Friday, January 29, 2010

looking is 50%

Friday in the studio.

I've updated my website; new paintings and finally the enamel series "en vogue".

Thursday, January 28, 2010

finally in the studio!

Since Monday I have started my planned intense studio time (5 weeks - was supposed to be 6 weeks, but got tonsillitis). It's a joy to come to the studio every morning; I'm excited like a little child!

I bike every day all year around to my studio - if I don't have to carry something heavy or got a fever. Yesterday going there it was a mild snow storm - and slush and rain going home. I felt like a superhero being one of the few on a bike. BUT today it's like an ice rink full of bumps out here ... I barely managed to deliver the child to preschool (tried the bike, but I had to walk with it). So on what was supposed to be the fourth day in the studio I decided to stay at home. I'm writing all these applications for funding for KKV and some for me as well. (ok, I'm on a break right now)

see Helsinki new year (very uplifting!) - one of many videos to enjoy by my dear talented friend Miska Knapek. More of Miska Knapek

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

material and colours

I suggested enamel as the material for the art pieces for the entrances as it's a durable material, but also beautiful. I use a special enamel screen printing colour to transfer my sketches to the enamels (see how here and then here). The method of screen printing allows some of the difference in tonality to be transferred from the original ink drawings.

As every animal should be repeated 4 times (or 2) I suggested using different colour tones to differentiate the entrances in the same building from each other. As the buildings are subtle in colour I decided not to use too vivid colours. Darker tones would make the animals easier to see - a yellow test confirmed that. I made colour tests on tiles as they are so much cheaper than enamels, but can also take the enamel screen printing colour. What is tricky with enamel screen printing colour is that you never know how a mixture will turn out after being in the kiln - what looked like orange and green ... came out as almost the same ochre tone!

As the best choices of colour I suggested grey, subtle greyish blue, reddish brown and a soft military green - but of course gave more options. [I've found that it is always better to let the clients have at least some choices - to make them feel in charge of the project.]

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

the idea

My idea was to make an animal for each one of the 11 building and give them a different colour tone for the 2-4 entrances/building. Animals are motives easy to understand and appeal to all ages. I chose to depict Swedish wild animals to connect the art pieces with the surroundings. I sketched the motives in indian ink to make the animals simplified and easy to read.

Here you can see the 19 sketches I gave the board to chose between. Three of the animals come in two versions. Which 11 animals do you think they should chose? Or maybe easier; which ones shouldn't they take?

Monday, January 25, 2010

the brief

I've now and then been posting some photos of my sketches for a commission job for a Tenant Owners' Associations, but I haven't let you in on the whole story. Now I will.

This Tenant Owners' Associations consists of 11 buildings (apartments) with all together 38 entrances (8 buildings with 4 entrances, 3 buildings with 2) and was built in the 1960's. Some years ago they changed the door bell system and got an ugly hole where they put a metal plate instead. Now they wanted to know if I could put an art piece there. They had seen the enamels I made in 2008.

Preferably 80 % of the tenants should be pleased with the art pieces. And it should not - of course - cost too much.

Tomorrow I'll let you in on my thoughts behind my suggestion and show you the 11 sketches I presented.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Art as Business: My Priorities

When I set out to write this Art as Business series I decided to be really honest. But as we all know it is not always easy ... and often it can be easier to admit weakness than admitting that you aim really high. Or maybe it is just me being Swedish and the Jante Law affecting me (check the link if you don't know about that law)?

Or is it the fear that if you let people know your goals, they will know if you fail reaching them? (otherwise you can pretend you weren't aiming to get anywhere in particular ... and keep the failure as your own little secret). Maybe it is better being vague about what you want?

Anyway here we go again: me trying to sort out my goals and priorities (cards on the table):

1. - What are my long-term goals?
To make really good art. Art that will be appreciated especially by other artists (my peers). I aim to exhibit in Major Art Centres, Art Museums, Biennials … and the Best of Galleries (though the last one is less important).

2. - What should I do 2010 to get closer to my goals?
  • Network with “the right people”
  • Define definite steps to get to my goals
  • Get exhibition in really good Gallery/Art Centre for the next years
  • Preferably get some press attention
3. - Incomes?
First half year I will get my incomes from giving some screen-printing workshops, making commissioned art/Public commissions and Public Art projects with schoolchildren. And preferably by selling some of my art (though how much I can not know).

