Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Läckö Castle

This is the castle I mentioned in a earlier post. It´s located on the end of cape Kålland in lake Vänern. The biggest lake in Sweden. This was the home of the wealthy count Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie and it has medieval origin before that. Today it´s a popular place to visit in summer. They have a summer opera and annual exhibitions. In the picture you see a part of it. It´s actually a watercolor and I´m very pleased that I find the medium somewhat fun again. It was my thing for a long time but eventually I got fed up and I felt I only did what was expected of me. So I turned to digital media instead or a combination of ink and digital. And my illustration commisions took me in new and exciting directions. Oh, here I found another one of the same place. I had a watercolor class here some years ago and it is a great place to practice painting shadows. Here you can actually form the shape of the castle by painting only the background.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A lot of red

This weekend I sketched some old buildings again. If you come to Sweden you would see that many houses, especially in the countryside are painted in red. It´s quiet striking and suits the landscape both in summer and during winter when we certainly can need some colors. Ok, here comes a history lesson again so stop reading if it bores you. About three or four hundred years ago most houses up in the north were in timber and unpainted. By time they became grey and didn´t look very uplifting. The more fortunate had the privilige to build their homes in stone or brick material as they did further south in Europe. This became very fashionable and families less well off started to paint their timber houses in red to make them look at least somewhat like the brickhouses. It started out in the cities but since the paint was expensive many painted only the wall towards the street. There are still places where you can see this.

The paint they used and we still use is called Falu redpaint. It´s pigment comes from the copper mine in Falun in Dalarna and contains about 20 different minerals which creates this excellent color. It has a very warm nuance to it that looks great both in sunshine and in the shadow. Later it became very affordable and everyone was able to paint barns and houses with it.
The red building in the upper drawing is from Lidköping. The house in the big, big square was originally a hunting lodge or "castle" from 1600-something. It was built and used by one of the richest counts in Sweden during this time. I have painted his castle too and I will publish it later. His name was Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie and he was ridiculously rich. A soldier and a handsome player and the queens favourite. Well, today his old hunting lodge is a café and a tourist centre but it is a very nice building isn´t it. In the drawing below you can see some old houses that was spared during the big fire in Lidköping 1849. Almost all our towns that were mainly built in wood have been devistated by big fires during the centuries. It´s amazing that anything at all is left.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Part two and five

During my watercolorclasses I always prepare some studymaterial for the group. Such as step-by-step instructions that I´ve scanned while I was painting them. These have been very helpful and quite popular. This painting is one of them, stage two and then the finished watercolor. I actually started to think about collecting some of the instructions in some way. It would be a nice project to work on either way.
Last week I made a little fieldtrip to the eastcoast. I set off to pick up a friend that had taken the ferry from Gotland to the mainland. It took me almost four hours to drive to the harbour in Oskarhamn and it was almost no time to stay and sketch but it was nice to get a glimpse anyway. Havn´t been there since I was in my early teens so I didn´t really remember what it looked like.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It´s been raining cats and dogs

I remember when my first english teacher ( I was about 10 ) taught us this expression. And of course it stuck with us all. We saw little kittens and puppets tumbling down from the sky in our minds. Well, this week it has been the case... it has been pouring down non-stop. It suited me quiet well since this week it was time to go back to work again but it hasn´t left much time and opportunities for sketching or any outdoor activities. Saturday I ended up at the same place where I held last weeks watercolorclass and I made some sketches from a friends house and garden. In the evening I saw the movie Mamma Mia for the second time. Fantastic film and the songs are among the first ones I learned as a kid. As many swedish of my generation did. The funny thing is that we rarely knew the correct lyrics since we didn´t understand english. We sang along to what we thought we heard and those sometimes peculiar lines still pops up when I hear the music. I believe many in my generation still have moments of revelation when we finally hear what they actually sing.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A barn to paint

This barn is located where I have my watercolorclass. Just close to Lake Hornborga. All rural buildings in the area looked like this in the olden days. Grey timber with a touch of burnt umber to it´s wall because of the tar in the wood. The roof is made of straw from the lake. During this class I´m running around helping my students all the time so it´s not any time left for me to sit down and paint- which is pity cause these outdoor painting days tend to inspire me.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Watercolor class

Thursday to sunday this week I´m holding a watercolorclass for a group of a dozen "students".
Some of them have been coming back for 9 years now. Pretty amazing. We meet around 9.30 pm and then have a short practical go-through indoor before we go out and paint. It´s a bit hot so it´s essential to stay in the shadow.