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.
After weeks of illness it is so nice to be watercolouring again. I was very frustrated not being well enough to paint but I am recovering and I feel a lot better now. I am very focused on improving myself these days so I throw myself into areas that are uncomfortable. Zones like portrait painting and urban scenes, I also feel I can improve a lot in the painting light. This what I am focused on this week.
I was very ill last week and I’m still recovering. The most frustrating thing about not being well is the inability to paint. It was a wonderful feeling therefore to do some portrait practice yesterday evening, it means I am feeling better and soon everything will be back to normal. This young girl uploaded her pouting face onto Sktchy App which is a great photo resource for portrait artists, the only negative is that everyone seems to pout their lips when they take selfies of themselves. A sign of the times. Saunders Waterford Sketchbook, 28 X 38 cm
I was very happy to have one of my paintings excepted into the annual National Watercolour Exhibition at the Edsvik Art Gallery. The watercolour is entitled, Västan – which is the name of the Stockholm ferry featured.
It’s interesting for me as this watercolour is two years old and as I am still developing as an artist it is very much from my past. It has a strong composition which is good but my technical skills have improved a lot since 2017. Another interesting fact is that this painting was exhibited at The Salamanca ECWS exhibition of 2017. I was so proud that I was chosen to represent Sweden in this European watercolour event.
I painted this sketch yesterday, I just wanted to practice so that I feel comfortable with the subject. I also wondered what the composition would feel like with one of the sailing boat’s masts tilted by a small gust of wind as it rounded the island. I like it, much more dynamic, so I will go with this when I paint the demonstration version this Saturday. Many people want to be in the workshop which is great considering I advertised it so late last week. Still a few places left if you are interested! 🙂
The sketch is about A5 in size and painted on Saunders Waterford paper.
I am getting better at just sketching for fun. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to improve which is good but at the same time I know it’s not recommended to be deadly serious all the time. So, yesterday I had some fun. It’s fun having fun. Sounds like I am trying to persuade myself that relaxing is a good thing.
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!
Capturing light in watercolour is what we all try to achieve and it’s difficult, this is why I practice all the time. I just visited the Singer Sargent exhibition at the National gallery here in Stockholm one last time, it reminds me that I have far to go before I can call myself a master.
I am enjoying painting people and portraits, I think I will continue on this path for a while.