The ideal living conditions.

BalloonI want to move.
I really, really want to go someplace else.
I want to live somewhere where I can have my own table to paint at, to be able to have both a paper and a laptop out at the same time. Somewhere where the whole house doesn’t lift from the ground each time someone takes a step.


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Breakout of the creative block.

Hello everyone! How are you?
I feel fantastic myself, because since my last post about my “creative block” (I guess that’s a good name for that?) I’ve found a way to break out of it!
It was so simple, it’s ridiculous.
I just went into town, found an art supplies shop, and got myself some new paints and brushes. Immediately my fingers started itching, and I rushed back home to try them out.

I wanted to try something new, so I started working on some characters. I’m quite tired of the way my characters look, and I want to make them softer, and more personal.
I love these noses, but have been scared to use them. Mostly because the authors I’ve worked with wants their characters as cute as possible, which means big eyes, big heads, small mouths and noses. I find that pretty boring.
I’m a bit more confident now, so I’ll start working on these again, and I guess I’ll just have to use them for my own projects.

Ok, so this one got a little messed up. It was just too many experiments squeezed onto one tiny paper. That’s what happens when you get too excited.

I had no idea it would have such a huge effect. Only two cakes of watercolor and a set of detail-brushes has kept me in a great mood for days.
Of course I have bought art supplies before, but never like this.
For me, just like most people, money has almost always been the main cause for worry in my life. I won’t go deeper into the state of my economy than letting you know that I’ve been living in a caravan for six years and my wardrobe is entirely made up of clothes that are either found or received as gifts. I wouldn’t buy anything that isn’t absolutely necessary, and of course the same goes for art supplies. In case you didn’t know, those are usually pretty expensive, so whenever I’ve had to buy some new papers or something, I’ve been afraid to use them. My expensive watercolor papers and quality paints are reserved for commissions and masterpieces ONLY. So buying new art supplies has always been more of a burden to me than anything else.

However, since I got that park-job, I’m making a lot more money. Now, I have an economic freedom I’ve never experienced before. Suddenly, the rent is not a constant worry, and I can buy food because of want instead of need. What a luxury!
I’m still hesitant about buying things that I don’t need, even though I can. But this time, I gave myself an excuse: it’s my birthday! I haven’t celebrated that for years, and I don’t get any gifts from myself or anyone else. So it’s really a poor excuse. But without it, I wouldn’t have let myself buy those paints and brushes, and I’m so glad I did.

Next time I come across the block, I probably won’t have an excuse to spend unnecessary money, so I’ll have to figure out some other way to deal with it.
For now I’m just really glad to be back on track, with my awesome brushes.


More lighthouse

As you can see, I’ve continued on the lighthouse-track. I really liked the motive, and since I’ve been forcing myself to practice, I feel a bit more confident in drawing buildings. I thought I’d make a little more elaborate lighthouse(-house).

It started out as just a sketch, during some downtime in the playground. There’s not much to do there on the rainy days, so I get a lot of drawing-time.



So, after making the sketch, I wanted to make more out of it, and so I traced it to a watercolor paper, with the help of a window.
I’m going back and forth between the brown pencil and the ink right now, I thought this one would look good with pencil.

And the final result:

I’m quite happy with it. I’ve never used this particular color palette before, but I think I made the right choice.
Every painting is a new learning experience, and here I’ve noticed that I should practice drawing rocks. Those are obviously not correct in any way in this one. Maybe tomorrow.

That’s all for today. Have a nice Sunday!


A little lighthouse keeper

Early each morning he rows out on the ocean to fish. Laying out a net would be more effective, but he has no need for saving time. He has nothing else to do besides turning the light on and off, and the occasional maintenance of the lamp. And he enjoys being out in his boat much more than the inside of the lighthouse.scan0112.jpg
He spends all day on the ocean. She is always good to him, mostly quiet, but even in storm, she spares his little house from the worst waves. Only once in all their years together she took a brick from his roof. But nothing more.

scan0110.jpgAs the sun starts setting, he returns to his little island to cook some dinner, but most importantly, to light up the big lamp. There are rarely any boats passing here, but nevertheless, it is of the biggest importance that it gets lit up every night. Because what if?

scan0111.jpgSometimes he goes out in the boat again, once it’s dark. It’s a beautiful sight to see what he hopes is the lifesaving light of the big lamp that he’s been carefully tending to for years and years.  Oftentimes he falls asleep out there, but he never drifts too far. He usually wakes up before dusk anyways, right in time to follow the light home, to turn it off, and return to his beloved ocean once again.

