The long walk home

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After more than a decade of working with snow as the focus and most prominent feature in my paintings, I came to a point where it seemed natural to explore a different approach. A photo taken on a hiking trip a few years back caught my attention, as it had the structure and clean patches of sand, gras and rocks that could step in for the discipline I get from patches of snow. I knew this would take me trough a much broader colour palette. The danger of ending up with a giant mash was imminent. So, this called for structure and discipline. Keep it simple, or …

The motif is a grand lake in the area I get most of my references for my works. The lake “Løkjelsvatnet” was used as the reservoir for a grand hydropower plant built in 1918, and the natural water level was raised by 11 meter with a dam, and lowered by the same measure by drilling. In total this lake has the potential of being regulated a total of 22 meters. This cause for huge changes in the local environment. However, the moon-like landscape has always intrigued me.

Well, I soon had to surrender my firm strategy. This could not be done without a very high number of visits with the masking tape and some fresh cut stensil to facilitate the enormous amount of small rocks and patches of moorland, gras, gravel (exposed by the lowering of the water level), ponds and further features. My hours at this piece were adding up, as did my frustration of never quite hitting the mark on some of the illuminated parts in the background.

I will now take you through a small part of this process. These images shows my third visit at the river and the lake. I had two different layers down, and I was not quite happy with the lack of reflection.

The azure blue was a little off.
I used a roller to create the reflections and highlights in the river. I also gave the lower section of the lake some shine.
This is before the masking tape comes off. Note how the paint is sitting on the surface. This is a titanium white from Lascaux with a slight touch of cobalt blue. I use their “artist” series due to the thick quality. It has an oil colour feel to it.
A close up of the result.
The current state after this visit. Hopefully the piece will be finished in a couple of weeks.

So, this is just one of many typical small operations that comprise one of my paintings. I will come back with a new post when the piece is completed. This experimental work has proven to be a tough one to break. It sure feels like some of those long walks home after a hike. You know you’ll get there, but the last hills are a bit of a climb.

Working outdoors

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Spring is excellent for working outdoors. The sun speeds up the drying, and makes for perfect work light. I have been working on a few commissions for ICART lately, including a series of paintings for the Artic class 6 cruise ship Viking Octantis. At the moment I’m doing two new paintings for a new ship. I will come back to this in a future post.

As for now, less works are getting into my galleries, as they are mostly reserved. The outdoor option will hopefully speed things up and get more new canvases going.

Here are som pictures from the batch I’m currently working on. None of these are finished.

The impasse, and the unexpected help from nature’s randomness.

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Sometimes I get into situations when a certain area seems impossible to resolve, even after several attempts. This problem might derive from a too limited scope of input. A restricted set of solutions are reserved for each individual type of area. Some very few examples being the sky and clouds, the bare fields of dry beige gras, the rocky patches, snow patches, and as in this instance: Ice drifting on water. For each type, there seem to be a protocol. A go to solution. Sometimes that falls short.

It works 95% of the time, so why not here? Is there another magic tool in toolbox?

Help might come from rather unexpected sources.

The granular surface was created by the instance of rain and the material sanded of the surface just prior.

I’m currently making a 130 x180 cm piece for a client. Now, the photo was taken by the commissioner himself, and it seemed a great starting point, however I did not take into consideration the vast area of water in the foreground. This turned out to be my achilleas this time. I planned to construct a pattern of ice to replace the non-event of the dark water of the original picture. 

I applied a series of layers, and this usually does the job. After a few rounds, I was at an impasse. I was surely going in circles. One layer after the other. More structures and even more icebergs on top. Too much space and no real dynamic.

As a last resort, I took the painting outside and gave it a heavy rub with sandpaper. This sort of «restart» sometimes gives me a better chance at starting fresh. The sanding created a lot of white and blue grains in the water, a somewhat milky touch. It was starting to look a bit more interesting, but “no sigar”.

