søndag 30. desember 2012

Loose portrait

hmm... a spontanous drawing made this person appear on the paper. I haven`t been painting the last weeks, and I just got the idea to just draw very loosely and without lifting the pen off the paper to get a loose and somewhat odd expression - rather than make a "good" drawing. And then I just splashed some paint on. Took just a couple of minutes. Quite fun and satisfying to loosen up my self in this way. :)

lørdag 1. desember 2012

Up-side down drawings!

Up-side down drawing! As you can see from the picture I have been drawing motives up-side down today. The idea behind doing this is to be able to leave the left-hand side of the brain, which thinks in symbols and therefore mess up the drawing abilities. When you turn your motive up-side down, the brain is not able to recognize in the same way the nose, the eye etc. Rather, you start to actually SEE the different shapes and lines of the motive. And that is when you start to see like an artist does - and become able to draw what you actually see.

These ideas are from Betty Edwards`book "Drawing on the right side of the brain" (my book is a Norwegian translation, which is very nice for a change). I have had it for many, many years, but I haven`t really practiced her ideas for the same amount of years! However - I highly recommend this book! If you want to improve your drawings - this is the book - your result will amaze you!

Below are today`s up-side down drawings of mine.

tirsdag 27. november 2012

New watercolour portrait

A portrait coming to life. I am working without any model, so I never know what expression that will come through in the portraits. It is very exciting to watch who the different "visitors" are.

I am, though, deliberately aiming to explore something else than just a "pretty" portrait. I want to explore and express the wide variety of the human emotions and psychological states through the watercolour medium, not only the "beautiful" and "perfect".

Something completely different in the background!  - as you can see I have also been working on painting of a colander.

søndag 18. november 2012

More red berries

This week I have actually had the patience to explore the same motive more than once! 

søndag 11. november 2012

Kind of cherries

Today`s little painting is of some red fruits of some kind. Perhaps cherry tomatoes.

lørdag 3. november 2012

Watercolour potato stamps!

 I just wanted to show you this quite childish, but fun project and picture that me and my husband made this week! As we have just moved into a new apartment, and we needed something on the walls, we wanted to make a picture ourselves - together! So - he made these, I have to say fantastic stamps out of potatoes!
 Then we put on my watercolours - and stamped a big sheet full of exotic animals!
 It is now brightening up the kitchen. It is pretty childish - but we had really fun making this "art" work!
Another project coming up is to fill another big sheet of paper with funny cats! Here is the start of it!

onsdag 24. oktober 2012

Fantasy anemones

I have not been so "productive" lately. Here are some quickly painted fantasy anmones I made a couple a weeks ago, just for the sake to get some colours on the paper! What is quite interesting is that what seems to be a disaster when it is still wet and fresh can turn into something interesting when the pigments have dried.

Today, I received a book I have ordered. It is called "Finding your visual voice" - and I am quite thrilled with the book after having read the first chapter!! As I on a daily basis work as a scientist I am far too used to having to use my left side of the brain and to achieve results after certains standards etc. Here is a quote from the book that is a good reminder for me: "Your visual voice is intuitive, not intellectual or concsiously guided by reason."

The first chapter is about becoming aware of whether you get your inspiration primarily  from your external surroundings or from your internal imaginations, emotions etc. And I have the last half an hour just realised that my source of inspiration is actually internal! I wasn`t aware of that, can you believe!

I think this is a good book for me! I will come back to it later.

søndag 14. oktober 2012

Watercolour abstract

Hm. Sometimes - or, honestly, quite often - my mind, i.e. my imagination of possible paintings, and my hand do not cooperate. I feel like I want to achieve far too much, ahead of and above my own capasity when it comes to painting. I have a vague idea of the direction of what I like my own expression to be like.  But I wish I could have a mentor to guide me at regular intervals, which would give a nother continuity than a weekend workshop can offer, that could have helped me identify a direction of my style of painting, which at the moment jump from one to the other. I have no direction of what my own "voice" is. Perhaps I should start searching around and approach artists for the possibility of a mentorship?

Today`s "painting" is an excersise I did to explore transparency. I kind of like the shapes and the colours.

søndag 7. oktober 2012

Daffodils in fall

 It has been many weeks since I last painted  - as a couple of bigger events has happened since summer; first, I started in a new job in August, and that took quite some focus. Then, I bought my own apartment!! So the last weeks have been all about packing and moving and unpacking again, and settling in the new apartment. But yesterday, it was time to pull out all my watercolour stuff again.

