Sunday

Pebbles

"Resting pebbles"                                             watercolour 42x 66 cm                                              © Elizabeth Tyler 2015


Pebbles on the beach have always fascinated me. They are universal, they can be seen anywhere in the world. This happens to be on a Greek beach but the stones, pebbles and sand all amount to the same thing, or do they? 

Not unlike human beings, every single one of them has it's own personality, shaped and coloured by the environment they happen to be situated in. Some are firmly set and embedded in the underlying sand where they have been for years. Others roll around and dance with every wave and even pretend they can float on air. Some have a rough, structured surface, bleached by the sun, others are polished smooth, almost transparent, every day absorbing and reflecting the warm glow of the sun.
That's the fascinating thing about people - I mean pebbles...

Friday

Feedback about my ebook "Watercolour in Detail"

I would like to share a couple of the warming, positive comments I have received about my ebook "Watercolour in Detail". (If you're wondering: No, I haven't written these myself!)
Larali wrote: I hope someone realizes you belong in Art History.  To immortalize your techniques, your genius and your passion for beauty will inspire and enable generations to come to follow their dreams.  Thanks for sharing, in this digital age, your amazing talent and provide us, the contemporaries, a glimpse of a Master.
Crystalheart9 wrote:
This ebook is a fantastic resource of watercolor technique and information. I have just recently purchased it and have learned some wonderful new ways of using watercolors. Anyone who wants to paint with watercolor should purchase this beautiful ebook.

For those of you who haven't seen the presentation video about the ebook, here it is
( if the video above doesn't start automatically click on this link instead: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oxOLAbPq8c  )
This is a short presentation about my ebook which is available online for instant download.
The description of the book is as follows:

This ebook in PDF format is primarily written for those who have worked with watercolour for some time, but also new beginners will find help and inspiration. In the course of giving tips and ideas, practical advice and instruction many rules are broken in a different approach to the traditional concept of watercolour painting
“Watercolour in detail” has 106 pages with 224 illustrations.

Apart from methods, tools and techniques the 14 chapters cover a wide range of subject matter including flowers, animals, people and buildings. Also how to paint the sky and the sea, fruit and vegetables and subjects on the beach. What to take with you when travelling with watercolours and how to find unusual subjects by taking a closer look. A chapter about painting watercolours in large formats covers  important things to consider before starting. The book also dedicates a few pages to mistakes and how to avoid them or correct them when things went wrong anyway.
Finally there are some hints and words of advice about how to look after your finished work.

Sell Digital Goods from A Plus Download File Hosting Service If you would like the book it costs 19.95 USD and payment is processed securely by Paypal. Note: The pdf book works on any computer. For iPad just download to your computer first, then transfer it using iTunes.
You can also see more about it at www.elizabethtyler.com

Saturday

Seagull in storm - work in progress


During the latest winter storm  here in Sweden, I drove to Kullaberg, a beautiful high and rocky headland which reaches out in the Kattegat. This is a favourite destination of mine where I knew the waves would be just about as high as they get around here. The sea is quite deep and the coastline exposed to the north westerly winds.
I took a great number of reference photographs for this painting and combined them to compose this view of a seagull hovering over the waves. The dark rocks served as a backdrop to set off the gull and a contrast to the blue-green foaming waves.












Scroll down and see some step by step shots of the painting in progress...


I started by drawing some guidelines to keep track of the composition. The outline of the gull was taped before painting the dark brown background.















The different shades of the waves blue and green colours where roughly blocked in using thin washes of Ultramarine, Paynes grey, Pthalo blue green and cerulean blue.  Titanium white was painted where the foam should be. I used my fingers to smudge the transitions.










I spent some time painting the different shades of brown in both the rocks and the gull.

The markings and shadows under the gulls wings where rendered in blue, umber and burnt sienna. I added white highlights where the low lying sun touched the outlines of the gull.
 I worked for hours on the details of the frothing waves, using small brushes and feathering any hard lines with a soft dry fan brush.


Covering the gull with a thin wash of
white to bring it forward and
create a contrast to the background 

Sunday

Drama in New York!

