Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Artwork from Finland Spring and Summer 2009

I spent much of the late spring and summer of 2009 in Finland playing gigs. I also spent a lot of free time painting, concentrating on developing my water colour skills.
Here are some samples of my work
I hope you like them and Iwould appreciate any comments or surgibstons.
Thanks very much dude

I arrived in Tampere, the second biggest city in Finland after Helsinki located in the centre of Finland, in mid April to play music at a swing dance weekened of workshops. I ended up staying a week after the festival out and about with my sketch pad. The days were very bright and sunny and although the snow was melting it could still be bitterly cold, especially when the wind blew. The painting above was done on a very very cold windy day on a golf course. I was too cold to see straight by the end... excuses, excuses!!!

Boats by the frozen lake. Simplicity and small good quality paper seemed to be the key to getting results with least for me!

Aleksis's dad's sauna in the summer house near Nokia. View down on to the jetty where the night before we had been jumping into the freezing water after roasting in the sauna.

Hirvi Katu (moose street) community arts centre front porch in Pispalla, near Tampere. My friends work there and I sat in the porch as the cold sun set trying my first watercolour interior!

A bad result - I blame this on the cold but also a bit ambitious with all those trees behind the lovely grey rocks.

This sketch is from Tampere Dom - a beautiful cathedral built in 1907 which feels more artistic and cosy than spiritual.. at least to me but it is a very personal thing. It is famous for its frescos painted by the well-known symbolist artist Hugo Simburg.

Here are Annie, Aleksis and Rikkaa - three members of the Swing Team in Tampere that invited Triin and me over to play music for their Easter weekend workshop!


After Tampere I went on a short tour of Russia and Ukraine (see other blog) and returned to Finland again in early June for more concerts with Too Dumb To Die. We cycled from Helsinki to Tampere and then took the train all the way up north to Kemi (near the artic circle) and cycled much of the way south along the Coast of Bothnia staying for a few days with our friend Ula Maja in Oulu.

My MAIN MAN ROBY WAN reading Carlos Castanera in the garden in Tampere

Ships in Oulu

ABOVE: Two picture of my wonderful friend Ula-Maja... our hostess in Oulu and a great supporter of Too Dumb to Die. She hosted all 8 of us in her one room flat -lucky there was a park outside! The picture on the left shows her reading the paper in the kichen and on the right she is on her balcony in Oulu (in a block of flats designed by Alvar Aalto the famous Finnish modernist architect) chatting to her lovely neighbour. There was a very touching story about her neighbour that reminded me what music can do for people: she had not left her home for anything other than chores since her husband had died exactly a year before. She was so intrigued by all our practicing that she came in to town to see us play and danced... and was so delighted with us that she was constantly offering us bread and cheese or the use of her shower if we had a queue in Ula-Maja's flat!

Above: Triin in Oulu infront of the paper mill.

Above: Rowing boat in Raahe

ABOVE: The midnight sun... looking north at 2.30 am in Raahe in July
This pencil sketch below shows how I painted the above picture. I had to cover myself in a mosquito net to avoid being eaten alive.

After reaching Vasa mostly by bike, we jumped a stretch of coast on the bus to arrive in time to meet the other members of Too Dumb To Die in Turku (Finland's oldest city on the South Western coast). From there we set off on our bikes through the Aland archipeligo which are thousands of beautiful islands scattered almost all the wasy between Finland and Sweeden. Bikes are free of cost of mostly all of the many ferries between the islands and there are not many cars and many beautiful birds nesting. The scenery was the most lovely I have yet seen in Finland. I had a really spendid time and tried to catch some sights with my brush.

Cathedral in Turku (oldest church in Finland but many times burnt down)

ABOVE AND BELOW: Churches on Aland islands

Triin drinking coffee in a cafe in Aland islands

From Aland I took a ferry over to Stockholm for Herrang Swing festival and from there took a boat back to Estonia to prepare for my exhibition in Mustio (a small village with a historical manor house on the Kings Road connecting Turku with Helsinki). Our wonderful friend Katja bent over backwards to help me with the exhibition - many many thanks to her! I exhibited paintings I had made over the summer (many of these shown on this blog) and sold a couple and received a lot of encouragement and congratulations. I stayed around in Mustio for 2 weeks after the vernissage painting and relaxing in the lovely countryside.

Me dancing ontop of the gallery in Mustio Finland where my
exhibition took place (the building is actually a wooden built
folly on top of a hill painted to look like a stone castle!)

Above: Gazebo in Mustio with bridge in background

Triin in the same Gazebo at dusk

Above: Full moon over a misty field outside Katja
Yuhola's home in Mustio/Svaro in SW Finland

Above:Bridge and Gazebo in Mustio Manor

Lillies in Mustio at evening (trying hard to master the art
of water colour with an oriental touch)

A young Finnish boy and girl in the train in Helsinki. There are many death metal fanatics and many young people look very pale and wan and wear black clothes.
Tampere Dom

Friends in the Swing team Tampere

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