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Plein air in a cold climate

Finnboda hamn
Plein air in Finnboda
Plein air in Finnboda

I took myself out during the week to paint plein air. The sun was shining and it might even have been 10 degrees but I’m not sure. I brought extra leggings which I put on quite quickly as it was very cool in the shade of the building next to the water’s edge.
It was interesting how the paper and watercolour pigment behaved in the cool conditions, it was very different from my time in India or even the studio. I found that the pigment was not absorbed by the paper as easily. It wasn’t a big deal, I adjusted quickly and enjoyed my two hours by the water.
Sweden being Sweden most people left me alone which is good considering we are in the middle of a pandemic. A few were curious but they kept two metres away.
I am so looking forward to painting plein air more often now as the temperature is rising and the sun is higher in the sky. The days are much longer too.
I have bought a van that I am going to convert into a studio plus camper. I will publish a post about this exciting project during the coming week.

If you would like to see the full sized image please click the thumbnail below.

Finnboda hamn
Finnboda hamn
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A summary of my trip to India Feb 25 – March 21 2020 (Part one of two posts)

Heated conversation in Jaipur

Life for all of us is dominated by the Corona virus at the moment. My time in India was cut short by one week because of it. We were actually extremely close to being stuck in New Delhi for weeks or even months as countries closed their borders one by one at an alarming speed.

I’ve been home for two weeks now and it feels like India was a long time ago, isn’t it strange how we move on so quickly to the next period in our lives and forget what we were doing just a few weeks ago. I keep a journal so I have that at least to remind me of what was going on at a given date, actually that isn’t totally true as I don’t write entries everyday. Yeap, I wish I was more disciplined but I am just a human being with flaws galore.

I was invited Rajasthan to paint plein air for 22 days, ten days in Udaipur and 12 days in Jaipur. I was invited by Shryansy International in Collaboration with Saint Petersburg Centre For Humanitarian Programs. The group of painters were exclusively Russian speaking which made it kinda interesting for me to have a conversation. To be honest it was difficult sometimes, luckily I am very used to working alone so when I was excluded due to language and cultural barriers I didn’t mind too much. I got on really well with the Russian artists, we communicated with broken English, sign-language and Google Translate. After a number of weeks we had been through a lot together, each day we seemed to be plunged into chaos and we had to make the best of it we could. I think because of this we bonded very well.
I hope I can visit Russia next year and spend time with my new friends from the east.

I arrived in New Delhi on the 25th of February. I really didn’t know what to expect. I had booked a hotel close to the train station and so my taxi took me there, … eventually that is. I had my first experience of the chaos in India, cars seemed to drive freely on both sides of the broad roads. They were driving slowly which was strangely reassuring. The taxi driver just couldn’t find my hotel, Google Maps didn’t really help either. After many questions to the locals the driver finally found the place.

The hotel

From the balcony of the hotel I could see kids play dare with packs of street dogs, I took a brief walk later and ended up a Muslim slum. I don’t care who inhabits the slum but I just wasn’t used to the dirt, the pollution, the crowded alleys and the stares, I got looks of, what the f*ck are you doing here? A good question really. I retreated to the hotel after getting a precious local sim card with 48 gigs limit of surfing.

Before taking the train next day to Udaipur I had time to do a bit of sight-seeing. The Humayun’s Tomb was close by so I elected to visit there. I managed to do a few sketches, I was happy with that as I had been struggling to paint because of long drawn out winter that affected me enormously in a negative way.

The train

Later I took the sleeper-train to Udaipur. It was one of those old trains you would have seen if you have watched the Ghandi movie. It was pretty worn out and charming, it was crowded which is standard fair in India. Under my bunk was a old blond hippy woman, an original in fact, she had first arrived in India from Australia in 1969. I sat with her and she explained the changes that have occurred in India since the 60’s. She was a volunteer at an animal clinic in Udaipur and told me sad stories about cows dying because they had so many plastic bags in their stomachs. I would later see street cows eating from the rubbish on the street, people would throw out food in plastic bags and left it for the cows, dogs, monkeys and rats to shift through it. That made me really sad.

