Monday Mystery Photo – Last Week Rjukan, Norway

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I invite you to leave a comment, if you think you know the location of this week’s photograph. Please note that I will release comments in the latter part of each week, usually Thursday or Friday and in this way, everyone can have a guess without a spoiler being revealed.

If you guess the correct location, I will link back to your blog when the answer is revealed the following Monday.

Guest contributions to MMP are very welcome. Please flick me an email if you have a photo to submit.

This week’s photo is shown below. Can you guess the location?

MMP 2014It
Do you know what this is and where it is located?

Last Week’s Monday Mystery Photograph

vesttorry

Last week’s photograph was correctly identified by Tidious Ted from the wonderful WordPress cooking blog, Recipe Reminiscing.  As the MMP was located in Ted’s native country of Norway, I will leave it to him to tell us more about the location:

“As I’ve lived 11 years in Telemark and had customers all over the county this week’s mystery photo is so easy for my that I almost feel ashamed answering at all. The photo is from Rjukan in Telemark, Norway and the huge building in the back is Norway’s national industry museum. It was once Norway’s largest power station and the place where three movies about the the action preventing the Nazis getting hold of the deuteriumoksid (heavy water) produced there during WWII were filmed. Older people may still remember “Heros of Telemark” filmed in 1965 with Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris in lead parts. A Norwegian film about the action “Kampen om tungtvannet” was made in 1848 and a recent movie about the same action was made just a few years ago.” – Tidious Ted

Thanks so much for all that wonderful information, Ted. Here is a youtube clip of a modern day team re-creating the heroic action of the men that stalled the Nazi’s atomic bomb program in WWII.

TheSnowmeltsSomewhere also very cleverly recognized that last week’s location as Norway, even though she didn’t recognize the museum building!! Incredibly astute SnowMS!

!Monday Mystery

Monday Mystery Photo leaves you with Something to Ponder About

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Traditional Norwegian Painting – Rosemaling Rules and Telemark Technique

Something to Ponder About

Rosemaling – the traditional painting of Norway!

Ah, the joy of painting. So little time and so many pieces of wood to paint…. the folk artist’s lament! Determined to get something painted this week, I traced a pattern on a base painted plate. I will share a few of the secrets to successful painting here.

For more on the history of Rosemaling, click on this link:
http://forestwood.webs.com/norwegianfolkart.htm

For the uninitiated, oils are quicker to paint because they blend so easily and beautifully, but take up to six weeks to dry….

On the other hand acrylic paint dries fast, does not give so much coverage and as for blending colours and shading/highlighting in acrylics…. well that has developed into an art form all by itself. It can be difficult to get a gradual blend of acrylic colour, even with chemical assistance such as retarders and various mediums that assist you…

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Weekend project – Rosemaling

A rainy weekend is perfect for catching up on all those unfinished tasks – don’t you think? Well at least putting a dent in the pile of UFO’s.

Telemark Bowl
Telemark Bowl

A project I started years back, as evidenced by the badly formed C scroll, was completed yesterday. Apart from the C scroll it was reasonably pleasing to the eye. What was even more pleasing to the soul,was to remove one more piece from the “To Do” list.

Time to finish this project!
Time to finish this project!
Close up of liner work in Burnt umber and Raw Umber
Close up of liner work in Burnt umber and Raw Umber

I painted this in Acrylics, and the bowl was once part of a Norfolk Island pine tree. Turned at the same place. Perhaps it was a young sapling in the times when colonials graced its shores and the torturous cat o nine tails was a daily scourge metered out on the convicts, who resided there. Poor souls. I picked this shallow bowl up in a thrift shop: unwanted, and unloved, like many of the convicts on Norfolk Island itself. It will now become a fruit bowl in my kitchen.

All decorated in US Telemark Rosemaling along the lines of Shirley Peterich and Pam Rucinski, ( whom I credit for the design), the bowl will always be a reminder for me to ponder the tragic history of Norfolk Island, and how something can be transformed from unwanted beginnings, into a  functional whole again.

Tutorial on painting freehand Telemark Rosemaling

Norwegian Rosemaling

Norwegian Rosemaling

This weekend marks the 140th anniversary of a Scandinavian Association or club in this state. To mark the occasion, there is a street festival tomorrow and I have been given charge of a stall. Being primarily a painter, I have been busy preparing some items for sale and I decided to share the development of a Telemark Rosemaling project with you.

Rosemaling plate Oils/acrylics Rules and Telemark Technique
Telemark Rosemaling scrolls

Telemark Rosemaling is but one of the various styles of traditional decorative painting of Norway. This art form reached its zenith in the early 20th Century, shortly after Norwegian independence, when a revivalist movement popularised everything that was Norwegian. It’s actual origins date back to the Renaissance baroque art forms and the acanthus leaf seen in religious art. In the geographic isolation of the Norwegian valleys and rural areas,rosemaling as a new art form slowly developed into individual styles that differed  from each other, according to the valley or regions from whence it came. Examples include: Telemark, Rogaland, Hallingdal styles, but be aware that there was much overlapping of ideas and influences from valley to valley as itinerant painters travelled from place to place.