As allways when I have been out of the painting flow for a while, I need to start easily just to get some paint on the paper. For me, it works well to start off by copying things from other artists to get the brush moving.  I allways get so much inspiration from Jean Haines` books, and this simple picture of daffodils is inspired from one of her paintings.

So - now I hope I am back on track and that more paintings will come along!

mandag 6. august 2012

Watercolour portrait

It has been summer holidays, with some watercolour stagnation.  Rather than reading watercolour books, I have been enjoying reading some wonderful books by the Norwegian author Tove Nilsen ("Øyer i hjerter" and "Kretadøgn").

As I couldn't quite find the inspiration for painting, I started watching watercolour videos on youtube the last days. Some of the videos there are really great for inspiration, as well as to watch others' techniques.

The inspiration led to this blue portrait.

søndag 15. juli 2012

Blue hortensia/hydrangea

I walked by a little blue hortensia/hydrangea at the shop one of the last days, and I had to buy it and bring it home to paint. I think the painting became a bit too `heavy`, so I will give it another try. Now - I have a ten year perspective to try to develop my watercolour skills! - so it will be exciting to see where I have arrived at ten years from now.  The way these hortensias have been painted is very much inspired by the style of Jean Haines; I am not aiming for a replica of what I see, but rather a more subtle expression of the object.

Today, I went to the Henie Onstad art center just outside Oslo. There I saw - to mee - an almost breathtaking piece of art by Tiina Kivinen - take a look: http://www.taidegraafikot.fi/images/kivinen_ala.jpg  This photo does not pay justice to how it is to see this artwork in real life. Take also a look at http://www.tiinakivinen.com to see more of her art. I find her work very poetic.

torsdag 12. juli 2012


A new hortensia portrait today. But in a somewhat different and more loose style than yesterday.

onsdag 11. juli 2012

Watercolour hortensia

I have now started to paint hortensias. I have never paid any attention to this flower before, despite me loving flowers and gardens. But I now `see` this flower in a new way and I just had to try to paint it!

tirsdag 10. juli 2012

Summer nude

Another watercolour nude. I think I will check out if there are any croquis sessions here in Oslo in July as such sketches are very inspiring. And not least, it is a very valuable excersice that remind the eye and the hand to leave out details and instead focus on the main shapes. I don`t draw the shadows in my croquis` , only the outlines, so I have to make up the shadows when I try to paint the figures afterwards.

I have now picked a hortensia from the backyard, so the next post will perhaps be a flower portrait. Nudes and flowers in blossom - quite suitable for a summer holiday feeling!

mandag 9. juli 2012

Watercolour figures

I am really appealled of the nakedness of humans - the persons I love the most are those who do not put up a face but who are naked, honest, vulnerable. Perhaps that is also the reason I am very attracted to croquis and painting nudes. There is a while now since last, but yesterday and today I picked up some croquis sketches and I enjoy exploring the different postures in watercolours.

søndag 8. juli 2012

Summer holiday has started

A couple of watercolour sketches of my croquis drawings. I have now started my four week long summer holiday- jippi! - and I hope I will be able to paint a lot during these weeks. 

This is an example of how to paint the negative shapes rather than the object itself in order to make a motive stand out, and is an exercise from Jean Haines latest book.

søndag 24. juni 2012

Blue Venice

Today I have been painting the same Venezian scene as yesterday, but with other colours to set a different mood. I wanted to achieve a more misty sensation to the scene, as well as a sense of sadness relating to the name of the bridge, the Bridge of Sighs.

Wonderful watercolour book by Jean Haines

I have been refering to this book, "Atmospheric watercolours" by Jean Haines, in my blog. As I am both a book addict, but also use books as my tutors for learning how to paint in watercolour, I have gathered quite a few such books. To me, this one is almost beyond words. When I first got it in my hands and scrolled through it, it made my heart sing! In the first place, it is filled with bright, fantastic colours and paintings by the author. I cannot quite describe it, it is pleasing to the eye and the soul, it is like taking a bath in colours when looking in this book. Second, she describes very well different watercolour techniques, and gives demonstrations that make you understand - and yourself able to achieve - how to paint in a variety of ways. Last, she gives many wonderful tips throughout the book that is both inspiring and valuable. I have allready learned a lot from this book - and will continue explore the different themes, tips and excercises. I can warmly recommend "Atmospheric watercolours", both for those new to watercolour, but also for the experienced who perhaps have been painting in a more traditional way in watercolour but who would like to explore a more impressionistic and loose style of painting in this medium.

