I haven’t sailed all summer but now I am and it’s wonderful. The holiday season is over so the archipelago is quite empty of boats. No motor boats just a few sailing boats and most of them seem to be visiting from Europe. So it’s very peaceful. We have bought a new boat, not new exactly – it was built in 1975. So we are getting to know how everything works. Next week my wife returns to work but I intend to continue sailing as much of September I can. I want to sketch, paint and take reference photos. It’s going to be an experience.
This watercolour sketch was painted at our first stop on the trip, Gällnö is the name of the island, we stayed for a day then moved on.
I sketched this at Boule & Berså, an outdoor bar close to Danvikstull bridge. The bridge is raised once an hour during the summer months at 38 minutes past the hour to allow sailing boats to pass though Stockholm. It’s very enjoyable to just sit down and have a beer and sketch especially on a Friday afternoon after work. My wife joined me later and so the sketchbook was put away and I finished it later that Sunday.
Another quick sketch while on my way home from work. I wish I had designed the clouds a bit better. It was just one long cloud in reality but it would have been better if I had broken it up. I am satisfied otherwise, actually I quite like it!
I painted this very quickly on the way home from work yesterday. It makes me happy to achieve finishing one watercolour a day, it doesn’t matter if it’s a masterpiece or not. The most important thing is to practice, practice, practice. ( I think I am talking to myself here.)
The trek took eight days, first we flew from Stockholm to Kiruna – a mining town in the far north of Sweden. Then we travelled S.W. by train, taxi and finally a bus to Ritsem where we stayed the night in a hostel. In the morning I flew in a helicopter for the first time, for most of us it was a first, we were four – two couples. The helicopter was pretty small and one felt how we were easily buffeted by the winds as we travelled low across the grey skies though the mountain valleys to Stáloluckta, a 25 minute journey.
From there we walked north along the Padjelanta trail. It was a grey day and by late afternoon it started to rain, it didn’t stop for the next 24 hours. I was in awe of the sheer scale of the landscape around me, an urban dweller isn’t used to nature’s might.
So we got wet, very wet. We packed up our tent in the pouring rain, ate a quick breakfast and walked 15 km without a real break as the weather was so bad. Thankfully that was the only bad day we had. We had frost one night so I froze a little but no big deal.
Unfortunately I do not have time to write so much more as I have to earn a living. It was a wonderful adventure and over the next five days I painted as much as I could, it was so rewarding. We had planned to walk to Akkastugorna on the Padjelanta trail but we turned north and headed for higher ground as the mosquitoes were so impossible to cope with. We detoured at Vidjáguojkka, headed north and walked along the Nordkalotten trail until we reached Vaisaluoktastugan. The morning after we took a ferry back across the huge man-made lake to Ritsam, then began the long tedious journey back to Stockholm and reality.
I just got back from trekking in Padjelanta National Park in the north of Sweden. Snow on the ground, a zillion mosquitoes in the air and many kilometers over rough terrain. Perfect, one of my most enjoyable holidays.
I hope to write and post more watercolours soon.
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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