It’s a very uneventful life. Just how he likes it.

Small children and big animals

Hello! Here are two small paintings I made in the weekend. I really like the concept of small children and big animals. Or, small children and big anythings, really. I once made a long series of children in teacups, for example. This concept really interests me, because I’m a big fan of small cultures. Here’s one little inuit and one little sami.

One little inuit and a walrus. I’m pretty sure I messed up with the clothing on the kid, and the tusks are much too bright on the walrus. But it was very fun to paint one!

And one little sami and a reindeer. I like this one better. The horns was really hard, but I think I got it. I noticed now that the perspective on the hat  is completely wrong, but there’s nothing I can do about that now. And yeah, the clothes aren’t very accurate on this one either. I was focusing more on color harmony, but if I make more of these, which I really want to do, I promise to do some research first.

I hope your day is good and with nice weather. Over here it’s raining, but that’s just great because I don’t have to water the garden.


Opera mom

As promised, I just finished a bigger, brighter, black and white picture.
I spent so much time on the ink-work that I was scared of ruining it with the paint. I would imagine this to be really colorful, but as that was not the plan, I decided to scan it before doing anything else. So now, if I want to color it again, I can just print it out. Here’s how it looks:


And here it is with all the black paint on it, plus a text that says “sometimes the mom sings opera at breakfast”: OperaMammaText.jpg
It’s inspired by my mom, who doesn’t actually sing opera at the breakfast table, but she does sing sometimes. And she lives in a pretty messy house with my youngest brother and a big bunch of cats. It could very well look like this.

I think my biggest struggle was the shadows. Since I couldn’t use color to get a focal point, I had to do it with light instead. I think it turned out fine, but omygoshyouguys, it took so long to finish. Unfortunately, when I’m excited about a project, I forget about pretty much everything else. So this have kept me awake for way too long, and I’ve also fallen behind on a few commissions, so I’ll be working hard the next few days.
It was worth it though. I really like it, and Mom loves it.

See you when I’ve caught up with my work!


Black and White and Breaking the Comfortzone

Hello there, my friends and strangers and everyone in between.
You might be aware of how most of the stuff I make is all pretty bright and colorful. This is because I’m a bit of a coward. Once I find a style or medium that suits me, I have a hard time letting go of it. It’s so safe and comfortable to stick with the same old ways. Not taking risks is the best way to make sure nothing goes wrong.
But, deep down I know that if I want to improve, I need to expand my views, and I need to make a lot of mistakes in order to learn from them. I don’t do this enough. And I’m actually not talking about painting anymore.
I don’t know when it happened. When I became so scared of everything. I used to be the kind of person who took a spontaneous trip to Spain without any money, and lived in a hammock in the hills of Malaga for a few days. I dared to move out from my dad’s when I was 16, and to a different country when I was 19. I could go to parties and hook up with strangers. I could go out on the street and start playing guitar, even though I really sucked at it(and earned very little on it). So I don’t know when or why my comfortzone has shrunk so drastically. I’m today this timid person who almost faints by the thought of going into town, or doing something loudly in public, or writing a post on facebook. Just putting my art out on the internet is sometimes so scary I think about shutting it all down, get a dayjob and forget about trying to be an artist. Just yesterday I really wanted to go to this gathering, but stayed home because there would be three people there that I don’t know. As I said, that’s no way to improve, and I really regret not going. But I will have more chances to challenge this weird anxiety of mine, and I will take them. Sooner or later I might be able to be loud and stupid again. But for now, it’s all one small step at a time. And nothing has given me confidence as improving my art has, and I think that’s a good place to start expanding.

So here’s a little attempt to get out of my bright and colorful comfort-zone:

This is the very first painting I’ve made in black and white.
Actually, I do a lot of black and white stuff, it’s just that when I do, it’s line-drawings in only ink. This is the first watercolor painting in which I’ve been using different values.
I have mixed feelings about it. I actually like it a lot, it’s just a bit strange to me that it’s so dark and there’s no colors.
I think my next try will be a brighter one, but still black and white. I have a feeling it will be a lot harder.
How about you guys? What’s your relationship to your comfortzone?  Do you stay inside it, or are you trying to expand it? Maybe you’ve broken out of it completely, or are you, just like me, trapped inside a very small one?
I’d love to know. There aren’t that many of you reading, but I happen to know that you are all very different, and come from very different places, so it would be very interesting to hear if you have some ideas about this.

