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Using wet on wet watercolour techniques

Donaghadee lighthouse

I am experimenting with damp watercolour paper techniques. There are many ways to keep the paper damp for a longer period so that one has time to paint a scene. I am not going to get into that in this post as I am in a bit of a rush. The most important thing for me is that my watercolours blend well on the paper and the edges stay soft, having more time to work is also a plus.
Since being accepted into The Water Colour Society of Ireland I have felt an urge to do a few watercolours of the emerald isle. I’d love to travel there but Covid is still restricting travel. I get my first jab this Friday, feels like a relief that I’m finally getting it.

This watercolour is of Donaghadee lighthouse, which lies southeast of Belfast. 52 x 34 cm

To view a full sized image please click the thumbnail below.

Donaghadee lighthouse
Donaghadee lighthouse

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I wish my watercolour nudes were better than they are.

Nude with roses

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.

To see a larger image please click the thumbnail below

Nude with roses
Nude with roses

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My second day at Björnö: Mission – to paint better

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.

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Two wonderful days on Björnö: Day 1

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.

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Painting Ireland is a priority now

Ireland's Eye

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.



To see a larger image please click the thumbnail below.

Ireland's Eye
Ireland’s Eye
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After several visits to Björnö it was time

View from Björnö

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.

Click the thumbnail below for a full-sized image.

View from Björnö
View from Björnö

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In watercolour it’s okay to say, let it bleed

Bleeding nude

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.

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The seasons change and so does my neighbourhood

Kvärnholmen

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

Click the thumbnail below if you would like to see the full-sized image.

Kvärnholmen
Kvärnholmen
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So beautiful to be out in the archipelago

I took myself to Björnö yesterday which is a 45 minute drive from stockholm. I walked for another 40 minutes through woods until I reached a beautiful spot that inspired. It was meant to be a grey day but it wasn’t. I find these kind of small adventures so rewarding.