Sunday, December 28, 2008

The next generation

Time for this year's Christmas break and why not spend it introducing watercolor painting to the next generation? Sissa working on a pink balloon.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Meatball recipe

As I am going to spend the next few days cooking for Christmas, I would like to share my new meatball recipe with you:

2 pounds minced meat
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped garlic clove
1 egg yolk
1 cup fresh parsil
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon soy
1 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cardemom

Embrown the chopped onion
Mix it all
Make balls
Frie them
Smaklig måltid!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Impressionism

Even though watercolor painting actually began as a sketching technique, it is not until the 20th century that the art of keeping paintings loose and brisk really flourished. Here I used a limited palette and a large brush to paint in a more impressionistic style than I usually do. Lake Rocksjön in July.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

An old forest

Most of the pictures I paint are detailed illustrations of plants and animals but this time I got the opportunity to do a landscape: an old forest in Småland. I made it for a guide to nature reserves to be printed next year.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Eagle owls

New alarming information on the climate change apparently caused by man pours over us as soon as we turn the radio on. And it should - if we have a problem we better realize it! But not everything around us is going the wrong way. Projekt Berguv Skåne (Project Eagle Owl Skåne) aims to reestablish the world's largest owl species in our province and has so far released more than 150 chicks since 1982. That is why the species is now breeding with 11 wild pairs, which is more than halfway to the goal of 20 breeding pairs. Please report any observations to thomas.lindblad@utb.kristianstad.se to help the project get a better view of the species' status in 2009!
This is a female and her young in the Hardeberga quarry near Lund in 2007.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A new project

I just received a phone call from ecologist Dag Fredriksson at the town of Jönköping. He and his team have spent the last few years describing lake Rocksjön and its surroundings, make it available to visitors, and restore its habitats which are especially interesting for a number of wetland birds as well as otter and beaver. My job is to illustrate an information sign guiding the visitors at the lake, which Dag and his collegues want to include in a future nature reserve. This is a bittern in the reed beds of lake Krankesjön, Skåne.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Next exhibition

Yesterday I set off along with some friends to check up a new gallery where we will be showing our art next April. Konst & Sånt opened last spring in an old grocery store in Tommarp, SE Skåne, has been beautifully renovated and is run by the nice married couple Bo Lasko and Gerty Magnusson. I will tell you more as we are approaching the opening of the exhibition.
Left to right: nature painters Hans Larsson, Lars Fredholm, Peter Elfman, and myself.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Being an expert

Being an illustrator in my case means to depict anything from well drills to the cell structure of wheat grains - things that I don't know anything about at all. In fact my task is to be a generalist, a person who does not know everything about something but knows how to find, select, and communicate facts about various things. This time, however, I am the expert myself because I love inlagd sill, in the English speaking world perhaps better known as pickled herring. So when a health magazine wanted watercolor illustrations of Christmas food I took it as an excuse to buy some of this culinary delicacy, paint it, and eat it. The tax man may wonder why I deducted the cost so I am saving the picture as an answer to his questions.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Our oldest friend

Dogs are fascinating not only because they are our best friends but also because they are our oldest friends! Wolf pups were taken care of as early as 15,000 years ago, mainly in Asia, and eventually bred to match man’s need for a hunting companion, herder, watch dog and pet. Amazingly enough, researchers recently found evidence for a 31,700 year old dog in Belgium. Its DNA seems to have little to do with present-day dogs but what amazes me the most is that history never fails to tell us that everything is much older than we always thought.
This is a mesolithic dog reconstructed from Bennike’s and Lepiksaar’s studies of bones, and modern but primitive breeds such as Jamthund, Norwegian buhund, Finnish lapphund and Swedish vallhund.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nature on the plate

I was simply too busy for a blog entry last week. I still am but at least I can tell you what is keeping me that busy. Christmas is only two months away, and for a nature illustrator like myself that means painting nature on the plate. Here is a lutfisk, an age-old dish of the Nordic countries made from stockfish, nowadays usually air-dryed ling (Molva molva), and lye.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Desillusioning the masses

Those who have a romantic or idealistic view of a pristine past might be a little disturbed by this reconstruction: harp seal cubs being clubbed by a group of stone age hunters. Nevertheless this is a fully realistic scene and I am sorry to tell you it is still just as true in some parts of the world, despite the fact that modern survival is in no way dependent on methods like this.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Workshop

Time for another watercolor workshop in Skrylle, Skåne. I love being an illustrator but not because it fills my need for being among people. So twice a year I have these workshops for beginners, who also help me keep my mind fresh by asking so called “silly questions” - in fact the least silly questions you can ask. Call +46 761 335373 to join us on October 12th at 12.00 and 13.40 o’clock!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ginza release

