Sirpa Kemppainen's naive works are a warm splash of colour in the heart of Koto Hotel’s winter in Pihtipudas. The animals of the forest adventure in the fascinating settings of the acrylic paintings. Weir net sculptures, which are important to the artist, are also on display in the exhibition.


The artist Sirpa Kemppainen, who lives in Jyväskylä and originally comes from Viitasaari, now organises her first private exhibition in Pihtipudas. The exhibition titled Kylässä (“Visiting”) mainly consists of her recent naive, fairly large acrylic works.

– The name of my exhibition reflects the thought that I come for a visit to Koto Hotel. With my art, I want to bring colour and joy, as well as highlighting the diversity of nature, says Kemppainen.


What fascinates her in naive expression in addition to the rich colours is the possibility for experiments and many kinds of surprises. Indeed, for example a moose drawn by a grandchild, the sun, a blueberry, autumn’s red leaf, a deer and a rock painting symbol can all be found in a single artwork.

It speaks of Sirpa Kemppainen’s versatility that in addition to acrylic paintings, she creates artworks from weir net and wire, as well as paintings by carving plywood. These can also be sampled in Koto Hotel’s exhibition. Kemppainen has also tried her hand at bronze casting.


Energy from autumn colours


Bears, deer and birds are often in the main role in Kemppainen’s paintings and plywood carvings. Her naive expression includes distinctive arrangements, flamboyant use of colour, as well as sweet warmth.

– Nature, and in particular the autumn, inspire me. Autumn colours give energy, and in autumn time, I may paint enough for other seasons. I do not prepare drafts for my works – I design them in my head and start implementing them on the basis of my mental image. Some of the image themes I transfer to my works using a wax paper template and often, white borders separate the animal characters from the background of the paintings.


In addition to fish and forest animals, berries are the most common symbols used by Kemppainen. And the reason is easy to find.

– I am a passionate berry picker! I pick cranberries and cloudberries as well as blueberries and lingonberries. And at the same time, I observe everything I see around me. I draw endless inspiration from the richness of the seasons, says Kemppainen.


Experience of over 70 exhibitions

Kemppainen started her artist career with weir net works in mid-1990s along with her day job.

– During the days, I worked as a secretary and in the evenings, I made art. My first own exhibition was in Viitasaari, in the Heinäaho summer gallery in Mäntylä village in 1996. Our family’s beloved summer cottage is in Mäntylä village, and we spend a lot of time there in all seasons, says Kemppainen.


Kemppainen, who retired a couple of days ago, has exhibited her works already in over 70 exhibitions. The works have been juried over the years also for several joint exhibitions of the Jyväskylä Artists’ Association.


At the beginning of December, she will bring an art collection to Koto Hotel. Some of the works will be changed in January. In this way, the audience has an opportunity to see a wider selection of her works.

Sirpa Kemppainen is already the eighth artist whose exhibition is displayed in the hotel. Since autumn 2020, Koto Hotel Pihtipudas profiled as an art hotel and received support for this from the Jyväskylä Artists’ Association.


Sirpa Kemppainen’s sales exhibition displays her acrylic works, weir net and wire sculptures, as well as paintings carved in plywood. The Kylässä (Visiting) exhibition will be in Koto Hotel 2 December 2022 – 28 February 2023, and in January, the artist will change some of her works. The exhibition can be viewed during the hotel’s opening hours, every day from 3 pm until 8 pm. The address is Keskustie 2, Pihtipudas.