May 29, 2016

Nailed Down

And this one is for dear Wifek of Tunisia (an artist in her own right). I complained -- I was rather grumpy -- that all I could think of was yet another piece of allegorical suffering, and she sort of thought that I should try anyway to capture this feeling of being Nailed Down and getting Nowhere. I'm not entirely happy about art for therapy, I'd prefer to sing happier tunes (or want to believe that I do -- not the same thing, perhaps). But I suppose that we all feel it from time to time. So, I hope you'll enjoy.

It wasn't very demanding technically. Ink on paper... improved by my usual electric faux hues. Detail: Even the sun is stuck.

One could add a bit of gleam to the nails too; so why not?

Up close (original size: letter) you see the fine nib lines becoming coarse and sketchy, but as they still work I don't mind. And the hues underneath are okay, too. Perhaps the earth tones are a wee bit too stark. But so is the feeling of being nailed down.

May 22, 2016

Arms, Boxes and Bubbles

This sketch was started more than half a year ago and got finished right now. (It's working title was Job Application Fatigue, for reasons irrelevant now.) After the colourful thing last week, I used it to make something in a lower key. I kept the lines and the background, already in my favourite sepia...

...and with a few alterations, such as more bubbles and another arm, I added a little mottling electric pastel -- creating, I hope, a dampened but not entirely lifeless palette.

-- Do you know why the arms are eagerly rising from the boxes, perhaps with some kind of lofty credentials in hand? And why are there hints of slugs crawling about? (Are they slugs?) What happens if one cynical hand makes a bubble burst? If you know that... then you know more than I do.

May 15, 2016

The Rucksack of Life -- Finished

I'm a little ambivalent concerning the colours of the finished result (as for the motif, please see the previous week). I find the scale a little garish, a little Crayola Naïf, and can't decide whether its cheerfulness contrasts or actually goes quite well with the motif:

At some point (I think I've said this before, but this being post #180 or so of Paintstakingly...) one has to let go and let the work live its own life. The question is when.

One could try to be realistic, or even photosurrealistic, which is exciting for a little while (the Internet is teeming with the loyal puppies of Maestro Dalí) but I wondered what the point would be. Did the drawings suffice? Yes. Was there any point in adding shadows in absurdum? Nope. Does everything have to look like an oil or a photo, merely to please current taste (or lack thereof)? Nope. Then, thought I, we're ready to serve the dish.

Working digitally, some of the details started as thumbnail scribbles while I saw the whole on the screen; when you zoom in you see that the pen doesn't grip on the microscopical scale. It's not entirely bad; now you have the general form and one may discover new things if the pen is interpreting the lump freely. This became a cairn of sorts -- probably because I thought of hiking and rucksacks. I wonder what it is thinking about.

This part -- I started with a tree and ended up with rectangles -- is more difficult to explain. Perhaps what I do is children's drawings for adults who have to unlearn Understanding About Everything, as adults are prone to do. (This Understanding About Everything has created a perfectly confusing world, impossible to understand.)

A final look at the Rucksack!

May 08, 2016

The Rucksack of Life -- Work in Progress

I can thank friend Cecilia for helping me to come up with this idea, sadly not a finished work yet. Many other things have been on the illustrator's mind; commercial works that one can't show to you, at least not yet, trying to make a somewhat neglected dinghy ready for sea, recording with the little orchestra et al. Anyhow we had this conversation on the Rucksack of Life. What we carry with us in the form of experience and feelings, from early childhood and all the way up, never truly leaves us. It's the content, some good and some bad, of an ever expanding rucksack that we have to carry all the way up.

(Somewhere, I think, it grows so large that you can't carry it yourself -- that's where you need friends and support.)

I've modelled the bag on a very popular children's rucksack, I had one and most other Swedes react to it with nostalgia. In my case it's hiking with the family in the mountains... There are large varieties for grownups too. My little trick here -- which'll hopefully look better with the landscape put in -- is to let perspective work on everything but the bags (so that they'll grow on us). As for the rest of the landscape I am slowly gaining ideas, and there is still room for plenty of surprises in it.

