Friday, December 23, 2011

Step 3

So I painted the background and also darkened the foreground shadows, as well as added some detail to the grasshopper and the bird's face. Yes, this is in the Barranco de la Cazuela that I painted a few weeks ago. Now it's time for a break. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Step 2

I made the foreground this morning. Now that it's drying I am obviously writing a new blogpost and when that's done I'll go back to the studio and do the background. Talk to you later!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Step 1

I can't wait to add color to my next painting. I'll let you know about the result as soon as there is one. So see you soon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rock pipit

This bird means a lot to me because it inhabits my favourite biotope rocky coasts, but also because it's part of why I love rocky coasts. It's difficult to explain. You have to experience it yourself.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas hut

Kumba and his new friends made a traditional Christmas hut of palm leaves. Bene showed me how to plait the leaves which I guess is the old way of building houses in Lomé, now a completely modern city.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

People walking

A few tips and tricks from my course: bodies tall and slim; heads small, faceless and leveled; feet and legs not too detailed; variation in postures as well as in spaces between the individuals.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Laminatu cooking

My sister-in-law cooking plasass in our kitchen: spinach, peanut butter, chicken and some wonderful spices. This is a demo painting at my watercolor course, where we did interiors on Monday.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Canarian landscape

This is Barranco de la Cazuela - "Pot Gully" - where I went birding in the mornings. The light at this latitude is very much stronger than at home. I couldn't put too much pigment in the shadows to pick out the sunlit hillsides.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Grey shrike

I know the Great grey shrike as a white dot on a telephone wire in a snowy landscape. Here I met it in a sunbaked valley on an island off the northwest coast of Africa, where it chased down a huge grasshopper and then returned to its cactus perch. The local subspecies koenigi will belong to the Southern grey shrike if the species is divided, which is being discussed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Tove and I are back from Gran Canaria. We were in a heavily touristed area but nature started just across the road. These Sanderlings were born in the Arctic a couple of months ago and obviously winter on the Playa del Aguila right outside our hotel area. They spent the nights among the pebbles, the mornings on the sandy beach and the days on some flat rocks. I love their swift jumps and rushes to avoid the waves and their ability to snap any minute creep that the waves wash up on the shore.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Calf and apple trees

I've been so busy teaching the last few weeks that I haven't had any time over for painting but I still have the ambition to post a picture every week. So this time you'll have to do with an old one - a meadow with apple trees and a calf that I painted six years ago for a nature reserve sign. On Saturday my daughter, my paintbox and I will be heading for Gran Canaria. I'll get back to you after that.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kumba's teacher

Kumba's teacher wants him to spend more time studying than playing with his friends. This is one of the last illustrations for Bene Batako's partly autobiographic book, which will be published in 2012.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sea slug

This is the sea slug Limapontia capitata drawn for the Marine Research Centers at Stockholm and Umeå universities. Depicting it seemed like an easy task at first glance but proved to be quite a challange. I made use of my experience of painting semi-glossy and semi-transparent candy and added some salt to the wet paint to create the light dappled pattern.

Update January 21st, 2012:
Ian Smith kindly points out that this is Limapontia depressa, not Limapontia capitata. This mistake will be corrected as soon as possible.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Birds in Art

My friend Peter Elfman just returned from his trip to the US and the world famous exhibition Birds in Art at Woodson Art Museum in Wausau Wisconsin, where we both participate with one painting each. Unfortunately I didn’t have an opportunity to go but Peter took a lot of photos and gave me a cd. Here is my “Lancaster Sands” next to an oil by Juan Varela.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Looking south

I made this painting at one of my open air workshops in May. It was a beautiful sunny day at Kullen and we found a comfortable ledge where we could paint this headland, the waves and the backdrop haze.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In the kitchen

The model for this Kumba illustration is my wife's nephew Malakai, British citizen of Sierra Leonean and Nigerian descent. He and his mother and brother visited us a month ago and are planning to move to Sweden in a year or so.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wagtail on a jetty

This is one of the watercolors I painted this summer: a wagtail on the stone jetty at Lambertsbacke. I have a lot of nice memories from this spot, like my dad taught me to swim from this jetty to an islet 50 meters away.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Naughty boy

I have returned to illustrating Bene's book about Kumba, who prefers climbing the trees to seeing his private teacher. Bene has found a publisher and the release is planned for next year.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wheatear sketches

I drew these Wheatears during a visit at Kullen in June. I think field sketching is essential to painting. It keeps our minds open and makes for brisk paintings.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Here is the finished horse riding piece - my second attempt on the subject. Movement and precision don't combine easily.

Friday, August 5, 2011


This wagtail was one of the very few birds we saw at Sandhammaren last midsummer. There was even nothing to eat for the gulls - just sand, water and a few flies. But we still had a wonderful walk on a beautiful beach.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Horse riding

Horses are really difficult animals to draw, perhaps because we are so familiar with them that we’ll detect any mistake immediately. This is Linda on a lusitano.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back to Sandhammaren

Another Sandhammaren painting. The wind was coming in from the south and so did the waves, the clouds and the sunshine. A few Sand martins caught flies in mid-air and a wagtail snapped tiny bugs from the wet sand.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I am painting a few demo sketches of different light conditions for the continuation course. This is an illustration of backlight with the shaded sides of junipers, rocks, and birds facing the viewer, while the sunlit sides appear mainly as light edges. The background island is Långaskär, where I took my first steps as a birdwatcher 38 years ago.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Freshwater snails

Allow me to introduce the minute freshwater snails Valvata macrostoma and Gyraulus crista. These are the last illustrations for the homepage about life in the Baltic, which I have completed now.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I’m on vacation and have been renovating our office as well as visiting family and friends in the south and east of Sweden together with my wife Maria and our children. That’s why I have remained silent for a couple of weeks but now I’m back to show you this painting of Maria at the Sandhammaren beach. We had a wonderful hike there at our yearly two-day honeymoon a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My corner

This is the combined painting and framing studio I share with three others. It’s nice to have a special place to go for painting. Our kitchen is always very crowded and busy.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Lighthouse revisited

I never finished this painting on the spot because I got interrupted by something and also I couldn’t figure out how to go on with it. As usual it was the values and perspective that needed some extra thought and handling. I completed it in the studio with a photo reference.

