Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year´s Eve

No, I will not publish any special New Year´s drawings here, I mean, how original could it be? A drawing of fireworks? Don´t think so. A watercolor of champagne glasses? Nope. New Year´s eve is a great day, a fine celebration, but to try to draw something "Newyearsevy" just to wish you all a happy new year feels a bit forced.

Instead I´m just going to show you what happens when I get a lot of time on my hands (17 days off work around Xmas and New Year´s - yay!). I found this little gem among my other art materials, a Winsor and Newton bijoux box of some kind. I never used it much, because the construction of it irritated me a bit.
Firstly, there´s a stupid little water compartment in it (hence the little cap, see image below), containing about the amount of water that would save an ant from dehydration. How did they imagine anyone would be able to paint with so little water? Even in an emergency situation? It doesn´t take up much space though, so I can live with it. But they could have left it out of the design.
Secondly, and this is worse than the water container, there are two metal rods inside that you have to squeeze in between the half pans to keep them in place, and these rods cover quite a bit of the surface of the pans, making it hard to pick up paint on the brush.
I love to be able to have watercolors with me in a small box like this, but it has to work properly and this one didn´t.

Now, with too much time, there´s always something you can do about badly designed art supplies. I threw out the rods, and discovered that without them there´s a whole lot more room in the box, so I could squeeze in two extra pans in it. I decided which order I wanted them all in, and then I simply glued them in with a glue gun. The box is incredibly small, only 8,5 x 6,3 cm (3.3 x 2.5 inch) and works just fine if I´m not out to make huge paintings. This little fella will replace my old customized box, which has served well until now (starting to look more than a little rugged, though).

Now that you know what I´m up to, except drawing, I´ll go back to slacking and eating all this unhealthy but incredibly tasty holiday food. Hey, it´s only New Year´s Eve once a year!

I´ll be back soon with some drawings. Until then - Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

One for the road

Christmas often means a bit of travelling for us, and this time I had the opportunity to spend the car journey drawing (i.e. dear M did the driving). Tried a few fast landscapes and the interior of our car. I always find cars hard to draw, but somehow the inside is easier to capture on paper than the exterior. I would like to spend some time practicing drawing cars, I can´t understand why they should be harder to draw than anything else, and it would be nice to overcome that difficulty. I´ll have to make that a drawing challenge for the summer (always nicer cars out and about then...).

Friday, December 22, 2006

Improvized X-mas decoration

We have relocated twice this year, due to our landlord´s renovation of the area we live in, and in a few months we are going to move once more to a slightly bigger apartment. To make this year a little easier, we decided not to carry ALL our stuff around every time we move. Instead we stored a lot of our belongings elsewhere and kept only the things we knew for sure we would need during the year. Unfortunately we managed to store all our Christmas decorations. We try to keep up a good mood by simply calling our Christmas approach "minimalistic".

Today I noticed this little still life on one of our loudspeakers. Apparently my dear M had stumbled upon ONE tiny piece of Christmas ornament, and to give the poor thing some kind of company over Christmas, he put it between the two African wooden dolls. I don´t know, I think all three look equally surprised by the situation, but I´m sure they´ll get used to it.

Decorations or not, I know we will have a nice Christmas anyway, and wish all of you the same!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Back to normal

I´ve been doing a huge project for a couple of weeks (hence no updates here), which included collecting images, drawing, photographing, scanning, printing, doing some research and putting it all together into a book, and then giving it away. It was fun, but now that it´s all done my fingers are itching for some basic drawing, drawing for it´s own sake, drawing for the heck of it, drawing because it´s fun, drawing for no good reason at all. Turned to the most boring and basic stuff at home for some inspiration, and completely lost track of time while drawing a simple dish brush. Ah, good old drawing habit. It´s good to have you back.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Arty spoon

This is one hard-working spoon, used by generations of students for making linoleum prints. It has rubbed so many japanese rice papers against linocuts that it can´t keep count of them all. It´s been bent (not Uri Geller style, more muscle-power style by frustrated students), handled, spilled on, painted, cleaned, hit, dropped and mistreated by so many hands, but it has also helped producing hundreds of wonderful prints. I wonder if anyone ever used it for eating?

EDM challenge no. 94.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Stockholm Concert Hall

It´s been kind of quiet here for a while due to work that always builds up around this time of the year, but the workload is finally getting back to normal and so is my drawing habit.

