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 


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 
Later May took me to see the fascinating art students league building where there also was an interesting exhibition of very talented students.
We also managed to see some gallery shows and attend the opening of this amazing exhibition with works of Julio Reyes