Then I heard a faint thunder, shifting winds and at last heavy rains followed suit. In a split second I stopped myself from rescuing the painting into the studio. I simply let the rain hammer the surface for a short moment. Shortly, an amazing structure appeared in the milky white and blue. It was like I was saying: «Well, nature, I can’t resolve this, now you have a go». The randomness of nature can be great if harnessed and captured.

Let’s go Green!

No, this is not a blog about me getting into environmentally friendly materials. It’s literally about colour.

I have always had a bit of a struggle working with green, so I knew from the start this was going to be challenge.

The summer of 2015 was indeed rather unusual. The hard winter left a substantial amount of snow extending the “motif hunting season” into the summer. Another curious aspect of this, was the the exchanging of the browns and beiges into different shades of green, some rather intense.

Whenever the snow pulls back exposing the soil to the sun, the ground thaws and the gras will eventually come back. Normally the process takes a few weeks and this occurs in a mixture of earthy colour up against the white snow. For 2015, the patches of snow lasted much longer and the ground was exposed to a much higher temperature. This speeding up gave us white and green! This series of paintings are all from the same location using the exact same image.

There is a lot going on, I admit. I spent months adding details that had to be covered up in the end. It just got too busy.

So, maybe not to everyone’s liking, here are some “Very late in the season-Rafdals”.

“Kvamsstølen 2015” Acrylic and oil on board.

“Kvamsstølen 2015” Acrylic and oil on board.
“Kvamsstølen 2015” Acrylic and oil on canvas. 145×140 cm.

Haugesund Billedgalleri

Fredag 14. februar opnar utstillinga “Den Store Stillheten” i Haugesund Kunstforening (lokalisert i Haugesund Billedgalleri). Denne utstillinga vil visa eit stort utvalg av større format, inkludert eit motiv frå Løkjelsvatnet i Etne. Dette er eit triptyk på 150 x 390 cm. Dette er det største enkeltverket eg har utført, og det blir interessant å sjå det presentert i den store salen på Billedgalleriet.

Mot Stillheten

“Den Store Stillheten” 150 x 390 cm.

Verket er inspirert av eit fotografi eg fekk låna av Erling Bjarte Rullestad, og er delt inn i tre individuelle lerret. Eg har behandla dei tre delene med litt ulik tilnærming, slik at dei framstår som tre individuelle sekvensar. Korte augneblikk der lyset og atmosfæren skiftar ørlite mellom kvar “ramme”.

Utstillinga skulle opprinneleg ha tittelen “Den Siste Snøen”, men i eit såpass stort utstillingsrom er det viktig å ha eit godt spenn på motivvalg og fargebruk. Om ein ikkje har fokus på dette, kan det fort bli noko monotont. Difor har eg utvida tidsramma for når motiva er tatt, og inkludert nokre verk frå midt på vinteren. Likevel er det størst fokus på snøsmeltinga i april-mai. Uansett måtte utstillinga få ein ny tittel som fanga opp heilskapen, og valget fall på “Den Store Stillheten”. Denne tittelen er inspirert av ei utstilling eg var med på i Marie Tak  van Poortvliet Museum i Holland.

Hestaskarnuten

“Inn i Stillheten” 125 x 170 cm.

Eit nytt motiv som blir presentert både som grafikk og maleri er “Hestaskarnuten”. Dette er eit fjellparti der far min tilbrakte mykje tid i sin ungdom. Fotografiet som blei brukt som utgangspunkt er tatt av Helga Markhus.

Nordstøldalen

“Nordstøldalen” 115 x 135 cm.

Det har også vore tid til å prøva ut nye måtar å henta inn motiv på. Bror min, Albert har ei drone som gir motiv i skikkelig fugleperspektiv. Snøsmeltingsperioden er ei tid der det er nesten umogleg å koma seg langt innover fjellet, så slike hjelpemiddel kan visa seg å bli svært nyttige framover. Motivet frå Nordstøldalen er resultat av eit slikt dronefoto.