When I went to art school fourteen years ago, our teacher brought a cellist to school and let us sit and draw while this very skillful musician gave a concert. It was a magic drawing moment, and last night I was lucky enough to experience it again, with a few more musicians to choose from (and a slightly higher ticket price).

We went to a Sibelius concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Stockholm, a real musical treat, and before we went I decided I was going to draw at least one musician while there. I chose my most quiet pen, the extra fine Lamy Safari (I know, I use the Lamy all the time, but I assure you - it´s not only generally good to draw with, it´s good to draw quietly with as well) and a sketchbook with very smooth paper in it, so as not to make any noise.

I tried to be as discrete as possible, so these are very cautious drawings. I had a great view over the orchestra, and some of the audience sitting behind it (strangely enough), and drew the whole concert through.

I had the same feeling drawing during this concert as I´ve had sometimes during conferences and lectures - it seems that drawing sharpens my listening. I had the grandest musical experience even though I was totally concentrated on drawing. Anyone else noticed the same thing?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


I don´t support the human habit of stuffing animals, I think it´s actually quite sickening, but when I get a chance I can´t help but looking, studying their shapes, colors and features. I rarely draw animals, especially birds, they are all so fast, far away and shy, and you have to spend so much time waiting to get a good chance of actually drawing them.

This weekend we went down to my in-laws and they have a few stuffed animals in their home. They don´t support the sport either, but they have a few specimens that came with their house, an old village school, and they kept them since they have a history there.

I made a few drawings of a duck and an owl standing on a shelf in their living room, and some color studies of this little guy. Luckily, I don´t know what this bird is called in English, so I don´t have to listen to experts saying it doesn´t look like a ... whatever it´s called.

I never painted birds in watercolors before and I guess I shouldn´t expect it to be easy, but I was still a bit surprised at how incredibly difficult it was. Their feathers have such subtle changes in color and everything I did with my paintbrush felt like clumsily walking around in a shop full of glass and china with a huge backpack on.

This experience made me admire Swedish bird-painter Lars Jonsson even more. Take a look at his work here. There is an introduction in English, the rest of the homepage is in Swedish but I think you´ll find the paintings quite easily. Can you imagine that this guy does it by observing the birds in their natural habitat?

Monday, October 09, 2006


Riddarholmen is one of the islands that Stockholm was built on. It´s also one of few islands in the city where noone lives anymore. The old buildings and palaces are now full of courts, administrative authorities and archives. From a distance it looks so alive and cosy, but once the civil servants, clerks and tourists disappear in the evenings, Riddarholmen turns into an empty and deserted place. A sad destiny for a beautiful place that´s been full of life since the seventeenth century...

Lamy Safari, Noodler´s ink and watercolors on a page in a large Moleskine Watercolor.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Inktense Test

I tried the Derwent Inktense pencils for the first time today, and they sure are intense. I barely touched the paper with them, and all the colours went too dark. I´m not sure what I can do with these that I can´t do with watercolours but I was still curious to try them out.
I guess they could be great to bring along to places where it´s not so convenient to work with watercolors. A box of 12 Inktense and a waterbrush and I would probably be okay.

The drawing is 7 x 9 cm, ink and Inktense.

Monday, October 02, 2006

No drawing

Partly inspired by Karen Winters and partly by my painting students who paint incredible still lives in acrylic and oil without drawing first (because I force them to), I decided to try a watercolor without drawing first. I never tried this with watercolors, I always made some kind of underdrawing, in ink or just a few light pencil lines.

The house is on the street where I live, it looked golden yellow in yesterday´s low evening sun, though it is built from red bricks. I think I killed the right (dark) side of it by putting too many layers of color there. Isn´t that kind of funny, how you can work and work on a watercolor and then suddenly you put that one layer too many, and "oops, the color died!". Oh well.

I like this technique, it gives the colors a chance to show what they can do, and it makes the brushwork more important. There are no lines to stay inside, the brushes leave their marks as freely as can be. I´m not a 100% happy with this particular result, but I can see that I work in a totally different way like this, and I will certainly keep doing it. It gives me a lot more freedom to concentrate on the colors, instead of lines. Interesting.

