September 17, 2019

Undergrounders


As I was searching through my digital debris for old works that one might print again, I stumbled across this:


It was published in 2014. I made it for a magazine named Ohana, and to the best of my knowledge it is no more, at least not in its old form. The article I wrote, called "Stockholm Underground", definitely isn't. It was about underground culture here, which I might consider myself a part of, so it was easy to write. I don't remember if this accompanying illustration was easy to draw. It probably was. Here they are, seeing daylight after five years:
The underground artists, emerging from their hideout...


August 25, 2019

Fruity Kiwi Surrealism


"OMG! It's so delightfully...pointless!" -- somebody would say. "Just like life!"
"Thank you", I would answer, feeling just a bit more alive.

The idea for this little scene came as a natural thing; I shot this fruit -- half a fruit -- from a few angles, with an inkling that some inspiration might appear. And voilà. I call the image Kiwi Conversation:


For some reason (I might've said this before) mere photoshopping as an end in itself doesn't really appeal to me. So I keep those partly coarse black lines, they somehow contrast nicely with the realism we could've had as the kiwis grow perfectly hairy legs.
"No artist tolerates reality", as Nietzsche said.


Last but not least: Some kind of ladyfrog. Why not? We're by the lakeside -- Lake Mälaren, W. Stockholm -- while the grass was shot in the southern suburbs. Ribbit.




August 04, 2019

From Transylvania with Love


The illustrator had fun sketching this little book cover. Our beloved Count Dracula biting the flag of the European Union was the author's brilliant idea.


(The treatise is about Romanian relationships with the European Union, economics, politics and other tasty stuff. There's also a Romanian version out there somewhere, so that the Count can read it.)

As soon as I stopped laughing -- of course I fell in love with the idea -- I hurried to put together this, with a looming castle, Transylvanian bats and the works.


Yummy! Served with a fresh glass of something red, I suppose.


August 01, 2019

Angry Oil Company Bears

Once upon a time there was a quaint little seaside town in W. Sweden known as Lysekil.

And all too near the town (on the same planet, actually) there was a huge oil refinery run by a company named "Preem". They had a yellow logo with a friendly bear, drawn in round, childishly wide green outlines. (Every Swede has seen it.) And under the sign of this friendly totem animal they wanted to double the size of the plant...

Fortunately, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency said No. The relatively rare Natterer's bat [Myotis nattereri] happened to live nearby. Next, the Court said No, and that's where we stand at publishing time. So, hooray for bats. (More about this here.)


Sorry, Lysekil. To turn your coat of arms into something more toxic (for that is what oil refineries do; they refine poison) was sort of irresistible...


...but my main target was that idiotic yellow Preem Bear. (You can see it, for instance, on their homepage where they tell you things as true as yellow bears are.*) So, here you get two angry ones (as if the one present wasn't bad enough) as some sort of heraldic supporters (sometimes known as Attendants, the Wiki says).

I took great care to make them as un-friendly as at all possible, and possibly a bit wicked at that.


One sometimes feels insufficient as an artist; what I can do is visual comments. The real battle, insofar it has been won (and don't say it's over yet) has been won by others. But one hopes to put light on stuff, or perhaps to inspire somehow. Someone has to blow the bugle.


* I believe that healthy bears tend to be white, black or brown? These poor yellow teddies (the green patches look a bit too chemical too) will suffer from preem-ature death, I'm sure...

July 19, 2019

Hommage à Delia, Finished




So I finished it at last. (I'm already a good way through a sticky oil, but more of that later someday.) Here it is, Hommage à Delia Derbyshire, the propagator of electronic music, master of cutting tapes beyond all recognition, hats off. I described the other week (q.v.) why she's surrounded by wine and Bach. (You can listen to the tune on YouTube.)


She sits here with a spoon and glass in her hands; all sounds that they wanted to turn inside out had to be recorded at the studio. No internet to browse through; no easily carried devices to do field recordings with. No DAW's*, no automatisation worth mentioning. She really was at the frontier. Let's rub a glass... cheers to the pioneer.



*Note for non-soundies: A Digital Audio Workstation is a computer program which does everything that Delia's BBC studio did, and a lot of things that those rooms crammed with tech couldn't. Some claim it's too easy nowadays, less of an art. I claim that there's no end of other ways to make the simple complicated (something which I'm good at) but that's another story.

June 28, 2019

Spinal Knot (He Paid Me Not)



There must be some special kind of dementia lingering among a certain few of those who come to me for illustrations. Particularily the area of logotypes, for reasons unknown, is afflicted. Dumbo of the day (or night, we had our bickering done in the middle of the night) was a Naprapath -- this is at least the first time I've been had by a naprapath. Now, what did he want? Well, he wanted a spine, tied in a Valknut knot. He wanted to pay for it, too, reluctantly, if he was pleased. Did I have some kind of guarantee?

