Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Evening on the bridge

Spent the whole evening by the water. It was sooo hot and you have to remember we are in Sweden here and temperatures above 30 degrees C are very rare. But yesterday was one of those days and the very cold and deep lake Vättern could barely cool you off. Rare that too. Last week the watertemperature was +16 and westerday almost 24!!!!
Sorry for going on and on about the summerweather but it´s a general "bad" habit among us here up in the north.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Visiting my sis

For my birthday I was warmly welcomed at my sisters and we had a great couple of days together. Here is a view from their house. Their new heater on the left is the newest addition. They always have some project going on.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

On the beach

I´m probably many peoples nightmare doing this, drawing people on the cliffs in their bathing suits but hey, noone are really portrayed that well. My sister and niece are among the figures but that´s all I will say.This is how I´ve been spending my days lately. It´s really hot but we are fortunate to have plenty of lakes to take a swim and cool off in. I´m living within 5 minutes from the water... so now I´ll grab my towel and my bike and I´m off for an evening dip. Have a nice day/evening.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Smoked fish

It´s nice in the harbour with the view and all the boats. But I preferred these little red houses today. The first one belong to the sailclub. Not a yacht club or anything fancy, mostly they have classes for kids, teaching them to sail.
In the middle fish are being smoked. I don´t know if that is the right word for it but the speciality our my town is smoked whitefish. And they use juniper for the process. You can even see a small junipertree in the picture. In the next house is our fish shop located. Great place to get your fresh fish.

Friday, July 18, 2008

In the park

Summer in sweden is short but it´s so lovely to be able to just sit down and draw anywhere, without freezing your butt off. Could someone move the gulfstream a bit closer please. This one is from our town park. Hundred years ago Hjo was a vacation resort and the villas where built for the visiting guests. Some of the houses are still available as hotel accomodations. And all of them are all in different colors and shapes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In Gothenburg.....again

Hello, all blog readers. It´s really inspiring to continue this blog with the kind words you pour over me! The problem is that I get so eager to work with the blog that I forget about preparing for my watercolorclass in two weeks and my other commissions. The later have somehow spilled over and into my vacation by the way.... hm, how did that happen...... again!
Yesterday I jumped on the train again for a day in Gothenburg. The weather was perfect for a citytrip and I really felt like I needed some of the inspiration that you get from a bigger city. Gothenburg has appr. a pop. of 600 000 so it´s not that big and it has a relaxed and friendly athmosphere to it. I did one sketch that I was pleased with. In the foreground one of the canals in Gothenburg. Long ago there were more of them and the town was called Amsterdam of the north. But today only a couple is left. I didn´t get any of the many blue trams in the picture either but they pass over the bridge you see in the background all the time so maybe you can imagine one. The statue in the picture by the way seem to have a cardboardhat on.... and I have no idea why :-)

Monday, July 14, 2008

At Lake Hornborgasjön

Here are two sketches I made by Lake Hornborgasjön this sunday. If any of you blogreaders don´t want a history lesson please stop reading now.
In the top drawing you can see a typical mountain for my region. It looks like a flat hat because of the last ice age. 10 000 years ago Scandinavia was covered with a really thick ice layer. When the ice started to melt and withdraw it brought with it the top layers of the mountains leaving just the very solid stone material left. When the ice line continued north it also left big heaps of gravel and other geological material and therefore we can see long soft hills in the landscape. You can even see a cople of them in the top picture.
When the ice age was over people came wandering in from the south and started to populate this area. The first findings are from 8000 bc. Back then they lived on the mountain sides in winter and in summer they came down to the lake to fish and hunt. The remains of the first family dog in Swedish history is actually found by this lake.
Today it is a very popular place for nature lovers. Each years thousands and thousands of cranes come here to mate and dance their peculiar dance. Thousands and thousands of tourists from all over watch them. Sometimes I wonder though if the cranes partly come here to take a look at these strange human beings.
The building in the lower sketch is built for the tourists and to melt into the landscape. The roof is made by reed from the lake. It used to be the most common roof material in these parts. It has become very popular move to this area and many artists and musicians love to spend time here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A place of great importance