I don´t know the exact size of this, I didn´t measure it, but it was made on a page in my large Moleskine Watercolor, that should give an idea of it´s size. It goes all the way out to the edges of the paper, another novelty for me...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tellus Cykel & Motor

This little shop is just two minutes from my home, and I´ve been wanting to draw it for I don´t know how long. It´s got such a classical looking store front, with the letters and the windows in style with the rest of the building (a lady passing by told me it was built 1910), and it´s also the best bicycle store in Stockholm (in my opinion, and no, they didn´t pay me to say that, they don´t even know I posted this). The guys working there are real pros, doing quality work, selling quality bikes and as the smaller sign to the right says - giving real SERVICE to their customers, something that is getting as unusual these days as their goodlooking store front...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Patty´s Drawing Grid Challenge

Patty over at The Drawing Club posted a drawing grid a while ago (see here) and asked if anyone was interested in joining her in drawing more grids. I did, and this is the result. I liked doing this, it was actually quite easy to fill this grid (the idea was to fill it in one sitting) instead of doing one drawing on a whole page in my sketchbook. It´s not threatening at all to fill one small rectangle on the paper with a tiny drawing, while at times, on a bad day, it can feel like an enormous job to fill a page. I don´t think this will become my new daily drawing habit, but I will certainly do this every now and then to practice some composition and just get my hand going on a bad drawing day.

This grid was filled on the same day as the previous drawing below - the one that drove me mad. The grid was a joy to draw after that one, but I did have a hard time finding subjects for all those little squares. I´ll say it again - pine forests just aren´t my kind of environment.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Compulsive drawing

I spent most of yesterday outside in a forest. My students had an outdoor day, practicing orienteering. I sat by one of the controls in a deep pine forest and of course I used my time out there for drawing.

I know many artists find a lot of inspiration among tall trees out in the wild, and I enjoy drawing landscapes on the whole, but pine forests... I don´t know, they make me feel a bit claustrophobic. I mean, I like picking berries, mushrooms, or just walking around in them, but when it comes to drawing I suddenly feel like the old saying (at least in Sweden) "I can´t see the forest for all the trees".

I kind of forced myself to just sit down and draw what´s in front of me. Pine-trees. How inspiring. They are so... vertical. All of them. I couldn´t seem to find any interesting rhythms to capture on paper, and no intriguing compositions either, so I just started drawing one tree - any tree in the bunch, really - and worked on from there. After a while I kind of got the idea that if nothing else, I could at least try to get the values right. The tree-trunks were darker than the background, but lighter towards the top, so I started working with short strokes of my dip-pen to make light and dark. And man, did I regret that before I was done. I think this drawing took me an hour and a half, at least. It´s 13.5x19.5 cm of tiny ink-marks, and it almost drove me crazy.

Now that it´s done, I kind of like it, though. I can actually see a rhythm in it now, AND I like the composition. It was worth it, after all, but I hate this kind of detailed, time-consuming way of drawing. Not looking at it, but doing it. I hate it because once I´ve started something like this, I can´t stop until it´s finished, I get caught in this obsessive drawing behavior, and by the time it´s done I´m exhausted and a bit angry because I even got the idea to start something so tedious...

Still, this drawing fills it´s space well. It´s on the first page of my new sketchbook, and it´s always a good feeling to fill that first page...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Survivor rose

"How to paint flowers in watercolors" is not a favourite book title in my world - I´m not really into this botanical thing. Sure, flowers are great, I like having them around, I just don´t draw them very often.

Now, this rose is another story. It grows right outside the door of our apartment building. We are in the midst of a big renovation (yes, I know I mentioned it like a hundred years ago and they´re still working on it) and our apartment is finished but outside still looks like a dump.

In the middle of all that junk and dust and noise and ugliness, just to the left when you exit our building, there´s a tiny part of a flower bed that survived excavators and cranes and ladders and rough boots. And right there, a few inches from the door, is this grand yellow rose. It´s been shining there for quite some time now, it even survived the roe deers that tend to come around early mornings to eat rosebuds.

It got to me. How could I not sit down in front of this fighter and draw it?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Kitchen window

I just realized I had two more watercolor paintings from july scanned and ready for posting, and it´s about time I put them on my blog now.

This is the kitchen window of our summer house - or rather, MY kitchen window. There are two more kitchens in the house, but this is the one where I sit and have my morning cups of tea during summertime.

