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Sketching at Waldermarsudde with old friends

Waldermarsudde sketch

It is interestesting how people who used to be new friends are now old friends.
I have been life drawing since 2011 and along the way I have got to know many new people who share a love of trying to capture what they see in front of them. We would meet for coffee after each life drawing session and show our sketches and voice our frustrations at being so clumsy or just down-right awful. We all supported each other, never a bad word was said – just lots of positive vibes that have lead to the forming of great friendships.

The pandemic has affected our life drawing classes and we have not met so often this year which meant it was wonderful when we actually did meet last weekend. It was a grey day at Waldermarsudde but it didn’t matter to us, and besides, we had the promise of waffles afterwards at the café with outdoor heaters to keep the chill of autumn away.

I didn’t really care what I was going to sketch that day, I just sat close to the others. I sit alone and paint most days so no need to do that when the point was to socialise. I am happy with my sketch. In the background there is an old windmill without it’s sails. In the foreground is the statue of Carl Wilhelm Scheele by Carl Milles. My watercolour didn’t want to dry in the humidity of fall but luckily I had my blowtorch with me. It turns heads but I get the job done. It was a good day.

Please click the thumbnail below if you would like to see the full-sized image, 13 x 17 cm

Waldermarsudde sketch
Waldermarsudde sketch
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This is a favourite watercolour

I painted this as the the day came to an end, we had found a safe place for the night in Ålöfladen, south of Utö on the 10th of July. I had no high expectation, just started painting, a boat in the calm. I had to use my gas burner to dry it, the evening had become humid. I was and still am very pleased with the result, I find it has a calming affect on me.

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Another day another sketch

I still feel so lucky to be able to enjoy nature as I do. The view from Nedergårdsö. 9th of July, 13 x 17.5cm

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A late evening sketch

A late evening sketch from the boat on Nämdö, Skärvassa. I use my gas heat gun to dry the watercolour. It’s been a cool July so far. It means the archipelago isn’t as crowded as I thought it would be, that’s a plus. 13 x 17.5cm

Click the thumbnail below to see the full sized image.

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Holiday watercolours

Grisselholmen

We are currently sailing along the east coast of Sweden, taking it easy as we always do – which means I have time to do some watercolour sketching. Here is a sketch from when we visited Grisselholmen on the 3rd of July. More watercolours to follow! Grisselholmen 13 x 17.5 cm

Click the thumbnail image below to see the full sized image.

Grisselholmen
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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.

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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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!

Click the thumbnail below to see the image in full-size.

A watercolour from Pontrieux
A watercolour from Pontrieux, France
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