When I was in my teens I used to do aquarelles of the very typical houses of the Stockholm archipelago. They were not depictions of actual houses but rather my fantasies of ideal ones. And they were more than houses, they were living things, perhaps growing out of the dirt like mushrooms. These thoughts have come back to me, here’s a recent one.
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.