4. - How do I want to spend my time?
  • I would love to spend at least 80 % of my working days (day-time) on my own projects, and the remaining 20 % on: seeing art by others/in project with other artists or creative people/working for art organizations/networking.
  • Instead of working 2-3 hours a night 6 days a week in front of the computer I would like to work just 3 hours 3 nights a week – and spend the rest of the time either with my partner or doing something different than art.
  • Weekends should be work free.
    Doing something different on a Wednesday night
5. - Is it realistic to spend my time like no 4 and manage to do no 2 and 3 at the same time?
Hahaha! No, not right now. There is a lot of administration and marketing to do that I will not manage only night-time (besides I’m tired then and not always good at concentrating). I will also have to spend time on projects that generate incomes (teaching/commissions) and that I don’t consider “my own”.

To be realistic I could manage to spend 45 % (day-time time) on my own art if I get really organised. I should try to get that time more concentrated in time (for example: February, June, August, October, November) and not mixed up with other projects.

To work less night time should be possible if I get better at saying NO to things and projects – and if I get a bit more organised… (TIME MANAGEMENT!). Blogging shouldn't take too much time and helping me to reach my goals - not something stealing time.

6. - What am I prepared to sacrifice and what not?
I am prepared to put less time on making my art than I dream of … in order to get somewhere and making a living meanwhile. But I’m not prepared to spend more than 60% of my time doing what I don’t really want to.

There are times when I wish I didn’t have to be that over cautious with money all the time – but for now it is a must.

7. - Thus what are my priorities?
  • Liberate more time by planning my time (what takes unnecessary time? What should I stop doing, start doing - and start saying no to) and getting better organised.
  • Work on my own art
  • Be more than excellent on the jobs (teaching/art projects/commissions) I have this spring + follow up in order to get more jobs that way.
  • Define definite steps to get to my goals (what galleries, Art Centres etc. and when)
  • Network and apply for exhibitions
  • Focus on getting some incomes (art related and preferably well paid) for autumn (Spring and summer already covered)
  • (get some press coverage )

So - that was that! Next week I will be giving my fourth Progress Report; how I advance with public commissions, exhibitions and time management (I've added the latter as something important to report about - not to be able to escape it).

[this is a post in my Sunday Series: Art as Business. Links to the other posts can be found in the sidebar]

Friday, January 22, 2010

how it should be

Wednesday night I presented the complete sketches for the Tenant Owners' Association's board. They seemed pleased, but will think about it until their next meeting in a month (things are not moving fast here...). They have to take some decisions about which animals they want and what colours. If they decide to go ahead with the commission I'll execute the enamels in April (if you wonder: I do get paid for the suggestion even if they wouldn't continue with the next step and order the 38 enamels).

Before the meeting I tried the enamel with the fox where it is supposed to be at an entrance. What do you think?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

objects of envy

Last week I got a parcel from Thereza, she sent me some gifts for the new year. And she was very sweet and included even a colouring book for my son! But that was not enough for him. Just like me, he loves Thereza's imagery, and confiscated the house for his room. Clearly that was meant for him too ... she just forgot to write it.

Earlier this week I got a parcel again. Anairam had send me lovely gifts all the way from South Africa. Someone was full of envy "why do you get all this and not me?" I said "Give and you shall receive", but that didn't work on the son. Now the banner "have fun make art" hangs next to his easel, because as he put it "everything that is yours, mummy, is mine, right?"

Thereza and Mariana, thank you for cheering up two people at home with tonsillitis!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

hares for tomorrow

Tomorrow I have my presentation for the tenants owners association (commission). I had planned to share here on my blog how I've been thinking with this commission and how I present the complete suggestion ... but it will have to wait some days. We have tonsillitis (me and son). But I will of course give my presentation anyway tomorrow (= self employed)

Blanket Magazine's blog - they like my art

Monday, January 18, 2010


No, I'm not in my studio - I just wish I were. I'm home with a sore throat and a feverish boy.

No pants action at improve everywhere
or visit the Van Gogh Museum - it's almost like being there!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Art as Business: Setting Priorities

Losing track of your priorities

It happens to me over and over. I over commit, I lose track of what was important, why I did things in the first place. Suddenly I realize – this was not how it was supposed to be, what I was supposed to do… But then I’m too stubborn and too proud to admit that I’ve left the path I was supposed to follow. I had promised – so I will have to do it. But it is actually like I’m making myself trip and fall: I’m not helping myself.
She didn't understand what made her trip and fall.
She was all alone and there were no obstacles.

