Archive for the ‘travels’ Category

Cars and coolness

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Saab 92 de luxe

Sometimes drawing is great in so many ways. Sweden has had a heat wave lately, it´s been 32°C every day for quite some time now, both in Stockholm and elsewhere. Anywhere you go, you sweat. Sitting in the shade doesn´t help much.


Visiting my in-laws, I found out there is a vehicle museum nearby. I thought I might as well do something useful in spite of the heat, so I went over there to draw some cars. Turns out the museum had a lovely temperature of 18°C inside! Sweet relief! So, apart from having a great time drawing some beautiful cars, I was cool and comfortable the whole afternoon. :)


Thanks to the nice people at Torsby fordonsmuseum, for letting me hang around drawing!

Top two drawings: 21 x 14 cm, UniPin fineliner and watercolours in Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook. Bottom drawing: Duke calligraphy nib fountain pen with Platinum carbon ink, and Pentel Pocket brush, and watercolours, on Fabriano Artistico cool press 200 g watercolour paper in handbound Russell Parry sketchbook.

Last days of Naples workshop, part 4

Sunday, July 13th, 2014



I am back from a bit of a posting hiatus – or vacation in a slow internet environment, honestly. Trying to catch up with scanning and posting now. These are the last sketches from the Urban Sketchers Naples Inventory workshop days. After the fantastically strange Cimitero delle Fontanelle (see previous post) we took on the challenge of the busy market street Via Pignasecca, where I held my workshop session. The challenge was to sketch in the street among lots of people, and to try three different ways of collecting what you see around you in such a complex place – we tried the chaotic way, the grid style and the focused collection. I only made two line drawings myself, and added colours later, because I was mostly walking around to see how everyone was doing. But I would have loved to sketch more in this busy environment, there was such an abundance of visual information here, messy, colourful and always moving, and although it was difficult to capture it, it was totally worth the effort.


In the second part of the workshop, we were all drawing from the platform of the Montesanto funicular and train station, which meant we had a slight bird´s view over the street. I didn´t manage much, but the participants made some fantastic work here!



After a feedback session on the very hot station roof, where the kind station manager brought us several bottles of ice cold water, we headed on to see the workshop exhibition in the Ramaglia art supply shop, where both instructors and participants exhibited sketch work during these four days. (Photo below by participant Massimo Messina – thanks a lot for helping me out with the camera!)


Then, on the last day of the workshop, we headed into Quartieri Spagnoli, where street artists Cyop & Kaf have left a trail of fantastic paintings on doors and walls, and Simo Capecchi had us all trying to unfold the lost story of their imagery. Drawing in these blocks of Napoli was a really special experience, where some passers-by were at first a little apprehensive of us capturing the work of their fav artists, and then, after understanding what we were up to, showing us where we could find more! :)


I was so thrilled by how these guys have developed their very own world of imagery and stories, and managed to make it something that the local inhabitants seem proud of having on their walls. Very inspiring indeed!




After lunch, we found ourselves at the very last point on the workshop schedule – the collective sketchcrawl afternoon around Palazzo Reale. I tried my hand at the smashing view of the harbor and Mount Vesuvius from the terrace behind the palace. I was so tired here – happy tired! – for four days of constant seeing and drawing takes it´s toll on both instructors and participants, even if it´s in a positive way. I kind of felt like I squeezed out the last few drops of paint and energy in this view, and I didn´t quite finish it, but I´m happy with it anyway. It was the end of an incredibly inspiring four day experience, where I had the luxury of being both instructor and participant in workshops all evolving around the fantastic place that is Naples.




After this, a long sleep, and then the return flights to Stockholm. And of course some airport sketches to go with it. :)


Cimitero delle Fontanelle – Naples workshop, part 3

Friday, June 20th, 2014


Cimitero delle Fontanelle is one of the most peculiar places I´ve been to. One of Simo Capecchi´s workshop sessions during the Urban Sketchers Naples Inventory workshop took place here, in this old tuff quarry-turned-graveyard. Skulls and bones are piled neatly along the walls in the many rooms of this place, and even though there is lighting and candles in some places, the overall impression is darkness and stillness.



These caves have been used as a graveyard during the plague in the 17th century and the cholera epidemic in the 19th century. Over time, a cult emerged, where local people started “adopting” skulls, giving them names, building little houses for them, and laying down little gifts on or around them. Eventually, the church banned this cult, and the little houses look age-old, but some of the gifts look curiously new…


Surprisingly enough, I didn´t find it especially scary or eerie to walk around here, but it is a bit mind-boggling to think that all of these skulls were actually once real, living people. It would be interesting to hear their stories.


All drawings: drawn on 21 x 15 cm Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook pages.

Naples Inventory, part 2

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014


The beginning of day 2 of the Naples Inventory workshop was spent in Museo di Zoologia in Naples – a museum so hidden that I doubt I would have found it even if I was looking for it. We had a look at Franco Lancio´s exhibition of three  little zen animals, Tza, Tzi and Ki, that he found and put together. Then Federico Gemma asked all the participants to capture eight different species of animals in just under two hours, in different techniques. I´m not a fast sketcher, but I managed, even if I had to hurry with that poor ermine. And I even squeezed in a ninth, the caracal, just before leaving. :)



The afternoon was spent at Museo Archeologico, where Caroline Peyron had us working in layers again. She brought us to the “scrap statue room” (feels a little blasphemous to call it that, but it seemed to be just that – the place where they put all the statues that are broken or misplaced, or just don´t fit in the exhibition). I found these two guys standing behind one another, and was intrigued by their difference in scale, and the drama of the blue guy sort of trying to stab the innocent looking fella. ;)


Then added another layer when we entered the actual exhibition – the incredibly calm faces of two marble women.


