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 try to sketch everyday but of course life keeps getting in the way. This last week has been really busy, mostly seasonal stuff like getting the boat ready for launch and putting summer tyres on the car etc. The seasons are very clear here in Sweden. Half the year is dark and cold and the other half is light and warm(ish), simple. I continue to do some urban sketching. I painted this from a fuzzy iPhone photo I took while I was walking, I never bothered to stop, I just snapped off a bunch of pictures. It’s not a bad technique really, I got some interesting angles.
I wandered around the caravan park I was staying on the last day of my painting trip. The park was pretty empty, it was a day after the Easter weekend. I discovered this abandoned caravan tucked away in a corner, I thought the composition was wonderful so I took a few shots with my phone. I stumbled across the images again this morning when I was wondering what to paint. I decided to do a sketch first and I’m happy with the result. I must do a larger version of it very soon, I still feel it is a great composition.
I stayed at the Moby Dick Caravan Park very close to the centre of Calella. It was quiet and the family running the park were charming.
I am talking to myself when I say, “Sketches are so important”. It is so easy to just be lazy and start painting directly with a photo that is in front of you. We rarely succeed when shortcuts are taken, a photo needs to be interpreted, analysed and broken down. It needs to be simplified and elements moved or removed. So this is why doing a quick sketch beforehand is so important, we discover what should be done to achieve a good watercolour. In the perfect world I would prefer to sketch outdoors but that not possible here for a large part of the year, it’s minus degrees and windy here in Stockholm today. Next week I travel to Costa Brava in Spain for a week of sketching. More about that in an upcoming post.
I am totally enjoying going to the Maritime Museum (Sjöhistoriska) here in Stockholm. I was there two weeks ago but I just had to come back. So yesterday I spent the whole day there together with a fellow sketching friend. These watercolours are sketched on Saunders Waterford paper. It’s so good to just paint all day, I learn so much by playing around and experimenting. I think it is so important to test new techniques and try things that are a little scary. No one likes to fail but one should accept that one learns through mistakes. I make lots of mistakes!
I am preparing to film my latest watercolour demonstration which features the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. This watercolour ( is the third and final sketch that I have done. I have reference photographs but I need to translate those images into a watercolour that is emotive and therefore interesting. I think I am nearly there, I will be using a half sheet of Saunders Waterford paper for the final painting it will have a widescreen 16:9 format, wider in other words. Keep an eye out for my new episode of Meldrum Watercolour Journeys on YouTube, it should be ready by the end of the week. Cheers!
This was the second watercolour I did at the Maritime Museum today. I was sketching a Viking ship model and I couldn’t resist putting the Stockholm archipelago into the background.
I hope I can be this productive tomorrow.
Hi my name is David Meldrum and I love to paint watercolours. I live in Stockholm, Sweden and I am originally from Ireland.
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