I basically have to admit that this watercolour or any other urban – watercolour that I have done has been difficult for me. I feel I am just learning the ropes, a total beginner but of course I have been painting these scenes for years. So I struggle and each time I learn something new. I am rarely happy with the end result but I am trying really hard to be kinder to myself. It is important to enjoy oneself after all.
This painting is a continuation of studies of Kungsgatan, a main street here in central Stockholm. 36 x 26 cm
I have a favourite spot in Stockholm at the moment, it’s the corner of Sveavägen and kungsgatan. I am using my own photographs as reference but very soon I will be out in the streets painting plein air for real. After my trip to Spain recently made me realise that this is what I want to do most.
The Crossing 26 x 36 cm Painted on Saunders Waterford Rough 300g
I try to sketch everyday but of course life keeps getting in the way. This last week has been really busy, mostly seasonal stuff like getting the boat ready for launch and putting summer tyres on the car etc. The seasons are very clear here in Sweden. Half the year is dark and cold and the other half is light and warm(ish), simple. I continue to do some urban sketching. I painted this from a fuzzy iPhone photo I took while I was walking, I never bothered to stop, I just snapped off a bunch of pictures. It’s not a bad technique really, I got some interesting angles.
I wandered around the caravan park I was staying on the last day of my painting trip. The park was pretty empty, it was a day after the Easter weekend. I discovered this abandoned caravan tucked away in a corner, I thought the composition was wonderful so I took a few shots with my phone. I stumbled across the images again this morning when I was wondering what to paint. I decided to do a sketch first and I’m happy with the result. I must do a larger version of it very soon, I still feel it is a great composition.
I stayed at the Moby Dick Caravan Park very close to the centre of Calella. It was quiet and the family running the park were charming.
I have been told that it’s going to take me 10 000 hours to master watercolour. That’s okay, I am enjoying the trip. This is another painting of Stureplan, Stockholm. I am exploring a lot at the moment, I wonder about form, tonal values and overall composition. I find it fascinating, a watercolour is more likely to succeed if one keeps these in mind while you paint.
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.
I am finding this street scene a real challenge. I am enjoying it though, I basically have to paint kungsgatan several more times before I can be fully happy. This isn’t a bad watercolour, I just want to do it better. I guess that’s the artist’s curse, never totally content – always trying be better.
For Sale: €350
Title: Kungsgatan Technical information: Painted on the backside of Saunders Waterford Rough. 26 x 36 cm. I use W&N, Holbien and Daniel Smith paints.
I enjoyed painting this street scene of Sibyllegatan here in Stockholm – I seem to be on a bit of a roll. It’s wonderful when you feel that you have taken a step up in your development. This is how I feel right now. I believe I have a better vision of what I want to achieve and how to get there. Last week I took a lot of photos of Stockholm in strong spring sunlight . I think it’s fun just walking around and trying to find a great composition.
Technical information: Painted on the backside of Saunders Waterford Rough. 26 x 36 cm. I use W&N, Holbien and Daniel Smith paints.
Here is how my first watercolour wash looked like during the painting of Sibyllegatan (Sibylle Street), Stockholm Technical information: Painted on the backside of Saunders Waterford Rough. 26 x 36 cm. I use W&N, Holbien and Daniel Smith paints.