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Inspired by Turner

It was early Saturday morning, I broke the plastic sealing wrapper from around a William Turner book I had purchased – The ‘Skies’ Sketchbook by David Blayney Brown. Once I had studied it for a while I had this enormous urge to get outside and paint some clouds. Luckily the sky was very beautiful during the weekend, the soft pillow type cushions sailed past quickly which meant the scene in front of me changed completely every few minutes. I sat in my new camper van at Nacka Strand protected from the cool wind, I was inspired and I enjoyed every moment of it.

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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.

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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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Pontrieux, you were difficult

A watercolour from Pontrieux

Like I said in the last post, this watercolour didn’t come easy. After coming home from France I had the half finished painting on my studio wall for weeks until one day I finally thought I’d have a go at completing it. It wasn’t obvious to me if I would succeed or not but I am so happy I didn’t give up and I made it work.
Have a nice weekend!

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A watercolour from Pontrieux
A watercolour from Pontrieux, France
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Outdoor Painting Ep16 – This one was difficult

This episode was filmed in Pontrieux, France. I have to admit that this watercolour was a bit of a fight. When I had reached half way I really didn’t know if I would succeed or not. I’m glad I didn’t give up though because I am delighted with the end result.

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Painting Outdoors in Ploubazlanec

It’s episode number 14 and this time I am in Ploubazlanec in Brittany, France.
My wife grew up here and I am lucky enough to visit this magical place once a year. I always find it inspiring. While my wife spends time with her wonderful Mum I walk around Ploubazlanec and neighbouring Paimpol looking for something to paint. I have a lot of time to myself but I also find time to be social plus enjoying the local food and the great hospitality.
I hope you enjoy the video, comments are always appreciated.

Cheers,
David

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Painting Outdoors – Watercolour Demonstration Ep.13

This watercolour demonstration was a real challenge because of frequent showers while painting. I was on the island of Bj√∂rn√∂ close to Stockholm a few weeks back and it was a wonderful day really because I learned a lot about my patience as an artist. It was also a day of discovery as I’d never been to the island before so it was fun cycling my trailer through woods and winding paths along the shore.

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Painting Riddarholmen – Watercolour Demonstration Ep.12

Painting Riddarholmen – Watercolour Demonstration Ep.12

I cycled into Stockholm and painted a view of Riddarholmen for this demonstration. The day turned out to be quite a challenge because of rain showers that frustrating me. In the end I returned home, I finished the watercolour the next day and was very happy with the result. A nice little painting that can be seen from start to finish on YouTube.

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Last sketch from √Öland

This was the last sketch from our month-long sailing trip to Finland and √Öland. I finished the painting yesterday but I actually painted most of it at Fisk√∂, 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.

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