Thursday, December 31, 2009

Back to Koster

On commisson for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Maria Kvarnbäck is working on two new signs for Kosterhavet Marine National Park on the west coast. I painted a few illustrations for her last spring and now I am making another eight including this Yellow Hornpoppy.

I wish all my visitors a happy new year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sissa's turn

Christmas break - and this time I am proudly letting my youngest daughter Sissa show you one of her self-portraits. We wish all of you a good yule and look forward to seeing you next year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Footprint

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation just asked me to make a symbol of the footprint way of looking at our consumption of natural resources. Here is a dirty sketch. I have to buy a new rubber.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Identification plates

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am working on a series of identification plates for the ornithological magazine Anser. It is about the different plumages of the Northern Pintail Duck, which are a bit more complicated than usually depicted in books. This is what they look like in late summer: adult male, adult female, and juvenile.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Herring gulls

We went to Hallands Väderö in late August to visit the Sjös, who were renting an old lighthouse-keeper’s house there. We had a couple of wonderful days with hiking, seal-watching, and eating. These are two of the Herring gulls that breed on the island.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Croquis painting

Last Monday it was time for some croquis painting - one of the most difficult things within drawing and painting probably because it involves so many parts of it: colour mixing, perspective, figure drawing ... We also experimented with different light conditions.

The brain consumes loads of energy when we do something as complicated as this and I think we were all pretty tired after these three hours. But I also think we learned a lot. Great job, everybody!

Next: impressionism.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Skaftafell

So we did landscapes on Monday’s watercolour class. This is a demonstration painting from a photo I took at Skaftafell National Park, Iceland, in 2001. I softened the background with a sponge and strengthened the foreground with a few extra brushstrokes to improve the perspective and focus.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Back to basics

I find it much more rewarding to get back to basics than to try to achieve perfection. On Monday's watercolor class at Folkuniversitetet we worked with light, shade, and gloss to build volumes on the paper. I did this jug as a demonstration, the light coming from all directions which makes it a bit tricky - and fun! Next time we will do landcapes.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kumba moving in

Kumba just landed in his new neighborhood, a poor area where he is a total stranger. I have never been there but Bene has sent me some photos that I use as models for the backgrounds and people's faces.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Portrait

While Bene is in Slovenia promoting his next book, I am back in Sweden illustrating it. This is a close-up of Kumba who just moved to his new neighborhood and starts making new friends.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sketching pintails

In my spare time I am one of the editors of the ornithological magazine Anser. Right now I am working on an article on how to distinguish the different plumages of the Pintail Duck. These are the first sketches.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Watercolor class

On Monday I had my first watercolor class at Folkuniversitetet. I was a bit nervous but it went well and I hope the students enjoyed it too. Next time we are going to paint townscapes in the centre of Lund. Let’s hope for sunshine!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ilex Hairstreak

This is an Ilex hairstreak I did for a nature reserve sign at Sandhammaren, the only site in Sweden where this species is currently found. The tricky thing with butterflies is that closely related species are so similar that I have to be extremely careful about the details. I often do the last steps in the computer to be sure to get it right.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Catching herons

Children in Togo catch birds with snares for fun and sometimes cook them. So this is another illustration for Bene's book. For once my bird drawings don't have to be exact. I based this on some of my Grey heron sketches and photos of Goliath heron. And Bene's hunting experiences, of course.

Friday, September 18, 2009

How to disjoint a pig

After a long summer break, it’s now time for some more illustrations for the health magazine Vitalt Vetande. This is a pig with lines indicating the parts.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Those sheep again

I love to jump out of the illustration box and simplify my paintings for immediacy and a feeling of presence. These ewes are the same as the ones I posted on August 6th but with a simpler setting, more economy of stroke, and fewer colors: only raw sienna, burnt sienna, ivory black, and cobalt blue.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Harvesting palm leaves

