For a few precious minutes, rays of winter light came into the house. Into my desk nook,
into the kitchen,
into the hallway. I walked around with my camera. Click, click, click.
Here is a similar post from last year.
I have sent my family and friends a ridiculous amount of handmade cards over the years: they patiently followed my experiments with various styles and materials. There were scrapbooking-like cards, cut paper cards, painted cards, minimalist cards, maximalist cards. Cardboard, magazine cuttings, egg cartons, whatever. You name it!
They often joked that if I didn’t pursue physics as a carrier, I could always make cards instead. Well, here we go! Of course, one cannot leave academia without after-effects: so, these are academic greetings!
I started with a quick hand-lettered sketch, and used it as a guide to draw all the letters digitally in Inkscape.
By the seaside and in the fields, soaking up the beautiful light. In the garden, watching things grow, watching leaves fall, watching the drops after the rain. Out and about in a city with two rivers. Down in the south, picking chestnuts, picking fresh thyme. Home again, and November’s there.
No matter how long the days have gotten, time seems to fly way too fast. Here I am digging garden beds and turning the compost pile, while golden dandelion jelly is bubbling on the stove. Nature doesn’t wait.
So, business has to wait. Oh, sure, it’s frustrating at times, and yes, my laptop charger died on me as I was editing this goddamn business website.
But my life is so, so much better this way than the other way around. For nature doesn’t wait and dandelions are blooming now.
Before I know it, it’s past midnight. I’ll be up until the wee hours, these June nights are so bright.
It’s such a luxury — probably the biggest of all — to freely dispose of one’s time.
Sometimes as I gaze at the birds through the window I get to witness the birth of a cloud above the fields, or see a fox running by, or the couple of hedgehogs that takes a walk on the lawn every night.
Sometimes the wind carries smells of manure from the nearby farms. But the garden smells of wet earth and wild cherry flowers. Cycling around the other night, I paused several times to take deep breaths. There were so many different smells. Spring flowers, wet forest, freshly cut fir trees.
I’m not writing as much as I wish I would. There are garden beds to dig, seedlings to start, compost piles to turn, grass to cut — nothing to complain about, really.
And then there are these creative endeavours, slowly taking shape. Notebooks being scribbled into, orders sent, ideas becoming clearer, hands becoming more agile. Scalpels cutting paper and paintbrushes dipped in watercolors.
Back to photographing the countryside after last week’s urban snapshots.
In the spring, rain replaces snow and this happens again. Apparently it had captured my attention last year too, when I wrote my very first post.
You can’t see that on this picture, but these look so pretty against the red wall of our little house.
These are starting to wither now. Until next year!
It’ll soon be time to cut the grass in the garden. I’ve been picking the dandelions and carefully replanting the wild strawberries in one spot, safe from the lawnmower. Lookin’ at it as food, not lawn!
10:28 pm. Sunset.
Watching movies before going to bed in the wee hours.
I’ve been diving into the Coen brothers‘ films lately, and loving all of them.
I’m so glad to find that Barton Fink and Inside Llewyn Davis resonate so much with me these days.
How about you?
Besides an appointment to renew my passport at the embassy, I had no plan except walking around randomly.
At the end of the day my feet hurt, and I felt tired but happy.
I spotted a cute little shop and a bike that someone had parked there, I think, quite playfully.
More bikes, more boats,
and there I sat, sipping coffee, enveloped by the sounds of the street and the clinking cutlery. It took a little time to adjust again to the pace of a city.
Until next time, Stockholm.
Every day, I’m discovering new spring flowers ready to pop out in the garden. It’s my first spring here, and I am savoring all these lovely suprises.
Being self-taught, there are plenty of basic painting tricks I am discovering by chance every now and then. Recently I watched the inspiring video that one of my absolute favorite illustrators, Anna Emilia Laitinen, shared in this post. This is how I realized that taping the paper on the table with a little bit of masking tape relieved the stiffness I was feeling after sitting drawing or painting for several hours, constantly holding my paper in place with my left hand. Bye bye, pain!
This tree will be all green in no time. It’s placed perfectly in front of the south-facing windows, letting the sun in in the cold winter months, giving some shade during summer.
I’ve been working on cut paper characters for a little more than a year now. I make a sketch first, and then prepare all the pieces that I cut, paint and glue together. I like the texture and shadows that are created by superposing several layers, and I’ve found that working with cut paper was a great way to force myself to draw clean contours and precise shapes. I sure also felt safer making every character separately when working on a large piece such as this one. This time, I painted the chickens directly on the paper, and only added the wings and the eyes on top for a little texture.
Inside, by the window, seeds are sprouting. I have big hopes for this year’s vegetable garden. The first one I’ll grow in my very own place.
The field has gotten even greener since I took this picture.
Spring, confirmed. Chickens, done.
How about you, how’s your week been so far?
Through the window, the view has changed quite a bit since January.
After a lot of practice, it was time to switch to proper watercolor paper. The colors are brighter, for sure. I’m quite happy with the patterns on this one, too.
In the forest, the very last patches of snow.
Another one, with freckles.
And fresh air, lots of fresh air.
These days I’m spending long hours painting and cutting paper. I’m taking a lot of notes, learning new techniques, listening to podcasts. I’m feeling so inspired, but oh, so stiff from too much sitting! So, everyday, I’m taking long walks in the forest. Birch trees, fir trees, blue skies and sunlight. The sound of silence and the sound of the wind.