Every year in December, we celebrate Lucia at our university and ever since the second edition, I’ve had this little tradition of painting an illustration for the poster. Because of the pandemic, however, we won’t have a celebration this year (honestly, I’d be happy to just be able to teach on campus again) – but I do really like the tradition of having this painting project and re-interpreting the theme of Lucia every year, so I decided to paint something anyway. I also thought it would be nice to have something to send to our students, just to let them know that I’m thinking of them and I hope it can cheer them up, even if it’s just a little bit. So I made this little watercolour painting of what celebrating Lucia in lockdown could look like. Initially, I also wanted the window to show other people in front of their windows, but that felt a little too complicated and ambitious, and if this pandemic has thought me anything it’s that instead of always striving for perfection sometime’s it’s okay to just make something nice and have fun doing it. So happy Lucia!
Every year in december, we celebrate Lucia at the university. This is the illustration i made for this year’s poster. I painted it in watercolour. I wanted to do some sort of old-school Scandinavian interior – no idea if it’s accurate, but this was the cosy atmosphere I was going for. I also managed to sneak in three cats :)
I started doing these Lucia-illustrations when I was organizing the event myself and I didn’t want to steal some illustration from the internet, so I thought the easiest way to get around copyright-issues was to just paint something myself (this was the poster I made). But since then, I’ve put more effort into them every year, just because it’s one of those few times a year I paint and I just see it as a nice pre-Christmas activity.
Another year of Lucia. This is the poster I made this year. I wanted to try a different style, so I decided to let myself be inspired by Tove Jansson’s illustrations. I looked at the people and the trees, and the way she uses color in her books and tried to create something similar. For the text, I thought it would be fun to do it in handwriting, just like she did in Who will comfort Toffle. I actually really like the result!
De laatste tijd heb ik weer veel getekend en geschilderd. In juli luisterde naar een luisterboek (Ik heet geen Miriam van Majgull Axelsson, echt een aanrader!) en omdat ik iets te doen zocht voor tijdens het luisteren, ging ik maar wat schilderen. Echt een fijne combinatie vind ik dat, en omdat het schilderen dan meer bezigheidstherapie is dan iets doelgerichts heb ik er heel veel geduld mee. En als ik nu kijk naar wat ik heb geschilderd, moet ik vaak bij elk stukje denken aan een ander fragment van het boek. Ik maakte een klein zelfportret (met schaafwonden, want ik botste tijdens een zwempartijtje niet zo lang daarvoor tegen zo’n golfbreker en toen schaafde ik mijn arm) en een schilderijtje van het klaslokaal waar we in Gent altijd onze Zweedse lessen hadden. Toen ik naar Zweden ging nam ik een klein schetsboekje mee en maakte een paar schetsen van plaatsen waar ik kwam: een paar rode huisjes vlakbij een meer, het uitzicht van mijn kamer op Tjörn (daar was ik op zomercursus <3) en de rotsen en de wilde zee op Marstrand, een eiland dat we bezochten. En toen ik deze week weer thuis was luisterde ik naar een nieuw luisterboek en maakte ik een schilderijtje van toen we op de zomercursus onze versgebakken koekjes proefden.
I’ve been doing a lot of drawing and painting this summer. In July, I listened to an audiobook (Jag heter inte Miriam by Majgull Axelsson, I really recommend it!) and to keep myself busy while listening, I started to paint a little. I really like that combination, and when the painting is just a way to keep myself busy and not really that purposeful, I have more patience and it often turns out a lot better. And when I look back later, every piece of the painting reminds me of a different fragment of the book. I made a little self-portrait (with scratches, because I bumped into a breakwater while swimming and scratched my arm) and a painting of the classroom where I had all of my Swedish classes when I studied in Ghent. When I went to Sweden, I took a little sketchbook with me and made some drawings of places I visited: a couple of red houses near a lake, the view from my room at Tjörn (I did a summer course there <3) and the rocks and the sea at Marstrand, an island we visited. And this week, when I was home again, I listened to another audiobook and I made a painting of this one time at my summer course when we were tasting our freshly baked cookies.
- Zelfportret met schaafwonden / Self-portrait with scratches
- Härlanda tjärn
- Billströmska folkhögskolan
- De koekjesproevers / The cookie tasters
Today is Lucia! This is the illustration I made for this year’s Lucia celebration. The composition is inspired by some of Elsa Beskow’s Lucia-illustrations. Last year, the painting I made was very cold and blue, so I wanted this one to be a bit more warm and cosy, which is why I used a lot of red in the interior. I also included a cat painting (inspired by Sven Ljungberg), because I thought that was fun.
Back to English now! Since I’ve had a quite a lot of free time lately, I’ve started to paint a little bit again. So I thought I’d share what I made and some of my thoughts behind it.
