Summary of akvarellen No. 2/2013

Sivert Lindblom
by Håkan Bull

Sivert Lindblom is one of Sweden's most interesting sculptors and was part of the "Live Show" in Moderna Museet in 1974, the first installation exhibition in a major Swedish museum. Sivert Lindblom has also painted watercolour throughout his whole artistic life. At his latest solo show, hundreds of watercolour works from the seventies up until today were lined up in an uninterrupted suite seventy metres long. He has chosen a palette of 14 colours which he uses almost without mixing, the variations just depend on the amount of water. He starts by making a pencil drawing of figures using parallel perspective. The drawing is then accentuated with black ink and watercolour on dry paper to achieve the rigidity and control he wants. The apparent order of the image seems to highlight the opposite of the scientific objectivity: disorder, mystery and lack of logic. It can be said that his art contains the struggle between two different forces of life: order (body) and chaos (soul). This struggle can for instance be found in the "flecks of irritation": initially unintentional ink drops that have landed in the wrong place. Instead of discarding the whole painting, Sivert Lindblom elaborates on them and integrates them into his work.

 

Marianne Darlén Solhaugstrand
by Lisa Stålspets

Marianne Darlén Solhaugstrand was born in 1975 and was educated at Kunsthøgskolen (Art High School) in Oslo, Norway. In 2012 she was awarded the Winsor & Newton Prize by the Nordic Watercolour Association. Marianne Darlén Solhaugstrand works with watercolours in large formats painting mostly portraits. She in interested in the issues of gender and tries to investigate the female perception by painting men as objects in the same way that women have been portrayed for centuries. Her paintings are not portraits of individuals as much as images of role models and stereotypes, but she turns the clichés upside down. She starts by taking photographs which are planned in detail including as much of the surroundings and requisites as possible. Then she paints the scene using 650g paper - one painting at a time in a very large format. She can work on a single painting for up to three or four months. Much of the time in the studio is used to think, plan, and concentrate. The use of watercolour suits her for several reasons: it is perfect for giving the right impression of skin and it suits the romantic mood she wants to convey.

 

Anders Wallin
by Jacqueline Stare

Anders Wallin has been one of the most sought-after course leaders for about 25 years. In his own painting he will use watercolour only when teaching or traveling, otherwise mostly mixed media. His main interest is in colour and form. Over the years he tends to work more minimalistic, and this has naturally influenced his teaching. At one point a former pupil suggested that he should offer courses with minimalism as the main theme. During these courses the participants use mere watercolour and some gouache to make serial studies of various colours and shapes. Anders Wallin has no intention of turning all course participants into minimalistic artists, but working with minimalism with no interfering themes provides excellent training in discovering how colours influence each other and helps you to work with composition and combinations of shapes to create harmony or contrasts. Anders Wallin loves to investigate and experiment; his latest works combine minimalistic areas with lively "dots" of various colours and shapes that almost seem to soar above the painting. He continues to hold courses, because he finds it very rewarding, and many will also know him for the book he wrote with Tulla Grünberger which was issued in 2002: "AKVARELLMÅLERI, historia och teknik" (WATERCOLOUR - history and technique), now almost a classic.

 

Birgitta Steen
by Marianne Gross

After having traveled the world, Birgitta Steen now lives in Denmark. She left her native Sweden at the age of 16 and managed to visit England, France, and Australia before being educated as an illustrator at an American Art School. Later, she went back to Sweden to the Arts and Crafts University College (Konstfack) in Stockholm. She did have painting exhibitions once in a while but generally illustration work and other assignments began taking up too much time for her to pursue her personal artistic ambitions, even though she still painted whenever possible. For some time she tought print-making and painting to adults and for many years she co-operated with a travel agency that offered painting holidays abroad. This led her to write some very popular watercolour instruction books. Now she has reached a point in her life where she wants to concentrate on her own art. She has an urge to experiment and to work in three dimensions and she is not afraid to mix watercolour with other media. For instance she has tried to cut out shapes from the watercolour before glueing it all on a foam board. Many of her works involve water as a theme. Now Birgitta Steen is happy to be able to attend other artists' watercolour courses and she has become part of the local art group with studio facilites and show-room nearby

 

Andrew Wyeth's World
by Peter V Nielsen

Andrew Wyeth passed away in January 2009 after a long life as one of the most famous and beloved painters in America. His paintings were often a sort of storytelling about the area and his neighbors, friends and other people. After his death, the family decided to donate his studio in Chadds Ford to the Brandywine River Museum, and it was open for the public almost as it was left by Andrew Wyeth a year before his death. A visit to the studio is therefore a rare opportunity to get a closer understanding of the artist, also because he never opened the studio for anyone when he was working. All in all, it is a strong expression of an important working environment with simple furniture and equipment. Wyeth made pencil drawings, watercolours, dry brush watercolours and egg tempera. In the autumn of 2012 Brandywine River Museum had an exhibition of watercolours which were related to the studio. This exhibition showed paintings which in some cases were preparations for later temperas or just paintings of the studio, the schoolhouse or of the outdoor surroundings. The low key expression of the studio makes sense in such sketches, because the objects of the paintings are easily in focus.

 

Summary by Marianne Gross