I’ll be honest. Nudes are difficult. Shading human skin in watercolour must be one of the hardest skills to achieve. It feels that way at least. Luckily, I love just trying and trying, … and trying to master it. One day, maybe – maybe not. I gave this one a good go, I did my best. It’s not fun admitting to oneself that one has a long way to go before mastering a watercolour nude.
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My first day at Björnö was an amazing experience but I wasn’t happy with the watercolours I created. Rather than get all depressed about it I decided to just return to Björnö and try again. The important factor being that I was alone and so I could relax and really think about what I wanted to achieve. Basically, I wanted to paint better. Some important things I learned from the day before was to take my time, be precise and paint in the shade. I had a wonderful day, it was colder but the sky was a summer blue. ( As I write this it is snowing outside my window, April weather in Sweden is pretty damn extreme. ) By the end of the day I had three nice little paintings and I went home with a smile on my face. It’s a nice sensation to feel one is progressing.
I spent two beautiful days in glorious sunshine painting on Björnö which is my favourite place to visit right now. On Monday I was with a friend who is much better than I am. I learned a lot by just watching his approach to painting a scene. I was a bit stressed to be in his presence to tell you the truth and so I rushed my work. I wasn’t so happy with my day’s efforts so I returned on Tuesday. Link to day 2 here. It’s important to say, I really enjoyed the day, I learned so much and probably the most important takeaway was to relax and take one’s time.
I have been accepted into the Water Colour Society of Ireland. It’s a great honour and it means a lot to me. I grew up there and part of me will always be Irish – even after 36 years away. Damn, time flies.
Being accepted into the society means I will be asked to submit work for the annual exhibition held in Dublin. So I need to get painting those Irish scenes. What a great excuse for me to spend some time travelling along the west coast of Ireland for my art’s sake. ( After the pandemic of course. ) 😉
This watercolour is of Ireland’s Eye. A dear friend of mine took a lovely photo and posted it on Instagram. Thank you for letting me use it as a reference Barbara. The view is from Malahide, outside of Dublin. It’s where I grew up as a teenager.
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I have been visiting Björnö here in the Stockholm archipelago for many weeks now. It gets a little warmer each time I sketch there. Yesterday, I decided to do a studio painting based on my sketches and photographs. I am trying to catch the Scandinavian melancholy I feel when I visit the archipelago during the winter months. I’m happy with the result.
I am looking for a softer approach to my painting and so I am testing different techniques. In this nude study the paper was very wet when I applied the watercolour pigment. The fact it spread like crazy is exactly why I love this medium.
This is a final version of a sketch I did during the winter months. I live in an old industrial area quite close to central Stockholm, it’s under development. I go for walks most days and I try to find beauty in what I see. It’s my quest right now. I want to avoid the pretty picture trap, some call them chocolate box – watercolours. Yes, I want to avoid that. I’m buying lots of old Lars Lerin books from the 80’s and 90’s, I think he captures the scandinavian everyday so well.
Title: Kvarnholmen in winter. 37 x 27 cm
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