On the second day of my New York visit I wasn't feeling well but tried to ignore it and met up with May for another tour of galleries in the city. After that it was a great privilege to be invited to the Manhattan home of May and her husband Bob. I was able to study May's impressive works of art while Bob entertained on the grand piano. I really and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful music, amazing artworks and an awesome view of the sunset over the Hudson river.
Unfortunately though my stay in New York didn't turn out to be so perfect as it started off. In the evening, back in my room at Queens, my stomach pains got unbearable. I was alone in the apartment so I rang May to ask for advice, she told me to ring 911.
It was definitely not on my bucket list to be dashed across New York in an ambulance with flashing lights and and howling sirens, but that's what happened next! 




A rough sketch of the ambulance
I was taken to New York Presbyterian hospital in Manhattan and after 24 hours in the emergency department the diagnosis was: acute diverticulitis. After that It turned out that I couldn't tolerate the antibiotics they prescribed so I had to stay for another 5 days. 
That was my week in New York!
So for the 2nd time on this trip I missed my flight, this time it was my trip home that wasn't possible.









Skyline of Manhattan just before sundown


On the very last day of my extended stay in New York I was grateful to be collected by car and taken to Staten island for dinner and sightseeing. Thanks to the great initiative and effort of Lynn and Tom and the kind hospitality of Josefine. 

I did finally get to see a glimpse of the statue of liberty (far left) from Staten island.










Fortunately I had a travel insurance. They payed the hospital bill, arranged and payed a hotel room after my discharge from the hospital and a new flight home. All in all a bill of 33,000 USD!!! 
I will never ever travel anywhere without insurance!



Arrival to New York

From Washington I took the Amtrak again to New York, a trip of just 3 hours. On arrival to Penn station I just had to take the subway to Queens where my Airbnb apartment was booked. The plan was OK in theory but I wasn't prepared for the reality of actually standing alone in bewilderment on a typical New York street. The noise, the lights, the traffic, the crowds, everything impacted on my brain like being hit by a train! 
I had to find the subway and looked for any sign with SUBWAY on it. I wandered around trailing all my baggage behind me and finally found a big neon sign SUBWAY. 
Making a mad dash through the traffic I realised then that no trains whatsoever would be leaving there and no tickets could be bought either, 
only sandwiches and coffee.
Finally I found the real subway and took the train to Queens. 
Another misunderstanding happened when I got tired and really needed a rest. There were signs with restrooms in many places but they had only a toilet, no sofa or bed to lie on....
The next day I had arranged to meet my Facebook friend and colleague the artist May Trien Rolstad for the first time in real life. We met up at the MOMA to see several exhibitions including Matisse http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2014/matisse/the-cut-outs.html 
Later May took me to see the fascinating art students league building where there also was an interesting exhibition of very talented students.http://www.theartstudentsleague.org/Classes.aspx
We also managed to see some gallery shows and attend the opening of this amazing exhibition with works of Julio Reyes http://www.julioreyes.com/375443/paintings/

Monday

Washington DC

When I booked my trip to the US to participate in the International guild of Realism exhibition in Charleston I extended my stay in the country to include Washington and New York. Airports look very much the same all over the world so I decided to take the train instead of flying. With the Amtrak from Charleston to Washington DC I could watch the scenery pass by for 9 hours. At first there were miles of cotton fields and beautiful farm houses. Later there were small towns that looked like props from an old western film. Derelict factories and mobile home parks intercepted by woodlands and creeks gradually gave way to more densely built up areas until I arrived in Washington.

I had booked a room via Airbnb just 20 minutes by metro. It turned out to be in a very large and beautiful, old house overlooking the Rock Creek park. The view from my window was filled with glowing autumn colours and it was hard to imagine I was in fact in Washington DC. The house itself was so inspiring to be in as it was filled with art created by very talented family members. My hosts made me feel very welcome.





The next day I took the metro to the Mall where all the museums are. I managed to visit 5 of them before my feet protested and my brain refused to digest anymore input. It was a great experience to see the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum http://airandspace.si.edu/  ( I was so surprised to realise that the space capsule that took 3 men to the moon is only a third of the size of my boat!)
The National Gallery of Art http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/highlights.html was also very enlightening with the original paintings I had otherwise only known from art books.
The National Museum of the American Indian http://www.nmai.si.edu/ was a special experience. Not only are the collections of art and crafts amazing but also the architecture of the building itself is awesome. Here I ate a special, delicious and healthy lunch made according to an original Cherokee recipe.
I also saw a very inspiring exhibition of award winning photographs 
http://www.mnh.si.edu/exhibits/natures-best-2013/ at the museum of natural history.
After that my aching feet just managed to take me to the White House but they forgot I was coming so I could only say hello to President Obama's squirrel.
The next day I promised myself to take it easy and just go for a short walk along the creek. I ended up walking for hours all the way to the Washington Zoo and back.
Apart from many exotic animals, I met this policeman on duty, or as they say in american english "A law enforcement officer"
He asked me if he should take a photo of me on the vehicle but I said no, I wouldn't trust a stranger with my camera!

