When I am not reading the newspaper, other music blogs, music discussions or web pages I have looked up to understand something, while listening to Beethoven’s Ninth or some songs by Steely Dan or a cd with Anne Sofie von Otter, I am sometimes writing arrangements of Christmas music, looking at music composed by my friends, or reading a page or two of serious fiction or theory, but when I am not doing this – or watching the snow that fell yesterday – I have these paintings to work on. The Red Road is almost finished now. The abstract maritime landscape with the beams of light is just a sketch to a larger painting I will make some day. The simplified little copy of Enguerrand Charonton’s The Coronation of Mary (original from 1454) is what it is – a naive exercise. Here is a detail of the original:


Kyle Gann in PostClassic has a long post about American art and music, American Romanticism: Music vs. Painting, with a discussion of what was new and specifically American in the Hudson River School of painters, and then in comparison how little original their contemporaries among composers were:

“Their music is a pale imitation of the European aesthetic of their day. In vain one listens to their symphonies, tone poems, piano pieces, and string quartets, for a new feeling for melody, a new sense of form, a departure from Europe. They were timid. Their emphasis was not on a bold new beginning, but on a sense of correctness, a balance learned rather than created, and a desire to impress. At their very best – as in, say, Chadwick’s string quartets – one finds an energetic smoothness, but even here the music seems to plead, ‘Look – I followed all the rules. Isn’t that enough?’ “

F. E. Church: Morning, Looking East Over the Hudson Valley from the Catskill Mountains

When I told my friend Pat Ross-Ross that I have started to paint in oil, and thought both landscapes and portraits were interesting to try, he mentioned The Group of Seven, and suggested I looked at the works of these famous Canadian painters, to see if my idea of Northern landscapes resonated with theirs. Yes, maybe. And then I read that some of the painters in the Canadian Northern school were inspired by the Scandinavians of a generation before them… If I understood this right.

Tom Thomson: The West Wind

The Nationalmuseum in Stockholm will host an exhibition in the autumn 2006, with works by romantic and early 20th century landscape painters from the Nordic countries. (The exhibition is in Helsinki this summer, starting in Stockholm on 30 September, will be in Oslo in spring 2007, comes to Minneapolis in the summer 2007, and then last stop is in Copenhagen in the autumn 2007)

Edvard Munch: Moonlight

Marie-Louise Maude Ester Fuchs De Geer Bergenstråhle Ekman

Det här är en ny artikel om en av mina idoler – Marie-Louise med de många efternamnen. Det här är en äldre intervju. Jag har verkligen inte följt med i allt hon har gjort – sett alla bilder och installationer, sett alla filmer, läst böcker, sett pjäser, inrett med hennes tyger, eller så. Men jag uppskattar hennes klokt galna syn på konsten, och människorna:

– Jag har förstått först efteråt vad det är jag gör, ja, vad jag har hållit på med hela tiden. Jag är inte konstintresserad alls. Jag försöker förstå tillvaron genom att rycka ut fragment ur den som jag håller på med tills jag känner mig… lugnare, i alla fall med just den lilla skärvan. Men jag har ingen ambition alls att göra konstverk.

– Alla människor får miljoner idéer. Det svåra är att sortera, välja bort och välja rätt. Att göra ett bra val är det som utmärker en god idé. Man kan lära sig att vara uppmärksam på vilka människor eller saker man vill komma nära, och på när varningssignalerna lyser. Hjärnan håller på hela tiden.

[This linked article is a recent interview with one of my idols – the artist, playwright, movie director, and art professor Marie-Louise Maude Ester Fuchs De Geer Bergenstråhle Ekman. And this is an older article from another newspaper.]

Posted in art

work in progress

the camera was unsteady, which in fact makes this picture look better than in real life, but both two paintings of the helmsman (-woman) are unfinished, I can’t get the eyes right, and the whole thing is lifeless kitsch, but maybe someday..

the landscape seen in the background of the studio interior (the thing with the red road and the puddles) is in its first stages, so the colours aren’t right yet, but will be darker with more layers of paint.

