November is half over? How did that happen?

Last I blogged I spoke of end of autumn, but we have fully transitioned into winter. Last Wednesday, November 9th Stockholm was struck with a Snökanon, literally translated to Snow Cannon. I included a link to a video of the day https://weather.com/news/weather/news/stockholm-sweden-snowiest-day-in-111-years

Anyway, it is raining as I type, so most of the snow has actually gone and so have all the leaves on the trees. The winter ground covering may have cleared for the moment but I feel like we are in for a bumpy season.

I closed up my latest art exhibit in Spånga this past Saturday. I was pleasantly surprised and super grateful at how many works have gone to new homes. I find it a bit overwhelming to chat about my own work, my process, my inspirations, my medium, my background, but something that seems to get a bit easier as I do it more.  I am so so so thankful to have my family and friends to stand beside me during this (and help me carry everything)!! and fortunate to make new friends and meet more artists!

 

A Swedish Graduation

This week(end) has been an exhaustingly happy mix of celebrating my oldest daughters graduation from gymnasium, my parents visiting us from the US and the end of the school year festivities for my other two younger children. I wanted to share a bit of what I have come to learn about the Swedish Gymnasium graduation.

Kaylee attended an International IB gymnasium, but they still celebrated the traditions of a Swedish gymnasium. During mösspåtagning, or first wearing of the graduation hat where they get together take pictures and have fika (fika=coffee/tea and a cake or sandwich).

Then they have a Skiva, a sort of equivalent to a prom in the USA and that was celebrated this week. This party is at a night club, this year was in Ostermalm and the theme was NEON……and I should mention it is legal to drink when you are 18 in clubs. There was a formal sit down dinner prior to the Skiva, where you had to dress up. A few days later they graduate.

The morning of graduation students meet for a champagne breakfast that is notorious for kids getting tipsy too early in the day. After breakfast, there is a ceremony and hat throwing and hat signing while the parents wait patiently outside.

All of us parents/family/friends are holding pre-made posters that typically include an embarrassing baby photo. We even have our own loud party outside waiting for the students to run out of school screaming and shouting. Tradition is that everyone wears a white cap with small black rim, embellished with personal atonements….Kaylee kept hers simple. The girls all wear white and boys wear a blue blazer.

IMG_9846

After greeting their parents they change into grungy clothes and all hop onto large trucks with loud party music and roll through the streets of Stockholm dancing and squirting beer at passers by and generally being loud and obnoxious, but having a really really good time! Around 5pm Kaylee came home to cleanse the beer off  and celebrate a formal party with friends and family…..then they sleep for 3 days.

In the IB program students sit around 15 exams on all of the material they learned in the last 2 years, for which later amounts to around 80% of their grades. My daughter studied for 21 days…..3 full weeks of straight studying, then 3 WEEKS of testing. Her walls were plastered floor to ceiling with notes and quotes, dates and graphs, diagrams and timelines….it was insane in our house for days…..an intense amount of studying and concentration in the high school level….it is a well deserved release to party! My tear ducts were a mess this whole day!

And this is my personal gift to my daughter, whom I have gotten to know more personally than ever over her studying and testing time…..she would enjoy a 30 min break and watch the Simpsons while eating lunch or fika….so I came up with the idea that if we were a band…a dysfunctional functioning band that played our own songs and had our own tunes but a melody all together…..a special piece of artwork to remind her of her special development during this time and when were all still under one roof…when you have nothing to give but a bit of yourself.

Mothers Day 2016

Happy Mothers Day!!!!….the U.S. “Mothers Day”…..Sweden celebrates Mother’s Day at the end of this month…so maybe I can get in two celebrations 😉

Today I enjoyed a 5 hour class of learning the traditional painting technique Kurbits, from a very talented Swedish artist from Dalarna, well Mora, Sweden, Britt-Marie Nilsson aka, Britta. This technique focuses on the brush stroke, creating tear drop like shapes. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t impossible. Translates to gourd, or pumpkin, but kurbits is the decorated painting of leafy or floral depictions.  By the end I was taking my own liberties and allowances…..overall, a really special experience and met some really wonderful other artists and creatives. The kurbits technique is also used on the famous Dala Horses, that are also made and painted in the Dalarna region of Sweden.

This Urban Sketching Thing is Tough!

I never gravitated to landscape painting. I took a pastel class about 6 years ago…and the beautiful landscapes my teacher could depict was mind blowing. I don’t know what it is but I am never able to get the perspective perfect or perfect enough to set the place correctly. Urban sketching, which in my way of thinking is more about being in a city, places with straight lines, buildings, people, movement, activity is another genre of landscape. Landscape painting encompasses more of the fields, vast horizons, open areas, which could be labelled as more sub urban…suburban. Not trying to get all technical at all….but I am in awe of an urban sketcher that can capture a moving scenario, with people and buildings that have presence….as I am in awe of landscape artists in general!

Cyklistens Dagar

Translated Cyclists Day, is coming up this Friday and Saturday, April 22 and 23 under the beautiful cherry blossoms in Kungsträdgården, Stockholm. I am so honored to be asked to be a part of this event by Sthlm Bike…..so if you are in the neighborhood and want to come down to support Sthlm Bike please come by my tent and say hello!!!

And I survived.

The vernissage or opening weekend of Giraffes on Wheels was such a lovely experience! Starting with a  dear friend that persevered through a grueling 5 hours of hanging the show with me after driving me to the gallery! There was a moment when I was ready to have a temper-tantrum and just frisbee hurl a few prints through the window. But she kept me grounded, and we had some laughs!

I had no expectations going into this….this isn’t my homeland…I am solo! (Well of course my husband and kids kept me company). But I was honored with so many friends that came. It was (a bit scary) so nice to share this part of me. Then there was the visitors that walked in off the street and that was fun to see their reaction and speak about my experience and exposure to swedish cycling culture. My daughter heard a lot of people say “roligt” and “lustig” meaning funny or amusing. And that is a compliment to me!!

 

 

Thinking inside the Box.

One project I dreamt about, and have really enjoyed seeing it come together is my box painting. Using a deep set frame I painted a backdrop and then cut out a watercolored giraffe cycling and placed it in the foreground. Using straight pins to keep the cycling giraffe from falling onto the background and a small dab of clear glue by the wheels, it seems to hold together quite nicely. These giraffes are replications of cyclists I have seen.

A while back, last year, maybe October…I visited the Dansmuseet, Dance Museum of Stockholm and they had windows on display with paper cut-out people that danced to different types of music…..and I was enchanted….and apparently inspired.

 

Urban Sketching in Stockholm

I was brave last night and brought out the sketchbook when I was early for meeting my husband for dinner in the city….happy with the fact this bridge resembles a bridge…I added ink and color today and wasn’t able to paint the evening darks….it wasn’t as dark as my photo appears anyway, the sun was just setting very quickly….

Another Day Another Car

car IMG_6252

I don’t know what it is lately, but I have been enjoying getting outside, going for a walk and finding a car that intrigues me enough to sit and paint it. Color, style, size….

I found this car on a seemingly quiet street….I had walked for a while, seems there are a lot of white, grey or black cars and those do not lure me. But as Murphy’s Law comes into play, as soon as I sit on the curb and get out the supplies….there is a traffic jam of cars, strollers and bikes that all need me to move in some direction to pass on this narrow street. I still got the drawing in….did not let the instant congestion deter me…..bet after I left the street went quiet again! haha