Stay tuned for the next blogpost about my dramatic stay in New york!

Wednesday

Charleston

I finally arrived with my painting all in one piece  to the Robert Lange Studios in Charleston. This was where the International Guild of Realism's 9th annual exhibition was to be shown. It was way past the deadline and most of the works were already in place but space was kindly reserved for my piece and it was a great relief to leave it. Like leaving my baby at kindergarten for the first time.
Me with my painting Morning Mist
I was just in time to keep the lunch date I had made with a dear Facebook friend with whom I had been corresponding for years but never met in person. She drove for 3 hours to meet me in Charleston! We had a couple of hours together before she took the long trip home.
This would be the first of many wonderful meetings in the US with facebook friends and colleagues from across the world. Don't scorn or laugh at Facebook! without it I, for one, would never have contact with the amount of friends I have today.

From The American Art Collector magazine
A cocktail party was arranged for participating artists and guests on the roof of a prestigious hotel with a beautiful view. Here I finally got to meet other artists whose work I had seen and been admiring for years.
Participating artists on the tour of Charleston
Next afternoon we were all taken by traditional river boat around Charleston harbour. On board we attended a seminar in which artist Camille Engel told us a lot about the importance of artist branding. Also an art collector told us about what he looks for at an exhibition and a few wise words about pricing. Then while we ate a southern barbecue dinner we could listen to the sound of a blues band playing on the upper deck.
The following day we went on a walking tour of Charleston with visits to the amazing number of top notch galleries there. We were guided around and told about the history of the old town by art docent Alison Massari.
Then finally the grand opening of the exhibition took place with well over 500 art patrons and guests. I was very honoured to have my painting among the few that were represented on the official invitation.
Read more about the event and show here: http://www.realismguild.com/CurrentExhibitions.html
and here:http://www.robertlangestudios.com/9th-annual-realism-show-2/

Opening night. Not many galleries have a swing for three in the exhibition area

Thursday

Never mind, just get me there!

When I was told my painting "Morning Mist " had been juried into the 9th International Guild of Realism exhibition in Charleston SC, USA , I decided to take the trip over with it instead of sending it. This would be my first trip to the US. There's lots of work involved in transporting a painting abroad including heaps of paperwork. I had a sturdy box made to measure by a shipping company specialising in art transport. I had to pay a very large guarantee sum to insure the correct procedure is followed for temporary export. The so called ATA carnet was stamped by customs in Sweden (country of origin) After that, customs in Denmark ( country of export) then customs in New York (Temporary import.) before flying to Charleston via Charlotte. 
My journey to Charleston was not easy to say the least. On arrival to Newark Airport the queue to the immigration authorities was enormous. 6 parallel lines with about 150 people in each were shuffling forward in slow motion but mostly standing still. I had 2.5 hours to catch my connection flight and I could see it was not going to happen. At last it was my turn to give them my finger prints and look nice for a "mug shot." Smile, look relaxed. Ran from there down to the baggage claim area and got hold of a porter with a big cart hoping he would take me, my box and baggage on a fast track to the right terminal. When he saw the big box he said "that's sure gonna cost you a few bucks ma'am" 
Never mind, just get me there! 
Over at customs to get the carnet stamped there was a new queue. With the precious stamp in place I tried to hurry the porter up but he had lead in his shoes and told me his big cart wouldn't fit on the monorail train to the next terminal. I ran upstairs to get hold of an ordinary baggage cart. fumbled the $6 into the slot, dropped my handbag with all its contents on the floor, grabbed everything, ran to the elevator and got back to the porter. With everything loaded on the new cart we got the train to terminal A. After that there were numerous elevators and long corridors before we arrived at the check-in counter for USAirways. The porter took $20 for his services and left. At the check-in I was told I was too late and would have to take the next flight to Charlotte but then there would be no more flights to Charleston before the following day. 
Never mind, just get me there!
The box and my baggage were taken off me and with relief I proceeded to the security check for the gate. After sitting for a while trying to calm down and get my breath back the loud speaker announced "Would ms Elizabeth Tyler please report to the information desk" 
I jumped up and in the sudden movement, my money pouch, which I had opened to pay the porter, emptied itself and 400 dollars in small notes scattered all over the floor! Kind people helped me gather them up again and I went to the desk. There was a message from security that they needed to open the box because it couldn't fit in the X-ray machine. I gave them permission to unscrew it.
Shortly afterwards the loudspeaker demanded my attention at the desk again.
"Ma'am, you didn't say them screws were special" 
-Well they're not special to me, I have a screwdriver but it's in the other bag that's checked in.
"You have to come back up and get it Ma'am"
The plane was now boarding and ready to leave so I ran all the way back through security to the check-in desk where they had retrieved my other bag. Fished the screwdriver out so they could unscrew all 16 screws while I ran back to the patiently awaiting passengers that were already on board.
Finally the plane lifted with me, my baggage AND the box.
In Charlotte USAirways gave me a courtesy toothbrush for the night. I found a nearby motel and continued on to Charleston the next morning. 
At the airport there was a long queue for a taxi to Downtown Charleston.
"There ain't no way dat crate'll fit in a cab ma'am" "you's gonna have to get a bigger taxicab."
"Never mind, just get me there!"
I finally arrived at the Robert Lange Studios gallery and could deliver the painting all in one piece.
To be continued...