A couple of weeks ago Bene and I went to the corner café to discuss the outlines of his next book. This job is very exciting because I am working in a completely different way than I am used to – pinpointing the text highlights with brisk, immediate, and precise watercolor paintings. This is Kumba’s friend Fofo harvesting palm leaves for a Christmas hut.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bird art exhibition

Don't miss this year’s bird art show at Falsterbo Konsthall, an annual event that started in 1994. This is one of my paintings: a crow that is planning to steal a fox's prey, which I think was a water vole. Welcome to the opening Saturday, August 29th at 12.00-17.00! The gallery is to be found in Stationshuset, Hjalmar Gullbergs plan 1, Falsterbo. The show will be open Tuesday-Sunday, at 12.00-17.00, through September 27th. See you around!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book release

Nette Lövgren, a designer at Liber, just sent me this copy of a book about food stuffs that I illustrated last winter. (Thanks a lot, Nette!) This time I used inks, which is rare for me. I love to see the result of my work, it is almost like having a baby! Here is one of the drawings showing the root and stem of some plants:

Friday, August 14, 2009

Good luck, Teresa!

My young apprentice painted this wolf from a photo an hour ago. I think the most striking thing about her talent is her absolute sense of color. Tomorrow she is moving to Örebro for studying. Her new landlady is very interested in art, which I think she will benefit from. Good luck, Teresa!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Crayfish

Yesterday we were invited to Oskar and Elin’s crayfish party, a Swedish tradition held in August each year. Nice company and wonderful treat! This illustration is for the next issue of Vitalt Vetande.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Backlit ewes

Apart from providing meat, wool, and nice background sounds sheep also make magnificent models for painters. I am on vacation and got some time to paint anything I wanted, so I spent a few hours with Gunnar’s Gute ewes. I took great pains to add strong blues to their backs. Because our brains tend to alter visual impressions into more realistic ones, it can be hard to paint what we actually see and not what we know.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Otter

The Swedish otter population declined from the 50:s and on because of PCB pollution and remained only in isolated refuges in the 90:s. But it came back and now numbers 1500-2000 individuals. I am happy about that. This is another reservation illustration.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Skurugata

Skurugata in eastern Småland is a very odd feature in the Swedish landscape: a cleft 800 meters long, 7-24 meters wide and up to 35 meters deep. The climate in it is much colder than the surrounding areas and the snow usually doesn’t melt until the summer. This is an illustration for a guide to nature reserves produced by the Jönköping county administrative board.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Teresa's turn

Teresa is a fast learner. She had a few days off from school (and from her watercolour teacher) and painted this woman walking through her garden. An excellent composition!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Common tern

To me the whispering wind, the ripple of waves, and the calls of terns together make the essence of summer (although pouring rain and thunderstorms are in fact part of it too). This is a Common tern at Salviken.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Shellfish

As a seafood freak I couldn’t make this illustration without at least writing a shopping list including these creatures, garlic, olive oil, lemon, dill, and rosemary. Okay, a few potatoes could fit on the list as well.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ptarmigans revisited

Here is the developed version of the ptarmigans I talked about a couple of weeks ago. In fact there is very little white in this painting although both the birds and the snow are actually white. It is the fading mid day light that is pulling our leg. But the difficult thing was to counterchange the birds against the background without removing too much of the snow. It is still the Arctic in winter.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kumba Dissirama

This is a test illustration for Bene Batako’s book about Kumba, the boy who wanted to fit in. I have long wished to paint more people so this is an anticipated challenge.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Watercolour workshop

On Sunday I held my 5th watercolor workshop at Skrylle, a nature reserve with facilities for outdoor recreation. Thanks a lot, Charlotte and Lotta, for planning and assisting me on these events that are very rewarding for me! And thanks a lot, all 21 participants, for sharing these moments with me!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ptarmigans

This is a field sketch of two rock ptarmigans that I saw in northern Sweden a few years ago. It is difficult to recall a visual impression just like that but I have some photos that I can use to get the light and colours right for a watercolour painting. I will keep you informed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Beach Pea

