All summer I’ve been wondering how I would paint this little construction site.
It was interesting but somehow bland and uniform.
This morning the first red leaves appeared and the problem was solved.
Working in the city gardens is a very popular summer job for university students in Helsinki, but the men and women working in this park look like seasoned professionals.
All summer as I went by on by bicycle on my way to work, I would see them sitting under that purple parasol, drinking their morning coffee. I couldn’t help but think to the end of the movie “Office Space” and how much nicer it would be to be working outside in the sun, and actually get something real done.
A side note: There’s a stream behind the hedge at the back with a rare trout spawning ground that became polluted with raw sewage a few weeks back. Let’s hope they survive…
I tried to treat the tower as a part of the landscape, as I would a big tree.
A quick sketch from our balcony before going to work.
I have no idea what they are building, but it’s big.
When an old favourite object breaks, I take a picture or make a drawing before throwing it away.
My wife has promised to try to re-attach the handle with epoxy glue. Besides being a sculptor and an archeologist, she is a professional restorer specialized in polychrome sculpture. So maybe there is still hope for this old pot.
Very old high tops I had to finally throw away in Paris. They were not a famous brand and made in Czechoslovakia, but they had lasted long. So long that the textile parts had faded from black to purple.
Senate square, Helsinki
I kept being interrupted by heavy downpours that almost washed away this drawing. I opened my umbrella and switched to water-proof markers.
Most of the buildings on the square were designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, all in the neoclassical style.
I love this square because it exemplifies the forces that shape a city. On its four side are:
1) The Church
2) The University
3) The Senate
4) A mixed bag of commerce: Shops, a bank, a café that also shows art movies (one of my favourites, but now closed for renovation). The mayor’s residence is squeezed a bit on the side, and there used to be a police station, but they got bumped.
– And The Czar in the middle of the square.
I’ll get some more sketches done later when the tourist buses leave…
Yes, it’s a huge ferryboat behind the building. It’s bigger than the buildings in the old town. They cross the Baltic between Helsinki and Stockholm daily.
Second day of heavy rain, and more to come.
My plans of sketching outside have to be postponed.
James Gurney has a great list of other things going awry when doing art en plein air:
Gamestoppers on Gurney Journey
So, here’s a post of houseplants – in many ways the ideal model, as they never move or get impatient.
When I arrived at work this morning, I saw this cloud bank approaching from the east. I had planned to go sketching outside in the afternoon, so I had my watercolours with me.
Half an hour later the rain started.
Drawn from the boat between Helsinki and Tallinn.
Luckily there’s still time for a long weekend away.
Tallinn old town, seen from Toompea ramparts.
Tallinn is just two hours away from Helsinki, but it’s another world. An older and in many ways more cultured city, full of history. No city in Finland has managed to keep its medieval center intact, and Helsinki is a new town, mostly built in the 19th -20th century.
Alexander Nevsky cathedral (1894-1900).
Done in watercolour from a sidewalk café in Tallinn.
A small island in the St-Lawrence river that you can only reach during high tide. Around forty inhabitants and passing whales. This is the south coast, green and muddy. The north coast is colder and rocky.
I think I love mountains so much because I grew up by the sea, in a very flat country.