English Summary of akvarellen 1-2014

Linda Granfors (Finland)

by Håkan Bull

Linda Granfors has been on the NAS board as the Finnish representative since 2012. Her watercolour collages are often made in unhandy formats and many have edges with no right angles and paper chunks that stick out to create effects. This gives her work a playful attitude even when the images are rather solemn (though some contain a dark humour). She used to find it daunting to paint on nice and expensive sheets of paper so she started to use cheap drawing paper and has turned this fear in to a personal way of working. In the collages she combines bits that she has cut out of other works with negative cut-out forms. "Talking hands" is a returning theme for her. She says that hands are as much a window to the soul as the face is. She finds the concept of palm reading fascinating as well as astronomy and astrology, and this can be seen in many of her works. In her early youth Linda Granfors was attracted to the Goth Punk movement, which can be seen in the heavy use of symbolism and the way her figures are dressed etc. She is also a perfomance artist and has made many performances together with her colleague Aura Hakuri - some of them incorporating the use of watercolour where they create paintings on the spot relating to the conversations they have with the spectators.

 

Håkan Lager (Sweden)
by Jacqueline Stare

The humid landscape by the west coast of Sweden creates a special atmosphere that is very inspiring to Håkan Lager, but so is the light in Southern Europe. The island of Corsica is a place he keeps returning to and he has held painting classes there for the last 14 years. At 16, Håkan Lager started to work as an assistent in an advertising agency and worked successfully with illustrations and advertising for 30 years on with many rewards and prizes to prove this. With the recession of the 90'ies and the growing use of computer illustrations he decided to leave the advertising world and had his first solo exhibition in 1999 after attending some of Anders Wallin's watercolour courses. Even though he occasionally still takes on illustration jobs, he now mostly spends his time as a full-time artist and much sought-after teacher, where he stresses the fact that one must plan ahead and have knowledge of methods and techniques even if painting in a more abstract manner. He is fond of interior paintings where he can emphasise the contrast between shadow and light, but he is also inspired by the pure nature of landscapes as well as its inhabitants like cows and sheep. Human beings are also important themes, both as models, portraits and interpretations of childhood photographs.

 

Anna Syberg, Denmark (1870-1914)
by Marianne Gross

Anna Syberg was an unusual woman for her time. She attended Technical School in Faaborg where she lived and later had drawing and painting lessons in Copenhagen even though her father wasn't too pleased. Anna Syberg, her closest friends, their husbands and some of their brothers and sisters formed a group of artists that became know as "Fynboerne" the Funen Group. They were also called "The Peasant Painters" by their contemporaries, not a flattering name. The fact that she was a woman only made it harder for her, and even her own brother didn't take female artists seriously. Anna Syberg was fond of painting flowers, the majority of these in watercolour, at the same time being a housewife for her husband, the painter Fritz Syberg, and their family of 7 children. Some of her paintings have a sensitive and exquisite feeling to them, while others are more wild and expressionistic. For some years the family had the opportunity of living in Pisa, Italy, where her painting would take new directions in form and colour. Sadly she was very ill most of her life and she died at the age of 44 following the complications of a gallstone operation. By this time a number of her works had been included in the Faaborg Museum founded in 1910 and her memorial exhibition in 1915 in Copenhagen got great acclaim.

 

Eva Lindström (Sweden)
by Kelly Lindblom

Eva Lindström is one of Sweden's foremost creators of picture books for children. Her works are in watercolour but lately she has begun painting with gouache. She likes to make traces such as those from kitchen roll and she wants to be able to sense the paper and the brush close up and organic. Childrens' books can be too "pretty" and she doesn't like computer-designed images. She is inspired by persons who are a bit quirky whether it is a character in a film or the Swedish painter Carl Fredrik Hill. Eva Lindström has a studio in an industrial area and a summer cottage in Skåne where she stays during the summer, but her landscapes are not direct reproductions of the surroundings, although nature does inspire her and interest her - partly because it isn't perfect and isn't photoshopped. She completes the books during the winter in her city studio. Her works are done in full size and she does the layout simultaneously according to the pre-decided format. Books for children must be very simple with short texts. Usually she starts out by writing longer texts which she keeps on making shorter until only the essential is left. When the book is complete it looks like it took just 15 minutes to make it, but actually she uses 3 months for the images and 3 months for the text. One day she might make a book only with images.