I tried to explain that I'd rather not send an endless amount of sketches until he eventually was pleased. Not if he wasn't going to pay. (I know by experience that some people are essentially insatiable. Don't even try.) The customer-to-be was very understanding. Of course you need to get paid. But one sketch and five seconds later we were at it again.

So. He got a sketch of a spine, the embryo of what you see now, tied in a Valknut. And at once rejected his brainchild. Now when he could see it, he no longer wanted it.
"It looks like if the spine is broken."
"But you wanted..."
We discussed other possibilities, as if we had time (we had not, it was a rush job on his behalf). And within said five seconds, I had to explain yet again that artists, as well as naprapaths, need to get paid from the first vertebra. (This went on for a while.) And so the clock struck midnight. Mr. Bones went to bed. The Artist went up in flames. And happily stole the idea of a delightfully twisted spine of sorts, which is now yours to see. I might sell it as a poster someday. I imagine that it might get very popular among all other naprapaths, chiropractors etc who
1) might appreciate twisted art better and
2) are less knotty when it comes to payment.


June 17, 2019

Braking Instead of Breaking Down


For a pro, only working for fun is not funny. So I might keep this blog as a showpiece but don’t expect any regularity from me. I feel through with that. To get plenty of readers you have to update weekly, which I did for many years. So there is plenty to look at in the archives. But there is no reason to strain adding to the pile if there is little money in it and already much to see.

Look: Last time I had ads, people fled.
An appeal for donors led to even less (namely, nothing).
I am right now represented in a well visited web shop elsewhere – no result so far, so having one here (if I knew how to do it) would be silly. And lead me closer to the burnout that I already feel scorching me a bit. So there’s health considerations in slowing down too.


This one I do on commission; a portrait of Delia Derbyshire, electronic music pioneer, yet in ink only. There also has to be a lot of glasses, as the ones she painstakingly copied the sound of in her rendering of Bach’s Air. (It is said that she also needed lots of glasses for Lord-knows-what she tried to drown.)


I am still trying to find the energy -- not to mention the ounce of inspiration -- to finish it. Contrary to what some people say you need at least some little. You might call it "Spiritual Honesty" toward your work…




May 31, 2019

Black Heart



Made for a freshly created Twitter Account, we'll see if I'll use it. I once thought that a black heart would be cool on a flag, somehow. It's a simple symbol, and I loved the ambivalence, blue skies and here one is hanging, dark and moody...

I've often wondered how to find a balance between the salt and sugar of life in my art. Perhaps I shouldn't. Too complicated. Why not just let them hang there, side by side? It'll look impossible, but it'll look like Life.


PS. They don't let me add a Dislocation, so here you'll have a hearty, manual one.

May 28, 2019

Turning Flies Into Angels

Here we learn that if you have right card, you can turn angels into fl... no, the other way round.
(For a book.)


Detail.


May 18, 2019

Granada, Analogue Dream



This little piece doesn't have very much to do with Granada, Spain. It's the name of a bittersweet romance by Isaac Albéniz. It was stuck in my head while I painted this and I'm sure that it must have affected the outcome, with longing hands and dandelions (both are weeds) stretching for the unreachable.


Perhaps the silly (if not tragic) situation called Dating also was on my mind; far from impossible: One side to be constantly rejected and to get desperate and insane; the other side to deal, like Penelope, with this horde of suitors gone mad. And no Ulysses in sight.


The weather has been beautiful; Swedish summer before it gets too hot. And the urge to sit in front of a laptop has been absolutely nil. So here's my first draft for the little rant above (with the same pen) omissions and mistakes now replaced with other errors and lapsi calami. Voilà.

May 09, 2019

Extra Naïve Landscape with a Sailing Cup of...

...Coffee? Tea? Chocolate perhaps. Childish enough. Your choice for this simple pencil sketch (w. modest Photoshop embellishments).


My own thoughts were far from the ones of a 12 year old. But we'll save them for some other day. Look! Stars! Wonder what's up there.

April 27, 2019

Something with Fish In It


I really don't have any explanation for this ink-with-aqua. You're free to add your own.


The hall does have some fishy beings in it.


...and some really small details; the original is in the size of A4 (roughly letter size) and was made while I was waiting for other paint to dry.

April 11, 2019

Requiem for an Oak Tree


My parents had to pull it down, eventually. It saddened me a lot, of course; I grew up in its protective shadow, it had "always" been there (that the rings said "one generation" rather than "a millennium" didn't quite matter). Said protective shadow became threatening over the years, as heavy branches loomed over the house and if it would fall, it would clearly be in the direction of the house. So it had to go... Poor tree.