Frå Olalia

“Frå Olalia” 125 x 170 cm.

Eit motiv eg lenge har hatt lyst til å gjera eit nytt forsøk på, er “Olalia”, som eg utførte for nokre år sidan. Den gongen gav dette motivet meg store utfordringar, så eg tenkte det var på tide å utfordra det komplekse terrenget ein gong til. Heldigvis vart det ein noko lettare prosess denne gongen, men dette er uansett eit motiv med mange nyanser som er viktig å treffa korrekt om det skal bli eit godt resultat.

Vinternatt

“Ei Vinternatt går mot Slutten” 125 x170 cm

Eit motiv som fekk mykje merksemd sist eg utførte det, var “Vinternatt”, ein versjon av “Mot Sørnuten” der eg gjorde stemninga om til eit nattmotiv. Dette var meint som ein homage til Harald Solberg, som hadde utstilling i Nasjonalgalleriet samstundes. Eg har no gjort ein ny versjon i litt andre fargenyanser.

Dette er kun eit lite utvalg av dei ca 30 verka som blir presentert.

Almost there, but out of reach.

Kattastølen 200x140_edited-1

This 200 x 140 cm canvas has been been kicked around in the studio for a while. Larger pieces like this take a bit more courage to manage. It’s more physical in every sense. I for the most part prefer working with the surface in about level, allowing the high viscosity paint to flow naturally. It’s also a bit more forgiving towards my back and shoulders. However, as the formats get in the execs og 140 cm across, the sentral regions of the canvas get out of reach without ending up in a rather harsh working position. The solution is to alternate between this and something a little more easy to handle.

So what about this piece? Is it finished or does it need some more mist. At the moment it’s possibly lacking a little depth.  It’s hard to say. I will be back with the final version soon.

Working on Commission

Occasionally customers approach me with the desire to have a piece made from a location of their own choice. How can I make this work for both my client and myself? What if, at the end of the line, the client decides the artwork isn’t quite like he/she imagined it? And how about taking on something that doesn’t quite go along with my style and preferences?

I have made this easy for both parts by making some rather simple requirements:

You may bring your own photo reference for the piece. However, I’m inclined to reject any image that doesn’t meet the standard for my production. The image doesn’t have to possess the atmospheric details my paintings and drawings entail. I quite often start with a rather plain image. Some level of sunlight might add some interest, as it sure gives the landscape more depth and “volume” through the casting shadows. The number one reason for rejecting an image is the amount and distribution of snow. No a dark mountain with a few reclining patches of snow at the top, please.

Inn i Stillheten

“Into the Silence” From seljestad. This is the first version of four paintings in various formats. The couple commissioning this piece has now mounted the painting in their mountain cabin, and it looks great.

Lysenuten Sandeid:Vikedal 140x80

My most recent commission for a private client. This impressive scenery is taken from Lysenuten between Sandeid and Vikedal. 140×80 cm. Acrylic on canvas.

You are merely given the option to be the first to consider the piece. I will make it according to my preferences, and you will take it or leave it as is. Sorry, I will not add your sisters dog in the foreground or give the skies a little purple tint to go along your recently purchased wall paper. It is what it is …

On the other hand, you are not obliged to take the piece. I will hopefully find another client for it. No hard feelings.

I will reserve the rights to make further version from the same motif.

So, that’s basically it.

Around Holmavatnet, The last Snow.

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Sometimes people approach me with some really interesting motifs they have captured on camera. As long as the pictures correspond with a specific set of features I want in my works, I can take on pretty much anything. It’s actually rather convenient as I don’t have to make the somewhat hard journey far into the mountains in deep and soft snow. It can be really hard to negotiate for the most.

Terje Fosse captured som really nice images from an area I remember well from my childhood. Some of my friends families had their cabins in this area, and my family went skiing there quite frequently. Terje kindly allowed me to use his images and this has so far resulted in two large pieces.

