Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Before closing down my studio for a short hibernation I would like to extend my gratitude to all my followers, readers and viewers, not least those of you who contribute to my blog with your comments. I hope to see you again next year!

Friday, December 13, 2013


How can we push a colorful background back? Here I used complementary colors like the cool sky against the warm canopies. That way the trees look bright even if they are painted with only weak washes of raw sienna, burnt sienna and cadmium red.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Black in watercolor

Over the years I’ve heard commandments like “Don’t use white”, “Don’t paint in Venice” and even “Don’t paint boat sheds”. Similarly “Never use black” is the advice some salesmen give my students, planting indigo and sepia in their palms instead because “These won’t kill your painting”. It's just that both those colors are ready mixed and contain black, so they are not the solution if black is a problem. My own fad is “Only use single pigments” because mixing should be done by the painter, not by the manufacturer - and black is just as good as any. (Just don't use this advice as a commandment!) By the way, this is Dyrhólaey, "Doorway peninsula", in southern Iceland painted with lots of Ivory black and some Raw sienna, Burnt sienna and Ultramarine blue.

With colors on it

Here is the painting I made from the sketch in the previous post.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wolf at fence

The Swedish wolf population is growing but not fast enough for me to find a model just like that. Instead I sketched some primitive dogs like jämthunds and shikokus but changed the shapes and proportions for a more authentic look.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Crawling wolf

This illustrates a wolf trying to crawl under a fence. I suppose it requires a strong motivation.

Jumping wolf

This illustrates the problem wolf safe fences are meant to solve: a wolf jumping over an ordinary fence. Some sheep farmers say not even electricity keeps these carnivores away, while others say it does. I don’t know but I appreciate the efforts to let us have both wolves and sheep.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Displaying lapwing

This is a displaying lapwing painted on commission for Anser, the south Swedish ornithological magazine. The layout requires some empty space for the text, leaving the composition with a semi-finished look at this stage.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tripod bracket

My wooden easel is an awkward hulk but thanks to Peter Ward’s excellent Watercolour Log I found this bracket that converts my old birding tripod into a plein air easel. The only downside is I can’t use my telescope when I paint unless I buy another tripod, so avian motifs may suffer.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Redwing sketches

I'm privileged to design my own curriculum, which recently resulted in a bird sketching class with the first graders. This is my demo of some redwings in a schoolyard rowan.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

New brushes

The importance of water retension is why I've insisted on using natural hair brushes so far, but I just found Escoda Ultimo with imitated squirrel hair to do the job just as well. They are also cheap and I expect them to last for a few years, which natural hair doesn't. I bought two mop brushes size 10 and 18 and now I'm looking at the round pointed ones.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Male model

This is a demo from my continuing course. We usually start with proportions, then add foreshortenings, balance, shadows and color. Figure painting is fun!

Monday, October 21, 2013


My favourite winter birds just arrived from the very north of Sweden, Finland or northwestern Russia. Waxwings are one of the few species specialized in berries and will definitely like it this year. The sunshine last spring made for fair bunches of rowan berries and rosehips.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Male Wheatear

A memory from last spring: a recently returned male Wheatear. These birds are perfectly designed for life among the rocks, their black and white tails exposing them in flight and concealing them when perched.

Friday, September 20, 2013


This is a course demo made from a photo that my wife took. I've gone three years greyer since then.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mossby strand

We went to the beach a sunny day and had a full morning's painting there. The wind made for movement in the grass and water.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


These birds are beautiful and like to show off in beautiful settings. No wonder they are so popular among bird painters.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Next headland

I made a sketch on location but it started to rain so I made a new painting back in the studio. This is Abbekås, looking west from the harbor.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

"Bird Formation"

Today is the 20th anniversary of the yearly bird art show "Fågelsträcket" (Bird Formation) at Falsterbo Art Gallery featuring works by 17 artists including watercolor painters Gunnar Tryggmo, Hans Larsson and Lars Fredholm.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Marsvinsholms slott

So we made a few excursions during the course week and found ourselves here at Marsvinsholms slott on the Thursday. Great surroundings and a nice cafe!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Kiss this one good bye

The chemical industry doesn’t need any more Nickel Dioxine, so Winsor & Newton is reformulating New Gamboge as a mixture of two other pigments and I think the other manufacturers will too. This leaves me with a broken heart because I insist on single pigments and because I have a tendency to develop personal relations with my colors. But life must go on and while pondering what to buy when I’ve finished the tube I have – What would you choose as the one yellow on your palette?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


This is one of the paintings I made during the course. It's a view to the west from the beautiful harbor of Abbekås.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Landscapes course

I'm back from my landscapes course in Skurup. Thanks to a sun greeting from the yoga course we got to paint on location at the end of the week - the essence of landscape painting!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Woodstack perch

