The raven, one of my favorite birds. Here in Iceland they are called Krummi and they are very common both in the country side and here in Reykjavík. A pair of them live in my neighborhood and I often see them flying around the rooftops and sitting on light poles. I could actually hear them calling outside my studio window while I was painting one of these studies.
I wanted to create a very loose and energetic feel to these paintings, mostly focusing on drawing, color temperature and edges. I am trying to imitate the way we (or I) observe things in nature. Very often we can not distinguish where one thing ends and another begins, and the way to achieve that effect in painting is through the use of values and edges. Also, I am trying to be unrestrained, but at the same time very intentional with my brushwork, keeping it very loose where I wanted to be, and very tight where I need it to be.
The begonias have arrived !! Here in Iceland we unfortunately don’t have so many flowers during the winter time. But spring seems to be around the corner and the begonias have started to arrive in the flower shops. I was very happy to learn this and went and bought a few variations of tuberous begonias.
In these two studies I used the red begonia to try and come up with an interesting abstract design that would carrie the flowers nicely. I love painting these kinds of vignettes where the flowers seem to be growing out of a seemingly chaotic background. I wanted to have clear and strong visible brushstrokes against the delicate drawing of the pedals. They are mostly painted with a palette knife.
What captured my attention in this subject was the rusty roof of the cottage. Also I seem to be drawn to subjects where old buildings are surrounded by tall trees. It allows for a lot of variety and interest in terms of drawing and values. The house is easily seen from the road but you have to walk across a short valley which is full of thick bushes and trees before you get close enough to paint or take proper photographs. I had a hard time getting close to it but it was well worth it.
I´m including a few photographs of the progression of the piece.
I wanted to do another version of the painting called Starhagi. I normally don’t repaint my previous work, but I wanted a chance to make the previous version even better. I changed the format to 1/2 and used another building I found in a similar location which is a bit more interesting in terms of drawing. I think this version came out better and it is a little larger as well.
This painting is available through Gallerí Fold in Reykjavík
This is one of those houses I knew I wanted to paint as soon as I saw it. Like I often do I was on one of my drives looking for subjects to paint. I saw this particular house out out of the corner of my eye for the first time although I have driven past this area probably more then a hundred times. This kind of house isn´t however very typical in the Icelandic landscape.
The owner is obviously doing a lot of the work him self. There are lots of unfinished parts and he is using odd bits and pieces of wood to make up the different parts of the building. It makes for a lot of interest in drawing, colors and values.
I was going for accurate drawing and color in the house while leaving everything else very loose and abstract. It seems to be a way I am developing most of my landscapes these days. The foreground actually has very little paint on it although it might look very textured. I like doing foregrounds like this one when I can get away with it. Overall I am trying to create a lot of interest and variation throughout the painting with different brushstrokes, edges and values.
I did this painting about a month ago. I have been very interested in painting flowers recently and that interest is growing with every flower study or painting I do. I am trying to go for realism in the flowers in terms of drawing and color, while keeping everything else very loose and abstract. Much of the background is made up by me but I do have a lot of material like different fabrics, twigs and leaves to guide me in my design. I find that I am far less likely to run into trouble if I take the time to design and plan the painting before I start using the brush.
The painting is available through Gallerí Fold in Reykjavík.
This painting is all about color temperature and an exercize in painting white. Painting white flowers, or any kind of white object is a fascinating and sometimes frustrating subject to tackle. The hard part for me is seeing the right color.
To mimic the light hitting the flower I have to think about color temperature. The light source is cool, which means that everything in the light has to be cooler than what is in the shadow. Knowing this helps a great deal, but it is not always obvious when the correct temperature is accomplished. In the areas where the flower receives light, I mix cobalt blue and yellow ochre into my white. The shadows are a mixture of green, pink and yellow that are applied very thinly and mixed on the canvas. The transition between light and shadow is a mixture of cobalt blue, permanent rose and white. The only pure white in this picture is the highlight on bottom of the central flower which I applied with a palette knife.
Below are earlier stages of the painting.