I painted this watercolour back in the summer of 2021. We had sailed to Åland from Stockholm and as usual our first port of call was Rödhamn. While there I painted this plein air sketch of the Radio Station Museum and a nearby navigational sign.
I basically was unhappy with it and I placed it in my failures tray back home. Saw it recently and said to myself maybe I can tweak that watercolour a little and it will be okay. This is the result.
In the beginning of the week I took the ferry on a short trip across the water to Djurgården here in Stockholm. I wheeled my art gear behind me and looked for an inspirational spot to paint from. In the end it was the weather that decided. I needed protection from the strong easterly wind which was making 7 degrees feel really unpleasant.
The day’s subject became some oil storage tanks on the other side of the water. I was more interested in the sky but I needed a point of focus for the sake of the composition.
The finished watercolour may not be a masterpiece but for me just getting out and painting was the biggest achievement of the day.
I mentioned in my last post that I used a gas burner for 10 minutes to dry my watercolour. For the second painting I used a different approach. I left a lot of the paper white, I didn’t paint over the whole surface in other words. I thought this approach worked really well and I will doing this again for sure.
The light started to fade around 3pm so I packed up my gear and made my way home. Another fulfilling day in nature was had. Funny the positive effect it has on me being outdoors. I guess it’s the same for everyone. Anyway, I love it, whatever the conditions. 😃
Last Wednesday I visited Björnö nature reserve. It was a very damp and grey day which is totally normal for this time of year in Stockholm.
For my health’s sake, my current mission is to be outdoors as much as possible. I recently acquired a fisherman’s tent to protect myself from the elements while painting. It works really well especially the way it protected me from the wind. Even a light breeze can be very tiring while spending a whole day painting in damp, cool conditions.
I managed two watercolours, the first of which is featured here I used a lot of water so that I could mimic the misty view that was in front of me. The only problem about doing this in 100% humidity is that it never dries. Thankfully I had my trusty gas burner, it took 10 minutes to dry the cotton paper!
For the second painting I used a different approach, less water, but more about this in my next post. I had a great day, I really feel very lucky to have this this kind of lifestyle, to be more or less free to choose what to do with my day. Recommended 😃
What a contrast to the week before. Then I was in Croatia enjoying warm and sunny conditions, on this day (last Monday) I took myself out to Sandhamn by ferry. Sandhamn is a popular harbour during the summer months but now in late autumn it’s empty. It was a grey day, 7 degrees, rained from time to time and the wind gusted to 16m/s. It was important to somehow find shelter on the harbour. Thankfully I had a stool with me so I could keep a low profile behind some seating on the pier.
The highlight of the day was to go to the local pub/restaurant and eat freshly baked cod and drink a local beer. It’s a short working day. The light started to fade around 3pm. I took the ferry back to Stockholm at 5pm, it was dark by then.
I visited Utö during the month of September to spend two days camping and painting. The island was so quiet, the evenings can be cool but if you are lucky you can still get a beautiful warm day.
This video has no dialog, instead I thought I’d let the sound of the lapping water and the beautiful view speak for themselves. The film is short, 7 minutes long.
I have included a description of the gear I used in the film down below. I hope you enjoy it, please do send me comments and let me know what you think – be it good or bad. You can support the making of these videos, visit my crowdfunding page, there you can follow my weekly vlogs, see bonus material, and even receive original watercolours as thanks. https://www.patreon.com/meldrumart
Here is a list of my most important watercolours that I use while sketching outdoors. In this watercolour I mostly used – Cobalt Blue, French Ultramarine, Verditer Blue, Jaune Brilliant No1, Yellow Ochre and Vandyke Brown. My easel is no longer for sale on Amazon unfortunately. My camping chair is a Swedish brand called Walkstool Comfort 45cm/18in. (www.walkstool.com). The hammock tent is by Hennessy 4 Season Expedition Zip. (https://eu.hennessyhammock.com/products/4season-expedition-zip)
While sketching I use a Winsor & Newton Field palette My watercolours (tube) : – Holbein Titanium White – Winsor & Newton Cadmium Yellow Pale – Holbein Jaune Brilliant No1 . -Winsor & Newton Naples Yellow – Winsor & Newton Yellow Ochre – Winsor & Newton Burnt Sienna – Winsor & Newton Cadmium Orange – Winsor & Newton Cadmium Red – Daniel Smith Alizarin Crimson – Winsor & Newton UltraMarine Violet – Winsor & Newton Cobalt Blue – Winsor & Newton French Ultra Marine – Holbein Verditer Blue – Winsor & Newton Cobalt Turquoise Light – Holbien Vandyke Brown – Winsor & Newton Neutral Tint.
I try to be out in the Stockholm archipelago as much as possible. But sometimes the weather isn’t kind and I’m forced to stay home. This was the case last week when there was gale force wind with heavy rain. It wasn’t raining all the time though so I was able to nip out and paint a scene close to where I live.
The building I chose to paint is called Danvikshem, an Art Deco old folks home, it is a dominant feature on the local skyline. I sat myself down outside an apartment in Finnboda and had a go at capturing the scene.
During the summer we sailed to the Åland archipelago, which lies between Sweden and Finland. During the trip I made a short film about my easel set up and kit bag. I do long for the summer months when I see this video.