Norwegian Rosemaling and Design

Rosemaling in a traditional Norwegian form of Decorative Art dating back to the 17th century.

Here are links to various topics on Rosemaling that you will find on this blog.

Introduction to Rosemaling -Free Coloring- in Designs

History and Development of Rosemaling

Rosemaling Rules and Telemark Technique

Tutorial on Freehand Telemark Rosemaling

A Weekend Project – Telemark Rosemaling

A Tutorial on Rosemaling with Birds as a Motif

How to Design your own Artwork  – Elements of Design

How to Design your Own Artwork – Space as an Element in Rosemaling and Design

Improving your Design Skills – Blind Drawing Practice 

Tutorial – Simple Telemark Rosemaling with Bird

Telemark Rosemaling is the most beautiful of Rosemaling designs or Norwegian style of folk art, of all. It is dynamic and appears to move.

One motif less commonly seen in Telemark style is Birds. Traditionally birds when used as a motif, were featured looking backward. The meaning stems from religious times in the middle ages when one had to keep a watch out for evil that might sneak up  and infiltrate the frailties of the human spirit!

Some say the bird’s ability to renew its tail feathers every year was seen as a symbol of (religious) renewal and this is why the bird looks back over its shoulder.

Whatever the reason, the addition of a bird motif becomes an asymmetrical focal point  in and is surprisingly easy to achieve with some basic comma strokes and flat brush highlighting and shading.


Chalk or trace the pattern (adapted from a pattern by Joanne McVey), on your proposed project unless you want to work freehand. It can be card, wood, canvas, prepare the palette with three values of each colour, and paint the C and S scrolls.  The first value used is the medium value. Make sure you then place the shading colour (the darker value) on the inside and the highlight or lighter colour on the outside of the scroll.

If you are unsure how to make a c and s strokes youtube may help: youtube
The bird, is a series of c scrolls and s strokes with embellishment of comma highlight strokes on the body. The body is one large c stroke, the tail several overlapping comma strokes. The wing is completed with very small c strokes in a highlight or white colour over the top of the blue wing.

Finally, add a few detail strokes on the bird’s body, the eye, a yellow beak and the final liner embellishments and then it is complete.

Rosemaling with bird

Bauermalerei (German) painting project


There are some wonderful examples of Traditional folk painting that I hope to see when I visit Germany later in the year. But I will have to content myself with painting some of this wonderful art form myself. Today I started and completed this quick and easy project. It uses only 4 colours and shading and highlighting is done by means of lighter and darker strokes with the liner brush.

This means no more battling with retarder mediums (of those who use acrylics).
The patterns can be quite busy, and the borders can even be decorated with the palette colours and strokes overlayed on top.

The tulip was the first folk art flower and represents the Holy trinity with its three petals. One of these flowers I designed myself, and the others I borrowed from a Bauermalerei project book by Lia. ( It is a definitive text for decorative artists)

  • The interior of the frame could be decorated by addition of a mirror, or photograph, but I chose to make it a blackboard memo board for my daughter.


  • Red Earth and variants mixed with Warm white

  • Warm white

  • Burnt Umber

  • Antique green or grey green

  • Accent dots – Yellow Oxide

    Something to ponder about?