Study of Mondrian

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.

By Piet Mondrian, 1930.

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New atelier at Färgkontoret Plan Fyra

I moved my atelier to the art collective Plan Fyra at Färgkontoret, the old Swedish art paint manufacturer Beckers’ old offices in Liljeholmen, Stockholm. A lovely almost cubic space with much air and a great view. For the first time I could extend the easel to the maximum without hitting the ceiling. The art collective Plan Fyra is a community of creative people of all trades. Very inspiring individuals.

Ateljé Plan Fyra 2

Portrait commissioned

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.

Liljevalchs Spring Salon 2010

The oil Stray Parade was chosen for the prestigious Vårsalongen (The Liljevalchs Spring Salon), January 29 – March 28, 2010, Stockholm, Sweden.

Liljevalchs 2010

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.

Record cover commissioned

The Stray Parade is the name of Niklas Hagen’s private music project, separate from other band engagements. Niklas needed a cover for his upcoming record and I needed a deadline. He had quite specific ideas, I made a sketch and Niklas thought it was spot on. Based on the sketch I started the time-consuming task of realizing this picture. Apart from numerous experiments for all the different materials represented, the square composition was perhaps the most challenging. It took several trials before understanding how I should break “the rules” to give the image its proper realism. The underpainting is in egg tempera and the overpainting in oil.

Stray parade

Stray parade, 2009, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm.

Studies of Caravaggio

Some recent studies of the artwork of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Caravaggio sketch 040125 1

Detail from Judith beheading Holofernes, 1598. The woman was Caravaggio’s favourite model Filli di Melandroni. What hit me was her richness in expression; it seems like she wants to express hate, but what comes out is rather hesitation, disgust and almost surprise or curiosity. Note the slight highlight indicating her jawbone.

Caravaggio sketch 040125 2

Detail from Saint Catherine of Alexandria, 1598. Same model. In this painting she is just overly angelic. Melandroni must have had one of those faces that at all time seem to be just about to tell you something, but never does. Living, but silent. The almost straight angle between her neck and left shoulder, the little pucker separating them, the shadows cast by her chin and nose.

Caravaggio sketch 040410 1

Detail from The Crucifixion of Saint Peter, 1600-1601. I was fascinated by the voluminousness of the old man’s body, the sharp shades of light on his belly and the distinctness of the lines in the fabric. He seems so strong.

Caravaggio sketch 040410 2

Detail from The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, 1601-1602. The absurdity of the little finger and the overall dance of the hand struck me.