I have been using perspex plastic on my watercolour sketching board. I wet the back of the paper then tape it down. After that I wet the front of the paper and let it settle. This isn’t actually my new technique. I am placing a damp cotton sheet between the paper and the perspex before I tape it down. This gives me lots of time to work on my clouds but I have to get used to it. My watercolours are a little pale at the moment but I’m working on it. Practice, practice.
Last week I spent a wonderful day sketching with Daniel Luther on Beckholmen, a dry dock here in central Stockholm. It was so rewarding just trying one’s best to capture the surroundings on paper. Going out with a friend makes it all the more fun.
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 managed my first plein air for this year. I visited Björnö Nature Reserve, which is east of Stockholm on Ingarö. The temperature almost reached 6 degrees! I had to use a gas burner to dry the painting, and yes, there is a burn mark. It’s becoming my signature. But seriously, it was so nice to get out and sketch. I had to trek for an hour to reach the spot I painted from but it was worth it.
It is interestesting how people who used to be new friends are now old friends.
I have been life drawing since 2011 and along the way I have got to know many new people who share a love of trying to capture what they see in front of them. We would meet for coffee after each life drawing session and show our sketches and voice our frustrations at being so clumsy or just down-right awful. We all supported each other, never a bad word was said – just lots of positive vibes that have lead to the forming of great friendships.
The pandemic has affected our life drawing classes and we have not met so often this year which meant it was wonderful when we actually did meet last weekend. It was a grey day at Waldermarsudde but it didn’t matter to us, and besides, we had the promise of waffles afterwards at the café with outdoor heaters to keep the chill of autumn away.
I didn’t really care what I was going to sketch that day, I just sat close to the others. I sit alone and paint most days so no need to do that when the point was to socialise. I am happy with my sketch. In the background there is an old windmill without it’s sails. In the foreground is the statue of Carl Wilhelm Scheele by Carl Milles. My watercolour didn’t want to dry in the humidity of fall but luckily I had my blowtorch with me. It turns heads but I get the job done. It was a good day.
Please click the thumbnail below if you would like to see the full-sized image, 13 x 17 cm
This was the last sketch from our month-long sailing trip to Finland and Åland. I finished the painting yesterday but I actually painted most of it at Fiskö, on the 25th of July. I really miss being out sailing, it’s not as much fun sitting here in my Studio.
I actually am going to make a break for it tomorrow morning! I am going to camp on an island that I have been wanting to sketch for years. I’ll tell you more about that in a later post.
I had an amazing week staying mainly in the town of Calella but I also visited, Pals, Cadaqués and Girona.
Here are my watercolours from the trip. The great thing about painting outdoors for a week it that you gain such a connection with the landscape you are in. A photograph is only ever an image.