I had to raise really early today despite it was sunday morning. I drove my artistic friends Barbro and Lennart to the railwaystation. They were heading off for Florence- (oh, no I´m not jealous at all). Since the gas prize these days is so high I felt I had to take advantage of the miles I had already driven and continued for half an hour to my friend Susanne for sunday breakfast. She lives in a very beautiful landscape close to lake Hornborga-sjön. And it is in these parts I organize my 4-day watercolor class each summer. Today i decided to spend the rest of the day making some preparations for my class, such as checking out places to sit, nice motifs and practical stuff as parking places. I started out down by the lake and I will publish some sketches from there tomorrow. Afterwards I continued to Varnhem, a great historical place. It was an important friary in the 12th century and the burial place for some of Swedens first kings. Today you can walk around and look at the remains of the friary and visit the church. It has changed it´s appearance over the years but the older parts are from around 1100. It is a pretty complicated building to draw and the perspective really put you to the test with all the steep angles that raise above you. It´s fun though. Since some of you wonder how I make these sketches I will publish an old painting I did some years in watercolor. I like that too but these days I prefer the must faster sketches and the coloring in photoshop (an increasing restlessness maybe).
Somehow I think that I tend to draw and paint in the same illustrative style whatever media I use. I don´t know what you think or if you have the same experience.
It was a nice day though- the only thing missing in the picture was a cisterciensermonk strolling around. Maybe I´ll add one......

Saturday, July 12, 2008

An award

This is from Anita Davies at Art by Anita Thank you very much Anita.
The rules of accepting are as follows:

Put the logo on your blog.
Add a link to the person who awarded you.
Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
Add links to those blogs on yours.
Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

Here are 7 great blogs I get inspired by and read daily:
Stef´s sketches
Per Hardestam
Camilla Engman
Andrea Joseph

Danny Gregory
Gennine Zlatkis
Suzanne Buchanan

My daily tools

Sherrie asked me what paper and pens I use. I´m always searching for good sketchbooks and when I find something I like I buy it so I have plenty of books that are waiting for me. I tend to prefer square shaped books, with a threadbinding. My favourites measure about 25x25 cm. The binding allows me to draw over the back binding and since I often draw architecture I find that this format suites me. The paper must be opaque enough so I can draw on both sidesof the paper. That seem to be a problem tough. I sketch with a Pilot pen with reservoir tip, nothing fancy. But my bags tend to be filled with them. For many years I did nothing but watercolors but today I prefer these really fast sketches made on the spot. Back home I then scan the drawings I like and color them in photoshop. It´s important to me to keep the handmade feeling in the pictures especially since I color them digitally.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Holiday at home

For a couple of weeks I´m on vacation. Or at least I try to. I spend most of my free time at home here in Hjo, a small town that other people come to for there summer holiday so the setting is perfect. I´m the one that is not perfect. I get bored after a few days off. Sketching is the best way to achieve the relaxed holiday feeling and at the same time keep my restless hands on something. This weekend my little town is crowded with people since we are hosts for the biggest craftfair in northern Europe. At least it used to be the biggest. I had some plans to draw some visitors today but it started to rain early on and it was not until in the late afternoon that I sat down for some sketching. I biked a couple of hundreds of meter and leaned towards the bike while working. Perhaps I have more luck with the weather tomorrow.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tour to Gothenburg

I spent yesterday in Gothenburg with a handful of friends all eager to do some sketching. The weather was a bit unpredictable so we spent some time at a café escaping the rain showers. To top sketch is from one of those showers. You draw what you have in front of you, right. Around the corner is one of the best art supply stores in this area so we didn´t suffer. The second sketch pictures Hampus, our youngest artist, in a moment of deep koncentration. In the afternoon, we wondered off in to Haga. An old part of Gothenburg that today is a area full of cafés and design shops. A lot of artists and musicians live in this neighbourhood. All year around it´s full of tourists and people just strolling around. A big reason is probably the relief in not having to share the streets with cars.
When I studied for my Design degree I lived really close by and this was actually part of my walk to university.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Back from Scotland

Have been in Scotland for a week together with my choir, Skövde Gospel. It´s been a week of singing and laughing but I also managed to get some sketches done between conserts and sightseing. It was raining a bit almost every day wich also disturbed my sketching-moments. The first image is our hotel in central Glasgow. What immediately strikes you when you travel is the color palette that shiftes between different countries and within a country as well. Many might see Sweden as a cold and pale place but being abroad actually makes me realize how colorful our architecture is for one thing. Red and yellow houses with bright orange tile roofs is so common to my eye that it´s not until a visit other cities with a lot of grey stone houses that I see the differences. It was great to be back in Scotland tough. It has been 14 years since the last time.

These two are from Edinburgh. My choir got the opportunity to sing in the Great Hall of the castle. Afterwards we had a couple of hours to see the town. Far to little. Quite frustrated I did these two while we had a cup of coffee and in the last case leaning against a wall.