I don’t always achieve it but I do try to do a watercolour sketch everyday. This was painted late one night last week in my Moleskin watercolour journal. The paper is inferior compared to Arches but it forces me to experiment which I like. The great thing about sketches is that you can be free to play around, no pressure compared to an exhibition piece.
I met up with my fellow Urban Sketchers yesterday, we meet on the last Sunday of every month. It was a beautiful warm summer’s day, 25 degrees in the shade – a rare event at this time of the year here in Stockholm. We met outside Sven Harry’s Art Museum in Vasaparken, close to St Eriksplan in Stockholm. I first did a watercolour sketch of the people sunbathing in the park, this was on Arches rough and later I painted Sven Harry’s Art Museum. If you are in Stockholm I can totally recommend to visit the museum right now as they have a great Anders Zorn exhibition on.
I am happy with my sketches, I was able to simplify the compositions to make them interesting to the eye. This is such a hard skill to master, do not try to draw everything and don’t be afraid to move objects around on the page to improve the composition. I have not mastered this skill yet, one has to practice it over and over again until it becomes instinctive. Each sketch took about an hour to paint. Sunbathers was painted on Arches rough and the museum was painted on Saunders fine.
I visited my mother last week to celebrate her birthday and spend a few days with my sister too. Visiting Northern Ireland is always a little strange for me as I grew up south of the border so visiting my mother is not the same as coming home. Actually, where is home? I have lived in Sweden for 27 years so Stockholm is I guess. Ireland is where I come from and Northern Ireland is where my mother and sister lives. France is where my parents in law live and my oldest son lives in Japan. Between the age of 21 and 26 I lived in London. With this kind of background it is impossible to be a nationalist, I’m very happy to be a person who has to travel the world to meet his family. It saddens me that countries want to close their borders, what is the benefit of such a thing?
The watercolour and pencil sketch were done when I had two hours to myself during my visit, I drove to Donaghadee which is one of my favourite places that is close to my mother’s home. The pencil sketch is on A5 paper and the watercolour is painted on Arches and is A4ish in size.
The harbour front – Donaghadee, Northern Ireland by David Meldrum
Today I studied Sergey Temerev’s cloud painting techniques on YouTube. I also did a sketch of a painting that I will start in the morning. Painting in a Moleskin sketchbook is difficult when you are used to good quality paper like Arches, but it’s a sketchbook which means I am not too concerned. The most important thing is to play and experiment with composition and pigment.
It feels like it was years ago since I last went to life drawing. There has been so much going on in my life that I haven’t had time – but now I do, this week at least. This is my relax week, I’m just painting and drawing what I want. No pressure, just fun.
I liked this model, she is new to the scene here in Stockholm, I think it was her second time modelling, not 100% sure about that, her name is Erika. A new model is always welcome, one gets too used to the regulars which is dangerous because there is a tendency to stop looking at the model and draw what we think we see. Does that make sense?
Sketched on Canson Croquis A3 paper, 90g. I used 9b, 6b, and 2b lead in mechanical pencils. Actually I will include a picture of my pencils.
Two weeks ago I was asked by Björn Bernström, chairman of the Nordic Akvarellskällskapet ( Nordic Watercolour Society) to participate in the International ECWS exhibition in Salamanca, Spain in September. I was of course trilled to be offered a chance to represent the society along with 5 other artists from Sweden.
There was only one catch, the watercolour had to be 70 x 50cm in size and it had to be delivered directly after the weekend. I didn’t have one at home but I was lucky, the weekend was a long one. I spent three days with just a little pressure on me to produce the painting. I’m happy with the result considering the time frame and I am very happy to have been chosen for the exhibition.
My name is David Meldrum, I love painting watercolours. Another passion I have is life drawing, I run a class called Meldrum Kroki. I was born in Ireland but since 1990 I have lived in Stockholm, Sweden.
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