Sunday, 28 June 2015

Last painting done before vacation!!!

I am so excited about our vacation starting tomorrow!! We have an early flight tomorrow morning via Helsinki to Zurich. We will spend two days in Zurich before moving on to Budapest for a few days, and then home to Finland!


I got my last painting finished, and they are now all packed and wrapped in my suitcase! I have an exhibition coming up in August, and I am so poking forward to share my paintings in the public again.

Here is at last the flying barn owl all done:

Flying grace. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 50x40cm. Barn owl reference photo with kind permission from This is one of those paintings that I would like to keep for myself. But then again I am also curious about what others will think of it, so it too will go into the exhibition!

Next post will be from Finland: Have a great summer everyone!!!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

3 paintings done - one to go!

I got some really usable feedback on my latest post both here and on FB: Thank you for responding!!! One of the drawbacks of working alone in the studio is that it is so easy to get 'blind' to your own work,  and you forget all the different ways on how to approach it or in this case in how to present it. I got some really good points, so let's see how I can use them!

I got three (!!!) paintings finished yesterday, and now I only have one left. The flying barn-owl. It has been in the stage of 'almost finished' for months now, but for some reason I haven't gotten around to actually sit down and put down those last brush strokes. I wonder if it is because I really like it, and am afraid of screwing it up in the end? Oh well, I'm not leaving my apartment today for anything before I have it finished!!

Here are the three finished ones:

Härlig är jorden / Heaven on earth. Acrylic oil and collage on canvas, 20x20cm. Reference photo with kind permission of Peder Winding. I just love these little white fur balls! I saw Long-tailed tits for the first time over 10 years ago in The Netherlands, and the second time last spring in Spain. They are actually quite common in Europe (and according to the field guide they live here in China as well) but you seldom see them.

Vårsong / Song of the spring. Acrylic, oil and collage on canvas, 25x25cm. Long-tail tit. Reference photo with kind permission from Andy Bright. This particular little bird has been waiting to be painted for at least 2 years now. This is the third attempt with a different background. The northern birds have white heads like in the previous painting, while this one with a black head band is from the south.

Storma o hav / Ocean blizzard. Acrylic, oil and collage on canvas, 30x30cm. Reference photo my own, some sort of seagull from Bergen in Norway. I do not know it is a youngling from one kind or a adult in winter plumage from another species. It is hard to identify them when both the head and legs change color depending on if it is breeding season or not… My best guess is European Herring gull that has started to get its winter plumage as it was late autumn when I took the picture.
The heavy texture in the background comes from many layers of both different papers and modeling paste. This background was first meant for another bird, but the circle that I had made with the textured paper made my first initial idea look weird. So I added some modeling paste to level the surface out and then it waited for another idea… Then I found this seagull while looking through my pictures, and I though what if… I love it when experiments turn out like this!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Commenting about my own work

I'm been thinking lately on how it's sounds when I'm commenting on my own work, and how I read other artists comments about their own work. You know, I post a new painting and then I hesitate to write what I feel about it. Not that I don't know what I would like to say about it, but I hesitate because I do not know how it will sound to others or 'read'. Often this result in that I do not comment that much about my paintings at all.

An example:  if I say I don't know about this one or I don't like it I feel like I'm asking to be contradicted with What are you talking about, it's lovely. You know what I mean. This doesn't happen too often though, as I simply do not post paintings I am not at least somewhat happy with. If I'm not satisfied I either rework it until I am or I simply paint over it.
Then you have the opposite. When I have a painting that I am really happy with, should I go straight out and say it? I am so proud of this one. This one turned out great, etc. For some reason I feel like others would think then Who does she think she is? It's nice, but not THAT great…

My dilemma here is that I am not insecure about my work or what people would think about it (there will always be people who either hate/don't like or love/like what any artists do, that just comes down to personal tastes), but I am insecure about how I write about my work. I do not want to sound like I am begging for compliments, but I also don't want to sound like I think that there could be no improvements to my work. I do not know if I make any sense right now. That's why I often use simple phrases like I'm happy with this one. This one turned out rather well. They sound quite neutral, but now I have started thinking that they also sound quite boring, like I am not that interested in my own work.

So, what to do about that?

Maybe a solution would be to comment on the good and the 'bad'… Lets try it on my latest painting:

This is Pearly. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 30x30cm. He/she is a Boreal owl. This owl is called pearl-owl in Swedish, and that is how I chose the name Pearly. Reference picture with kind permission from

I am happy with how it turned out. It took me much longer to finish than I had anticipated as I got lost in all the details on the face though. I like the background, and I think it shows of the bird pretty well. The branches could have do with some more work, but as they are not the main focus of this painting I left them like that. I'm proud of the head, I think that I captured the intent stare of the bird quite well. The breast feathers looks a little more like fur than feathers and I could have painted that part differently. The back feathers turned out ok. The face was my focal point, and thats why it got the most work.

Now I need to go and finish my other owl painting!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Sparrows and a Great tit

Puh, the summer heat has arrived!! It is starting to feel like a sauna outside with the humidity climbing rapidly! Oh well, I only have two weeks left before I will be enjoying northern european summer weather instead!!

I had a great weekend with some dear friends staying with us. Life is good, and fun… Today is back to business though, so I thought I would start of my week with sharing with you the latest finished paintings! Both should be familiar to you from my last post, and now they are done.

The three musketeers. 30x20cm Oil, acrylic and collage on canvas. Eurasian tree sparrows. Maybe I should rename this one to 'angry birds'… But then again; Athos, Porthos and Aramis did have attitudes, so the three musketeers it is. The grumpy one in the middle is Athos, by the way… ;-)

Song of the willow. Oil, acrylic and collage on wood panel, 22x15cm. Great tit. I love the pose of this little Great tit, I will probably paint him again.

I need to get much better photos of my paintings, but I need a sunny day for that. I will probably wait until I am in Finland though to get better light. I have noticed that the natural light here i China is much yellower than home for some reason. But now back to painting. I'm working on getting one of the owls finished today. Finally I should say. They have been waiting for their turn for a long time by now!

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Short studio update

I have a lot to get done in 2 weeks time. I can not believe that just after 3 weeks I will be traveling to europe for 2 months! Time seems to be flipping through my fingers like I know not what. First we (my husband that is) have a meeting Zurich, then we have a wedding party in Budapest and last holiday home in Finland. 

I have an exhibition coming up in my hometown in August, so I need to get all my paintings finished for that. Some I will probably have to give the last touches when I am in Finland, because the oil need some time to dry before I can pack them in my suitcase… Oh well, it will turn out just fine, it usually does!!

Here is a short studio update before I start to paint today:

The three musketeers are almost done, just some details left to do on the legs and beaks.

And here are the first 2 birds on 2 of the 6 small background I shared a couple of post ago. I am thinking of trying to paint these all in acrylic, but lets see. I'm much more comfortable in painting the birds in oil, the acrylic dries so fast. But then again that could be an advantage now when my time is running out!

Next week I will be able to share a couple of finished paintings!!

Monday, 1 June 2015

Gems from Seoul

Helou everyone!

Yesterday I came back from my second visit to Seoul. I even visited it with my same good friend Rain Slingerland as last time, the only difference that this time her husband Blair joined us. We went early Thursday morning (a 2 hour flight from Shanghai), and came back Sunday evening.

We had a blast! It was such a fun trip. We had one big mission to do, and that was to find and buy my husband a 12 stringed Ovation guitar, and 12 stringed Crafter for another friend. Other than that we played tourists for all we were worth. We stayed at Kyo's House, a very affordable hostel (around €22/night) just 5 min walk from the central train station.

We visited one of the night markets, the old market, took a bus tour around the city, and…. ;) We wanted to finish our trip with a visit to the old royal palace, but unfortunately it was closed for the day when we were there.

The food was as great as last time, and we all agreed that 3 day's in Seoul is not enough!

I wrote last year a post about Seoul (you can read about my previous trip here: The beautiful city Seoul)  so this time I didn't even take that many pictures.  I did however capture a few things with my IPhone, and thats why this post became 'gems from Seoul':

My room at Kyo's House. Small, but everything you need. 

The music mall.

Mission accomplished, 2 guitars purchased.

Blair Slingerland testing out one of the guitars outside the hostel, and we are cheering.

Delicious Korean bbq.

Something new: Kimchi flavored weggies with snails and noodles.

An artist in his small shop by the street.

I love to discover things like this!

How brilliant is this? A street bar. This would never be possible home in Finland. Cheers with Rain and Blair Slingerland.

Tired feet? Soak them for awhile!

You never know where you will stumble upon something from home...

Moomin is apparently very popular both in Korea and Japan!