August 17, 2014

Only Art Remains

You are born in a certain way and Life treats you accordingly. This is no sermon for coaches, your self proclaimed saviours or the bestselling author of Control thy Life. But the older you get, the more obvious it is that things happen for little reason at all, paths on the journey were taken quite randomly albeit irrevocably and whatever patterns that you may see are seen in hindsight, invented afterwards. Still we become what we are. (We need not necessarily like it.) And soon we are no more.

As we drag along, we might leave traces, like the slime after a snail. Some leave genes, others good deeds or a name in a book or -- very common -- nothing. I think that, for better and worse, there'll be little left behind me but a few paintings. Some details of this week were painted feeling hope and through some I felt pain -- it already doesn't matter which was when. Only art might remain. And I was born that way.


The biological clock -- or whatever it is -- is finished and funnier with colours on. This week also brings us a dragonfly or damselfly -- and rose painted during perfect distraction, thoughts and petals wandering strange ways -- a dear friend thought that it looked like it wanted to eat her -- nibble, munch and bite -- well, my thoughts were consumed already, and it was thus her turn...


August 10, 2014

Serendipitous Butterfly et al.


Right before my eyes -- a butterfly! At once I had to add it to the surprised canvas. I didn't see it for very long. So this transient, fluttering memory had to become something stylized; I remembered spots -- let us have spots -- why not on the body too -- and this red band on its wings -- let us have a reddish band. Let us make it small, on a par with the real butterfly.

Now, what were we doing...? Ah yes, the angel with the golden orange hair. Now finished at last. I find myself working at snail pace in the heat; hope the next week will see work at all, perhaps more by accident and whim, perhaps even a little beautiful. One should take care of beautiful accidents.


August 03, 2014

Oily Balance

With a lot of other things going on, one has not had too much time for the Oil -- for an Oil follows a different pace than Today does; a technique invented slightly before the Renaissance. It doesn't want to hurry. It wants to lie idling like the angel on the Station Clock, still outlined in ink. (Or perhaps it is a little exhausted too.)


We also have a creepy-crawlie-subway-train going on.

A closer look at the angel. I tried to see that the shadings in the wings somehow corresponded a little to the dark blue sky and the light shining field above it; I often try to let certain hues come back in a kind of rhythm across the painting for the sake of balance.


I also note that angels have orange, just next to golden hair. So now you know that.

July 27, 2014

Angelic Tourism

Waiting outside Stockholm Central Station for a meeting eventually hindered by force majeure, I took to sketching all the funny people that one might see there. Businesspeople hurrying, tourists touristing and people from all corners of the world milling about.

And one of them -- I used to be good at reading lips -- now I'm not -- but I think this lady was Spanish. She now has the unconscious honour of being the central point in an oil, here inked on the gesso coated paper. (Good invention! as for the duration of the medium, we'll live and see and learn. Life is an experiment.)


And then I started on one of the corners, inking and filling apples with oil.


It is anybody's guess what apples have to do with tired tourist angels that rest on top of station clocks. I'll go on throwing details ad hoc in -- some painted live and some painted live from my imagination -- trusting everything to make perfect sense one of those days.

July 20, 2014

Hearty Uncertainty

Perhaps it was this little sketch from earlier this year, something about the blue heart, that led me to draw the "medical poster" below it...


...now finished, give or take a few corrections. The electric shock electrodes (upper left) could sizzle and fizzle better, the English version of this poster could be more on a par with the Swedish one (below) in which the scientific parody is flowing with a greater quirky ease. And so on. I want to leave it behind.


Sadly, Sweden in July is heartbreaking from the perspective of a cultural workaholic. The entire country has shut down for vacations that rage for months, and in this eternal sunshine of the Swedish mind it is impossible to find a reliable printer. The poster exists right now as a digital nightmare, and that's it.

July 13, 2014

Floral Solace

I am still working on the heartbreaking poster of the previous weeks, now and then taking a break for lighter, summerly things, such as this sketch of a purple Foxglove.


As for the poster, we're to read there that "scars (q.v.) and sudden amorous flashbacks can be expected for years after the initial clawings." If old wounds open, metal staples might be an option; replacing one large injury with small friendly stings.


I think that the tone of the background is nice -- ranging as it is from papery yellowing to the smudgy sepia above -- but rather monotonous -- and I am considering a more varied structure, full of surprises. Or something like that.

July 06, 2014

On Glue and other Gently Violent Remedies

Still working on the brokenhearted poster. Yet again Marie (Friend & Muse) came to the rescue -- she suggested that you might use glue for broken hearts.


