. . . an on-going drawing and painting journey as I explore the techniques of Master Artist, Carl Larsson. I will post a copy of the painting, too, for critique and comparison to my work (left).
Carl and Karin Larsson are Swedish artists of the Arts & Crafts Movement era. Carl (1853-1919) is known worldwide for his paintings of his home and family. Karin, a textile designer, also created an interior design style that continues to inspire interior designers today.
Living in Helsinki in the 70’s, I was immediately drawn to his works, perhaps because Larssons’ paintings capture the Scandinavian way of life and a different cultural heritage I was experiencing for the first time. We had three preschoolers in that season of life. And I was overwhelmed with the adjustments necessary to survive the blustery weather and the metropolitan European city lifestyle. A far cry from the American Southwest. . . . From the land of beige with blazing sunsets and occasional rainfall to the land of forests, lakes and never-ending snow.
Now, in the process of developing a series of art lessons in-the-style of Carl Larsson, I chose to copy this winter scene favorite, “Brita with Candles and Apples”. I am still working on drawing figures and painting portraits in watercolor. So sketching Brita was a challenge for me in itself.
One intriguing part of breaking down this project in order to understand Larsson’s style and techniques has been the investigation of his palette. The reproduction I chose to use as a reference image was printed on shiny Christmas wrapping paper (from Germany) and so I selected Winsor red to capture the brilliant contrast to the stark white background.
However, since then I’ve found other reproductions of the same painting with completely different tones and values in both the little girl’s dress and the background. So after I finish this one, I intend to do another one with a more subtle palette. I’m wondering which reds he actually used and whether or not I can find anything written by him/about him which might describe his color palette.
Look for more postings re:Larsson’s techniques. His painting style, in combination with his wife’s design style, became a trendsetter for what is now known as The Swedish Style of Design.