Ingela Hamrin – Stövlarna, 18x30cm, 2011




Ingela Hamrin
by Håkan Bull
The landscape in the Norrland region of Sweden is an essential part of Ingela Hamrin’s art even though she doesn’t want to live there anymore. She has fond memories of her childhood in this area, but time has changed the place as well as her perception of it. Based on photos taken by her parents of places and events, she has tried to recapture these childhood feelings in several series of oil paintings. She first started watercolour painting in 2008 as a means of overcoming the grief of losing her father. The fairly small watercolours show the farm which was her father’s home and which had been in the family for generations. She had no way of keeping the farm so she spent about two years going through all documents and objects before having to empty the house. During this period she started painting these small watercolours. From the beginning they were private documentations never intended to be shown in public. Focus was on the mood and expression, not in mastering watercolour technique. “Abandonment” might be a common title of this series: The rubber boots are left on the floor, the owner has gone. The door opens to empty rooms with dead butterflies left over from summer and the stove still stands waiting for the pot of coffee that never will come. Her recent watercolours are still melancholic and mysterious, but are more inspired by the mood of the famous tv series “Twin Peaks” or the films of Roman Polanski.

Ulla Ohlson
by Jacqueline Stare
15 years ago Ulla Ohlson gave up her job as an art director and ventured into being a full-time artist. Apart from painting watercolour she is a much sought-after glass sculptor. Among her acknowledgements is a prize she was awarded for creating medals for the European Athletic Championship in 2006. She started watercolour painting about thirty years ago when travelling to Provence on painting trips with Arne Isacsson and she was in the group of people who founded the original Watercolour Society in 1989. Like many other artists she also teaches. Even though her main painting technique is watercolour she also has classes in other techniques and she appreciates the co-operation with other people in various projects. She emphasizes that drawing skills are very important. To be able to draw, you must be able to see. And by seeing you may reduce forms and move on to more or less abstract painting. Mixed media experimenting is also something she likes to do and she has also tried to fabricate her own watercolour paper. Nature has always been a main theme for her, but she strips away all unnecessary and disturbing details in the paintings, very often using bright and strong colours with intense light – this applies for her watercolours as well as her glass sculptures.

Mona Grønstad
by Live Sætre
In one of her latest watercolours Mona Grønstad has painted a ship that is visibly damaged, but to the question of what kind of disaster that has occurred, she replies that the ship is still afloat – one can compare it with human life. There is hope of still sailing on, even though one experiences damages along the way. Mona Grønstad likes this kind of ambiguity. In her works you can read stories that tend to lie in the hazy region between dreams and reality. Sometimes she changes the title of a watercolour, but she prefers not to give them titles, so as to leave the mind of the spectator to work on its own. Ships is one of her main interests and this latest series is a result of a visit to a ship graveyard in San Fransisco. Her watercolours are so beautiful that Mona Grønstad tries to incorporate elements of disturbance or tension to create a balance. She investigates the light that dissolves the images and the shadows in dark streets to create an atmosphere of motion and mystery. Stairs are also among her favourite themes – they lead to somewhere, they create a motion, some kind of freedom. She plans her work carefully and she works with precise brush strokes, colour range and composition. It is as if she is trying to create a whole film in a single image, and she hopes that the spectators can spend a length of time looking at each watercolour and imagine their own stories and scenes.

Gugge Norinder
by Håkan Bull
Until 2003 Gugge Norinder worked as an illustrator at Swedish Television, mostly illustrating quite formal issues. Sometimes he was also sent to courtrooms to draw portraits of the persons involved in cases where it was prohibited to take photos. He started painting watercolour in the 1980’ies and as a counterweight to his serious illustration work he created a parallel world of watercolour inspired from his own garden, “Paradiso”. He paints idealistic natural visions from the perspective of a hare, a fox or a frog where the scale of the garden fits these small animals. Gugge Norinder is one of the few artists who have used watercolour as a base for a commissioned public artwork. In 2011 some of his watercolour works were used in the entrance of two appartment building. The watercolours were transferred to transparent plastic film in a photographic process. These were then incorporated in round light boxes which are lit up from the back. The editor would like to know whether any readers have information about other public artworks that are based on watercolour techniques – apart from actual paintings that are hung in a public place. If you have knowledge of any, please send a mail to – thank you

Nordic Watercolour Festival in Umeå
by Harriet Weckman
During one weekend in June 50 amateur and professional watercolour painters were gathered in Umeå, European Capital of Culture 2014, for an Internordic workshop led by four Nordic watercolourists: Mona Grønstad (Norway), Peter V Nielsen (Denmark), Alina Sinivaara (Finland), and Lars A Persson (Sweden). The latter was also the organizer of the festival. The four workhop leaders had a joint exhibition at the Umeå State Library and each one of them led a session of 2-3 hours, first talking about their own art followed by an assignment for the participants. These assignments were very different from each other, but all very interesting and inspiring. During the festival we also had time for a very pleasant dinner with musical entertainment, a visit to the sculpture park at Umedalen and a trip to the Art Campus at the Art Academy

Watercolour Exhibitions at Edsvik Konsthal
by Jacqueline Stare
During the summer of 2014, Edsvik Konsthall (Edsvik Art Hall) showed two watercolour exhibitions: Akvarellsalong 2014 (juried watercolour competition) and World of Watercolours with 16 Swedish and international artists. It is interesting to see how the different cultural backgrounds and educations influence the expressions of the artists. The manager Ricardo Donoso does a great job together with his staff to promote watercolour art. Ricardo Donoso was previously manager at Väsby Konsthall that also has an annual juried watercolour exhibition. A number of the artists at Edsvik had also been accepted at Väsby. All the chosen watercolours at Edsvik were of exceptional high quality. There was a wide range of motives and techniques on display. As a whole, this year’s exhibition was very exciting and inspiring.

Summary by Marianne Gross