by Ida Rödén
The art works of Carin Ellberg may show us glimpses of nature but they are not fully recognizable, just resemblances of various (primarily marine) life forms such as jellyfish, snails, and seaweed. The encounter with a jellyfish that is washed ashore, seaweed trapped in a water pool, the trace of waves on the beach – all this sparks a thought, and that is where most of Carin Ellberg’s watercolour works begin, on walks along the beach. But she seldom draws or paints directly in plein-air. What she recreates is more likely a symbolic version, a mood, an idea of how certain patterns are repeated. Carin Ellberg has suffered great losses. Within a few years her mother and aunt died as well as the father of her children. The sea stands for something larger that has little to do with the limited time scale of human beings. Through losses we lose a part of ourselves, but in art we can move more freely. Carin Ellberg shows that new horizons of knowledge can be discovered as long as we keep in motion.
by Håkan Nilsson
In Roger Metto’s watercolour suite Changes the same subject matter (the Vierranvárri Mountain) is repeated four times on each sheet. The mountain has been reduced to sharp contrasts and we see it from a distance. There might be similarities between these paintings and Andy Warhol’s screen prints from the 60’s but Roger Metto’s images have nothing to do with mass media. Each work is hand-painted so they are all different and unique and the background is not monochrome at all. When looking at the seemingly identical images we concentrate on their differences: some look like negatives, some like wood cuts and others seem to be abstractions. We also notice that the background is not monochrome, even when there is just one colour. By utilizing the watercolour technique (shifting between wetting the sheet and adding paint) Roger Metto lets go of control and allows the technique to deliver its own expression. In some images the background even competes with the main subject matter and seems to merge into the foreground. By being focused in the present Roger Metto can balance between coincidence and control and via repetitions he literally can create images of the present moment.
by Marianne Gross
In 2018 Ben Woodhams completed the project KYST (Coast) by walking around the whole coast of Bornholm in 52 stages – once a week – throughout the year. Every trip lasted from sunrise till sunset and along the way he documented his walk by making sketches, painting watercolours, and keeping a notebook. He described each walk on his blog site and social media along the way and the end result was a beautiful art book and several exhibitions showing many of the works created during these days. As a child he liked bird-watching and took it up again later in life, this time combining it with on-site watercolour paintings of the birds and the landscapes they live in. Ben Woodhams mentions some of the charms of the watercolour medium: the materials are easy to take with you outdoors and the medium is rarely 100% controllable. When painting outdoors the weather and the surroundings become part of the expression and it is essential for him that one is able to experience the conditions under which the painting has been created: In rain and snow there will be traces of droplets in the finished work, on a hot day the paint might have dried too quickly in some places, and in strong winds some sand corns or straws of grass might have upset the paint. The painting becomes a physical documentation of his process of observing, creating and simply being in nature in connection with the elements.
by Jón B K Ransu
Icelandic artist Margrét Jónsdóttir has dedicated most of her art over the last 20 years to the theme of IN MEMORIAM. The first exhibition in this theme was dedicated to her mother and uncle, who had recently passed on, and consisted mostly of paintings with egg tempera on paper mixed with organic material that in time would cause the surface of the paintings to mold and rot. In 2012 she had a show named Shit, icons and damned damn …. On display was a series of watercolours of varied shit forms, such as wet shit, corn shit, wiener shit, log shit. The “shit” paintings exalt the values of vanitas paintings but take the imagery a step further by showing the remains of food that has passed through the body’s stomach, broken down by bacteria and left to be dissolved on the ground. In 2019 Margrét Jónsdóttir had a show which consisted mostly of watercolours paintings each showing a singular centred red flower. Each flower was unique, a single red rose, seen from above and shaped like vaginas, or hybrids of a flower and vagina. By bringing out the vaginal form in the fragility of a flower she draws attention to the sensitivity of the vagina, while, at the same time, she points towards suffering. Flowers in vanitas paintings are usually very ripe or past their full bloom. That is also the state of Margrét’s vaginal roses. It is the first visible stage of decay and therefore a ruthless reminder that everything has an end.
Presentation of our writers: Marianne Gross
by Marianne Gross
My way into the Nordic Watercolour Society started when I visited the juried exhibition Nordic Watercolour 2004. I had painted for many years but I now became aware of many more expressions found in watercolour, and I discovered the possibility of being a part of the Nordic watercolour network. As a member of NAS it was a great pleasure to participate in painting events etc. and from 2009 I started to organize workshops, meetings, museum visits etc. I was elected to the board in 2011 and have since then held various posts on the board and within the administration of NAS. I was also encouraged to join the writer team, and in 2012 my first article in akvarellen was printed. My main focus is on Danish artists, but I also interview artists that I meet abroad or foreign artists visiting Denmark. My own art falls in the category “expressionistic minimalism”, primarily semi-abstract landscape renditions, but my articles cover a wide field: long-gone masters, promising young painters, and well-established artists representing all styles of painting.