FROM KEMIJÄRVI TO ALAHÄRÄ
Seen from the watershed of Kemijärvi, new patterns could be built from Juhani Palmu's life blocks. The kaleidoscope of life could be turned to a new position, when the meaning of the components could completely change. Nothing in itself is only positive or negative, but connections and connections determine. Mental cages also encouraged to gather strength and increase self-esteem. The time of disarmament was accompanied by deep introspection and study.
There is a lot of ethical and moral power at the core of religions - no matter what people do with their ideological movements, no matter how violently they try to control each other. The experience of the primacy of spirituality and the absolute value of a person led Juhani Palmu to idealism, which left no place for materialism. This was seen as an absolute disarmament. It didn't even need religious pretexts.
The young man's material independence was also attainable in Kemijärvi. Work, social status and success were the basis of a new life. Gradually, Juhani Palmu's paintings began to appear in exhibitions in Southern Finland as well, and they attracted attention. Pressure to return to the south began to appear. Kemijärvi was a watershed, an intermediate stage.
The move to Alahärmä, Ostrobothnia took place on April 20, 1974. The attraction was the advertising work of the cooperative shops in Ostrobothnia - however, Palmu never had time for those jobs again. Instead, the role of secretary of the Härmän Häjyylyt summer party challenged the man.
Juhani Palmu amazed the people of Alahärmä with his knowledge of local history. Even this matter was not only based on accelerated studies - already at a young age he had familiarized himself with Finnish history and folklore and moved around Satakunta, e.g. with amateur archaeologist Lauri Nautela. He had also followed the excavations carried out under the direction of Professor Ville Luho in the Vanhalinna area of Lieto on the banks of the Aurajoki.
A new phase began in his painting. The landscapes of Ostrobothnia and Satakunta had an impact: the human footprint in nature rose to central importance. The peasant's circle of life was shown in a new light. The effectiveness of an autumn plowed field: dark colors and ocher. The graphic nature of the landscape. Black spruces, snow in the fields.
The reduced composition became a key element: how to frame, cut. How little you dare to take so that the balance of the composition is still maintained. Palmu made accurate color notes and traveled a lot in the countryside.
The "coolness" of the barn landscapes and the calmness of the shoreless horizon were basic elements here. As contrasts, enclosed courtyards with their "hot" vertical lines, along with the heavy peasant formalism, lofty individuality was also emphasized: each owner had, for example, his own idea of the right slope of the barn roof.
In Alahärmä, Palmu used a studio rented from the municipality. Here he also repeated all the technical knowledge he had received. The painting bases were now large hardinsulates or linen canvases, well primed - laxity was never allowed in Palmu's family circle in these basic matters.
Juhani Palmu also painted a lot outdoors. In the summer of 1976, he worked in the fields with the rhythm of haymakers - from early in the morning until late in the evening. In the evening, he raced with the sunset to Oravai's Kaffestuga to watch the sun set in the sea - and spent the night on the floor of the studio, accompanied by a big spider.
In order to achieve a reduction and a graphic effect, he used a lot of black and white, contours and lines in his landscapes. Broken colors separated by lines became important. Shades were often close to each other, highlighted defiantly as "under" or "over". Shadows and contrasts remained strong. A hint of surrealism, a certain unreality, came along. Palmu had begun photographing night views. A quiet stop for the night.
It was from these stages that Juhani Palmu developed into a painter known to the general public. He was single-handedly called "the photographer of Ostrobothnia".
Important painting sites were Isontalo's raitti (with Anti's traditions and Knuuttila's raitti in Alahärmä, even Alaviitala's house, where the wife of the painter Eero Nelimarka, the painter of the early province, was from. On the Ylihärmä side, there was also Keskikangas, and in Kauhava, Iisakin Jussi's closed yard.
For Juhani Palmu, the years 1974-1976 were still a time of strong spiritual change. At that time, many relationships were broken, even in the family circle. There was also a divorce from the second wife in 1975. Palmu's wife stayed at her job as a beautician in Vammala, the dissolved marriage was childless.
Painting now completely filled Juhani Palmu's life. The readiness to do artistic work had been acquired, and he worked hard, diligently, with interest. He felt himself to be a messenger, a message giver who is exploring his own being. Realism required honesty and humility, recognition of facts, and an open mind and ability to learn.
People did not play a central role in the works of that time. The figures could be included in the paintings, fixed on the walls and doors and rather unreal - it was not intended to make them "real".
On the other hand, Polishness was like gunpowder - a common resource - which everyone has to invent more of! Talks about plagiarism - or that Palmu's works resemble Vionoja or Nelimarkka - Palmu himself counters by stating that the landscape and its spirit are common to everyone, and everyone presents their own interpretation of it, just as everyone writes, for example, the word "flower" in their own handwriting. This is nothing more than that.
The transformation of Southern Ostrobothnia into Pohjois Satakunn scenically and mentally interested Juhani Palmu even more widely. The relationship between architecture and landscape is always exciting in this area. Ikaalinen - Hämeenkyrö - Sastamala - Tyrvää, for example, has its own area. "Even the spruce trees are darker there than elsewhere." Palmu often went on sketching trips to these areas, which had partly become familiar even before moving to Kemijärvi.