Paintingwise, this was a tricky subject. First of all, panes of glass are always hard. They reflect a lot of what´s on the outside, but at the same time you see through them too. So I had to paint both reflections and interior at the same time. Don´t know if I´m really happy with the result. And then the wall. I never really got the hang of painting brick walls. They become too boring (at least in my humble opinion) if you try to paint them exactly as they look, but you can´t really avoid those bricks either, or try to cheat by just painting the color but no bricks. I tried to find some kind of middle course by doing both, or half of each, or whatever... I skipped some of the bricks and tried to find the right colors.

Last but not least, the cherries from the garden behind the house. I´m not too thrilled about painting still lives, but these were lying on the table for some reason and I thought I´d give those red colors a try. Though afterwards, what I like most about this painting, are the blue color stains. I like it when a figurative painting is a mix of a) a subject looking like it fills a 3D space and b) a physical flat surface that makes paint spatter around if you drop it. To me, that´s part of the magic of figurative painting - trying to capture what you see, and still letting the materials show.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Drawing Contact

I took a walk in my neighbourhood this afternoon, with the sole purpose of filling a spread in my Moleskine before I returned home. During this stroll I drew my first real-time live portrait of a bird - a hungry little jackdaw. He (or she?) was very disappointed by the fact that my drawing gear wasn´t eatable, but kept walking around in front of me. Just in case.

Drawing this I was approached by a young man who asked politely if I minded him looking, and it turned out he was an industrial designer from Mexico, here to visit the University of Arts, Crafts and Design - where I got my degree. We had a nice conversation about drawing habits. He was more of the marker type, making nice designs to show a prospective customer, while I´m more the Lamy Safari and watercolors type, drawing just because.

We talked for a little while, and then we parted, no big deal. But hey, isn´t that nice, though? Drawing is probably as contact generating as dogs or toddlers. Only without the little black plastic bags or diapers.

(Another piece of the filled spread is posted over at The Drawing Club.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

In town

Back after my vacation, I had to go for a walk through town the other day and draw a few scenes, breathing some exhaust fumes and feeling at home. Among other things I dared to try and draw a car. An exceptionally good one, for being me (if I may say so), but still a bit off. Don´t know what it is about cars, but I find them incredibly difficult to draw. I guess they are completely out of my "comfort zone" in drawing (interesting discussion going on right now about comfort zones in the EDM yahoo group).

The building is the big City Library, kind of famous even outside of Stockholm. I´ve heard it´s often visited by foreign architechts who read about it in some glossy minimalist architect magazine and felt they had to come and see for themselves. It is beautiful, and quite surprising when you are inside it.

Right opposite of the library, I spotted this window and went wow. I never noticed it before, it´s fit for a gothic church, but is an ordinary apartment window. Or well, perhaps not so ordinary, but still.

Funny, the things you notice around you once you stop to take a look.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

More paintings

Thought I´s post some more of my vacation watercolor trials. Yeah, I know, the paper buckled on this one. I´ll have to fix that one of these days. (It´s usually easy to get rid of the buckles, just spray the back of a buckled watercolor painting and lay it between two clean papers under a bunch of heavy books.)

Anyway. Painting this was almost magical. The whole scene was totally quiet where I sat, not even a boat passing by although the main fairway is between the two nearest islands in the picture. Everything was calm, and nothing, not even a little fish, rippled the surface of the water.

Just around the point of the right island, this funny little building is standing on the tip of the cliffs, maybe five meters from the water. It´s old, a bit decayed, and incredibly beautiful. (And no, it doesn´t lean like that, it was just me and my Moleskine Watercolor lying down while drawing it.) The two black wires are there to give some support in cold autumn storms. It´s got a sign on it saying "Mind the cable", there´s an electric wire going underwater from this little piece of architecture to the island across the sound. Why don´t they build things like this nowadays?

Standing by the little cable house looking out over the sea you would be able to see the island where I made the next painting. Don´t know the name of those flowers in English, but they made a formidable sea of pink among the rocks. I am totally in love with Quinacridone Magenta, so I´m always glad to find views like this, where I can use my fav color without having to invent a fitting subject for it...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Back from a long rest

The reason for the lack of posts here lately is the total absence of computers in my family´s summer house on an island just off the northern coast of Sweden. I´ve spent three weeks there, drawing, trying out my new tube watercolors and just being utterly lazy. I feel totally rested now, and since I´m back in Stockholm I thought I´d start looking after my blog again.