After some photos (you may see parts of the actual trunks to the left and the right) it was time for the gruelsome sketch.


The blood vessels and flow are of course branches and stem tweaked into red. A hollow oak nearby (ours wasn't hollow) made the fleshy cavity of the figurine. Her hair is made out of a very unruly willow tree that has never seen pruning or combing. You can't see it here, but it had magpies nesting in it. Life goes on.

March 28, 2019

Moods of a Coffee Cup

For a little music video that's in the making. The song in it is about coffee, and not about coffee -- it's loosely based on this wonderful ditty that Mississippi John Hurt is known for. So here goes... First, a happy cup:


I think that it looks a little smug?

A smug mug...

And here it looks definitely off. So it goes when you don't get your lovin' spoonful:


Poor little cup. When life is cold we want a strong one that's steaming hot:


March 15, 2019

Yoga for Introverts

It started out like this: A yoga guru demonstrated her skills somewhere on Instagram (where I am not exhibiting anything yet). She just turned up, quite randomly: Bend up, bend down, bend in, bend out, bend the bend and so on, and I made rough sketches of this meta bending on the top of each other. Tweaking back and fro, it all boiled into this...


All those twists and turns probably have cute names, Yoga positions usually have. Extended Puppy Pose, Half Lord of the Fishes Pose ("energizes the spine and stimulates the digestive fire") or "One-Legged King Pigeon Pose" (aka the Eka Pada Rajakapotasana -- now say that seven times in a row, quickly). But I don't know which ones these are.


Perhaps it was all those Indian names that made the patching together of our yogi (is that the right expression?) so colourful -- think of the Holi festival? Gods and goddesses with many arms, heads and so also come to my mind.


March 02, 2019

Announcing the Spring



Announcing the new season (or the wish for it, our spring is yet somewhat Arctic so far) with a few snowdrops...


A little warmer, a little sweeter, perhaps a little freer?

I've kept my usual heavy black outlines down. It gives a more "paintery" look, don't you think? But it takes more time...

February 15, 2019

Eyeflower


As I've decided to go with quantity instead of quality... no, the other way round! ...this flower (and the publishing of it) has taken more time than I thought. 4 o' clock one morning it told me that it wanted Heavy Water, and petals, because
"It would look much better on me, don't you think? I crave petals! Wake up!"
And some people think that the life of an artist is easy.


The next morning that spoiled plant wanted -- well, not a drop of blood; it was into sex, not violence, and now the slutty thing wanted pollination. So I had to create something -- I couldn't resist constructing a full scale Something that you only glimpse in the result. Behold; a Leggy Pollinator.


Most likely, these insectoids are spoiled things with endless flowers to choose from; they might even complain about how the flowers nag and put on; (perhaps they even get desperate and send them stamen pictures! How indecent!) *Sigh!* -- they're so many! (Now, being insects, they don't realise that it's this pestersome plenty that allows them to be choosers in the first place.) But hereby I leave my studies of extraterrestrial botany and return to sweet Mother Earth, where dating is conducted in fair manners without playing dirty.

January 27, 2019

Thorns



Made quite ad hoc without any plan, using this old photo that I found. I take pictures of, well, almost everything with an interesting form or twist. And when I forget when or why (I soon do) they become really useful.


Let's go closer and say Hello to whatever-she-is. Voilà :)


January 09, 2019

I Need More Time (Now Publishing Semiweekly)


As the title says, we'll now publish every other week (not always on the same day!). Yours sinc. will try to publish something good a few times a month than something often half-baked weekly. Besides, Paintstakingly has been on for quite some time now. This January 2018 there is already more than 300 posts waiting to be discovered and re-discovered. So that just must do.

And here we go, a watch with odd bits and ends, just as Surrealism dictates.


December 23, 2018

Cosmic Meow

Meooow! I did this three-eyed little furry for a friend who kept such a good guard on one of my exhibitions (the one in a hotel lobby this fall) with all of her eyes.


On the assumption that cats will still be cats, even if they're from outer space (actually, it would explain a lot if cats were from outer space) I made a little box town for them. And in a box you feel safe and cosy and hidden, even if your wary ears can be seen. That's cat logic for you.


It's not very easy, but here I've tried to capture how the gold gleams in the original (my usual Ink'n'Aqua on paper). I used some gold colour for the eyes, claws etc. and some sort of collar trinket that just entered my imagination when I sketched that part -- I wonder what the symbol stands for. Perhaps you have to be a space cat if you're to know.


I've done a wee little reading on cats with three eyes. Those kitties are obviously Tantric symbols of some kind, representing the stage just between dreaming and gaining consciousness; perhaps they purrrr some message from the Otherworld. -- I'll blame those realms for my idea, then. Meeeeow! :-)