Archive for the ‘Slussen’ Category

Saltsjöbanan revisited

Sunday, June 26th, 2016


I went drawing at Slussen with Urban sketchers Stockholm today. Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side, the rain was pouring down at noon. But no matter how worn down and half deconstructed Slussen gets, it still provides roof over your head for sketching, so we were ok.

I was surprised to see that the tracks at Saltsjöbanan were already removed – a railroad station without rails is a very strange view. I decided to sit down on the former tracks and do a remake of sorts, of this drawing from 2014:


Then, on my way home, I couldn´t help stopping by at another place I´ve drawn before. Another take on the Northern entrance to Blå bodarna:


And an earlier version from 2013, when the place was still in use (but already far from it´s former glory):


Top drawing: 21 x 15 cm, Blå bodarna from today: 12 x 14 cm, both UniPin fineliners and watercolours in Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook.

Digging at Södermalmstorg

Monday, February 2nd, 2015


The Stockholm sketching group met last Sunday to sketch the view from a cozy rooftop bar at Södermalm. Only the bar was closed, so we ended up outdoors on the roof of restaurant Gondolen instead, cold, but with a view over my fav spot to draw, Slussen.

The New Slussen project is already visible everywhere around this place, although the city hasn´t officially started the actual destruction of the old Slussen. There are big roadworks preparing for the destruction, huge holes, fences and central heating pipes just about everywhere. It´s getting harder to walk or bicycle past Slussen, there is always a new concrete barrier somewhere forcing you out of your normal ways.

The archeologists at the City Museum (white building to the left) are making the most of the roadworks, though. In the big shaft visible in this sketch, they have found a piece of a 17th century street and an old kitchen with a baking oven from 1601. In other shafts they have found traces of buildings and workshops from the 15th and 14th centuries. Digging here is like opening a temporary window to the past, and although I hate roadworks as much as the next bicyclist, it´s amazing to think what might be lying beneath the surface of the rest of the city…

Back at Slussen

Sunday, October 19th, 2014


After returning home from Brazil, of course I had to check up on Slussen, one of my fav places to draw in Stockholm. I almost thought Kolingsborg – the oval building in this sketch – would be torn down by now, but it was still standing. All of Slussen is about to get demolished and rebuilt, but the process has been taking a long time, with protests and appeals against the building plans.


After the elections in September, Stockholm (and Sweden) has a new government. The new politicians in City Hall want to review the building plans for Slussen, since they don´t think they had enough insight in the project before, so now you never know how long Kolingsborg will be standing there, overlooking Old Town. And you never know how long I will be sitting there on my folding stool sketching.


All drawings: approx. 14 x 21 cm, various ink pens and watercolours on Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook paper.

Slussen protests

Sunday, April 6th, 2014


Spent a couple of hours at Slussen in Stockholm today, to capture some of the protest messages on the walls of Blå Bodarna (”Blue Stalls” – a walk tunnel that used to house an array of shops, of which only two or three are left, and soon closing). Handwritten messages are covering the tiled walls, protesting against the building plans for New Slussen.


I only saw one voice positive to the City´s glossy new vision of this place. I guess those who like the plans are counting on the City to go ahead with their plans – no need to go out and demonstrate your point of view.


45 x 14,5 cm, PITT artist pen, coloured Copic Multiliner SP  and watercolours on Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook spread.

Saltsjöbanan, Slussen

Monday, February 17th, 2014


Noone walks all the way to the end of the platform at Saltsjöbanan, the eastbound train that starts from Slussen. The trains don´t reach all the way back here, and there is a big broad pillar in the way, and lots of pigeons swooping around above you, so this is a lonely, almost abandoned part of Slussen. The corrugated sheetmetal facade is wobbly, and looks like someone kicked it in anger here and there. The double doors don´t have handles anymore, and the window wall above is marked by years of rain, wind and rust.

But still. If you sit right near the edge of the platform you get this very cool perspective down the short tunnel, where you can see part of the beautiful construction that shows through here and there around Slussen. This is where the trains come in and leave on the same track, like they have done since 1936.

21,5 x 14,5 cm, PITT artist pen and watercolours (with vodka mixed in the water, because of the cold), on Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook page.

Golden arrow

Sunday, February 16th, 2014


I always liked this yellow staircase at Slussen. It´s got such a Yellow Brick Road feel to it. It takes you from the bus and train terminal at the bottom floor to Gula Gången (the Yellow Walkway), which in turn leads you towards Gamla stan (Old town) or the city buses above ground.