I´ll start with one of the watercolor paintings I did. I usually draw with an ink pen and then use watercolors on top, but during this vacation I´ve been practicing more “classical” watercolor painting, with just a few strokes of a hard pencil as a composition support before laying the colors on the paper. I brought a collection of different watercolor papers with me to the island, and painted mostly on these loose papers instead of in my sketchbooks.

Using tube watercolors – wet, not dried as in my everyday tiny watercolour box – was quite a revelation to me. It was easier than I thought, and funnier. I never really tried it before, thinking it would be too messy bringing the tubes with me. This time I´ve kept them in a tiny plastic box in my bag, together with a generously sized plastic palette, and it actually wasn´t that much trouble carrying them around. Mixing is as easy (or hard) as with dry colors, but the intensity of the colors comes easier with the wet paint. It´s faster too, since you don´t have to spend time solving the colors with a wet brush.

This is a view from the cliffs of a small island southeast of “our” island. It was sunny and windy, so the paint dried really fast on the paper. Good for me, since I tend to be a bit impatient with watercolors…

This was the first painting I did with wet tube paints. Considering that, and the fact that I haven´t been doing watercolor paintings in a very long time, I think it turned out ok. Funny thing, though, that I didn´t notice until I scanned it and saw it in small size on my computer screen: I´ve managed to get a bit of a fisheye view somehow. The horizon is crooked and the clouds look like they spread out from the middle. Don´t know how that happened.

Anyway, I´ll be back with more watercolors as soon as I´ve scanned them all.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Surprise landing

I´ve said it before – the strangest things happen in this town. This morning we woke up by the sound of a helicopter. Helicopters are not that unusual where we live, but having one right above our house at eight o´clock on a sunday morning is not part of our daily routines.

Suddenly the sound of it stopped. It didn´t fade, it just stopped. Meaning the helicopter must have landed.

We went out to check, and there it was. A big red ambulance helicopter, right in front of the fire-station about a hundred meters from our apartment. Don´t ask me how they managed to put that thing down between the station and a huge tree right next to it, plus a big road with traffic on it. I guess the pilot must have practiced landing a few times before.

I sat down across the street to draw this oddity, and after a while the crew came out and put on their gear, and the pilot called out to me and asked me if I was prepared for their taking off. “Sure”, I said and gave him thumbs up. So they started the engine and I tried desperately to look kind of cool and used to the situation but, man… I´ve seen helicopter lift-offs on TV and I´ve understood that there is WIND under a helicopter, but this was ridiculous. I was practically blown off the little power station I was sitting on. I´m glad I was able to hold on to the Moleskine.

Oh well. You learn something new every day. Next time I won´t be wearing a wide skirt.

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Beany

I´ve recently had the pleasure of reading artist and illustrator Michael Nobbs´ little paperback journal The Beany, issue #3. It´s a bright red little gem with a lovely drawing of a Citroën 2cv on the cover, and the inside is as usual filled with Michael´s own writing and drawings.

I´m very impressed by The Beany, it contains so much in spite of it´s limited size. Michael Nobbs writes about what goes on in his life, and nothing is too big or too small to end up on a page here. You get to read about everything from journeys he´s made, favourite drawing tools, tea with his mother and much more, and at the end of this issue is a very useful list of 75 ways to draw more. Together with Michael´s charmingly relaxed drawings this is a very personal and inspiring publication. Reading it feels a bit like peaking into another person´s life, or rather like being allowed to read their diary (and who doesn´t love that, honestly?), with the bonus of having it illustrated.

Michael Nobbs seems to have the ability to see the value of everyday life, and he finds it well worth drawing and writing about. To me, reading The Beany has the effect of a little vitamin pill with inspiration, showing the way: “it´s all there, right in front of you – just see it and draw it!”

Take a look at both The Beany and Michael´s blog here.

(The image of The Beany is © Michael Nobbs)

Lamy Safari

A few days ago I got my second Lamy Safari fountain pen. I bought the first one in January, and I´ve been using it every day since then (no, I´m not kidding), so I thought I´d say a few words here about this favourite drawing tool of mine.

