More Watercolour Experimentation…

"Jehanne with Apple Blossoms" Watercolour, work in progress.

“Jehanne with Apple Blossoms”
Watercolour, work in progress.

Here’s my second watercolour attempt, also very much in-progress. This image has been in the works since last summer, when I had a friend pose for the sketches for it. Here I’m building up many washes of very light tones, trying not to destroy the surface of the Canson paper too much as I go. I’m deliberately using a very narrow colour range so far, and it tends to vary between looking pretty good and going muddy, depending on the wash. I wanted to see how this technique feels to work in, and what kind of results I can get with it – it’s really different from how I tend to use acrylics. It’s been a real exercise in patience, waiting for each wash to fully dry!

Watercolour First Steps

Untitled work-in-progress. Watercolour & graphite, 24x32 cm.

Untitled work-in-progress. Watercolour & graphite, 24×32 cm.

Just thought I’d post a quick work-in-progress. This is my first serious attempt at full-sized watercolour painting. This composition was an unused idea for the ArtOrder Viking challenge, but I’d had the basic sketch around since last winter and always wanted to complete it somehow. I re-drew it on Canson Montval 300g and started in with the watercolours. It’s a very exciting media… it feels very wild to me here at the start and I have very little clue what I’m doing, but I’m really enjoying the challenge.



“Wanderlust” 18×26 cm Graphite with Digital Colour

18×26 cm Graphite with Digital Colour

This is another piece created for one of Jon Schindehette’s Art Order events: the “Viking” challenge produced in collaboration with Allison Hourcade of RockLove Jewelry. Allison has produced a really wonderful new line of work based on historical viking hoard finds, and the art challenge was simply to include one or several of these pieces into an illustration.

I decided this would fit in thematically with some work I am currently doing anyway. I’ve been researching viking history quite a bit in recent years, and I’m especially interested in some of the newer theories about social structure, fashion and gender roles. This character builds off accepted historical material and plays into some of the newer ideas.

As with Drakflickan, the model for the young woman was the gracious, beautiful and very patient Elin Hökby, who quite definitely possesses a valkyrie’s spirit.

Rune stones are pretty fascinating in and of themselves, and I’ve been lucky enough to get to see some important ones up close. I thought this was a good opportunity to get one into a painting. The inscription on the stone is several stanzas which I quite liked from the skaldic poem Darraðarljoð. The Younger Futhark runes spell out the stanzas in Old Norse, and I hope I didn’t muck it up too badly.

Carl Larsson’s Viking Woman was also an inspiration for this piece.

Wanderlust won first prize in the Comic/Graphic Novel category, and was one of the three nominees for “Best of Show”. Sincere thanks to all the judges and organisers for your time and effort in producing the challenge!

Also as with Drakflickan, the painting is graphite on 120g Canson croquis paper, and was digitally coloured in Photoshop CS6 using Justin Gerard’s excellent watercolour tool presets.


"Drakflickan"18x26 cm Graphite with Digital Colour

18×26 cm Graphite with Digital Colour

This is my entry into the recent Art Order challenge with the theme “Dragon World”. This is intended as the cover to an imaginary book for older children called “Drakflickan” (“The Dragon Girl”). The idea of the challenge was to not only depict a dragon, but to show the dragon’s integration and influence with the world that it inhabits. I worked to achieve this by showing an intimate and obviously comfortable connection between the girl and the dragon, and suggesting some sort of working relationship by having them both be similarly armoured.

I didn’t want to do be too explicit about what the relationship between the two actually involves, whether they are equals or one serves the other, but the motif on the shield hopefully implies that they’re involved in some larger tradition of their cultures.

This was created with graphite on 120g Canson croquis paper, and was digitally coloured in Photoshop CS6 using Justin Gerard’s excellent watercolour tool presets.

Sun Pillars and Light Pillars

Dinotopia artist James Gurney often posts at his blog “Gurney Journey” about interesting light and atmospheric effects like sun pillars. I often see sun pillars here in Sweden in the summertime, but I took a photo of this rarer (for me) wintertime pillar back in winter 2011.

A winter sun pillar over Lake Mälaren in Stockholm.

A winter sun pillar over Lake Mälaren in Stockholm.

On the evening of December 2rd, 2012, my wife and I left our art studio and noticed a strange and ethereal shimmering quality in the very cold air. It was innumerable very tiny ice crystals… so fine that one couldn’t quite make them out without looking in just the right way. We looked out over the lake and saw pillars of light rising from the lights on the far shore.

At first, I thought it might be happening in my eyeglasses, but when I removed them, the pillars were still there. The night was dark, so I tried to capture them using the NightCap app on my iPhone. These shots are not ideal, but at least I was able to record this startling phenomenon. It’s easy to imagine that this effect is some kind of lens flare taking place in-camera, but this is indeed how it looked to the naked eye:

Light Pillars over Lake Mälaren, Dec. 2nd 2012.

Light Pillars over Lake Mälaren, Dec. 2nd 2012.

When we walked further down the street, I looked back, and now the lights were blocked by the row of flats facing the lake – but we  could still see the pillars extending up from behind the buildings!

Light Pillars, Dec. 2nd 2012.

Light Pillars, Dec. 2nd 2012.

The next day, many people observed and took pictures of some glorious halo effects in the sky, but unless you were lucky enough to be out late on the evening of the 2nd, you may well have missed these strange and beautiful lights!

Here is a last picture taken by Sam Hellerström that appeared in Aftonbladet. It really shows how surreal this phenomenon was:

Photo: Sam Hellerström.

Photo: Sam Hellerström.

Northern Light 2 – October 12-14, 2012

Registration is now open for the second Northern Light workshop! Taking place on October 12-14 in Stockholm, Sweden, this workshop features the return of popular guest instructor Jesper Ejsing in tandem with the very talented Eva Widermann.

Jesper and Eva will be demonstrating how to create truly successful character portraits, covering such aspects as:

  • – thumbnailing/sketching
  • – silhouette reading
  • – strong posing
  • – details
  • – value control
  • – color.

Each of the workshop days will begin with a talk by the instructors, in which they will discuss all the elements that make a great illustration, as exemplified in a single figure.

Portfolio reviews will also be available for those who are interested.

Class size will be limited to 14 students, so don’t miss out. Enroll today!

Creative Iphoneography Registration is open!

Marmalade Moon’s Creative iPhoneography Course is now open for registration! Kate England will be teaching this six-week, online workshop on how to “turn your iPhone into an exciting, powerful creative tool”. Kate gets gorgeous  results with her iPhone camera on a daily basis, and her personalized instruction will show you how to also produce compelling and vivid imagery, as well as how to find new spaces in your day to be creative and inventive.

The course begins on August 20th and it’s first-come, first-served – so don’t wait! Register your place today!