Perhaps glue is good for loose nerves too? If you add a lot.


I insisted that we need some rope too (for pulling oneself together, at least temporarily).


Yet much remains to do. Shading, refining. The background is still nice and fairly plain -- perhaps a little boring, and I'm pondering whether to make it more varied or not. Perhaps one could do something funny with it, we'll see...

June 29, 2014

On Frying Memories

According to a dear and anonymous friend, electric shocks might be a good idea for a select few of all that suffer severe Downs, why I include it in my educational poster on the Curing/First Aid Mending (haven't decided which is the most apropriate) of Broken Hearts. Problem is, most who ever try might loose the good memories too. And a little of memory on the whole, in what the experienced refer to as "frying". The memories that go, for better and worse, are represented as post-it notes -- what else?

(N.b. Work in progress. Yet far from perfect...)


A curious by-effect is that you get some curious aftertaste of garlic in the mouth -- or something like that. My friend can't remember precisely, which is precisely the thing that speaks against frying in the first place. Thus only the really desperately low try electrified amnesia voluntarily.
"Well, perhaps it helped..." -- my friend says --
"...or not."

June 22, 2014

The Wrong Kind of Bees

I think that it was dear friend Marie who came up with the idea that certain kinds of stinging thoughts might in fact be Bees. Hatching and breeding in the brainhive, they soon find their way out and buzz about; they don't leave a poor heart alone for any time worth mentioning and they have the habit of reappearing, in dozens or swarms, as inconveniently as possible.


These winged heralds of longings uninvited are intended for a large poster -- working name of Methods for Mending Broken Hearts -- an anatomical scheme and overview. As for the heart, I haven't quite got started yet so right now the bees don't have anything to sting. But it'll come. You don't really know that you have a heart before you get the Wrong Kind of Bees buzzing around it.


June 15, 2014

The Untimely Time Clock (Bing!)

Merely a little ink-and-aqua sketch, still conveying my feeling for the weird kind of apparatus known as the Clock Card Machine or Punch Clock for short. It can be seen whenever and wherever truly pointless activities take place -- as soon as you see something really silly going on, keep an eye open for the punch clock -- it might be hidden in the most weird places, behind the corner, under the carpet, but I promise you that it is there.


The actual machine has fallen into disuse -- but as a mental state it's next to incurable. You put in a card and the machine goes bing and you get the stamp of Worthy Member of the Society and you are now free to forget the total pointlessness of your endeavours and may look down loudly upon artists and other free souls that earn doodley-squat but might be suspected of doing something worthwhile. Just look at them. As if Society was made for having Fun...


"Is that a real profession?" Bing!
"Can you make a living out of that?" Bing!
"What is it good for?" Bing!
"Well, I can afford..." Bing!

And so (bing!) on. This perpetual noise might make it difficult for an artist to concentrate. My office is opening when my eyes open, and closing with the eyelids too -- on some days I'm out of office between, say, four and seven a.m. I'm not in any mood to hear any binging then. One has to remember that some victims of Mental Clock Punch can't help it and honestly believe that their way of life is sane -- despite all logical, not to mention ecological evidence on the contrary. In other words: They suffer from mechanical self-esteem. You have to remember, dear artist, or dear anyone who lives and works outside the box and the clock -- the poor fellows who have to criticise your profession are merely to be viewed as a (natural but irksome) part of your profession... Bing!


June 08, 2014

Shows, Posters and Positive Stress

I've decided not to hurry with this one. I'll add colours later. Constant hurry has been something like the theme of the week...


...for instance, there's a jolly fine new little show coming up with Anita, my dancing friend (I'll stay behind the piano) and this wants a poster...



...and practically meanwhile, as I was busy practising & rehearsing for the same, I had this neat little order -- also for a poster, or at least a flyer -- for a "political cabaret" -- all I got to know really was that it was about a cleaning lady. Who cleans train cars. Adding a little theatre to it quite exhausted all that I could come up with on those terms. But working with information doesn't necessarily mean that you're very informed yourself -- you have to go on what you've got while time is madly ticking by -- and they did like the image.


It is being mailed and snailmailed en masse now as I write this. -- As for the first work, I'll try to get it done 'til next week. Tick tock.

June 01, 2014

Masquerade



Good evening, good night; Monsieur, Madame? We wear masks. We are not what we seem, what we say and what we hint are two different things. I made this little scene without thinking -- lest I'm not wearing a mask myself, who knows.