I like these birds. I'll have a nestbox ready for them next spring.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


I got to know this troll in the lichen-covered pine woods of Roslagen. Now that I live in Skåne it’s the no 1 garden bird, entertaining us with their nice “Pewit-tick-tick” calls as we build our garden house. Their chicks recently left their nests, hung around as long as their parents fed them, and then went on to get to know the world. Our hammer beats are left to make the background sounds on their own.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Farm at dusk

Painting darkness is always a challenge and leaving parts of the paper light is often a solution. This is a farm close to where we live in Skåne.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


This is a quick sky study that I made a few weeks ago, wet-in-wet with a wet-on-dry layer on top of it. Lack of time stopped me from overworking the painting.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fourth test

Today I tried the last four colors: cobalt violet, cobalt green, dark yellow and cadmium vermilion. The manufacturer still has some details to work on but I do want to see this brand in the stores because it's good for the market. It would probably face a tough struggle for survival though. What do we miss on the market as it is? Impeccable quality? Affordable prices? A variety of hues? Everything is already there when it comes to paints but if you find a way to make synthetic brushes as good at keeping the water as sable ones, I'll be more than happy to help you get rich. Or if you find a way to make organic Arches paper and sell it cheaper than ordinary Arches made of heavily pesticide-sprayed cotton!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Third test

I'm still playing with the earth colors plus ultramarine but now trying the paints on a different paper: Saunders Waterford instead of the usual Arches. The paper makes a bigger difference than the paints and I prefer Arches, which is smoother. The bird is a Reed bunting.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Second test

I painted this rapeseed oil bottle with raw sienna, irgazine yellow green and bone black. And I'm still happy.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

First test

A local paint manufacturer is developing his own watercolors and I've been offered the opportunity to try a test set. For this painting I used terra pozzuoli, raw umber, bone black and cobalt blue. I'm very satisfied with the paints so far.

Friday, May 17, 2013


My two eldest children were invited to a safari trip to Serengeti and Ngorongoro a few weeks ago. Tove took some wonderful pictures including one of a leopard in a tree, which I painted in watercolor for her as a present. Happy birthday, Tove!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Anders Zorn

Grudd Anders Zorn was one of the best watercolor painters ever and had an interesting background, not least when you look at some of the details. The brewer Leonard Zorn immigrated from Germany January 14th 1860, which is too late for him to father the illegitimate child, born February 18th 1860 as the son of farm maiden and bottle rinser Grudd Anna Andersdotter. That might be why Anders and Leonard didn’t share any facial traits and why Leonard’s collegue Franz Heiss, who came to Sweden the year before, seems to have passed on the shape of his eyelids, forehead and ears to the artist. He also cared for him a lot and called him his dear friend. Maybe he had a reason to call him his dear son?

The Port of Hamburg, Anders Zorn 1891

Anders Zorn and his wife Emma in 1880

Franz Heiss (detail) by Anders Zorn 1902

Update August 26th 2015
Anders Zorn obviously painted this portrait a couple of years after Frans Heiss' death. He might have used a photo reference - he often did - or depicted the brewer's son by the same name.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


This is Kyrkbacken, a nice little village on Ven, an island in the Öresund strait good for biking, basking and painting.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


This is Järntorget in Stockholm old town, one of my favorite spots on the planet.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Liebster blog award II

I have received the Liebster Blog Award again, this time from the Norwegian birder and painter Øivind Egeland. As his followers know I admire Øivind for the way he renders air and mood around a bird in the field with only a few well-chosen brushstrokes, a skill that he has learned and developed during the last few years! Thanks a lot, Øivind! This time I forward the award to five bloggers who all deserve it because they add beauty to the world. Check out their blogs and you’ll see why: Vi tre och trädgård, Konstantin Sterkhov, Bill Cone, Kelly Singleton and Angela Maria Russo. These are the Liebster Blog Award rules: 1. Thank the person who gave you the award. 2. Link back to their blog. 3. Copy and paste the Liebster Award to your profile. 4. Pick 5 blogs that you feel deserve to be in the spotlight. They must have 200 followers or under. 5. Blog about it and leave a comment for your nominations to let them know that you have chosen their blog.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Do it yourself

We made our own watercolors in class last week. The ingredients are pigment (in this case ultramarine), water and gum arabic for a plastic texture, honey to stop the paint from drying out and cracking, and sodium benzoate to keep the mold away. Stir to syrup consistency, spoon into cups and let dry for two weeks.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Wood walk again

I had another go with this motif today, rearranging things and making changes here and there.

Friday, March 29, 2013

An optimist

A single lapwing returned to its breeding grounds ahead of the others to claim a good territory but a cold snap must have forced it to turn back south quite soon. Even a thin cover of ice stops it from reaching its sustenance.