I am going to crunch the rest of trip to Udaipur into a few more lines as I have other things to do.
… I basically met the Russian artists and the organisers at a nice villa outside of Udaipur, it was called Kings Villa. Later we would realise that the villa was very far away from the centre of town where we would be painting. I don’t want to be negative here so I am just going to say the organisers did their best during my visit to India and I will leave it at that.
Experiencing Udaipur was a blast to the senses, the old town and it’s narrow streets were jam-packed with people, cows, dogs, tuk tuks and mopeds. I quickly learned that the best thing to do was to go to the water’s edge, it was calmer there. I still had ten youths asking me questions like, “Are you an artist?”. I would politely answer their questions as they were all very polite, very curious and chatty. I couldn’t tell them to get lost, they were too nice. The only negative was that it was so difficult to focus on painting the scene in front of me. I had originally intended to film myself and make little YouTube films but that ambition quickly disappeared as I battled to produce a decent watercolour.

Below there are 5 watercolours from my time in Udaipur. Each painting is 36 x 26 cm in size. I will write about Jaipur soon and tell you about my experiences during the Holi festival, more chaos and great watercolour moments. Cheers.

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I am looking forward to summer

Rödhamn, Åland

One presumes that the the pandemic will end and we will be allowed to enjoy the summer when it comes. That is my hope at any rate. I haven’t painted plein air since India, waiting for the temperature to rise which it has now so I have no excuse. Out into nature you go David and paint, paint, paint.

This watercolour is from a photograph I took on my phone last summer. We were visiting Rödhamn harbour in Åland. We stayed for a night or two as we slowly explored the archipelago there.

Rödhamn, Åland 36 x 26 cm
Click the thumbnail below to see the full-sized image.

Rödhamn, Åland
Rödhamn, Åland
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Not every painting is a masterpiece

I am trying to paint everyday and I want to be challenged so that I can learn and develop. The original photo reference I used was snapped while I was walking along the coast in Bangor, Northern Ireland. This wasn’t a strong composition to begin with but I liked the shadows and the angles created by the pathway and tree. I had a go and this is the result. Like all of my paintings there are somethings I like and there are thing I am not to fond of.
Tomorrow is another day and a new challenge awaits.
Click the thumbnail below to see the full-sized image.

Bangor walk

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Playing with lights and darks

Groomsport

I have painted this Groomsport scene before in one of my sketchbooks. Today I felt like playing around with lights and darks so I chose this to basically practice or play, I can’t remember my mood when I started. It’s a weird time with this Corona virus threatening us all. The most important thing for me was just to paint something. I didn’t want to just spend Monday reading the news and surfing on YouTube.

For the watercolour enthusiasts out there this watercolour was painted on Saunders Waterford 300g Fine grain and the size is 36 x 26 cm. Click the image below if you want to see the full sized watercolour.

Groomsport
Groomsport
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Meldrum kroki is cancelled until further notice

Just a little reminder to say Meldrum Kroki, my life drawing class at Dieselverkstaden is cancelled until further notice. Please check the Dieselverkstaden calendar for future classes when the world returns to some sort of normality. Thanks. Sketch safely, love.
Calender link: https://dieselverkstaden.se/kurser/meldrum-kroki-2020/

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Sketches from New Delhi

These two watercolour sketches are from Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi. It was fun to get started, it was my first day in India.

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Not the whole watercolour

Stadshuset

Yeap, I wasn’t totally happy with this watercolour so I was forced to chop it up so that I could enjoy it. I’m a happy butcher now. It’s best to love a whole painting of course but sometimes one has to be brutal.
Click the thumbnail below to see the full sized image.

Stadshuset
Stadshuset
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Another watercolour of Donaghadee

Donaghadee Sunset

I visit Northern Ireland twice a year usually, my family live there in Bangor not far from Belfast. I grew up in the South so I have no connection except my family. I enjoy taking the coast road from Bangor through Groomsport and ending up in Donaghadee, a lovely harbour which used to be the main port for the voyage to Scotland many years ago. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/eDVfUXbGwwEKaUpt5

This watercolour is 26 x 36 cm and is titled, Donaghadee Sunset.
Click the thumbnail below for a full sized image.

Donaghadee Sunset
Donaghadee Sunset