Saturday

Watercolour in Cordoba



My watercolour "Stones above the sky" photo by Karin Lipkin-Forsen
In the beginning of October there was an eventfull week in Cordoba, Spain where I attended the 17th “European Confederation of Watercolour Societies” International Watercolour Exhibition and symposium. We were 150 artists from 11 countries and I was happy to be chosen as one of the 6 artists to represent Sweden. 


The exhibition as a whole shows the enormous diversity of the medium and 150 ways of painting with it.





Aurora Charlo, Spain
Wiktor Gago,Poland

                                For those who might be prejudiced about watercolour, thinking its just a matter of splashing some pale, watery colours on a small piece of paper, this exhibition proves them wrong! Perhaps the fact that it is an international show makes it so inspiring and dynamic. There are paintings with strong colours and bold strokes, some with sensitive expression and some with intricate detail. Numerous styles, right from non figurative abstract to hyper realism, are represented.      
Marie-Helene Stokkink, France.
Karin Lipkin-Forsen, Finland
Francine Camerlinckx,Belgium


The exhibition was opened in style, housed in the old palace style building of Casa de Gongora in the presence of artists, guests, dignitaries and sponsors.



Mixing pigment with honey
It was a busy week with a full program every day. I took part in a                
workshop on how watercolour paints are made. The Spanish artist                 
Mikael Heredia told us about pigments and additives and we tried 
our hands on mixing the different ingredients. It was an intensive
crash course but very interesting. 






Three tired artists
 Marjatta Salmi, myself and Karin Lipkin-Forsén
Meanwhile another group led by the watercolourist Camilo Huescar learned some secrets about painting the Mediterranean light.
painting the Mediterranean light

The following day was a trip to Alhambra and Granada. The well known and much photographed architecture was fabulous to see in real life and countless pillars, arches, courtyards, tourists, guides, schoolchildren and fountains were round every corner. We walked a total of 10 km that day. Having done that it was nice to come back to a more peaceful Cordoba and enjoy the narrow cobbled streets with a bit more space between the souvenir shops.



Painting a stray cat in the ruins of a roman temple
my painting (after 2 more days work)
A painting competition was also organised in connection with the symposium. The idea was to paint an urban landscape in 6 hours. I usually use at least 3 days for a watercolour painting so this idea was doomed to fail for me. I did take part but couldn't finish in time but it was fun while it lasted. Other artists produced some really admirable work in the short time allowed and received some well deserved prizes.
The final evening was to be a great Galla dinner, with all attending artists from the 11 countries represented and including guests we were about 300 participants dressed to kill. Along the walls of the upper balcony were all the paintings the participants had made in the competition.  The enormous town hall courtyard was laid out with a round table for every country represented. There were flags and candelabras, flower arrangements, red carpets, live guitar music etc.  The immaculately dressed waiters served wine, but just as the soup arrived thunder roared, lightening flashed and torrential rain poured down on the guests who all charged out to take shelter. Not quite all though. The Finnish participants just calmly opened their umbrellas and continued to eat and drink as if nothing had happened!