lørdag 23. juni 2012

Venice in watercolours

Today I have been following a demonstration in Jean Haines` last book. So, all though I have visited the fairytale-like city of Venice, this image is from her book. It was fun to paint, with several layers and use of clingfilm to achieve effects, for instance the water in the chanel. I learn a lot from Haines` colour scales, as she uses really bright and fresh colours. And not least from her approach of painting in a style that involves not giving every single detail to the viewer, but leaving some spots for the viewer`s imagination to complete.

søndag 17. juni 2012

lørdag 16. juni 2012

Watercolour anemones

Quick and simple painting of anemones, inspired by a demonstration in Jean Haines new book "Atmospheric watercolours". I enjoyed painting in this more calm and delicate way. It is a good exercise for a beginner in watercolours as it is only one wash, and no background to think about, which complicates it all ;) .  I don`t know if it is because it is the easy way for me as an amateur, but I am actually quite attracted to the simplicity and purity, kind of, of paintings that don`t have any "background".

I will come back to Haine`s book when I have read the whole book through. But I can say all ready now that it is a great book. The fantastic paintings and colours in the book made my heart sing when I scrolled through it when I got it in my mailbox a few days ago.

søndag 10. juni 2012

Watercolour lilacs

 The streets of Oslo are now full of lilacs in bloom. They are beautiful. And quite difficult, at least for me, to capture in watercolour. Here are some examples of sketches I have made. I strive to achieve a loose style, but I need to practice, practice and practice. I have used both salt and clingfilm on these sketches to play with different textures.
 This sketch shows more clearly the clingfilm effect that indicate leaves, and the salt effect that gives a nice representation of the lilac.
I found it surprisingly difficult to paint the lilac. At least to achieve the mental vision of how I want a painting of them to look like. I want to achieve a dreamlike impression of them, and also to capture their intensity - their sweet perfume that pulls our attention towards them when we walk past a lilac three on a warm summers night.
This is a pen sketch I am working from. I will continue to paint lilacs and see where I end!

lørdag 2. juni 2012

Watercolour warm-up exercises

Today I have made some warm-up experiments with watercolour. I have both of Jean Haines watercolour DVDs, and I warmly recommend them to all who enjoys exploring the watercolour medium. Also to those who want to loosen up their watercolour style, as she has a very playful and relaxed way of approaching how to paint in watercolour. One important point which she stresses is to do some warm-up excercises with paint and water before one starts to paint one`s "masterpiece". It has several important advantages. One is that it will take away any preassure on one`s shoulders as to create something fabulous, and instead, one can just enjoy the colours flowing on the paper and the. Second, she points out, one learn a lot from these simple excercises with regard to how the different pigments interact with eachother and with different types of paper qualities - which will eventually be tools you can use later when you better know which pigments and paper quality you want to use to achieve your desired results. Thirdly, it will give inspiriation and stimulate your imagination for possible compositions for later paintings. You can learn more about her ideas, as well as look at her very inspiring demonstrations, in her two DVDs. I look at them often, and  as I am a novise, I learn a lot from them.

One of the tecniques that she demonstrates is making structures with salt. Spread some salt on the wet paint, and some interesting patterns will evolve. Here I have also used a lot of water and let the pigment flow down the paper.

Try using salt on different pigments. It will generate different moods and  associations.

søndag 13. mai 2012


Har lest i Ewa Karpinskas bok i helgen - og er inspirert og også litt mismodig over egne resultater. Nå har jeg vel erklært at jeg skal forsøke å unngå og skulle prestere så mye med min akvarellmaling, men jeg er som jeg er - ikke så lett å legge fra seg å skulle være "flink", få til og strebe mot et ideal.

Jeg behøver langsom tid for å male. Og en omstilling av hjernen, et fokus på farger og maling. Og tid til å "hvile" mellom strøkene og lagene med vann og pigment på arket, for å dvele ved hvor og hvordan neste penselstrøk skal legges. Viktig å tre tilbake, ikke bli for nærsynt og forhastet. Siden jeg til hverdags jobber med helt andre ting, er det søndagene som er blitt min maledag. Først da er ytre og indre ro der som gir mulighet for den tilstedeværelsen som er nødvendig for å male.