Here is how it started out; a sketch among others... Sketching and thinking I've always considered being the most important part of the work. This, and being a little mindless.

With a little luck I'll finish this work next week. Stay tuned.

May 01, 2016

Draconic Organ

Organists are not normal. Bravely they march into the jaws of churches they've never visited before, only to meet the Organ: a vicious, untrusty creature, with who knows how many little quirks, gained through many years -- I've heard they're individuals, all with different oddities... And here the organist comes, perhaps playing music on this creature that they've never heard before, straight from the sheet. And do it well too. A very unclassic musician can but admire.

Detail. I haven't bothered with being "realistic" at all. I find it boring. The pale, delicate hands got interesting forms, I think? -- The stops have various nonsense inscribed. Wonder how they sound.

Note that the keys go in interesting angles. (The pipes were multiplied in my Box of Wonders. Thus I could spend more time doing the first one well.)

(For Helena, who gave me the idea :-)

April 24, 2016

My Vicious Circles

Thoughts that refuse to leave your mind. Persistent memories of a certain kind: They insist on returning to the person, event, days and places you'd rather not, they go round and round... A good friend complained about her "vicious circles", and without further ado, here they are. I hope that they become less vicious and circular with time.

Steel pen, gentle digital colouring, and if I ever make a poster out of it it'll look a little coarse resized, up close. Why not. Circular thoughts are coarse. Or even rude.

When thoughts are going 'round, around
There's nothing much to do.
I hope that they are somewhat false
As up and down they go.
So difficult to remember!
When they fill your mind
When they really top all over:
only in your mind...
They're only in your mind...

April 17, 2016

How I Almost Died

The following doodle, whatever it might be worth, is not bad for having been done by a potentially dead person. Yours Sincerely was robbed a few weeks ago, and now feels the post-trauma settling nicely. Refusing to give up his wallet, and defending himself too little and too late, he was thus beaten into near-unconsciousness (with faint memories of having his jacket pulled of from him in the March cold by it, who had asked for a cigarette and then started beating quite surprisingly. The teeth still have to be corrected).

How nice.

As for the police, who questioned the bleeding face a few hours afterwards, they were mostly interested in the race of the offender and seemed mildly disappointed that it (I refuse to call it a person) wasn't entirely African or so, and put the investigation down sooner than you can say Hey Presto. So it might be interesting to a few to know that, thanks to the priorities of Local Law Enforcement, this lump without a soul is still scampering freely about in West Stockholm, maiming and killing locals at will.

Now, Here's the doodle. Rabbit, or so. How one might feel.

A closer look.

An earlier attempt at dealing with the subject will likely get scrapped. I got this far but didn't feel like it. I got the kind advice by a friend to draw "what lives in your hand" -- very poetical, and I received it with gratitude -- but didn't feel things living in my hand really. I remember there was a lot of blood.

April 10, 2016

Bent Jazz Trombone

Once upon a time I worked for a Jazz Club, and I made so many posters and whatnots that originals still surface. Found one right now! It was Ink and Aqua then, always (things do change fast) with a little digital embossing. I think that I used this bent jazz trombone for a newsletter.

Mildly but still consistently I infused a bit of surrealism into my works. I did a lot of cruel things to instruments -- this trombone got bent. Other instruments were melting, frying, or in mild bloom... it was Jazz, of sorts.

April 03, 2016

Lesser Pollution Demon, a Sketch.

Introducing Ms. (?) Swoosh-Osh, one of the Lesser Demons of Aviation. She (?) is nonetheless quite active in the skies above our nearby little airport around 5 p.m. daily, plane after plane come in by then, probably filled with winged commuters of one sort or another. I was testing a cell phone camera and took many -- too many -- notes of the incessant little monsters of Swoosh-Osh. (The latter I had to draw by hand.

I somehow like the coarse, raw style and did little to draw it cleaner, rather ruffling the pen-and-cardboard further with electric coarse hues. It fit well with the cruelty of pollution et al. -- and the all too sad, lustreless background (patched together with fine Frankenstein stitching): Early spring gloom.

