I have been trying really hard not to paint sail boats for a while now, it’s hard – I just love to paint them. The reason I am avoiding them is so that I can develop as a watercolour artist by painting other things that I am not used to and find difficult. Portraits are difficult, the one that’s featured here doesn’t resemble the original model very well. I wasn’t trying too get a perfect likeness, my goal is to master painting skin and building the facial form, I think creating a likeness will improve as I practice.
The model reference by the way was downloaded from the iPhone only Sktchy app. Why it’s only iPhone users who can use this service I do not know. Click the thumbnail below to see the full-sized image
I call this watercolour, “Alone in Paris”. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, when I visited the Musée d’Orsay in Paris I was struck by the sheer volume of people milling around the famous works of art. It was so busy I wasn’t able to get up close to study how masters like Van Gogh painted. I felt that the visitors weren’t really looking at the art on display, they merely acknowledged their presence. You could say they were ticking a list, Monet – check, Van Gogh – Check, Renoir – check and so on. So I felt like I was the only person in the room at that given moment who really wanted to immerse himself in the painting.
I was thinking also, how Van Gogh would feel? So famous now but ignored during his own life time. Here is a link to a description of his self-portrait by the way. I don’t know if he would be happier today, people are still not really looking at his art, – trying to understand it. His art has become a trophy that the super rich buy to stroke their egos. I am not so famous and I sell to only those who really appreciate my watecolours, I like it like that.
My wife mentioned that my style in this painting is more similar to my earlier art which was more graphic or cartoon like. I have to agree, I think the reason for this is that I am unsure of myself as I am only starting to paint people. I would much prefer to paint my figures like say Benjamin Björklund, which is to leave more for the viewer to fill in. I love Impressionism because it is so hard for me to achieve I think.
Alone in Paris: 52 x 34 cm
Click the thumbnail below to see the full-sized image
This is the final watercolour I will be painting from my experiences in Japan earlier this year. I suspect I will be visiting again soon as my son lives there and I miss him so. I look forward to finding more inspirational scenes to paint on my next visit.
If you haven’t already seen my latest YouTube video ( I paint the O-Torii Gate ) here is a link to it: https://youtu.be/yRRO36NAnU8 Click the thumbnail below to see the full-sized image
Even though this composition is relatively simple the placement of the Stockholm town hall is very important to the success of the watercolour, it’s the rule of thirds. The tonal values are even more important as the sky wouldn’t pop if the building and bridge had a lighter tone.
Personally I am on a little crusade to improve my understanding of tonal values, I enjoyed painting this scene.
I love Paris, with it’s museums, cafes and the sketching opportunities.
I am currently trying to improve capturing light. It is all about having the correct tonal values. It’s quite difficult and it is going to take me a while before I master it. I visited Paris a few years back, I would love to return and spend a week cramming French culture into my head – especially the Impressionists. It’s an expensive town though. If anyone has a bed for me in Paris I would be very interested!
26 x 36 cm
If you want to practice doing portraits, download Sktchy app. Unfortunately it is only for iPhone users. Lots of people upload photos of themselves and artists, both amateur and professional sketch them.
For me, I just want to practice doing portraits and I don’t want to worry about copyright issues etc. So this is a great resource.
I was asked to submit a watercolour to an exhibition and I wasn’t accepted which of course is a bit of a bummer but at the same time I just found the experience to be quite positive. That may sound strange but what I mean is I spent a day working on this painting and I learned a lot because I was outside of my comfort zone. I am pushing my boundaries a lot at the moment which means I do have more failures, I know I can paint the archipelago here in Stockholm but I want to be better than that, that is why I am happy with this watercolour. I do not fear the unknown and what I know today was yesterday’s news.
The town of Fabriano painted on, …Farbriano watercolour paper.
Click the image below for full-sized photo
It is hard to paint urban scenes I think. I wrestle with keeping the watercolour alive and fresh. I need straight lines because houses are built of them, but they are also my enemy. Too straight and I loose my battle.
This was a good fight, I nearly lost it a couple of times but in the end I am happy with the result.
Title: Storkyrkan (The Big Church)
Size: 26 x 36 cm