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.