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...