I actually finished this years ago. The figure is an unfinished underpainting with the plan to do an experiment in Caravaggio chiaroscuro. But the grisaille against the rose madder lake background made me hesitate, I liked it too much. I had longed to make a chiaroscuro portrait so I was hesitant wether to continue or not. Other work came in the way and the decision was postponed.
One day an artist friend came by. She reacted with amazement. I trust her artistic intuition, so when telling her my plans, she said: No, it’s finished! You must see that!
She has guided me before in aesthetic dilemmas. I now do consider the painting finished, and I can—tail between legs—finally varnish it and deliver it to my brother.
Decades of living, feeling, longing and thinking. Ideas and images spurring from a child’s heart up into adulthood. Three years of writing and three years of rewriting. Then one day it was ready enough to be let go of.
I’m referring to my novel that is being sent off to two dozen publishers and literary agents. The story takes place in a vagely defined 20th century vision of the Stockholm archipelago with its thirty thousand islands. I call it a witnessed tale about the borderland between saga and reality and the young Ivan’s confrontation with the dreams and horrors of childhood. Adventure, auto-fiction, Socratic dialogue and mythic realism.
I wish you luck, dear book!
For fun and as a warmup exercise I made a study of Piet Mondrian’s Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow from 1930. The work is an example of the Dutch artistic movement De Stijl or neoplasticism. They advocated pure abstraction by a reduction to the vertical and horizontal directions, and used only primary colors along with black and white.
I recently finished a portrait on commission. It was delivered as a surprise in June 2010. The recipient knew nothing beforehand and was a bit startled to see me at his 60th birthday, where only close friends and family were invited. When the painting eventually was carried in and uncovered he understood. He was very happy. He said he knew exactly what he thinks when he has that look, that he recognized the careless hairdo and explained why the cushion is hanging from the steering wheel. These little details reveal the story of a man’s entire life.
Old Mr. Esters, 2010, oil on canvas, 70 x 100 cm.
The oil Stray Parade was chosen for the prestigious Vårsalongen (The Liljevalchs Spring Salon), January 29 – March 28, 2010, Stockholm, Sweden.
Stray parade, 2009, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm.
“The Spring Salon is Stockholm’s surest, and perhaps earliest, sign of spring. This year’s jury comprises Pontus Hammarén, Director of Alingsås konsthall, Karolina Peterson, Director of Mjellby konstmuseum, and Claudia Schaper, Curator at Kristianstad konsthall. Liljevalchs konsthall is represented by Mårten Castenfors and Mårten Åhsberg, who chairs the jury. The concept of a jury-selected Spring Salon is based on a fine old French tradition. Since the 1920s, Liljevalchs’ version of this arrangement has driven some people up the wall, while others have appreciated the salon’s democratic ambitions. All the works are for sale!”
For more information see Liljevalchs’ homepage.
I participated in Pike’s project Open Book. My contribution was the skull on the right. The book was published in 2009.
Here is a link to Pike’s Open Book Tumblr page.