The dancers in the background were inspired by the Spring Finale Show hosted by House of Shapes, Stockholm just a couple of weeks ago. There were mostly groups performing from this institute, very few solos. They had kids dancing a little but delightfully out of synch, the more mature ensembles showed due personality among their ranks -- it was the teenagers' groups that danced the really eerie parts: They looked very impressive, but the perfect collectivity of their movements made many of those groups feel like relentlessly perfect dancing machines, their members marionettes of sorts. I wanted to pull a few strings, see what happened...

Let us have a close look at the couple. I think that they might be dancing too? You're very welcome to comment on this Facebook page -- and do bring you mask if you have one.


May 25, 2014

Dove, Pimpernels and a Hangman's Knot.



Drawn and coloured during a sleepless night, now being commented after the next vigilant one -- a dark scene really, this thing that I had to do -- but a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

Pimpernels! Happy colouring colours. A cutesy bird (more sugar!) more like a dove than not. And a nice hangman's knot, which the painter had to tie first to get it right, all those intriguing loops and curls. (And had to untie later, finding it a little tempting.) But there is something liberating, sugarsweetly medicating in the thought that one doesn't have to live really, merely drag along on this Via Dolorosa from bad to worse. This could all end anytime. If one has the possibility -- and does not take it -- life is more of a choice. Or with Nietzsche: The liberating view that Life can be taken lightly, be seen as an experiment, and "not a duty, not a calamity, not a trickery". The manners, the watercolour hues in this otherwise frightening scene (choices are frightening stuff when taken to the bottom) are thus as gentle as possible, hopefully bringing balance; the thought being that in ev'ry job that must be done there is an element of fun and
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way.

May 18, 2014

Tulips



Yours sincerely needed some fresh air. Getting the dark dalĂ­rium out for a while. We had lovely weather at last, after all the cold showers. And there were the tulips! I thought of adding some colour to them (they were light yellow with reddish streaks, running like lusty, blood-filled veins in the petals) but they should be nice as they are: The pencil. The paper. Period.

May 11, 2014

The Inner Theatres



Do you possess an Inner Theatre too? -- Tonight: What Could Have Been, a play in three seconds, beautiful but quickly gone. It is staged quite against our will, with no regard for the bitter aftertaste that must follow when Reality comes crushing down. The dream vanishes, or rather, cracks down instantly and painfully like a soap bubble of glass with all the little shards shearing and cutting. And there you are.


It was my friend Marie -- we discussed this subject intensely, and her imagination is actually a tad bit, just a wee bit weirder than mine -- who helped me to find some hope in all this -- solace somehow, here in the shape of stars/flowers. Quite vague and symbolic, true, but there might be as many different kinds of comfort blossoming as there are plays: The child that never was born, the dances that never were danced and having that special someone that you'll never get, etc. etc. This work needed some bright spots that weren't false limelight. (In any crowd, there must be a multitude of these involuntary dream plays going on inside, and we can only show a few.)




And you promise yourself never to think again, dream again, bury down in work and business and routine and whatnot. Chase the actors away, no limelight. Before you know it, however, there's another play coming up with new transient scenes of Could or Should Have Been and longings unfulfilled. And then: Curtain.

More flowers, we need more flowers!

May 04, 2014

Butterflies



Butterflies: Fluttering dreams, mirages, perfect symbols of transience. I wanted to make the dark butterflies black as sorrow, but it didn't go with the contours so I ended up with a bluebrownish tone instead, lighter than I feel. They are still melancholic and impossible.


I am happy with the pattern on the skirt, a counterweight to the dark butterflies. I wish for more light butterflies in life too.



April 27, 2014

Blood is Thicker than Politics

This was originally intended as a political comment, but it turned into art instead, or something at least near it. The point was that the hands would draw blood from each other, and the blood would go somewhere else, for soon it is Taxation Day in Sweden, and as welfare has been lowered but taxes not quite so one might wonder where money goes.


But art shouldn't be simple like a political cartoon. It thrives on double, triple and multiple entendre, on uncertainty. Art is true democracy; it offers room for the individual and her interpretations in a way that no ideology can do. Instead, my hands turned into simply emptying each other of the vital fluid -- or if they vainly try to fill each other with blood, I don't know. A mysterious closed circuit, pointless in itself -- as many ideas are.


I wanted the blood to be a thicker fluid, but I already liked this slightly gaseous look and when an aquarelle is beginning to look well you must take your hands off. No brushes or syringes allowed.