The first of my two Lamys is an Extra Fine nib, and I use it together with Noodler´s black ink. I want to be able to use watercolors on my drawings, and I had to look for quite a while before finding an ink that is waterproof but still doesn´t ruin fountain pens. Noodler´s is the only one I´ve found so far, and it is great to work with. Jet black, nice flow and ok price. (A bottle isn´t exactly cheap, but it lasts a long time.)

The Lamy Safari is incredibly nice to draw with. It makes a smooth even line and for a fountain pen, it´s got a fairly flexible nib. Harder pressure gives a thicker line. Although I don´t recommend not caring for your pens, I have never cleaned it so far. I just keep filling it up with ink when it starts to run out, and keep using it. It has never skipped a line and the ink has never dried in it, it just seems to go on and on.

As I like to draw with a thin line, the Extra Fine was my first choice. In my pen case I usually have another ink pen too with a little broader nib to fill in black surfaces and emphasizing certain lines in my drawings. When the last one of those non-fountain pens dried up I decided to replace it with another Lamy, only this time with a Medium nib (and a happy yellow barrel). If it turns out Medium doesn´t do the trick I´ll just get the Broad nib to replace the Medium with. That´s a very practical detail with the Safaris – you can change the nib if you feel like it. Just pull it straight out and replace it with another. Hardly anything you´d choose to do very often, since black ink is kind of… well, black and all over (and waterproof in this case), but the possibility of changing nibs is good. And economical – you don´t have to get a whole new pen if you´re not satisfied.

I´m very pleased with the Safari (you didn´t get that until now, right?). It´s the most expensive pen I´ve bought so far, but it´s been worth every cent (or öre, as we say in Sweden). I can really recommend to try one out if you are an ink pen kind of person.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


It struck me that most of what I´ve been drawing the last two weeks has been from a distance. I never seem to get close to things these days. So today´s outing with the Moleskine Watercolor didn´t include any watercolors at all, just a concentrated look at the grass right in front of me in a park near home. Quite interesting, really. And a challenge to draw.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A messy little watercolor project

Sorry folks, but here comes another nerd-post about art materials. If you feel that customizing watercolor boxes may not be your cup of tea, then stop reading now or you´ll be suffering from total boredom very soon.

I have a small watercolor box that is almost always with me. It´s a quite usual model, a metal box with room for twelve half pans of colors. There used to be a metal holder for the pans in it, but I got rid of it long ago to fit more (and bigger) pans in there.

Lately I´ve felt the need to start using tube colors instead of pans. I want to be able to use a bigger palette when painting at home and with two different palettes it´s cheaper to use tubes for both than to maintain the pan system for one and buy tubes for the other. Also, the pans in the pocket size box were slowly sliding around in spite of the double-coated foam tape I used to try to keep them in place and I have been looking for a solution to this little but annoying problem.

I decided to build permanent compartments for the colors, and found an excellent plastic material for this in a trash container just around the corner (it´s not always a bad thing to live on a building site). I cut the plastic into strips, two to fit the length of the box, and five to fit the width. Then I cut slits into these to be able to assemble them into eighteen compartments. (I hope the images help to get the idea here.) Then I glued it all into the box with silicone (the kind you use when you build kitchens and bathrooms – totally waterproof), making sure there were no holes between the compartments, to avoid colors leaking in to each other. A bit messy, and the finished result is not a pretty sight, but then it wasn´t the sight I was after, it was the function. And after it dried for a couple of hours, I was ready to put the colors in.

Now, watercolors are expensive, and of course I couldn´t just let my pan colors go to waste. So I poured water into all the pans and waited for the colors to dissolve, then I shovelled them over to the new compartments in the box. It was messy like crazy but then they dried just fine (except Schmincke´s Phthalo blue, which took at least a week). When they run out, I´ll just fill them up from tubes.

Now I have the perfect watercolor palette for everyday use. It fits into my pen case, it can be refilled from tubes, it gives each color a bigger surface than the half pans (about the same as the bigger pans, only square), which makes it easy to fill the brushes with paint.

This image shows my current setup of colors (bigger if you click it, of course). I´m quite happy with them, I don´t feel like I need any more colors. I do have two empty compartments in the box, but I´ll just let them stay empty for now.

