by Håkan Bull
The forest landscapes that Stefan Lindqvist paints are romantically realistic in an enigmatic way with contrasting greyscales that give associations to Chinese ink paintings as well as black-and-white photographs. Memories are essential to his art which are painted in his studio though the subjects matters often ar from his childhood landscapes. He uses photos as a visual start-up motor that might make up about 10% of the work, the remaining 90% is created by the actual painting process. His flower paintings are totally his own creations, however, and they seem very realistic in spite of the lacking colorations. His paintings sometimes resemble photo negative prints and they might also give a feeling og analogue photo processing, where the images start out dim and pale but gradually turns more and more clear and sharp – and when painting, he relies on his subjective memories which might not be true. Stefan Lindqvist is also a competent photographer, but he found the many details in photography too visually overwhelming, so he returned to the sanctuary of greyscale painting.
by Jacqueline Stare
For a period of about one year in 2015-2016, photos of Leyun Wang’s large ink paintings were on display at Fridhemsplan tube station in Stockholm. The paintings are created from memories of her childhood and youth in China. As is often the case in other works, this series is a mixture of her Chinese memories and the strong influene of her life in Sweden where she has lived since 1991 with her Swedish husband. She cherishes sea and water and in her art world, water is a symbol of the frail relationship between man and nature. She was originally educated in textile design in China and now teaches textile design in Sweden, but she also creates works on paper. Since the age of 5 or 6 she was taught how to paint using ink in the traditional Chinese way whith calligraphy and images balancing towards abstraction. In many of her works she depicts lotus flowers. Even though the Lotus isn’t a Nordic flower, the paintings with their sharp black-and white contrasts can be set in timeless landscapes anywhere in the world.
by Marianne Gross
Many Danish readers will recognize Jens Hage’s satirical illustrations from the Danish newspaper Berlingske. His drawings are sharp and witty and extremely funny, and some have a strong graphic expression. His 70th birthday in 2018 was celebrated with an exhibition at the Danish museum Nivaagaard, and a book of his creations was published for the occasion. Jens Hage has painted from the all his life. His architect father was a great inspiration and encouraged him to explore the beauty of the world by careful observation and drawing. To this day all his drawings are figurative. He draws to see for himself or to open other people’s eyes. Jens Hage was educated at the Graphic High School. Apart from the commissioned work (where he mostly has free hands as to form and subject) he also draws and paints for his own sake: a beautiful building, a special view or an interesting personality. He is fascinated by the flowing and uncontrollable nature of watercolour painting, sometimes using it to accentuate the black ink drawings and sometimes just for direct painting on the spot to capture an interesting impression.
by Karin Faxén Sporrong
Just before the corona lockdown the Nordic Watercolour Museum in Skärhamn showed an exhibition by Fredrik Söderberg. His works are monumental, almost ovewhelming, both in format and content. The skillful exactness and time-consuming attention to details is an important factor of his creativity. The series at the Watercolour Museum revolves around the German/Swiss idea of “Lebensraum”, an ideology from the turn of the last century involving living close to nature and building a free society. Intellectuals and celebrities of the time were drawn to these ideas, which also found their way to the nazi regime. Fredrik Söderberg does thorough research and he is interested in finding out more about people in the grey zone between morality and immorality. Even though he finds watercolour the hardest medium to master, Fredrik Söderberg appreciates its elegance and lightness, making the works look very pleasing in spite of some of the subject matters being quite harsh.
Nordic Watercolour Museum – 20 years
by Håkan Bull and Marianne Gross
30 years ago a small group of enthusiastic watercolour painters founded what would become the Nordic Watercolour Society. One of their goals was to help establish a dedicated watercolour museum in the Nordic region. This became a reality already 10 years later and the Nordic Watercolour Museum opened in Skärhamn on 17th June 2000. In 2010 the museum was awarded the best museum in Sweden. On behalf of all at the Nordic Watercolour Society we send our warm congratulations to the museum!
Awards and prizes
by Håkan Bull and Marianne Gross
Royal Swedish Academy 2020 Watercolour Prize
Presented by the king of Sweden to Maria Luostarinen who in 2014 was awarded the Winsor & Newton Prize by the Nordic Watercolour Society and Winsor & Newton. This award was presented in the same place as the Winsor % Newton award was – since it was presented during the annual meeting which NAS held at the Royal Swedish Academy. You may read more about Maria Luostarinen in the article published in akvarellen 2-2014
Winsor & Newton Prize 2020
Awarded to the Danish artist Esther Sarto. Motivation: An interesting approach to the subjects matters which at first glance seem harmonious and well-composed with beautiful coloration. Instantly thereafter one finds that the images are filled with details that are grotesque, surreal and at times even macabre – but they still convey an odd misture of tenderness, humour, and horror. You may read more about Esther Sarto in the article published in akvarellen 3-2016