NEW SUBJECT AREAS
Alahärmä's phase in Palmu's life didn't last more than a year, although he has returned to it again and again. The 1974 exhibition in Alahärmä was personally very important to him. However, for practical reasons, moving further south began to appeal.
Palmu moved to work in Hämeenlinna in 1976. Budding new relationships were the catalyst for a solution - and he held his first exhibition at Strindberg in Helsinki. After the clear and rugged Ostrobothnia, Satakunta's "patchwork landscapes" had completely new coloristic and rhythmic-compositional starting points.
Medieval gray stone churches also became an important topic in 1976–1979. Palmu painted churches in Tyrvää, Hauho and Hattula, for example. Tuulos church was particularly interesting, which Munsterhjelm had already painted, because it could be approached in different ways from almost all directions.
The connections with the painter Onni Oja became significant during the years 1978-1981. Of course, Oja's textbook "The art of drawing" had already been studied in my youth, now the personal connection gave me a lot to think about. Every time we met, we looked at the created works, but we didn't necessarily talk much. The next day, Onni could call or write something more specific about Palmu's boards. When we met again, we might talk more about Onni's work, or he would tell stories and anecdotes about fellow artists, for example the fights between Ruokokoski and Sallinen.
In those days, the use of a palette knife became less common in Palmu's work, as brush technology came to the fore. The sometimes slightly dirty color scale of the transition phase soon began to clear up.
It is usually typical for artists that the work comes in stages from season to season. A certain topic and technique is in the foreground at any given time. This is also the case at Palmu - after one season has passed, it is almost impossible to return to it later. For example, there would be orders for gray stone church motifs, but Palmu has no longer been able to start making them.
The feedback the artist receives varies - understanding is sometimes fast, sometimes slower. Sometimes it may not happen at all. However, the pace of the artist's mental processes is fast - he often has to hurry forward in his work, regardless of the distance from the audience.
Juhani Palmu has also been lucky enough to experience quick positive feedback. He had e.g. in 1976, an exhibition in Vaasa, where he was considered a true representative and pioneer of Härmäism. "Jussi is a real Härmälä person" "A little cross character." After that, there was appreciation in Härmä as well, Palmu's direct action and success were respected. His 1970s exhibition with Strindberg in Helsinki was also noticed in Härmä. The biggest dailies in the capital wrote about the exhibitions quite extensively, and the echo spread to Ostrobothnia.
It was different with the feedback received by the "knuckle men", i.e. "Ilkok": as recently as 1981, they were not understood, and the lack of response turned off the series. Later, these works were already bought, for example, for banks.
Körts - people from Körtti, i.e. the awakened ones - were also Palmu's central topic in the early 1980s. The connection was by no means religious, but universal. The short coat of the Körtti people is a 17th-century peasant's clothing, and this participation and respect for the old tradition, as well as the old residences of the Körtti people, interested the artist. Körtti's traditional clothing is a symbol of modesty. Simple outfits were worn, as it were, as a manifestation of inner peace. (The name Körtti comes from the Swedish word kort = short).
Palmu's interest in korts was awakened after he saw the play "Kalajoki käräjät" about the history of Paavo Ruotslainen performed by Nivala's youth club. After that, he was in contact with e.g. Joose to Vilkuna and Kerttu to Saalasti. He visited the clubs in Nivala for the first time in 1980. It took a couple of years to gain the full trust of the Körtti owners, after which he was able to paint the Körttis of the Nivala region for their summer clubs in 1982. Folklore researcher Erkki Ala-Könni went along for the trip.
Palmu drew directly at social events with charcoal on Paris paper - and the paintings were then born from that. Ruuttunen's Scars and Häkkilä's Jaskat became familiar there - well-known people from Mikko Niskanen's "Konikapina". Glowing kirtan girls also posed as portrait models, whether they were working on "Saturday evening" or "Sunday morning". "Chamber of Maidens" was a sublime subject.
The clubs are also visited in the TV documentary introducing Juhani Palmu made by the Dutchman Frederik van Kuijk in 1985, which was shown not only on Finnish television but also in Central Europe.
Juhani Palmu returned to this topic in 1992 by creating a spectacular and very modern staging for the play Last Temptations performed by the Seinäjoki City Theater, which goes through the last stages of the life of the preacher Paavo Ruotsalainen.
In Palmu's private life, the move to Hämeenlinna was followed by a more serene phase of establishment in the late 70s. Spiritual cornerstones were marriage with wife Marjo (née Hämäläinen) in 1978 and the purchase of my own house in Hämeenlinna's Italian neighborhood. The name of the house naturally became Villa Marjo. There, the family was completed in 1982 with son Johannes. Juhani Palmu was 38 years old at the time, and he had a promising career as an artist ahead of him. Just a few years away, a breakthrough to an international career was also waiting.