Afternoon song

The Wheatear is beautifully designed and likes to show up in front of the painter - or rather in front of other Wheatears. I found this one at Kullen, where I had a workshop two weeks ago.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Seabed sketches

I have made a few sketches of Baltic seabeds for the 50th anniversary of the Askö marine laboratory in the Stockholm archipelago. The originals will be unusually large – 56x76 cm – an exciting challenge for me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


We ended the Kullen workshop with an improvised art show for ourselves, evaluating the progress of the day. Next time we’ll go to Falsterbo for some sand dunes, lyme grass and breaking waves.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Beach rocks

When I teach I usually don't get the flow I need for painting whole landscapes because I am busy giving advice to my students, but I do paint demo sketches like this one. Tomorrow we are going to Kullen for another workshop.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


On Saturday I had my watercolor workshop at Stenshuvud (locally referred to as Stainsho). We had a beautiful haze and background sounds made by Green woodpeckers, Sandwich terns, and waves. This is Inga-Lena panting some rocks on the beach.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


The Cottidae family comprises some 300 demersal species that are mostly marine and found in shallow coastal waters in the northern regions. The Clobberhead, Pogge, and Bullhead are also found in the brackish Baltic Sea.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


The trick with painting crustaceans seems to be to capture the expression of their faces, to make them look semi-opaque here and there and render them a soft underwater gloss on other parts. These are known by their scientific names Corophium volutator, Pallasea quadrispinosa, Palaemon elegans, Pandalus borealis, and Nephrops norvegicus.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Man and dog

This painting took a great deal of wet-in-wet to start with, to push the background back and make it the supporting character of the foreground friends.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Railway station

Railway stations are rarely seen as interesting spots for wildlife watching but Faunistica has recently made a survey of the creeps found there. This is one of the illustrations I made for it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

River lamprey

Jawless fish branched off from other fish before the foremost gills of the latter turned forward to form the jaws. In addition they differ from others by not having paired fins or a stomach. They also sport a cartilaginous skeleton and a light sensitive pineal eye. This is a River lamprey, a species found in European rivers.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


The carp family comprises some 2,400 species worldwide. Its members have no teeth and no stomachs! Instead they chew the food with their rakers of the specialized last gill bow against a plate formed by a procession of the skull. That way they can eat hard baits like snails and bivalves. The picture shows a few of the Bothnian representatives: asp, dace, rudd, ide, and silver bream, all drawn for the Havet homepage that I've mentioned in a couple of previous posts.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Plein air workshops

My plein air watercolor workshops are now set: Stenshuvud May 7th, Kullen May 21st, and Falsterbo June 18th. We will be painting from 10 am to 5 pm and have an hour's lunch break at a nearby restaurant. Sign up here!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A relict species

Ringed seals reside in arctic waters but also in the Baltic Sea, Lake Saimaa, and Lake Ladoga. These populations are relicts from the late ice age, when the species had a much wider distribution.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Introduced species

The Chinese mitten crab came to Europe with ballast water and the mink and muskrat were introduced as game, both from North America. These are illustrations for the Havet homepage.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Béné just returned from his native Togo with his cellphone full of photos. I compiled this watercolor illustration for our book from some of the photos.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I am now working on some illustrations for the Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment. The pictures are going to be published on their site Havet and possibly in a future edition of a handbook. From top to bottom: Greater Sandeel, Snakeblenny, and Common Goby.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Beginners' course

My new watercolor course started on Monday with 12 enthusiastic beginners. I painted these bananas as a demonstration of color mixing. It's always nice to meet new students and see them perform better and better every evening. I am also planning a set of workshops for the summer. It's not yet clear when and where but we'll spend three full days in paintable places and meet all the challenges that nature serves us. Welcome to join us!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rhytistylus proceps

Some members of Auchenorrhyncha thrive in dry, sandy meadows. This is an illustration for Faunistica's survey of these insects represented with more than 400 species in Sweden. Rhytistylus proceps lives on Sheep's Fescue.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


This is Kullen seen from the lighthouse with the foghorn in the distance. I wanted to use the play of warm highlights and cool shadows to capture the feeling of a beautiful, sunny day.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sea Campion

The Sea Campion proved to be another one of those species whose traits are tricky to capture, along with the Lynx and the Sea Holly. It is found on rocky shores, like in the Kosterhavet Marine National Park.

Monday, January 24, 2011


An indicaror species of ancient woodlands the twinflower is one of the species found in the new national park of Kosterhavet. I painted some illustrations for their signs a year ago and now I have made another few.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Rough-legged Buzzard

I belong to the snow lovers. The light, the fresh air, and the birds it brings us from the north are wonderful elements for landscape painters. The problem is you can't use watercolors in temperatures below 0, so this was made with a photo reference. The bird is a Rough-legged Buzzard digesting a new-caught vole.