Another try:



And then another one, just because I couldn´t get enough of the marble ladies. They looked so serene and still so empty with their blank eyes…


In the evening, we went to see a tableaux vivants and live sketching performance by Teatri 35 at Riot Studio, where three actors made the paintings of Caravaggio come alive. The performance was very beautiful and dramatic, and constantly moving – and of course, the point of us being there was to sketch the whole thing. All I can say is that it is INCREDIBLY difficult to draw fast moving versions of Caravaggio´s paintings.




All drawings drawn on 22 x 15 cm pages of a Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook, using various ink pens, pencil, fountain pens, coloured pencil and watercolours.

Workshop in Naples, part 1

Monday, June 16th, 2014


I have just returned home from Naples, where I had the honor of being invited as an instructor to Simo Capecchi´s and Caroline Peyron´s workshop Naples Inventory. I had such a great time, meeting so many incredibly nice participants and other instructors. I also experienced Naples, which is a city unlike any other I have visited – an intense, faded beauty, vibrant with life and full of surprises around every corner! Of course Simo and Caroline brought us all to the most varied, unaccessible and fantastic places in town for the workshops, most of which I would never have found as a ‘normal’ tourist.


The first workshop day started off with me and Federico Gemma doing a demo each on the terraces of Museo Nitsch. The view I had in front of me would have deserved a whole day of drawing, but having only one hour I went for a small part of it.

Next up was a stop at Bosco Capodimonte, where we all had a go at the fantastic Fontana del Bramante (or was it called Fontana Belvedere? Noone was really sure…) while enjoying a tasty veggie picnic that Slowlina brought to us. (I don´t usually put links to non-art related companies on my blog, but these guys really deserve all the attention they can get – I have never had such great picnic food and in such fabulous packaging. Kudos to you, guys!)


I haven´t seen a fountain like this before, it had kind of it´s own little eco system – much like the gaffophone of Gaston that I used to read about as a kid. ;)

In the afternoon Caroline Peyron had us drawing in layers of transparent paper, inside the restauration laboratory and the ballroom of Museo di Capodimonte. The themes for the drawings were Order and Disorder. VERY inspiring technique, I have to try some more of this layer work on my own, I almost couldn´t stop once we got started on this. There is something about the layers of different drawings that I really like.




All images: 21 x 14,5 cm, slightly more for those who stretch across the gutter of the book. Mostly ink pens and watercolours on Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook pages.

Östra Stranden, Halmstad

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Another sketch from our trip to Halmstad (scroll sideways to see the whole thing). Halmstad is a true summer city with nice beaches along the coast, though the beach season hasn´t quite started het. We went to Östra stranden (”East beach”) to take a walk and I sat down to sketch for a while.


We picked some seashells (why is it you always have to do that on a beach? It´s not like you haven´t done it before, right?) but I had to add them to the drawing later – after about twentyfive minutes my hands were deep frozen, due to a harsh wind from the sea.

45 x 15 cm, pencil, grey Copic Multiliner SP and watercolours on Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook spread.


Sunday, May 4th, 2014


I do drive too, but this is my fav distribution of work when traveling – my dear M driving while I tend to the drawing. Somebody´s gotta do it, right? ;)

We took a mini vacation in Halmstad on the west coast this weekend. The weather was cold-ish but sunny there, while incredibly bad in Stockholm, so it seems we picked the right weekend to go.


I spent about an hour sketching Stora Torg (Big Square) in Halmstad the next day. The city center of Halmstad is really pretty, with lots of old buildings (that church over there is the oldest, from the 1400s). I would have loved to do more sketches, but we had a lot of relaxing to do too, so…

Quite a few people stopped for a chat while I was drawing, and one lady suddenly stood right in front of me and spread her arms out in a dramatic pose, asking “”Will I look ok like this?”. Gotta love the Halmstad dwellers and their sense of humour. : )

Top drawing:22 x 14,5, UniPin fineliner, PITT artist brush pen, grey Copic Multiliner SP brush tip and watercolours, bottom drawing: UniPin fineliner, grey Copic Multiliner SP fineliner and watercolours, both on Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook pages.

Draw Gaudí – workshop in Barcelona, June 26-29, 2014

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014


Come to Barcelona to discover the amazing architecture of Antoni Gaudí with us! I and my fellow Urban sketcher Swasky will lead the workshop DRAW GAUDI from the 26-29th June 2014.
Together with the participants, we will visit and sketch our way through all the great works of Gaudí.

You will find workshop program, travel and contact details for download here:

Swasky is the author of “Enjoy Gaudí”, a book in the same series as my “Drawing around Sagrada Família”. Drawing on Location workshops are organized by Zahori de Ideas, the creative publisher behind these books.

Puerto de la Luz

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014


One last sketch from Las Palmas. I spent a few hours drawing in the harbor on our last day there. There is something about worn down industrial environments and big rusty ships that is so tempting to draw. I wish I could have come closer to some of these boats, but most of them were off limits for pedestrians. It would be great to be able to go onboard one of these old workhorses and draw what´s on deck up close.

Approx. 18 x 13 cm, PITT artist pen and watercolours in Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook.

Iglesia de San Juan Bautista

Sunday, March 16th, 2014


Not far from Las Palmas, there is a small town called Arucas, where there is this huge black church, looming high over the rest of the buildings – quite a sight. There are big churches all over Europe, but to me, this one is really special, because it is so fantastically big in comparison to the surrounding buildings. It´s as if it was built to the wrong scale!

I had to draw it, of course, and sat for about an hour and a half trying to do something to convey the feeling of standing in front of it, but honestly – this church is too much to fit on a sketchbook page.

(Click image for bigger view.)

21,5 x 14,5 cm, UniPin fineliner and watercolours on Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook spread.

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