June 26, 2016

Letters, Dalírium and Hospitalisation

I hope that I'll get to finish this one (I'll get to the reason below) which is all in homage to the melting Dalí watch, sine qua non. I started with this, wondering: Dalí painted his first soft watches in the early Thirties (when they were already beginning to fall out of fashion) and today they're quite uncommon. Does this make them more or less surreal?

This is how far I got "at press time". Especially O, and then N, forms the basis for the others:

I suppose that it's no mean feat to keep this blog up and running for week after week, year after year without missing a beat (at least not by very much) -- but I'm human. As I write this I'm going to hospital where they're going to do quite awful things to my face, all thanks to the madman of last week (q.v.) so we'll see if I'm fit for Paintstakingly next week or too much in Pain, or too deep into hospitalisation. Spur-of-the-moment drawing:

June 19, 2016

Black Eye Peacock

Within a few days, a fortnight maximum I'll have to face surgery -- my cheekbone is broken -- but at least I finished this... I've been assaulted by yet another madman -- this time despite all precautions, on an ordinary subway train and not during the latest empty hours either -- so happily there were others there. Now, what can one do? The black eye -- this is funny English as it's actually a beautiful deep purple -- a hue that would grace a peacock. So it ended up like this:

Here you see some of the work in progress. The eyes...

Beginning on the peacock...

Then it wasn't difficult (save but for the constant pain) to sketch the outlines for the rest. Note that the downy neck of the bird is related to the beard...

So. Let's make the lines a little better.

Close to my home there's a nice Japanese family and they grow a most beautiful Cherry tree, so I took some pictures when it was in full bloom...

...and now I use some for the peacock.

What else can you do with a purple black eye?

June 12, 2016

Beginning, Perhaps Without an End

I don't know if I'll ever get around to finishing this one. But starting things is fun. From the middle of the jumble, inked (oil might join -- if I feel like it)

Another detail. (You see some pencil too that I haven't cared to erase yet.)

It is really a little too elaborate, and we'll see if I'll make it any further. And as for the Meaning of the whole thing... I'm the last one to know, as usual. But there's a point in pointlessness, and especially Sweden, so sure of itself, so rational, so purposeful... is a country that gravely needs pointlessness.

June 05, 2016

Head Under Reconstruction

For this image, which might be an allegory on clearing your mind, renovating the head or at least thinking the other way round, I thought the other way round...

I started with the computer; made lines that I printed out and then went over with wide watercolour washes. I usually finish with computer, and if I work by hand, I start there... Then I scanned the lot and added details digitally; the flags and tape, the rose and other lesser things. This way we got both precision -- where sought for -- and living sweeps.

I like the red balloon. Gives one hope, doesn't it?

This part -- as usual, I don't know what it means. If it does.

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...

...got 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.