This sketch is quite simplified. I left a lot of things out, such as people, lighting ramps (I decided to go for the fluorescent tubes only), some buses in the background, the bread seller right next to me. I had to stand up while drawing, and my back doesn´t quite agree with that for a longer period of time, which is why I decided to hurry up and not include everything.

Probably because of this simplification, I had one of those moments when drawing actually opens my eyes to things I don´t really see otherwise. See those yellow tiles on the pillar? I have passed this place a million times, but I never noticed that they are shaped like an upwards arrow, playing with the function and colour of the stairs. It is such an obvious design feature when you look at it like this, but I doubt that many people see it in their day-to-day commuting. The upper part of the arrow is almost covered by the lighting ramps, and the general dirty and stressed atmosphere of this place doesn´t really encourage the curious eye looking for nice design.

21,5 x 14,5 cm, PITT artist pen, Pentel pocket brush and watercolours in Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook.

First sketches of 2014

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014


With insulated pants on, and an updated warm seat (see photo below), I went out for my first sketching session of 2014 today. It was getting dark quickly, so I went for rather quick value drawings in ink and pencil. Came home with the side of my right (drawing) hand all messy with pencil dust. I still haven´t figured out how to use a pencil in my sketchbook without getting dirty.

Last thing I heard was that Kolingsborg, the oval building in the sketch below – a bit of a landmark in Stockholm – is going to be demolished this January, to begin the huge building project of a new Slussen. Don´t know how true this is, since a lot of building projects in Stockholm tend to get delayed by byreaucracy and politics, but I thought I´d better try to draw this place as much as I can before the mayhem begins.


Lots of wool in my sketching setup right now…


Both drawings: approx. 12 x 10 cm, Pentel Pocket brush ink pen, UniPin fineliner and pencil in Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook.


Sunday, November 17th, 2013


Kolingsborg is one of those Stockholm classics that will disappear soon with the construction of the new Slussen. Built in 1954, it has housed the Stockholm harbour office, the harbour workers´ union, a shipping company and an architect´s office, but is probably most well known these days for the nightclub that´s been there at the bottom floor for ages.

27 x 21,5 cm, UniPin ink fineliner, PITT Artist brush pens and Koh-I-Noor Magic coloured pencils on Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook spread.

Norra Järngraven

Saturday, November 9th, 2013


This road underneath Slussen is called Norra Järngraven, which sounds like a cool name in Swedish. A quick translation would be The Northern Iron Grave – kinda cool in a grim sort of way. But today, while sketching, I was thinking that the “iron grave” part must mean something else than the obvious – it is a bit unlikely that a traffic tunnel in Stockholm would have such a fantasy fairytale name. So, when I came home, I decided to find out it´s origins.

Turns out the “grave” part of the name comes from the Swedish word “vallgrav”, which means moat (you know, the water-filled ditch you´ll find around the typical medieval fortress city). In the sixteenth century there used to be a moat around certain parts of Stockholm, which was just Old town back then, the rest of the city was countryside. The moat was logically called the City Moat (Stadsgraven).
Also, from the middle ages and onwards, all the iron that was mined and exported from further West in Sweden, had to be weighed and controlled in Stockholm. In 1662 the iron weighing site was moved to this particular area near the City Moat, and eventually the name changed into The Iron Moat. And so, when the latest version of Slussen was built in the 1920-30s, the Iron Moat area ended up as two traffic tunnels at the bottom of all the layers of tunnels and walkways, and got the names Norra Järngraven and Södra Järngraven – Northern and Southern Iron Moat.

This is part of what I love the most about Stockholm – there is always a story behind everything you see. Sometimes a very long and old story.

13 x 12 cm, UniPin ink fineliner and PITT Artist brush pens in Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook.

Sketchcrawl #41

Sunday, October 20th, 2013


We were only two participants at the 41st sketchcrawl in Stockholm this Saturday, would have been great to have more company, but me and David Meldrum had a good time anyway. The view from the top floor of Stadsmuseet (the City Museum) in Stockholm was our first stop, with Slussen beneath our feet (which suited me fine, of course), but I had severe problems finding any focus at all in this sketch, it turned out a bit messy. On the other hand, Slussen is a bit messy, so… ;)


After that, the museum café sounded like a good idea, and for once, I actually drew with pencil. A mechanical pencil at that! Wish I had had some softer leads for it, the sketch is a bit bleak. But it felt really good to do a serious perspective exercise, should probably do that a bit more often – with of without pencil.

27 x 21,5 cm, top: TWSBI Diamond 580 with Platinum Carbon ink and watercolours, bottom: Kuru Toga mechanical pencil, both on Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook spread.

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