onsdag 27 juli 2011

A bag of my own. This illustration was made for the shopkeepers in Old Town Porvoo last year, and now it´s used this way to promote an event in September. I like!

tisdag 26 juli 2011

Testing, testing. Yesterday I bought the Rolls Royce of brushes, a Winsor&Newton Series 7, size 00 (in the picture on the right hand side). The price was nearly 15 euros, which is way more than I usually pay for a small brush. It´s hand made in England (by neat old ladies the art shop guy told me), it´s made of finest sable. I was told artists usually can´t afford it, he sells it mostly to model makers who paint details with it. I have another sable brush in the same size, a very nice one from Tempera (left in the picture). I don´t know the price because I got it as a present. 

In this little test I used the same gouache colur and tested the lines and how much paint the brush holds until the line breaks. Both brushes are good, but the series 7 seems to hold a bit more paint. After this comparison I painted for about four hours getting to know my new tool, and I like it. Very smooth and reliable. But then again, every new brush of good quality is. My old detail brush has been in good use for maybe a year, and its´ still going strong. Taking care of the tools is important, washing them properly and drying them flat.

måndag 25 juli 2011

The curse of Adam. This Monday´s column illustration is a comment on this story on a statistical correlation between gross domestic product and penile length. It´s just too convenient. Nothing a man is, does, thinks or creates really matters, when everything is predestined by creation. Or?

I learned some interesting things about the original Michelangelo fresco when painting this rip off. There Adam is a living creature of flesh and bone, but what he is given here by God is his soul. So what if, during this  very important process, he suddenly notices his penis and gets scared of what its size might mean to the future of his nations economy. What would an interrupted creation mean to the future of man? I didn´t want to change too many details, it´s just the position of the head and expression of his face that are altered. I´m not quite sure if it could be seen in the small printed format. This is something Michelangelo had to consider too, what he painted high up in the ceiling had to be visible and clear to someone looking at it from the ground. Four years up there, imagine that.

The figures are of course clumsy in comparison but I am pleased with how the background turned out. To create the look of fresco painting I first painted with thick layers of water colour, then let it dry, soaked it again and wiped away most of the paint. (I use Hahnem ules Bamboo paper, it´s not rough, but it has a texture) I painted the cracks last, and made them more visible than in the photo I used as reference. The composition is not an exact copy, because I drew it in pencil just looking at the reference.

Here, the sketch. The measuring guy was too difficult for me to draw in perspective to the fresco in the ceiling.

I thought this Monday´s column would be left out because of the massacre in Norway (it sits on the first news page in a set spot). But it wasn´t. Last weeks odd news story seems so irrelevant today. 

onsdag 20 juli 2011

Intuition. I illustrated this for a book review, and thought it would be a 3 or 4 column thing. I almost died when I saw how it was used over the spread. The revieved book is on Bergson and intuition.

Here, some of the sketchwork behind it.

måndag 18 juli 2011

Rare specimen. Monday again. The swedish channel FST has problems with viewer statistics.

söndag 17 juli 2011

Radio. Sommarprat (Summer talk) is a radio format in Sweden and Finland, and this is Andrea Svanbäcks article in today´s Hbl about the popular format. Working also as a layout journalist, I like knowing exactly how an illustration will be placed on a spread and work it from there, and here it was possible, thank´s to my boss. She did the layout, and I specially like the way the text runs around the antenna. I have experimented with an image of a perfect beach earlier, when I was painting a present to a childs christening. Here´s a first version of that:

The final version had only one child and the name of the baby was written in the sand. This is the perfect moment, kids are playing, everything is just fine. (It´s the moment before one of the kids poops in his pants and the other one eats a handful of sand).

I have been to a relatives summer home this weekend. It´s a house full of objects that just ended there, generations of the same family have collected odd items, and its´all there in a charming mix. Every time I go into a room I see something I didn´t notice before. And everything has a story. Some are forgotten. I decided to pick one of these objects, and try to paint it in water color as it is. I wanted to make it look super real, like it could be picked up and turned around, just like all the things in this house. This peacock feather was sitting on the mantle piece, and it looked like a challenge. The painting I made is now sitting there beside it, adding to the layers of objects.

Notice also the candle holder made of horns of some animal (maybe reindeer?). Seen anything like that before?

The problem with super realistic is that every error is visible... The individual feathers really look more like flowing hair, than stiff sticks like they look here. 

I think I just have to walk this path and learn what I can, then go back to something more simple.

torsdag 14 juli 2011

Duct tape wonders. I have had trouble with brown paper tape loosening and letting go when the paper dries. There´s a special sound when it happens, a sharp rip, and I hate to hear it after working on something for hours. With the paper and the colors I use I can soak it again without loosing color and re-tape it, but it´s annoying extra work. So today I tried duct tape. It sticks. No wonder Finns call it Jeesusteippi (Jesus tape). But it´s not a final solution, because I don´t want to produce a lot of non-recyleable garbage. Maybe I will use it i smyg, without anyone noticing...

söndag 10 juli 2011

Take a number. I was in agony about finding a topic for this Monday´s column, but a story on the culture pages saved me. Two artists, Henrika Lax and Anu Kauhaniemi, were to appear in the same exhibition at Galleria Uusitalo in Billnäs. When Lax came to the exhibition she wondered why some of her old work from 2004 was exhibited. Until she noticed it wasn´t her work at all, but Kauhaniemis new paintings from 2011. Kauhaniemi claims she hasn´t seen Lax paintings, so her work is not plagiarism, but more like an unlucky coincidence. Both paintings show people rushning at the Central Railway station in Helsinki. You can see the photos of the originals on the artists respective web pages.

It´s a tricky situation for both, but I think if they play it well maybe both can win. Before this incident most people didn´t know about these paintings at all... (And after appearing on my blog even my three readers in India are aware of these artists).

Back to my task. I wanted to bake in some plagiarism in my interpretation. I also thought about the availability of the motive. It´s one of the central scenes in Helsinki, thousands of people go passing by there every day. I thought maybe the people who work there would be annoyed by painters occupying space at the station, and maybe set up a queuing system. If you want to paint here, take a number.

For background I tried to imitate the painting by Lax. It became a clumsy version of the original. Her work is really delicate, every shade of the few colors she uses are picked with care. It must have taken her days and weeks to complete this, so I felt like a barbarian to copy it in an hour. I could have just pasted her work in the background in Photoshop, but it wouldn´t have been the same thing (would have looked better though).

torsdag 7 juli 2011

My dear readers in India. Completely new to the blogging world, I really enjoy checking the stats (instead of doing something creative). Today, after a day in real life I noticed that three people from India have visited my blog. I did have someone from Pakistan popping in the other day, but I figured out it must have been a the husband of my relative. But India, I don´t know anyone there. So who are you? For the three first people, preferably from India but I´m not picky, who send me an e-mail or drop a comment, I promise to send a 14x14 cm print card of the picture above. It has absolutely nothing to do with India, but who cares. This is one of the paintings that I have made that I actually like, even a few months after painting it. I´m pleased with the colors and the details, but, someone might notice that some of the shadows are completely wrong.

onsdag 6 juli 2011

Drawing: Tim Hopgood

I wish I could start every day and week like this: Tim Hopgood: STUDIO FORECAST: "Today: Bright creative start to the morning. Uncertainty moving in from the west later. Outlook: Becoming more colourful as the week goes on... Productivity improving, but still slightly sluggish for the time of year."

måndag 4 juli 2011

Hot as in Greece. This Monday´s column. "Thank you for he heat".