March 27, 2016

Marketing The Great Show (and lesser ones)

Full credit for the letterhead of our quartet Haffsårkestern goes to multi-talent Corinne (top left) who also sing, play the guitar, the kazoo and sometimes the Waldorf flute... (And this link leads you straight to the event.) The pianist/illustrator merely added a little colour to that one, getting quite lost in Photoshop filters before landing here:

I think the idea with the black-and-white portraits (that were to be kept as simple as possible) on some sort of coloured background belonged to Max, who plays even more instruments that I can think of. Guitar, bass, mandolin, accordion? -- can't remember -- banjo for sure... I give up. Studio wizard too. Then we have (last but not least) Cecilia...

...whose fair voice I've also had the joy to have with me on tour in this duet, "Wild Raspberries" (Vildhallon). As usual, I had to make it rather quickly (it's part of the art) but I think it turned out allright nevertheless. Thorns for a bit of wild, hearty rawness. And berries for, well, good fruity folk music et al.

It's fun to draw for music... Vice versa, once I started to write music that was to go with a painting, aeons ago now. But I never got that very far. After a few beats I happened to sell it, and it only made music in my wallet for a while.

March 20, 2016

Perhaps It's the Flu

Without further ado I give you this Sickbed Meditation on, well, sensing how the rest of the World is enjoying itself, while the rest of the stomach wanted 1) well, not to serve as a stomach at all and 2) aspired to serve as a brain instead, with various sewery thoughts gargarrruuffluffglopping about instead of mentality.

The paper had a crease in it, a severe one, and then you might fight against or go with it. My energy was needed elsewhere. So I went with, as you see, with my usual fraternal sympathy for all things useless and discarded. When this one was done, I needed sleep badly (still do) and it's no good idea to stare at glaring screens then. So it was ballpoint (initially careful) with no possibility of correcting it. You can't correct life. So perhaps this drawing is Life, just a little. Detail:

March 13, 2016

Some Light Sketchwork

Yours sincerely has been very tired (being happy to work with music too, had a great little concert yesterday but is now in equally great need of sleep) and is not entirely happy about the thing that he really wanted to show you, not yet... so here we have some light sketchwork, food for thought. I don't think that you've seen this one:

I read that I called it "Postcard from Silicon Valley" -- don't know why. But why not?

This one I called "Sad and Useless Object no. 1". I suppose that I wasn't in any mood really. But it doesn't look entirely sad now... the white bird is smiling, isn't it? Other forms are less definite, and what you see in them might depend on your mood.

I wish you a Happy Sunday :)

March 06, 2016

Crayon Monster and A Finished Movie

So I got the little promotional for my experimental CD finished at last. Voilà.

One normally finds me in the blues/folk corner, but this is where my muses led me, laughing hard. (Now I am happily heading back to the where I belong, writing new songs and planning new adventures with the dear Quartet...) With this over and done, I had to take my little threat of the other week seriously and draw you something monstrous with some misfit materials that I found.

The bestiary:

1) An old but still ordinary pencil (for sketching. Still worked like one)
2) The piece of chalc-ish. (I'm not sure what it is, strictly materially speaking.) It really brought life to the highlights.
3) A blue felt pen (too dominant, didn't use much at all)
4) The thick, fat marker that I made the black mouth with. It is darker than the outlines, which turned out to be a good effect. (Or so I think.)
5) A marker pen, the kind that you use to make bored highlights in textbooks with. Not what you'd use for art; thus a Must Have.
6) Wax crayons and classic Crayola's. They didn't seem to like each other too well, and I worked with them as you do with pastels -- you leave a grainy room for the next nuance. The coarse recycled paper (see previous week) worked wonders here. -- A little violence also helped.
7) Colour pencils, or whatever they are. Very, very shy. The blue you see a little, the yellow ones I felt sorry for.
8) My trusty ball point pen. Blue outlines aren't as common as black. Nor are brown, cinnamon red or moss green outlines. Why? Food for thought.

I like the detail with the childish creature. Makes the whole thing all the creepier. This total trust...