It`s not so easy to let go of one`s ideas of a "perfect" painting, at least not for me. I need time to paint, to "rest" in between each layer and to contemplate where and how to progress with the next brush stroke. As I work during the week, the evenings are too short in time for painting, in addition to that I`m too tired. So I paint on Sundays. Then there is tranquility both inside and in my surroundings which make it possible to achieve the precence that is needed to paint, and not least enough hours to paint.

torsdag 10. mai 2012

Fantastisk bok om akvarell!/Marvellous book about watercolour!

Jeg må kunne karaktereiseres som en book-addict, jeg bestiller stadig nye bøker, spesielt etter at jeg oppdaget hvilken gullgruve amazone er når det gjelder bøker om akvarell, sammenliknet med hva man finner i norske bokhandlere. Og i dag lå det en ny bok om akvarell i posten - og jeg er kjempebegeistret!!!! Kunstneren er Ewa Karpinska. Jeg kjente ikke til henne, jeg bare kom over denne boken da jeg søkte etter et par bøker av akvarellmaleren Jean-Louise Morelle. Karpinska viser noen av hans bilder i denne boken om wet-in-wet teknikker, men mest egne eksempler. Og bildene er fantastiske!!!! Det er helt utrolig hvilke effekter hun skaper med ulike stadier av vannet som fordamper på papiret. Og hun har en veldig analytisk tilnærming, både til sitt eget arbeid med akvarell, såvel som presentasjonen av temaet wet-in-wet teknikker i akvarell i denne boka. Det er milevis forskjell mellom min spede begynnelse i akvarellverdenen og disse fantastiske bildene i denne boken. Men, det er slike bøker som er mine "læremestre", og svært inspirerende sådan noen av dem. Denne ser ut til å bli det.

Today, another book was waiting for me in the mailbox. As I`m a book addict, that happens quite often. And this book turned out to be a true treasure! I am amazed by the marvellous and absolutely beautiful paintings by Ewa Karpinska in this book!! She explains in a very analytical and good way how she works wet-in-wet; how the different stages of the drying process give new possibilities to progress with the painting, and how to take the full advantage of these different stages to achieve desired results in watercolour. Again, her paintings are really amazing! I really recommend this book for other artists, and amateurs like me who need to use books as one`s mentors.

tirsdag 8. mai 2012

Sommervalmue/summer poppy

 Sommervalmuer...snart er sommeren her. Summer poppies... it is summer, soon.

 To nærbilder av detaljer fra bildet. Jeg hadde glede av å male dette. Malte kronbladene ett og ett denne gangen, til forskjell fra en mer løs og flytende stil. Mens bakgrunnen og blomsterknoppen ble til ved rennende pigmenter.

Two close-ups of details from the painting. It was joyful painting this motive, with the vibrant colours of the poppy. I painted the petals one by one this time, in stead of the loose style of Jean Haines, which I admire, but don`t master yet. Oh! And by the way - I am going to attend a work-shop with her this summer!!! I got it as a very pleasantly surprising birthday gift from my wonderful man a few days ago. :)  That will be sooo exciting!!

søndag 6. mai 2012

Botanisk studie/botanical study

Selv om jeg mest ønsker å beherske en mer impresjonistisk måte å male akvarell på (selv om det kanskje vil ta noen år før jeg er der...), så er jeg også trukket til det motsatte; deteljerte og fine botaniske studier. Av og til kjeder det meg å tegne eller male så behersket og realitetstro, mens andre ganger er det fint å få til "pene" resultater. Jeg driver for tiden og lærer akvarell ved å kopiere andre, så dette motivet er også tatt fra Julie Collins. Hun har en morsom tilnærming til å male blomsterportretter. Selv om hun også gjør klassiske, botaniske studier, har hun en mer røff måte å portrettere blomster på som jeg liker.

Even though I wish to master a more impressionistic way to paint in watercolour, I am also attracted to detailed and realistic botanical studies. As I am learning to master watercolour by copying others at the moment, this object is also "stolen" from Julie Collins.

tirsdag 1. mai 2012

Å lære av andre akvarellkunstrere/learning from other watercolour artists

Å kopiere tidligere mestere er ikke en ukjent del av klassisk kunstutdanning. Det er heller ingen dum ide for nybegynnerer i akvarell å kopiere andres teknikker for selv å lære og forstå hvordan man kan bruke akvarell som medium. Det er heller ingen dum ide når man står fast i prestasjonsfella.....- slik jeg veldig lett gjør. Derfor har jeg nå sett på bilder i Julie Collins bok "Painting flowers with impact in watercolour". Jeg liker stilen hennes - ikke pyntelig og "pent" men en mer røff tilnærming i sine blomsterportretter.