Later when the rain settled down to a drizzle we returned to our wet seats and continued eating the now diluted fish soup. Nevertheless it really was a great evening.
I am so glad I could took part in this event and was very happy to meet colleagues and make new friends amongst the participants.
All in all the 17th ECWS  International Watercolour Exhibition and symposium was a great experience and there is no doubt that the organisers invested an enormous amount of time and work to make it the  success it was. Next year it will be in Catalonia in September.

Feature in The International Artist magazine

 The International Artist magazine has a series of articles called "Inside the studios of the worlds best artists". The October/November issue has a feature with six whole pages about my paintings and also step by step pictures of a work in progress.

Some of the double spreads about my paintings and the way I work
more about the magazine here https://www.internationalartist.com/

Tuesday

Solo sailing artist


I've just uploaded a video on YouTube based on a Swedish radio interview with me earlier this year. The interview is edited together with clips from my voyage on board my "floating studio" in Greece this summer. Also some video footage from the work in progress while painting the mural "Breaking Waves"
With Engish subtitles
Here's a direct link to the video on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cxpi0QDVdjI&list=UU5M74YxUJXXKy8r39bHAUbg

Friday

Interview

A long article about me as an artist and solo sailor has just been published in the Swedish magazine Allas and the online magazine BMZ.se . It is in Swedish but can be translated if you ask Mr Google nicely. The text is by Ann Christine Montelius
http://www.bmz.se/
photo by Tomas Montelius


















Thursday

Finally finished

After 3 months with countless hours of work, my 5 meter wide diptych  "Breaking waves" is finally finished. It hangs now on the wall of the indoor swimming pool where it was commissioned to be. (Here it looks as if the two parts are different sizes but thats just the perspective of the photograph.)

Media happenings




A selfie during the live broadcast on the Swedish radio P4 Malmöhus

The last couple of weeks have been very busy, exciting, stressful, wonderful, filled with surprises, "moments of fame", and meetings with interesting people. Everything with the kind help of family and friends.
I was preparing the annual open studio event in my house which is usually, every Easter, visited by over 2000 people. Despite the fact that my big painting is still unfinished I decided to show it for the public during the event. A call from the regional radio took me by surprise, they asked me for an interview in a live broadcast a few days before the opening. Even though I drove to Malmö in good time I got stuck in a traffic jam and charged breathlessly into the studio at the last minute. Just as I was chatting to the journalists the conversation went live without me knowing so the result was rather spontaneous to say the least. I answered questions about my background, my painting and my recent "adventure" as a solo sailor.
 The day after there was an interview with  the Swedish newspaper "Hallå" and the following day a 3 hour interview with a weekly magazine "Allas" which will be published in June.

On the first day of the open studio event the house was filled with people when a TV photographer and journalist arrived. I was asked about what the event meant for me while they filmed my works. I thought this was for a feature in a regional show but in the evening it was broadcasted on the swedish national TV (SVT1 Rapport) which could be seen by millions also in Finland and Denmark.
With journalist Natalie Medic and photographer Nader Hammoud from SVT.                           Photo: David Elberling


 
On top of all this my YouTube channel "Pogdsmor"passed one million hits!  Pogdsmors channel is comprised of the 18 videos I have produced about painting, etc.  

I still haven't finished the painting Breaking Waves.......

Breaking waves

Priming the plywood with Gesso
 When I received a commission for a very large painting I had to spend some time contemplating, finding inspiration for the subject and doing some research. The painting was to be about 5 meters wide and 1.20 high, for the wall of an indoor swimming pool.
After making several sketches, taking photographs, visualising ideas and presenting suggestions, the idea I had was approved. I made a research on the best materials to use for an indoor environment with high humidity.
The choice of materials fell on marine quality plywood, primed 3 times on all surfaces. The art work would then be painted with Golden Open Acrylics and finally finished with 3 layers of varnish.



For practical reasons I divided the painting into two parts to be assembled later.
The choice of subject fell on a stormy sea with large waves breaking in the foreground. In the distance the nearby island of Hven can be seen.
A coffee break after the first background colours were painted.

The basic colours of green, pale blue, turquoise and white are added.  
Even though I had emptied the living room to use as a studio while I work
 on the painting, I still had to place the pieces at an angle to get them to fit in.
the foreground details of foam and spray
are painted with a tiny brush


I will be showing more step by step pictures of the painting in progress on my next blogpost.