Ps. Now if you find this eerie, think of all the things that many grown-ups trust: Leaders, the State -- or even Cure-all Ideas as such... brrrrrrrr-rr-rrrr.

February 28, 2016

Squirming Recycled Paper Dance drawn during a meeting that dragged into the endless; it had some fussbudget in it that went on over some trifle in the way that fussbudgets always do. So the figure had to squirm like the meeting did, perhaps dancing in some impossible way...

I'm still in love with my 100% recycled paper -- perhaps I told you before that it stood there alone on the shelf, feeling rejected. I felt a little lonely on my shelf too, and instant bonding occurred. I suppose that one could and perhaps should use fine materials on it, oil pastels and gouache and the best ink... but now I tend to go for ballpoint pens -- cheap and underrated as they are. They arrived too late to have a place in the traditional art world.

In the modern art world, Art can be Anything and be created with Anything, even ballpoint pens, which is compensated by not letting it be created by Anyone. So we select a select few and call them Artists, and then we decide that what they do is Art. Basta. -- We may always debate what Art is. And the debate will invariably be led by the same circles (also very select) that selected the Artists that are Artists so that the discussion isn't led by just Anyone, q.v. And this gives me a sort of squirmy feeling too, but I digress.

Anyhow, I am stimulated by the fact that the "paper with nine lives" (or so the manufacturers call it) seems to have many stories behind the present pages. It has seen life! -- in the form of chocking newspaper headlines, it has been love letters and death notices, it has carried bored doodles and revelations... I hope that their unknown pages of the past somehow, through some impossible dance, shall echo in what I happen to draw, a song for all the Others.

A closer look. I change the colours a little. See if feelings get warmer too.

Now, if I am drawn to slightly off and rejected materials... I think that I saw an old box of children's crayons the other day in my Muddle, Sweet Muddle; and some very dry felt pens. Hmmm. I really should finish that video first but... Hmmmm again?


Ps. If you're curious, my particular block of reincarnated paper was born again in Latvia, found through this link.

February 21, 2016

Working Insomnia Sketch

Made instead of sleep, some nights due, so have mercy. The Vernissage that had killed so many nights before went fine, with lots of sweet dearies and gentlepeople showing up. Sadly, I could not show digital works there, such as the one below:

We'll take a closer look. A rosy red was just what this tired little study needed.

And now (as I write this it's a bit past midnight, and not even the right one) I think it's time for sleep...

February 14, 2016

Valentine Mechanics

Ah, Valentine! How strange isn't the machinery that deals between kisses and rejections, that sets souls aflame or on ice! Thus spinneth the wheel of fortune, driven by some intricate clockwork behind the Eye of the Beholder. It might not be very accurate. -- Being cogwheels, I am going to animate them later for my little music video mentioned last week. -- Anyhow, here it is: Valentine Mechanics ...

A closer look, dearies!

I started out with a ballpoint pen on a 100% recycled paper that I've just fallen in love with. It's very coarse and rough but honest and sincere, and I might tell you more after Valentine. Perhaps we'll stay happy together.

(I've just made the cogs spin. The nails fit into each other all the way through in my little animation, drawn freehand. I just had to break a few natural laws.)

Cheers! A Happy Valentine to those who valentinise!
-- Hugs, kisses and tic toc.

February 07, 2016

Vernissage Birdsong

I am still making birdsong for my Vernissage, which'll just intensify until the actual event... (After that I'll collapse like a dead Norwegian Blue Parrot.) Now you've seen The Music in Me so many times that I point you directly to my vernissage page on Facebook instead. But the letterhead for that ad is new and perhaps a little interesting...

With the benefits of digital painting, one might copy letters that resemble each other...

...and then bind them together.

Of course one might save even more time and use some gaudy font from the giant box of fonts that we now have. But it is Not That Fun! I love the craft, the shaping and re-shaping of letters... and I suspect that I, somewhwere deep down, love the waste of time too.

While all this is going on I still animate a little -- should practice for a concert too, how much to do! -- fairly "limited animation", but still something to look at. These are my strange mechanical birds...

And yes, they blow cute little bubbles. Po-te-weet!