by Sofia Simelius
Even though her earliest ambition was a career in singing and dancing Marjatta Hanhijoki enjoyed drawing and painting enough to seek education as an art teacher. She discovered watercolour via Paul Klee. For her it was as if a door to a new world opened when she saw his works. She is also inspired by Japanese aesthetics and early European renaissance and she has an almost religious fascination of Johannes Itten’s colour theory. Painting without the use of colour theory she compares to building a house without a foundation. She will often include a self-portrait in a mirror or as a shadow in her extremely realistic and detailed interior renditions. There is a magic feeling to Marjatta Hanhijoki’s portraits and interior paintings: even though they are true to reality she skilfully gives a symbolic meaning to the details. Perhaps she actually sees the beauty in everyday life and allows it to shine in all its simplicity? However, her works are not anonymous but aesthetic and full of personal details.
by Ida Rödén
Born in 1936 Dieter Kluge grew up in Berlin during World War II in a family where his father (who was dedicated to Hitler) had left his mother and the rest of the family who were opposed to the Nazi regime. He puts down on paper his dark memories of the war, the bombings, the hunger and the bereavements. The house they lived in was bombed in 1944, but he and his family survived. They moved to his grandparent’s apartment which was bombed shortly after. In the ruins they managed to salvage their door sign with the name “R. Müller” on it. He still has it due to its significance. Lighter watercolour works depict a more happy time after the war where the family lived in a pleasant apartment in fine surroundings. At the age of 13 Dieter Kluge travelled alone with the aid of Red Cross to Sweden to convalesce, but this became his permanent country of residence. His works do not always contain motifs from Berlin. The present is where the past takes form and is recreated when history is revived by the brushwork thereby shifting the perspective.
by Jacqueline Stare
To enter Gisela Beckius’s studio is like walking into a colourful greenhouse. The walls are full of large, vibrant works of watercolour displaying flowers and other natural subject matters. She is born in Estonia, grew up in England, emigrated to Canada with her family at the age of 14 and later moved to the outskirts of Stockholm with her Swedish husband. She was a concert pianist, she worked as a set designer, she taught photography and worked as a medical photographer/illustrator in the days prior to the use of digital documentation. Previously she painted portraits and animals in oil and pastel but took up watercolour painting when she moved to Sweden. Even though she still does a lot of photography she never uses photographic references for her works, even though she might be inspired by some details in a photo. Watercolour is perfect to depict light and colour she needs to get her through the gloomy Swedish winter days. She has no intention of creating realistic paintings but include lots of details and colours that give life to her works – a tribute to life itself!
Test of Winsor & Newton watercolour paper
by Marianne Gross
The magazine has asked two artists to test the newly-launched professional watercolour paper from Winsor & Newton. Ann Larsson-Dahlin from Sweden and Ben Woodhams from Denmark have tried out Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour Block, glued on 4 sides, 300 g acid-free 100% cotton, size 22,9×30,5 cm in the variants rough, cold-pressed and hot-pressed. The conclusion from both artists is that the paper performs well under all conditions. It renders the colours accurately and vibrantly and it is extremely durable. Partly due to the sizing, it can be taped down with masking tape, soaked in lots of water, worked over with a hard brush or given a rough handling in other ways and can still be relied upon to present the work as intended by the artist.
Songs from the sea – illustrated by Lars Jonsson
by Håkan Bull
The actor and singer Sven-Bertil Taube and the composer Peter Nordahl combine forces in the new “Songs from the sea” multimedia album where they have embarked on a poetic and musical collaboration together with the visual artist Lars Jonsson. The starting point is sonnets and poems by the Swedish poet Lars Forsell (1928-2007) recited by Sven-Bertil Taube in a well articulated manner suited to the music played by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. The musical composition by Peter Nordahl shifts between interpretations of the rolling of the sea and roaring of the waves to a more gentle abstract sensitivity. The album contains a booklet where the sonnets are accompanied by Lars Jonsson’s watercolour seascapes. Lars Jonsson is widely acclaimed for his beautiful bird illustrations and runs his own museum on the island of Gotland, but in “Songs from the sea” he shows his talent as a marine painter as well.
Annual meeting 2022
The annual meeting took place 23rd April in Humlebæk, Denmark. There was a chance to visit Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and to attend a guided tour of the Peter Cook exhibition. The annual meeting was held at Gl Humlebæk Kro followed by a dinner. See the minutes from the meeting and a more extensive report of the event on the NAS website. Before ending the meeting, the Winsor & Newton Prize 2022 was awarded to Stina Persson.
The Winsor & Newton Prize 2022 – motivation
The Nordic Watercolour Society’s Winsor & Newton Prize 2022 is awarded to Stina Persson for her explorative multidiscipline imagery using watercolour as a base and where the beauty is constantly challenged by visual abrasions.