Some of my artwork is now to be bought at Ginza. They are using an extremely advanced printing technique developed in France and the USA. Hundreds of millions of microskopic drops of lightfast ink in six to eight color tones are sprayed onto a watercolor paper and the result is really amazing! Up to only a few years ago nobody even dreamt about a printing quality like this. See for yourself at http://www.ginza.se/ (Search for Måns Sjöberg).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Private teaching

Teresa is finishing a jaguar on one of our watercolor sessions in my kitchen. In fact I learn a lot myself from teaching others. It encourages me to concentrate on things worth concentrating on.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On not meaning anything

The famous author Astrid Lindgren once said “I don’t mean anything”. And why would she? The “deepness” that some authors and artists ascribe to their works is often nothing but branding. They are simply trying to make an impression on the buyers or authorities that support their work financially. I don’t mean there is anything wrong with that. Defining our profiles to others is in fact part of being a social being, a part of life that I am being involved in right now. And we all pay our bills with money, don't we? But still: not meaning anything is why I like being among my fellow nature artists. We never mean anything, we just like to paint. (And we usually don’t get any grants.)

This is the great peat bog Store Mosse a hot summers day, two curlews coming in from a feeding trip.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sketching

Field sketching is the wildlife artist’s croquis drawing. We need to exercise every day to keep our eyes, minds and hands in shape. Through the years the local zoo has been a goldmine as well as the shores, woods and meadows of Skåne. This is a fox keeping its eyes on a crow that is ready to steal its kill – probably a water vole.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bird art show

The most anticipated event of my year is the annual Bird Art show at Falsterbo Konsthall. See you at the opening september 6th at 12.00 - 17.00!

Falsterbo Konsthall
Stationshuset
Hjalmar Gullbergs plan

Falsterbo

Monday, August 25, 2008

Birdwatching fair

Don’t miss the great birdwatching fair the Honeybuzzard’s Day ! This event is held annually the last Sunday in August at Skanörs Ljung, Falsterbo, a world famous spot for watching migrating birds. You will get an opportunity to try out a telescope, buy books, and find out what AviFauna travel agency can offer you, as well as watch bird art come to life and discuss watercolor technique with me and the other artists taking part in the bird painting workshop. And, not the least, support bird protection projects around the world! See you there August 31st at 10.00 - 14.00.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Book illustrations

One of my current projects is to illustrate Leif Häggström’s pioneer book about prehistoric hunting in Sweden. Leif is a hunter and archaeologist living in Fotskäl, SW Sweden. Above is one of the illustrations: a mesolithic archer inspired by one of the Skateholm graves in the very south of Sweden.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Extinct animals

As the ice cap retreated at the end of the last ice age, wild horses probably immigrated to southern Scandinavia from the South-West like many others, for example bears and weasels. Thus the cave paintings of Ekain, Lascaux, and La Portel can serve as models for a reconstruction of the postglacial horses of southern Scandinavia, along with modern breeds with primitive markings such as Exmoor, Sorraia, and Fjord.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Long hot summer

This summer we have had a lot of sunshine – ideal for painting. Here are some backlit rocks at Hallands Väderö. The gull chick should be on its wings since long.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reconstructing the past

I am fortunate enough to illustrate Prehistory from time to time, which is quite a heavy responsability because people always beleive in what they have seen. That is why it is so important not to reproduce the established views that might have become “truths” by being mentioned and depicted over and over again. So how should we reconstruct the past? In my opinion:

- Define your task and target group.
- Define the fields necessary, like Archaeology, Geology, and Osteology.
- Find the real experts and ignore the crowds of forged ones.
- Read only relevant articles by those authors.
- Ask them questions if their texts do not give you all the answers.
- Do not listen if they answer different questions than the ones you asked them.
- Make a synthesis of the facts you extracted.
- Present it in a way that your target group can apprehend easily.
- Find someone who is willing to pay you for all this!

Well, above is one attempt: Harp seal hunters in the Baltic Sea 2000 BC. Like all reconstructions it is merely a suggestion. I am open for your thoughts about it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog! Here I will show you some of my paintings and drawings and provide the world with the latest news about my life as an illustrator. Right now I am working on a series of watercolour paintings to be printed and sold commercially. My jaw really dropped when I saw the first test print. I could tell it from the original painting only because it was enhanced by 300 percent! Modern technique never fails to amaze me. I will tell you more about this project as it is released in september. Now it is time for me to sit back and evaluate my birth as a blogger. If you can’t wait for my next entry, please have a look at www.manssjoberg.se.
Bye for now,

/Måns