This is how it goes: Starting out fun – getting more complex/changing into something else – sticking to it though it was not a priority

I had promised to deliver the post Networking III (institutions) in my Art as Business series here at my blog; first before Christmas, then last Sunday … then now. But this subject has been very far from what has been on my mind lately. I have been working hard on some proposals to get some important projects while just dying to be in my studio painting instead. I feel like all autumn was being spent in front of the computer doing paperwork or trying to get public commissions. I managed to complete very few paintings – and every time the son got ill studio time - of course - had to be sacrificed. And then I had my ambitious Art as Business Series here on my blog that slowly didn’t fell fun to me any longer. I didn’t improvise my writing as in the beginning – and had committed to write about this super complex subject: networking to reach the market/institutions/peers. I even felt like totally giving up blogging to get out of what I had promised.

But wait a second. Why did I start this Art as Business?

-To help me focus and to get somewhere while hopefully helping someone else. It was supposed to be fun. I also wanted to experiment a bit with writing in different ways and play around illustrating it. I have just a few hundred readers, I make no money out of my blog in any way (not selling art on-line) - and I'm actually not prepared to invest the time and energy necessary to become something else! (though I now and then get a bit obsessed with visitor statistics and wonder why the hell I'm not getting any more readers!)

I will now try to get my priorities right again by re-evaluating my priorities and establish my goals for this year.

To set priorities you will have to ask yourself what you want to achieve the most. It is so easy to want to do too many things – and not taking into account how much time you will have to invest to get there. You shouldn’t spend too much time on low priority tasks!

Questions to ask:
  1. What are my long-term goals?
  2. What should I do this year to achieve them?
  3. Incomes?
  4. How do I want to spend my time?
  5. Is it realistic to spend my time like no 4 and manage to do no 2 and 3 at the same time?
  6. What am I prepared to sacrifice and what not?
  7. Thus what are my priorities?
Next Sunday I'll try to answer my questions in Art as Business version 2010. Feel free to join me and give me your answers to the questions (that is what you should prioritize ... not me. Though if you have some advice to give me - please go ahead!)

[Update: I will try to continue the networking posts about institutions/artists later on, but for now I will have to concentrate on getting 2010 started in a proper way. There is a lot of planning needed during this part of the year.]

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I thought I would be more back than this today. But the son felt today was a good day to get ill.

Monday, January 11, 2010

not here

Unfortunately I will be gone from blogland a couple of more days as I got some important things to solve (art biz) and just don't find any time to spare. See you on Thursday!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

my Wacom tablet

Just before Christmas I bought myself a Wacom intuos4 tablet. I'm working a lot with photos and images in photoshop and I had started to get some pain in my right shoulder - so I thought this could be a wise investment. Now when I have used it a bit I must say it's just GREAT (no, I'm not sponsored by Wacom!).

The tablet is pressure sensitive; which for example means that I can get thinner or thicker lines just my changing the pressure when drawing. And then there is this great zoom in-zoom out function and some other good stuff. And I can put the tablet on my lap and tilt it (ok - that's not hightech ... but really comfortable)

Lisa Congdon has a collection a day for 2010

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

seeing through

Today was a holiday again. It's good that the new year starts kind of slowly...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

fox and sitting ducks

My first Tuesday 2010 was good. No distracting sun light, concentrated work at KKV (for this commission), a good long bike ride on snowy streets ... and the two men in my life welcoming me home with kisses at night.

How was your first Tuesday?

Monday, January 04, 2010


Today my holidays were over. I spend a productive day at KKV (artist-run collective workshops) preparing for making some colour tests on enamel and tiles tomorrow.

But the last hour when I was supposed to work, I run around taking photos instead. The sunlight was creating the best of effects. Better not hoping for that light tomorrow as well; I will need to stay focused!

Fly Fun - what to do with all those dead flies you find in the window

Sunday, January 03, 2010

postman ...

just in time for the new year I got an oversea letter filled with surprises [I'm so happy that I'm not just getting invoices in my letterbox any more!]. Nathalie sent me a print of one of her paintings and one of her sensitive and poetic photos. Exchanging gifts like this with someone you've just met blogging is so nice!

Thank you Nathalie - you gave the new year a great start!

Saturday, January 02, 2010


I hope you have relaxed and recharged over Christmas (I have) because now it starts afresh: I wish you all a happy 2010!