The small birch wood is just about able to survive this tough environment, and they make a really interesting touch when included in the composition.

2019-04-08 08.44.46“Mot Lysenuten” 190×130 cm. Acrylic on canvas.

 

 

Ved Holmavatnet“Ved Holmavatnet” 145×110 cm. Acrylic on canvas.

Recycling an old window into picture frames.

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Recently our house has gone through a major refurbishing in a process of taking it back to the original look from around the year 1900.

This major undertaking included replacing the windows with modern replicas of original style.

Hus før

The building prior to the transformation. My studio and show room on the ground floor.

 

Hus etter

Siv Helen doing a great job giving the house a propper coat of paint. The final touch. Note the reclaimed slate tiles and the great windows from Flygansvær Trevare (Vestlansvinduet) custom made locally on Tysnes.

Such a major refurbishing produces an abundance of materials that are mostly taken to the dump. However, I try to keep an eye open for anything the can be reused. To my surprise, the old large window in the front, was fully made from solid teak. I accidentally noticed the exclusive look of the wood whilst braking the darn thing down to manageable pieces for dispatching. It surely looked like some expensive type of wood from the rain forest.

As these types wood are considered non sustainable in our times, this was a rare opportunity to make some rather nice frames. I would hate to see such beautiful material go to waste.

Rammer

The pieces were cut on an electric table saw and then glued together. I tried to make them in formats suitable for my prints.

Rammer II

The result was very pleasing. 

I managed to produce six individual frames in various sizes from the single window.

A final note: I do not cut and mount the actual prints into the frames myself. My professional framer at Dahls Rammeservice in Haugsund was experiencing some difficulties during the mounting and kindly instructed me to make a note of this.  I used some canola oil to treat the surface. I would recommend not to soak the inside of the frame with any such treatment, as it made the mounting tape unable to adhere to the wood.

 

 

“Den Siste Snøen”- Galleri Hagalid

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29. september vil mine arbeider bli presentert på Galleri Hagalid, som ligg i vakre omgivnadar i Hjelmeland kommune. Du trur kanskje du har køyrt feil på den smale vegen som snor seg oppover, men når du kjem opp på platået der det gamle tunet ligg, finn du snart ut at denne plassen har mykje meir å by på enn ein skulle tru. Her finn du eit svært særprega galleri i autentiske eldre bygg, vakkert restaurert og respektfullt påbygd.

Galleristen Hanne Sundbø var svært ivrig på å få til nokre lokale motiv, og eg har no arbeida med tre ulike arbeider utført i akryl og olje i små format, tilpassa galleriet sine intime rom. Eg har også utarbeida ei trykkplate i mezzotint der Reinarknuten er tema. Dette er eit motiv som har mykje kraft og tyngde. Ein nut, men også ein kolossal knytneve i stein. Ein tenkjer at kanskje berre snøen på toppen kan gjera den balansert nok for ei trykkplate. Eg lot meg riva med i prosessen med det vesle maleriet, og vegen vidare var lett å velga. Dette måtte bli eit grafisk blad. Eg vonar desse to uttrykka kan utfylla kvarandre.

Det blir eit variert utval av Maleri, kullteikningar og mezzotint. Skal tru om galleristen diskar opp med noko også? Eg trur opninga kan by på inspirerande overraskingar.

Utstillinga står til 21. oktober. Her har du ein perfekt sjanse til å kombinera ei flott utflukt eller ein fottur med ei kulturoppleving.

Ta gjerne ein kikk på heimesida til galleriet: http://www.hagalid.net

Reineknuten

Reinarknuten. Akryl på plate.

 

 

Reineknuten

Reinarknuten. Mezzotint.

 

 

 

Hagalid

“Den siste snøen på Hagalid”. Akryl på plate.

 

 

Austmannaskaret

“Austmannaskardet” . Akryl på plate.