The painting on the left is a self-portrait I made last weekend. It had been quite a while since the last time I used acrylic paint – it feels so different from watercolour, more like a getting-your-hands-dirty feeling, if that makes sense. I think making self-portraits can be very nice and consoling (I think I got that idea from Frida Kahlo), but you have to be in the right mood for them. For the this one, I was inspired by the American painter Winston Chmielinksi: his colours are often very bright and I liked that idea. I like how it turned out, although I also think it maybe looks a little bit too perfect, as if nothing was left to chance.
The right one is a little watercolour painting that I made back in September when I was listening to the audiobook of The Serious Game by Hjalmar Söderberg. I heard that they were going to show the film adaptation at Film Fest Ghent, and I wanted to read the book first, because I figured I would get more out of the film that way. However, since it was quite a long book and I wasn’t even sure if I could get my hands on a paper copy so quickly, I decided to go for the audiobook. I really liked the film, by the way: it was nice and intimate and sort of dynamic, and there were a lot of nice details. Whenever I’m listening to an audiobook, I enjoy doing things like painting or crocheting, especially when autumn’s coming around (even though it sometimes takes up so much concentration that I can’t focus on the book anymore).
The text says “dare to take up space”, which I think is a nice reminder to myself. You can interpret it in a physical way, and then I suppose it means that there’s no point in being ashamed of how you look – and that, to give an example, you shouldn’t apologize for being “fat” (according to the norms of society, that is), because why on earth should you apologize for something that is essentially just taking up space. If you wouldn’t take up space, you wouldn’t be at all – and everyone has the right to be, whichever way they are. Besides that, you can also interpret it in a more abstract, social way: to dare to say things, to do things and to be seen in social situations. A couple of months ago, I listened to Liv Strömquist’s episode of Sommar i P1, and she said that “to overcome shame is to give oneself an inner right to express oneself”, and I think that’s what people should do. That’s what I am trying to do.
This week, we had a little Lucia party at my school. Sankta Lucia is a Scandinavian holiday, usually celebrated on the 13th of December (which apparently used to coincide with winter solstice), to celebrate the light. For us, however, it’s more of a pre-Christmas gathering to celebrate the end of the semester and just have a nice time chatting (and having some dessert) with our classmates and teachers. Me and a classmate of mine had volunteered to organise the event, so in the weekends before the party, I had a nice time painting this illustration for the poster, looking for pine branches in the woods and cutting paper snowflakes as decorations, and looking for some nice background music on Spotify.
So I thought it would be nice to share the playlist that I made with you guys as well. I tried to make a nice mix of different genres and different Scandinavian languages, from the Icelandic oldies of Haukur Morthens and the traditional songs performed by Sofia Karlsson to Siri Nilsen’s wonderful songs in Norwegian, the jazzy tunes of Monica Zetterlund and the Finnish folk songs of Hanna Ruuskanen. And some Cornelis Vreeswijk, of course!
Haukur Morthens – Ó, borg mín borg
amiina – Perth
Kaseva – Syksy
Siri Nilsen – Hodet, hjertet eller magen
Cornelis Vreeswijk – Somliga går med trasiga skor
Monica Zetterlund – Sakta vi gå genom stan
Birgitta Ulfsson – Höstvisa
Hanna Ruusakenen – Pieni kukka kasvoi kiven alta
Jens Lekman – The Cold Swedish Winter
Sofia Karlsson – Jul, jul, strålande jul
Vildnis – Hun sagde
Laleh – På gatan där jag bor
Sofia Karlsson – Så mör är natten i midvintertid
Cornelis Vreeswijk – Märk hur vår skugga
Hanna Ruuskanen – Vanhus
Cornelis Vreeswijk – Balladen om Herr Fredrik Åkare och den söta fröken Cecilia Lind
Vera Vinter – Bjärka
Bo Andersson – Syyslaulu
Lisa Rydberg – Härlig är jorden
You can find it on Spotify by clicking here, or by typing “Vi firar Lucia” in the search box in the Spotify app :)
Het is alweer een tijdje geleden dat ik iets op mijn blog schreef, maar nu ben ik terug! Ik heb een paar weken gewerkt aan mijn paper voor taal en onderwijs, en nu is hij eindelijk klaar. Toen het op een zaterdag heel goed weer werd, besloot ik om een weekendje vrij te nemen en van de zon te genieten. Ik hou ervan om te lezen in de tuin, maar deze keer had ik zin om wat te schilderen met aquarelverf :) Het is zo ontspannend om onder de kersenboom te zitten, de verf over het papier te zien vloeien en ondertussen wat ijskoud munt-en-citroenwater te drinken.
It’s been a while since the last time I blogged, but now I’m back! I’ve been working on my language & education paper for a couple of weeks now, and it’s finally done. One sunny weekend, I decided to take a break from studying to enjoy the weather. I like to read in the garden, but this time, I felt like making some aquarelle paintings :) So relaxing to sit under the cherry tree and watch the paint flow over the paper while sipping some ice cold mint and lemon water.