April 20, 2014

Embrace

"This is too bad to be true. Now Life is a bit too insulting, my misfortunes too improbable -- this just can't happen, the bad timing is too good..."

"This is too good to be true. This is not really happening, getting such an opportunity after such a long time; hope that I'm not being had, something's askew... do I hear angels singing? Come on."


After experiencing these new feelings of such profound unreality -- instances quite unrelated but within a fortnight -- well, then one had to paint again. Both times, everything went sort of sliding by, taking place on the fictional side of the lens. The world had lost its substance -- and I, obviously, vital parts of the screenplay -- might have to spend the rest of my only life improvising... Anyhow:

This vivid feeling of Not Really Happening and Silver Screen attracts, as we heard before, angels. And there's celluloid film, of course. (The ultimate symbol of Only Make Believe -- sadly but appropriately it is falling into disuse, thus out reality itself). Then what about the couple in the front...?


...They're made out of black and white, clean paper versus its opposite -- an unusual lot of ink with smudgy aquarelle. (It's the perfect way to ruin a painting if you're not careful. And your white shirt too.) Most likely they stand for for longings, perhaps for that magic moment when Impossible meets Possible Anyway... you decide. It takes an angel to sing praise to uncertainty. Let them sing. Let us embrace the feeling that life is greater than we know, more unreal for better and worse.


("Embrace": letter size miniature, the usual ink-and-aqua.)

April 13, 2014

On Dalslandic Elevenses



This little piece is my dear friend Marie's fault. Or mine -- I happened to tell her about the curious and ancient eating habits that we had back when my family went to old little Dalsland during the summers, where time stood graciously still. And like the Mad Tea Party, the meals -- with quaint names that wouldn't translate even into modern Swedish -- tended to drag into each other. A sort of First breakfast crashed into Second breakfast. Seconds tended to saunter into some kind of pre-brunch, rolling on relentlessly into brunchlunch. This was all served in a lulling marinade of cheerful nonsense from my dear Granny, who was never able to stand a table conversation more radical than the weather yesterday, provided that it didn't rain too excitingly much. Attempts at resurrecting actual exchange of ideas were forcibly -- that is, cheerfully -- interrupted with some fine reminiscence of what my very same Grandmother did or heard once as a child, not very far from here, on that hill over there, or something in the same social but slightly anaemic vein. You had to run and hide early in the morning; I preferred to go out painting in this wonderful landscape (no breakfast but shake sugaree, provided that I got away...) this maze of small but very round hills clinging on the top of each other and covered all over with pines; interspersed with innumerable tarns and lakes, like deep and dark eyes, a realm of elks and yarns. It is quite dark and sad in this little piece; reflecting, like one of those murky creeks, my present mood. Not much one can do about it...


...to the best of my knowledge, they still have "dinner" at two p.m. And 'round something like three or four in the afternoon one might get invited to a large party, merry, hearty but nonetheless Ordeal that starts with coffee and sandwiches followed by coffee and cinnamon buns and then coffee and seven different kinds of cookies and you got to have one of each and when you're prepared to die -- dying 's bad table manners but there's not much one can do about it -- there comes the cream cake. And, nota bene, coffee. Then there's ordinary dinner (disguised as something else, for it is quite ruined now) and at last some kind of evening meal and... yes, now we were back at my Grandmother's place, not very far from where she was born and also near the place where she found a toad recently, id est, reheated Marinade d'Monologue.

So; Marie, who found this amusing, urged me to do some kind of rendering. Now let's see. There are fish swimming through the air -- one looked like this when I was working on it, the background came later...


...and elves dancing -- my friend's suggestion, as there are enough things dancing in the back of my mind already and they sort of had to be spirited away without digressing -- thus a little misty and fleeting -- and last but not least, coffee. Have some more coffee.


Time for dessert. This sketch I did on the spot, many years ago, escaping. You see the house up there, on the other side of a tarn.



April 06, 2014

Chinese Pear Factory

I had to paint this. Say a little symbolic something, even if real life is much more cruel. I read in the Svenska Dagbladet (March 31, 2014) about a place named Tangshan in China, where the pear trees are dying from all the pollution spewed from the steel factories. And when the pear trees don't grow pears, the farmers have nothing to farm. They they have to find work at the steel factory.


Ink-and-aqua, letter size. Detail: Pears and farmers in tears. --- We live on the same planet, and the toxic clouds that are murdering fruit in China are also threatening you and me. We are all pears.