This week marks our final week in Sweden for the Untitled Drawing Club. We are visiting Sandgrund Lars Lerin, the permanent art gallery of artist Lars Lerin. I’m going to divide this post into three sections: Lars Lerin profile, history of gallery, and the artist vlog by Alexis Winter. To finish, as always, I will be sharing the artwork I created inspired by my visit and a link to the Club. There is limited information available in English about Sandgrund. There is a page on their website, however, I have used Google translate for a lot of my research.
If you are like me and have never heard of Lars Lerin, hopefully this short biography will help. Lerin is one of, if not the, best watercolour artists from the Nordic region. He studied his technique at the school of Gerlesborg between 1974 and 1975 then at the Department of Fine Arts in Valand between 1980 and 1984. His artworks really capture the cold beauty of Scandinavia. As well as being a watercolourist, Lerin is also an author. Since 1983, he has published over 50 books winning the August Prize in 2014 for his work ‘Naturlara’. On top of all this, he also has his own TV show and has exhibited his artworks in locations such as Finland, Norway, the United States, and Germany.
Here are a few of his works so you can get a sense of what I mean when I say ‘cold beauty of Scandinavia’. All images have been sourced from artnet.
I love Scandinavia and I really enjoy looking at watercolour works so this is a win/win situation for me.
History of Sandgrund
What is really fun about this gallery is it’s housed in a rebuilt restaurant, located in Karlstad, Sweden. Originally, the restaurant was built by Paul Jardeby and opened in 1960. The modernist architecture was combined with large panoramic windows that face out to the Klaralven river. I can’t imagine how beautiful it would have been to eat at this restaurant looking out over that view.
During the 1970s the restaurant became, and I quote from Google translate, a ‘dance palace’ where bands would visit and play five days a week. I’m not quite sure what happened between the 1970s and 2011, but it was rebuilt and transformed into Lars Lerin’s permanent gallery, opening in 2011. This means that 2021 is the tenth anniversary of the gallery so it is quite a recent development. My absolute favourite thing about the gallery is captured by Winter in the artist vlog – the large neon sign at the entrance. It is so retro and fits in well with the modernist architecture.
As well as displaying the works of Lerin, the gallery also welcomes temporary exhibitions from other artists.
This week we have one link for the Club, directing us to another artist vlog by Alexis Winter. Winter takes you on a tour of Sandgrund zooming in on some of the watercolour works. One of which consists of multiple little boxes each containing a different insect. This was the inspiration for my artwork.
I really appreciate how Winter goes into some depth about the techniques on display. For example, near the beginning of the video, we see an artwork consisting of birds. Winter overlays a grid to show how this work has been created using a grid composition. Then, we move to an artwork consisting of flowers in the forest. Winter goes through how the use of colour makes viewers move their eyes around the entire work. These little bits of information add so much to viewing the works and give you an idea of what to look for when viewing other artworks in a gallery space.
As with the other vlogs, if you watch right until the end you can see what inspired Winter to create some post-visit drawings. The vlogs are always relaxing to watch and give a great sense and overview of the location.
I was very inspired by seeing all the insects in their little boxes so decided to draw my own boxes and fill them with a few creepy crawlies. I had a lot of fun with this week’s work deciding which insects to include and how to best represent them in the space.
I cannot wait to see where we are headed next week, our second last week! If you want to learn more about the Club or join, click here. Otherwise, see you next week.
Cover Photo: I99pema, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons