Wednesday, 6 September 2017

A Goosander with chicks and Shanghai.

35 degrees outside today. Apparently I left autumn behind me in Finland, so yup, I'm back in Shanghai. I will not start working yet for another 2 weeks at least though, because I have a friend coming to stay with me for a week and then we will go and do some travelling together in Indonesia. I am very much looking forward to it! I love to travel, and what better way to travel than with your bestie?

I was quite sad to leave Finland. The autumn is my favourite time of year. In Finland that is. The air gets chilly and smells amazing, the leaves turn colour, the mushrooms are waiting to get picked, and so on. Oh well, next year again! I am editing a movie with all the small videos I took while home, so next week I should be able to share 'my' Finland with you! It is actually quite fitting since we are celebrating 100 years of independence this year... :-)

I did manage to finish one painting while in Finland, a Goosander ( Common Merganser in North America). Without much more to add today I leave you with this:

Acrylic and oil on canvas, 30x40cm.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Mushroom picking on a sunny day.

My hubby is back in Shanghai, and I still have about 2 weeks left in Finland. So, what do I do?
Well, today I went mushroom picking with mom! It was a glorious sunny summer day today, so walking through the forest looking for the elusive golden chanterelles was very enjoyable!

Chanterelles likes it quite moist and sunny, so this is the kind of forest you need to look for.

And we found some. Not many, but enough to give some flavour for the evening dinner. Please note the yellow birch leaves, very confusing when trying to find yellow mushrooms...

This picture is a little out of focus, but look what a perfect chanterelle!

I also found a perfect birds nest, but due to de-foresting I found it on the ground. The birds need to find a new tree when they come back next year.

A few of our normal mushroom picking sites looked like this when we came today. Not very inspiring, if I am honest.

Luckily they had planted both new furs and pines, so in 20-50 years time there will be a new nice forest here. Of course, then they will de-forest it again.The forest is called the green gold of Finland after all...

This is what you do when mushrooms aren't to be found: you pick blue berries! Delicious like that or with milk.

Harvest of the day. Mom had the same amount, so together we got enough mushrooms for the dinner we had planned.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Watercolour and Pied Fly-catcher.

August. Where did July go? We have been home for 3 weeks now, and the days have just flown past. Family gatherings, being out with the boat, crayfish party, Toto concert, lumberjack duties around the summer cottage, etc. etc. I guess I do not actually have to wonder why the time has flown past, we have been busy!
Yesterday was the first day I had no other program, so I took out my sketch bag and painted a little. I also had a small visitor/patient. He/She flew against the window here on the terrace where I am sitting. I lifted it up on the fence and gave it some time to recover.  Luckily it took flight and disappeared into the forest about half an hour later.

Painting on the terrace table.

Watercolour. If you remember my photos from last post you will recognise this view.

My visitor/patient. A juvenile (female?) Pied Fly-catcher. (at least I think it is)

She flew against the window, but luckily only got a minor concussion, because she recovered and flew away a while later.

I will leave you this week with a video I made yesterday:

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Greetings from Finland.

Greetings from Finland. It is absolutely wonderful to be home. Sleeping and living on the boat, and enjoying the nature. I have not have time to start sketching yet, just been enjoying family time and the surroundings.

I leave you today with these few pictures from Finland, and a link to my latest video, so I hope you enjoy!

I woke up at 4 in the morning (jetlag) and this was my view.



Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Peonies in progress.

3 days until takeoff!! Yes indeed, on Saturday we will board the plane here in Shanghai, and get out in Helsinki approximately 9 hours later. I am very much looking forward to it!

It may be that my writing will become a little irregular while home. We will mainly be out in the archipelago with the boat, so 'internetting' will be at a minimum. I will have my sketchbook with me though, so there should be something artsy to share every now and again amongst all the nature and sea pictures.

In the studio I have been working on my commissions. I thought I would share the progress photos of one of them here today. Peonies.

Here you can see the background (painted in acrylics) with the first draft of the Peonies. The canvas is 50x50 cm. The colours are a little dark to see, but they are both more greenish and more beige than can be seen here on the screen. I thought that should be a nice colour combination with pale pink flowers. 

I wasn't happy with the previous composition of the flowers, so I wiped it of and started again. This was better, but still not good.

Here I made the flowers a little bigger, and I decided that I really liked the two big ones. I also realised that I simply couldn't 'see' how it would turn out with the pink colour with just a drawing. So I decided to start painting the big flowers, and then see where I wanted to place the rest of the flowers.

I like this composition, and I think I will do a similar but on a smaller canvas and then on a portrait shape canvas. On this big square canvas there needed to be more flowers. I also decided to start to paint the flowers straight in oils. Normally I start with an underpainting in acrylics, because then you can get more layers on faster. But as I wasn't sure about my composition, oil is easier to wipe of and you can push it around until you are happy. In this photo the real background colours are more visible, by the way. 

And this is how it ended up looking. The flowers will become much paler in colour, so I think I will have to darken the background a little. But all those details are so much easier to see and decide upon now when I have the flowers placed. In the next stage of painting I need to decide how detailed I will do the petals. These double petaled peonies have a lot of petals! But that will have to wait until I am back from Finland.

Monday, 3 July 2017

A magpie amongst other things.

I have quite an eventful weekend behind me. One of my husbands colleagues who used to work with him in Rizhao is here in China for business, and he stayed with us over the weekend. Dinner,  drinks, catching up, running around town a bit... You get the picture. 

In 2 weeks time we will fly home to Finland for our annual holiday, and I have quite a long list of things I want to get done before that in the studio. Today I was able to cross over a few things as 'done'. Happy feeling!

All the paintings from the exhibition is back in my home, and today I varnished the ones that hadn't dried enough before. I use a satin varnish, and it gives the darker colours a real lift. 

Magpie. 40x30cm, mixed media. I can finally call this one done. I have been working on it on and of for a few years now, never satisfied with the result. I started over 5 times I think, and now it is finally done! This was a commission, and after it has dried completely I will send it to its new home in the US. I do not know why it took me so long to figure this one out, it's pretty much what I have been painting for a long time now. Maybe because I was afraid that it wouldn't live up to expectations? Oh well. Now he/she is done!

After I varnish it the colours will shine evenly and with much more depth. 

Lovely blues and greens. 

I have also been making more postcards. These two ended up very simple. I used modelling paste through a stencil I made earlier this spring, and then just painted them with watercolours. I was suppose to add more to it, but I liked them so much like this that I decided they were done. The only thing I will add to them is a 'Thank you' or 'congratulation', depending on to what I decide to use them for.

Two totally different card from the previous ones, and maybe more in my usual style. I used gelliprints that I had as background and then painted an Owl for one of them. I had planned to add a focal point to the other card as well, but I decided it was strong enough in itself. I just added two quotes: "inspiration is everywhere" and "follow your passion".

And with that it is time for me to go to bed!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Tea, rain and dreaming of home.

It is still raining. It has rained every day now for at least one week. Maybe two. And I am definitely not complaining, because it keeps the temperature down. I much prefer rain and under 30 degrees than sun and 35 degrees... 

I am still painting on a few commissions in the studio, so no work in progress to show at this time. Hopefully I can share the first finished one next week.

It is dark in the middle of the day due to the heavy rain. So teatime! 

Pouring down.

I still got some tomatoes and cucumber from my veggie lady though.

The abandoned back streets of Shanghai. People always disappear when it is raining heavily, so it is a good time to get around...

My fridge was empty so I walked across the street to out food court and bought Yangs dumplings. Yummy!!!

In the studio I was dreaming of home in-between working on the other paintings... I'm trying to learn to paint more loosely in watercolour. These small postcards are perfect to experiment on! It is only a couple of weeks now before I will be in this place again.

Monday, 19 June 2017

A rainy Monday.

It's raining. It is also dark and quite grey. A perfect time to sit down under the blanket with a cup of tea and write a post... I have also edited and uploaded my next video to Youtube, done 2 loads in the washing machine, talked to mom, and before I go and meet my hubby for dinner I have an appointment with a red Lamborghini. Sounds exciting doesn't it? But it's just my vacuum cleaner. I wonder who came up with the brilliant name for it...☺️

Shanghai under heavy clouds of rain.

I have started a new 'project' of making postcards. When I do not know what to do or where to start in the mornings when I'm in my studio, I can just grab one of these cards and do something. Anything at all. Just to do something creative and hopefully get the inspiration going. I could of course just use an artjournal for this as well, but this way I will get postcards that I can use and send. 

Postcard no:2. A baby Chaffinch.

Preparing a canvas for a commission. This one will become a Raven, so I'm thinking lots of blues and browns...

Another commission, this time it will be flowers. I am adding light modelling paste to the canvas here, because I want the surface to be smooth. 

Just look at that yummy paste... Usually I use heavy gesso to do this stage, but the jar was empty! So I decided to try the modelling paste instead.