Have a nice day!


Baby bear

Here’s a commission I finished just a day ago. It went almost ridiculously fast and easy, because I pretty much had free range with it. The only instruction was that a human mom is trying to feed an angry baby bear. And here’s what I came up with:
BabyBear.jpgI did a lot of things here that I haven’t done before. No, wait, sorry. Actually, it was only three things..
I guess the biggest one was to make an animal with another facial expression than neutral. That was pretty new, and a lot of fun.
The color scheme was new as well. Sure, I do a lot of brown and yellow, but that blue-green color is new and I can’t believe I didn’t discover this mix before. I love it!
Another thing I haven’t discovered before is how the whole thing looks so much more fairytale-ish when I just do those rounded shapes on the cabinets and window. That’s yet another “why the hepp didn’t I think or this before”-moment in my life.
Well, you learn something new every day. Sometimes even three things.

Have a nice day everyone!



While I’m speaking of portraits anyways. Here’s a bit more about that.

Just like any other realism, portraits isn’t something that I’ve spent much time practicing. I recall making some pencil-sketch of Helena Bonham Carter for an art-assignment in elementary school, and a tiny drawing of my grandparents from the same time(which is still displayed in their house, and I’m horrified by it whenever I visit). Since then, I can’t remember making any portraits.
But then, the commissions came, and suddenly I had requests for portraits, even though I didn’t even have any in my portfolio.



Like other commissions involving photographs, it’s often more about artistic interpretations rather than depictions. Mostly it’s family portraits in a cartoonish style, and they turn out looking something like this ————————————————————>
Making a portrait this way is tricky. Even if it’s just a simple figure, I must put a lot of thought into where the facial features go, to both match the style, and have the drawing resemble the person.
Still, it’s nothing compared to a real portrait.
One tiny line in a wrong place can mess up a whole face. You’ve probably seen portraits that are good, but there’s something really creepy about them that you can’t put your finger on. Yeah, that’s just an eye in a slightly wrong angle or a mouth a tiny bit too big.

My first portrait was a pencil sketch of leonard cohen and two others. I was so scared about messing up, but this was just the rough sketch, and the client was so happy with it, they didn’t even want me to finalize it. I’m not too proud of it myself, but you don’t tell your boss that you disagree when they say job well done. So here’s how that turned out.DSC_0074.jpg


Then it was this cool old cowboy who needed an image for the articles he wrote for a newspaper.
It was my first ink portrait and ink can not be erased (obviously), so if I messed this one up I’d have to start all over. But it turned out fine, and I must say, the shirt was actually harder than the face on this one.




Then came along something much much scarier. On my fiverr-page I offered creating pictures in coffee. I thought I would reach coffee-shop-owners who wanted something fun to hang on their walls. But instead, it was coffee-loving people wanting portraits. And omygoshyouguys, that was the real challenge. Coffee is so hard to control, it’s sticky, it runs away to places it shouldn’t be and it takes forever to dry. I spent so many hours on these compared to what I would with any other medium.

Ok, so this one isn’t great. But I’m still                           Nope, that’s not a screw-up. That’s
happy about it because that was a very                              a zombie doll
blurry photo.

I see I switched scanners around here. Believe it or not, that’s the same kind of coffee.
I really like these two. I’m happy about the roughness of the left one, and for the right, I’m just glad I managed to make a good one out of both coffee and ink.



After that, my first portrait in watercolor and ink. Scary as usual, but here I had started gaining some confidence in this area.deborah


And lastly, the ones in only watercolor. I am super happy about these, and don’t even hesitate to make them anymore. The first I made was of Darwin, which was great, because that guy is recognizable as long as there’s a big beard and bushy eyebrows, so it was hard to mess up, even if I was making a color portrait after a black and white photo.

This little lady you’ve seen before

And this latest one, which I’m really proud of, even though the dog looks crazy.
I promise, it looked crazier in the photo.samjoemollyoriginal
Yeah. Watercolor is obviously my medium. Maybe I should just stick to that instead of stupidly messing around with that ink and coffee.

I hope you enjoyed these. And if you didn’t, at least now you know where not to go for a pencil-portrait.

Have a great day!