I sometimes wonder why I do these things… It took time, it was messy, I got Scarlet Lake over the whole kitchen, I went mad a few times, I cursed the silicone tube at least twice, and before I had finished the whole project I was ready to just go out and buy myself a new box and throw the old stuff in the garbage. But as much as I like buying and trying out new art materials, I can´t help feeling very loyal to the stuff that I´ve had for a long time, and that has served well over the years. It felt better to rebuild this old box and keep it working, than to throw it out for something shiny and new. I´m glad I did it. But I would perhaps not rebuild it again in the near future...

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Another Moleskine Watercolor day. Been experimenting a bit with colors as well as drawing techniques. Another drawing is up at the Drawing Club today, have a look here.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Time to draw

My summer holidays has begun today, and my bike was waiting impatiently for me this morning to take it out on a ride. So I packed my brand new Moleskine Watercolor and the Lamy Safari pen and my new (or at least rebuilt) watercolor box (featured in a blogpost near you real soon) and let my red Peak take me downtown for some sushi, coffee and drawing. Lovely! I´ll be doing this a lot this summer. Well, maybe not the sushi, that would turn drawing into an expensive habit. The whole day was great, with sun, perfect temperature and nice views.

On my way home, I suddenly saw a fire hydrant in use for the first time ever, and since these thingies were on the EDM challenge list a few weeks ago, I had to draw it. We don´t have the cute above-ground models in Sweden, they are all hidden under the pavements here, with a neat little red sign on the nearest lamp post telling how far and in what direction you´ll find water. I had to hurry drawing it, though, because as soon as I had begun drawing, a lady (yeah, no fire fighters... how exciting is that?) came along with a huge heavy tool and turned it off. Two minutes later, she came back again and took the whole fire hydrant with her and walked off with it. The strangest things happen in this town...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Watercolor Moleskine

Oh joy, I finally got my hands on a Moleskine Watercolor Notebook today. I wasn´t even looking for one, and still, there it was in a store I never would have guessed to find it in. Nice! I bought the big one, and stopped twice on my way home to try it out.

Unfortunately, stupid me didn´t have my watercolors with me, since I´m in the middle of rebuilding my watercolor box (of all the little projects you can spend your time on...) and couldn´t bring it along. I had to add the color when I got home. Still, I did put the paper in this little Moleskine treasure to the test with my Lamy Safari pen in a park, and all went well. In spite of the grain, the pen and ink behaved lovely on the surface. No fibers got stuck in the nib, and the ink didn´t feather at all. No complaints there!

The only problem now is that I am already working in a sketchbook of a similar size, only much thicker than the Moleskine, and I have promised myself not to start new sketchbooks until the old ones are full… Hm. How annoying.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Book forest

I have been in a beech forest for the first time of my life. I´ve seen beech trees before but they don´t grow up in the north of Sweden where I come from, so standing in the middle of that forest on a sunny day was a bit special.

In Swedish, the beech tree is called “bok”, which can also mean book. Which of course always leads to a lot of bad jokes about libraries as soon as we set foot in a beech wood…

Anyways. Magnificent trees. I managed to sit down for a while and capture one in my sketchbook, and spending time looking at that tree made me think that trees are like people in that they have very different body languages. The beech tree looks proud and strong (but kind), the birch-tree is kind of happy and calm, the pine is quiet and lonely and the spruce looks a bit gloomy, perhaps lacking a bit of self-confidence...

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Oh, all these Internet novelties... You learn something new every day. I have been tagged. Apparently this is something you do in the blogging part of the electronic world. You get a challenge from someone to do something - write a list on a certain subject or draw something or whatever, and then you´re supposed to post it on your blog for everyone to see.

I´ve been tagged by Jako and Anna and now I´m supposed to make four lists here - five things I have in my purse, five things I have in my closet, five things in my fridge and five in my car. I thought it would be nicer to draw all this stuff than to just write it down, so here it is:

Five things in my fridge: soy sauce, sambal, sushi gari, fresh ginger and garlic (always)

Five things in my closet (yes, we do keep other stuff there along with the clothes): a flashlight, my bike lights, a bicycle repair kit and my bike computer (wow, turned into a bike theme here)

Five things in my "purse" (I´m more the messenger bag kinda girl): the pen case, cell phone, keys, wallet and the Swedish Military lip-salve (I´m not joking. It´s the best.)

As for the car... well. Living in a big town means that if you leave your stuff in the car, you´ll have to learn to live without it sooner or later. So our car contains four seats and a steering wheel. And how fun is that to draw?