Kitchen quilt from 2004

This is a quilt I made a couple of years ago, and which I use as a drape between the hall and the combined dining room and kitchen. (Click on the photo to see a larger version). The design is a wild interpretation of a quilt from a book by Kaffe Fassett, and the colours are meant to match the ochre and blue of our kitchen. The technique is blocks made of 3-5 cm wide shreds, sewn around a small square in the centre. Then the slightly uneven blocks were cut after a square paper pattern, and some of them cut diagonally in halves. The quilt was composed with a greyblue/beige striped fabric between the blocks, and small violet squares in the corners. Around it all is a darker blue and violet border. The other side is in bright blue with golden stars.

Tango: Orfeus & Ofelia

In October 2005, I made this sketch of a dancing couple, after reading some articles about Argentine tango in an old issue of National Geographic. Later, I have painted the same figures in a picture in a different colour scheme. Now, I think it looks more like a mythological scene. Maybe this is Orpheus, waltzing on the golden road up from the Underworld, with, not a sad and silent Eurydice who is just about to turn back to the dead, but – a sleepwalking Ophelia. Somehow, I also think the woman resembles Diana Krall. Don’t know why!

(“Tango: Orfeus & Ofelia”. Oil painting, ca 33×24 cm. Copyright: MaLj (Sweden) 2006. Click on the image to see a larger version.)


Since I was unable to attend the opening on Saturday, I visited the art exhibition at the library today instead. My picture of two guys standing on a cliff in the archipelago landscape had good company of a grandfather-and-grandson portrait on the one side, but maybe the picture at the other side was not a good match: a small decorative thing with grapes and grape leaves. Anna’s own big pictures – one oil painting in blue colours, one pastel in yellow-orange colours with sketched figures – were of course the best at the exhibition, but many student works were technically skilled realistic pictures, and in some cases also interesting compositions. Too many were just exercises in the teacher’s style, for example studies of a dozen stones on a beach, or the non-figurative blue-ish paintings she has done a lot of, and which obviously has inspired some students.

Personal diary style

I will try to write something like a diary style blog today:

Lazy morning. Breakfast. Tea made from cheap Ceylon teabags in the low, small and plain brown Chinese teapot. Milk in the teacup. Soft Fazer rye bread; one with cheese and one with liver pâté. Grapefruit juice. No yoghurt today.

Very few emails. Re-read a couple of letters from yesterday instead. Read the news on the web. Looked through the latest threads on a music forum.

Listened to “Allegresse” by Maria Schneider (the jazz composer, not the actress..). Very nice music – playful and beautiful, and not much of a normal busy big band sound, which I was grateful for (I am not so fond of conventional big band stuff – all the aggressive brass chords, and such things – so I don’t like all pieces on other cd’s with Maria Schneider Orchestra). I ordered the CD Tuesday night last week, at online order from Artist Share, and got it in the mail on Friday morning. Surprising, as I know it normally takes 6 days for letters to go from New York to Stockholm.

(photo of Maria Schneider by Jimmy Katz)

Tried to play through a collection of ten old piano pieces by Steve Dobrogosz (check the link for info about his appearence on the Stockholm Jazz Festival 2006). Good to practise again, to play the timed sounds, to hear something new, but this isn’t really my kind of music – not interesting enough. The pieces were fairly easy to read and understand, but since I haven’t heard them before, I couldn’t figure out why some things were composed like they were, and how to interpret them (even if there were some ideas – comments and suggestions – printed on the back cover.)

Made some pasta with beans for lunch. I like it, and it is nice to cook something new instead of heating leftovers in the micro.

Putting the things in order for tomorrow’s painting class. Had to scrape dry and half-dry paint with a sharp knife from the palette I used a month ago. I had imagined that I would continue on the two pictures I am working on, so it was better to leave the paint that was left. Not. A few days is okay, with the water soluble oil paint I use at home, but not weeks in thin layers on the palette. I used the last of a quantity of still soft white to fill an empty space on a sketch I have been dabbling with.

Packed a jeans jacket I got through mail order yesterday again, in a tape-sealed plastic bag, to send it back to the mail order company. The jacket was for my son, but I had miscalculated the size (was some confusing info in the catalogue, with everything presented in French sizes instead of S-M-L or EU standard system), so he needs a bigger one. This one was more in my size, but I don’t need a Levi’s jacket just now.

Laundry. Sorting things in the dishwasher. Cleaning/dusting some floor boards in the rooms upstairs, and the staircase.

Not a bad day, after all.