Just one more Koster painting before returning to the book illustrations that will keep me busy for most of the summer. The seeds of the wonderful Beach Pea float around in the sea for years before germinating on a sand or gravel beach, which explains the species' wide native range covering the shores of Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Harbor Seals

We are still in the Koster area. An epizootic killed half of the Harbor Seals both in 1988 and 2002. They have since recovered and now number about 7,000 individuals in the North Sea.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Shags

The Shag used to be a rare visitor from the rocky coasts of the North Sea. The last few years it has been observed more often and even been recorded breeding on remote islands on the Swedish west coast. This illustration is for the signs at Kosterhavet Marine National Park.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Medicinal herbs

Time for some medicinal herbs for the health magazine Vitalt Vetande. This is a hybrid known as peppermint, a cross between the watermint and spearmint.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dolphin hunting

Whether we like it or not, nature consists of organisms consuming eachother. Man is part of that, which this White-beaked Dolphin experienced 9,000 years ago at present-day Huseby Klev at Orust, another island on the Swedish West coast. Of course this is an illustration for Leif's book.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Teresa's Phoenix

This time I asked my extremely talented pupil Teresa to show you one of her paintings. Interested in both literature and arts she likes to paint fantasy motifs like this flying phoenix. Not bad for a 15 year-old, huh?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Easter art show

The last few days I have been busy mounting the paintings for this year's Easter exhibition. Welcome to the opening April 10th at 11-16! I will be exhibiting watercolor and oil paintings together with my friends Peter Elfman, Hans Larsson, and Lars Fredholm and the sculptor Kjell Nilsson. The gallery is Konst & Sånt, 10 Industrigatan, Östra Tommarp (road 11 towards Simrishamn). After the opening the exhibition will be open Friday-Sunday at 11-16 until May 3rd. Some of the works can be purchased in the webshop from now. Hope to see you April 10th!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Seal hunters again

One of my ambitions as an archaeological illustrator is to present prehistoric people as individuals that act, rather than as a blurred mass that things happen to. In this illustration we are back on the shores of the Baltic Sea. This group of seal hunters represents the Pitted Ware culture that flourished in southern Scandinavia 3200-2300 BC, approximately.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The cranes are back

The cranes are now returning from their winter resorts in South-Western Europe to their breeding mires in the North. I made this painting from sketches that I made in Sörmland last year.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Political incorrectness

The prehistoric peoples didn’t know we were going to use them as models for ourselves and write their history accordingly. There is actually little evidence for women taking part in the hunting itself but they must have played a crucial role in the very important ground service. Without somebody tanning and sewing, the hunters would have done a poor job.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Brownflesh Bracket

Coriolopsis gallica is known from Europe, Asia, North America, and North Africa but from only one locality in Sweden: Strömsholm, Västmanland. It grows on dead elm and ash, which the loggers usually don’t leave alone.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

An ice age relict

Lake Vättern proudly presents the charr Salvelinus umbla! Its ancestors were among the first to occupie new waters as the ice cap melted away. The species now makes a popular dish at the restaurants around Lake Vättern in Southern Sweden.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bear hunting

This is in fact another archaeological reconstruction but I reckon the scene comes familiar to modern bear hunters as well. Some things never change. Well, the rifle has replaced the spear and the bow and GPS makes a big difference but the use of dogs to find and distract the bear is still the same.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Disfavoured beetle

Because modern forestry and agriculture allow few hollow trees, where the larvae of Osmoderma eremita develop, this species has decreased all over its distribution range. This is an illustration for a guide to nature reserves in Jönköping’s parish.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Shore meadow

This week I am delivering some illustrations to the Swedish Forest Agency, which is going to produce a number of information signs at a nature reserve. Here is a shore meadow with some grazing cows and calves.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Love me tender

I am getting more and more involved in painting and drawing food. Nette Lövgren at Liber recently asked me to complete the illustration of their educational book on raw materials for food production. This is how to hang a slaughtered calf up to tenderize the meat. The book says it should be hung by the hips for a better quality.