Ellen Barkin Söderholm
by Karin Faxén Sporrong
Even when Ellen Barkin Söderholm doesn’t spend time on her job as an illustrator she spends most of her day drawing. It is her way of investigating and processing life and she has done it since childhood. Her father worked in the printing business so they always had lots of waste paper at home. She is also a keen reader and finds it rewarding to illustrate texts. Her style is classical and she trained at KV Art School in Gothenburg followed by studies in graphic art, and later she enrolled at the Florence Academy of Art where she learned classic realistic painting following the methods of the old masters. Thereafter she learnt illustration at the Art Department in Kansas. Time flies for Ellen Barkin Söderholm when she in engulfed in drawing or painting a subject matter. She is fascinated by certain details, function, biology, technique. When she is unable to spend time outdoors she will sometimes paint in front of unedited wild cam films of animals. She is trained in oil painting but in able to work outdoors she makes use of watercolour. It is simpler and faster. And of course, there’s the light. One can dedicate a whole life to colour and she has blocks full of colour and lighting situations.
by Ida Rödén
As well as being a painter Ylva Westerlund is a keen birdwatcher and is fond of visiting a piece of restored swampland at the “Järvafelt”. She has created numerous paintings from this area for her series “The Last Mill” reflecting upon the destruction of nature. She recreates familiar landscapes and adds another enigmatic dimension. Her nature studies are intercepted with paintings that cannot be instantly interpreted which can be due to her interest for science fiction. She wants the spectators to experience insecurity in a manner known as hetrotopia (displacement/parallel universe). The Järvafelt area was reserved for miltary excersizes in the period 1905-1970 and since the military left, the recreated marsh has become a haven for rare birds. But the tanks still stand there rusting and the whole place reminds of a scene from a science fiction story. Via her art Ylva Westerlund describes a kind of non-existing place where we are allowed to dwell on uncertainty. She studies nature, asks questions, tests theories and transfers knowledge. The journey towards the unknown continues.
Hilde Eilertsen Sletvold
by Live Sætre
Even though Hilde Sletvold’s works only depict few people, they tell stories of typical activity and life in the northern part of Norway. The audience is captivated by the light in many of her works. In an article in the Decor magazine she was described as “Ambassador for the northern light”. Her favourite colour is cobalt blue, which is the colour that seems to reflect the special shimmering northern winter light when the sun is just below the horizon. She aims to render the fascination she feels for her home region and she has also painted a series of paintings from old photographs recreating the atmosphere of by-gone times. These paintings were very popular in the local community. Hilde Sletvold was born in Harstad in 1965, but now lives in Tromsø. While working as a pediatric nurse she started watercolour painting in 1990 and attended many courses. Now she is a full-time artist and gallery owner. She also manages the café, second-hand shop and framing shop connected to the gallery. Apart from painting, she has illustrated books and book covers as well as designed medals and logos.
International NAS members
by Marianne Gross
The Nordic Watercolour Society has members who neither are from any Nordic country nor live in the region. In this article a number of current international members tell us about their art and their connection to the Nordic region.
Einar Landschoof, Germany
Einar Landschoof has been on many holidays in Sweden and now owns a summer cottage in Småland. He admires the way many Scandinavian artists depict the atmosphere of the Nordic landscape and light. – The best experience for me is painting and drawing directly in nature. The colourfulness of watercolour through glazing techniques, wet on wet and leaving the white paper as it is or to let it shine through is particularly appealing to me
François Malnati, France
When he visited Denmark for the first time at the age of 16, he fell in love with the country. He later came to act as Honorary Consul for Denmark in the east of France. – I like to put the emphasis on modern materials like metal, plastic, cardboard, and glass. I am looking for a strong visual impact with a definitely contemporary look and a graphic quality of shapes and colours.
Paul Salmon, Austria
Paul Salmon is English and lives in Austria but has visited the Nordic countries on many occasions. and feels a connection to the region. He is fond of travelling and documenting his experiences, absorbing the landscape, being inspired by the elements, taking reference photos, and making sketches. – My background being in photography, I am familiar with the use of alchemy in producing my work, and I feel the same with watercolour. I see the pigments equal to photographic film.
Vitalij Raev, Russia
Even though he has no personal connection with the ordic region Vitalij Raev has always admired Nordic art and films. He is attracted to atmospheric paintings that combine abstraction, free technique and spontaneity. – Usually, I work not only with watercolour, but also with ink. Ink is more water-resistant, so it is much easier to work with layers. But, as in life, when painting with ink, there is no way to correct mistakes. For me, this makes everything much more challenging and interesting.
Yulia Fan, Russia
Having a background as a ceramics artist Yulia Fan can transfer her love of textures, experiments, and nature from ceramics to watercolour. She is attracted to the high cultural level of the Nordic region where she has come across many courageous artists who follow their own vision and who can combine the freedom of abstract painting with realism in watercolour painting. – I wish every piece of my painting to look harmonious as if spots and lines sprout up themselves and live their own lives. I want to take the viewer into the painting for a travel in another visual world