious, I get all light headed and ecstatic, and I do a “little” happy dance.
Sometimes it’s my mind saying the work is done. That usually happens when I really like what I’ve done, and am too scared to ruin what I’ve created so far. Usually then, there’s this tiiiny, tiny whisper somewhere telling me “No it’s not; you need to let go more.” These works I usually end up painting over/continuing on when I get that call (read: enough courage).
Sometimes I’m just so eager to show what I’m creating, that I just WANT it to be done. And sometimes they actually are done, but if they don’t sell for a while, I might get back to them and they become something else.
I used to be quite hard on myself with this; scolding myself if I had posted a painting before it was ready for example. But I’ve learnt to be kinder now. It’s not the end of the world - it’s creativity, and creativity is fun!
Creativity is living in the moment.
And moments change!
So how to know when a painting is done?
I think that’s unique for every piece one creates.
What inspires your color choices?
All my colours are chosen intuitively. I can get very inspired by the endless shades of greens and turqoises of the ocean, the grey and beige of the sand, the blues of the sky, but I have learnt that I cannot put colours on a canvas just because I would like to. My process of painting is completely intuitive, and the second I try to add something because my mind says it thinks it would look good, my creative flow stops.
So no matter how much I would want to paint a certain looking thing, I know I would not be happy with it, because it would have been painted with the head and not the heart.
And I believe, that only when something is created with the heart, does it feel alive. Does it actually feel like magic. Like it’s healing you.
“I would love for my viewers to feel a sense of comfort and calm.
Hope and light. To be reminded of the peace and the power that resides in themself.”
Do you have any advice / tips for someone looking to dive deeper and pursue their own creative passion?
Believe in yourself. Know your worth. Know the value of your worth. Know that what you do IS valuable. IS worthy. IS needed in this world. Listen to your gut. Your gut/heart/intuition is the ONLY thing that will lead you to actual magic, whilst your mind (or other people’s minds) will come up with all the excuses and/or reasonable reasons in the book why magic cannot happen. Beware: The mind (or other people) will call all of these reasons and excuses ”facts”.
Surround yourself with others who dare live fully. Who take risks, who believe in dreams, in trying.
This is really important. We become who we surround ourselves with!
So do not hesitate to let old friendships go. It hurts at the time, but moving forward is worth it.
And last but not least: DO YOU.
Many will give you tips to research the market, study the great - and I agree, to a certain extent. Do your research, but remember: only YOU have what YOU have. Only YOU can provide what YOU can provide. So remember to value yourself. YOUR gift.
If it doesn’t feel right for YOU, then don’t do it. And if it feels right for YOU, even though everyone else says it won’t work, then DO IT.
The only mistakes you’ll regret are the ones where you went against your gut. All else is a win for you. Even the ”mistakes”.
And one more bonus one: Have fun! Let go of the belief that only if we suffer from our work, are we worthy of financial reward.
“Love what you do, do it from the heart, have good intentions - and all will work out.💗”
Honestly, when I first read through Carolina’s responses, I was tearing up at my computer. 😭It’s so refreshing to experience an artist with such love and positivity. Her fierce passion can be felt through all her work and her inspiring message.
I hope this spotlight touches a soft spot for you too, and you’re able to take her kind words to heart.
The world needs more people like Carolina: people willing to be true to their self, inspire others to do the same, and work towards making the world a better & more beautiful place.