Ved å kopiere lærer jeg om gode komposisjoner, om hvordan motivet og linjene i bildet gir en "sti" som blikket kan følge. Jeg lærer også om fargekombinasjoner og hvordan jeg kan bruke ulike akvarellteknikker for å  få fram ulike effekter med pigmentene. Så etter å ha stått fast noen dager kunne jeg bare glede meg over strålende farger på papiret. Og siden jeg lærer mye av dette vil jeg fortsette å kopiere andre litt.

As I have been trapped in my own high expectations of how and what to paint the last days, I found myself more frustrated than happy with the painting processes. At last, I just decided to copy others` work, just to get some satisfying results on the paper. It is, however, not any bad idea to do so for an amateur like me, as I learn really a lot about both compositions and colours and techniques by copying other artists. In this painting, I was looking at the paintings of Julie Collins, in her book "Painting flowers with impact in watercolour".

mandag 9. april 2012


  • En ny skikkelse dukket opp på papiret. Denne gangen med kun to-tre transparente lag. Har brukt permanent mauve og cobalt tuqois light, samt en liten touch alizarin crimson her og der. Papiret er Daler & Rowney "the Langton" cold pressed, 425 gram. Det er så langt favorittpapiret.
  • Det er stor forskjell på nesten å måtte kjempe fram et motiv versus et motiv som bare trer fram nærmest av seg selv. Det føles veldig deilig når et bilde bare "skjer". Dette skjer når jeg har ånden over meg - hva nå det er? Kanskje er det bare en naturlig tilstand av ro og tilstedeværelse, i motsetning til det å skulle gjøre.
  • A new, more friendly guy appeared this time, to my releaf! It appeared from just two-three washes and no fiddling. It felt like the painting just made itself. That is a good feeling, and I think that happens when one are in a state of peacefulness and presence, as opposed to being in a state of doing.

fredag 6. april 2012

Skummel påskekrim-mann/scary guy!

Hm....ser ut som en ganske skummel type dette. Kanskje er det disse påskekrim-tidene som påvirker?
Hadde egentlig planer om å male masse i påsken - men så ble det nærmest malesperre i steden! Skrivesperre er jo et kjent fenomen. Her gikk jeg i fella av å skulle prestere - og da stoppet det helt opp. Men det jeg oppdager er at ved å la de første lagene i et bilde hvile en dag eller to, så modnes det på et vis og man ser noen nye muligheter for hvor man kan gå videre med bildet, der man et par dager tidligere tenkte at dette ble mislykket.

This looks like a really scary guy, or what! He wasn`t supposed to, but he turned out like this. I planned to paint a lot this Easter, but found my self blocked rather than having fun. This painting was a wash I wasn`t happy about, but by letting the first washes rest a day or two, you can see new possibilities for how to proceed.

søndag 25. mars 2012

Mixed media - penn + akvarell

Denne gangen kommer noe helt annet enn i de forrige innleggene. Jeg fikk nettopp en ny bok i posten, om teknikker med penn og akvarell av Claudia Nice. Boka heter "Creating textures with pen and ink with watercolour". Disse to tegningene er etter hennes tegninger fra denne boka - det er altså ikke mine verk sånn sett. Men å kopiere teknikker fra andre gir mye læring. Jeg liker ideen om å lage detaljerte tegninger. Men samtidig er jeg litt for utålmodig, slik at uttrykkene blir mye mer rufsete enn Nice sine illustrasjoner. Men blekk og akvarell i kombinasjon kan gi veldig fine resultater når man behersker det. Disse to tegningene er første forsøk. Igjen - jeg er for utålmodig til å gjenta de samme tegningene to-tre ganger, selv om jeg vet at resultatene blir bedre og bedre for hver gang siden man lærer av feilene fra de forrige forsøkene. Men - det er viktigere for meg å kose meg med denne hobbyen enn å strebe etter resultater!
I got a new book recently, "Creating texture with pen and ink with watercolour" by Claudia Nice. So I had to try out some of the techniques. These drawings are "copies" from her book. Mine are, however, somewhat more jagged as I am a bit too impatient to create "perfect"images.