Rogaland Rosemaling
Rogaland Rosemaling

Telemark Rosemaling was characterised by free flowing, dynamic scroll work, and asymmetrical designs, whilst painting in the Rogaland area was of a symmetrical nature, whilst Gudbrandsdal  featured a predominant acanthus leaf design.

Beginners can also find a free pattern and project, to download, on the following website: www.forestwood.webs.com

I painted a wooden box for this tutorial in Acrylics but you may wish to try the technique with oil paints.  I will include a small tutorial on painting and designing freehand.

Telemark Rosemaling Tutorial

* some photos have been removed due to people infringing copyright and using my photos on their own website.

You will need the following colours in Acrylic paint:

Prussian Blue, Smoked Pearl, Warm White

Filbert or flat brush, about 1/4- 1/2″

Good liner brush, say size 1 or a Quill liner

Sandpaper #400 – #600

Wooden piece of your choice

Palette: I make mine a disposable, suitable for acrylics, by wetting some ordinary kitchen paper towel and squeezing it so it is damp, and then wrapping grease-proof paper around it, but feel free to use a commercial style palette if you have one.

Step 1.  Base paint your  piece in a chosen colour scheme. I picked Jo Sonja’s Prussian blue and lightened it down with a creamy colour: (JoSonja acrylics Smoked Pearl)  Cover it well giving the piece two coats, sanding between layers. Allow to dry.

Step 2. With non- powdery chalk or chalk pencil, chalk in some guiding points, like the root of the design and outside border. If you don’t want to paint freehand, you could chalk in the main scroll lines and use a outline for the flowers or use transfer paper to outline the design. Once you get the hang of the shape of the flowers, and what your brush can do, then you can simply mark an x for where the flower will go and its orientation.

You will find a short video on designing Telemark here: http://forestwoodfolk.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/telemark-rosemaling-tutorial.html

N.B. Design: When designing, keep in mind Balance of shape, size and element. If you divide the design in quarters, there should  be a part of the major elements in each. Each quarter should have an equal measure of positive and negative space. Look at the design upside down to distract your left brain from interpreting, giving you a fresh eyes to see any design faults.

Step 3. Load a filbert, (flat with rounded tip,) or flat brush in size appropriate to the width you want the scroll to be in darkest value, on ONE EDGE ONLY. In this case: Prussian blue. On the opposite edge, load Warm white or your lightest value. Flatten the brush on the palette so that the colours mix. Repeat.

Step 4.  Begin painting the scroll from the top down, applying pressure as you go, so the brush widens, and releasing pressure as you near the end of the scroll, as this will narrow the stroke at the design root.

Step 5.  Repeat the stroke if needed, and add extra shade ( the darkest value) on the outside of the scroll, to enhance the contrast. Be careful: Acrylics dry quickly and you may need to use a retarder medium to slow the drying time, giving you more time to play with the design.

Step 6. Paint remaining scrolls in same manner.  Try to have them all merging towards the root point.

Step 7. Begin to block in the flowers using shape following strokes, comma, or leaf shape ( S and C strokes) as appropriate. These can be quite casual and double load your brush again with light value on one side and dark value on the other to give your project a natural blended look. Don’t worry too much about shaggy edges here, as the liner work will tidy that up.
This is also a free style of painting, it is not Fine Art, and the peasants that originally painted these pieces had little or no training in artistic techniques. So don’t stress trying to make it perfect when it is not meant to be so.

Try to achieve a balance of colour as you go. If the brush has blended really well and the light value is lost, add some extra warm white to your dirty brush (ie. don’t rinse it clean in water, just wipe on paper towel to remove excess colour.)

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Once you have blocked in the flowers, and are happy with the distribution of colour, you can begin the liner work.

Warning: Liner work is very addictive, and it is easy to get carried away with the embellishments and make the design too busy. Beware! You can always add an extra stroke, later, but rubbing out can ruin a design.

You may also like to try adding a flow medium to your paint to make liner work a little easier. This will help a beginner. Practise on scraps of wood or paper first to get the hang of the brush.

Step 8. Scroll Details

Begin by adding enough water to your paint puddle to ensure an inky consistency. Load the brush in the paint and pull it through twisting it gently a little before you lift it from your palette. Place tip on project and gradually increase the pressure allowing the brush to widen the stroke, then release the pressure as you direct the brush tip towards you.
N.B. For best results, liner work should vary in thickness. The last thing you want is for all the outlines to be the same thickness. Variation creates interest in the design.

Outline all the scrolls in a casual manner. Try to move your arm as opposed to just your hand. This helps to create a sense of movement. Be confident. You can clean up any errors, carefully with a cotton bud or Q-tip.

Step 10. Flower details

Outline flowers in same technique with your liner brush. Be individual and don’t follow the same outline each time.

Step 11. Embellishments

Add some small detail strokes with a quill or liner brush. They are completed similar to a reverse comma. Starting off with very light pressure and pressing fully down on the completion of the stroke. I double loaded this brush in the picture here, first loading in blue and then dipping the tip of the brush in white. This gives a white stroke with a blue tip. This stroke is very typical of what you see in traditional rosemaling works. Know when to stop. Overdoing it can make a design look too busy!!

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Step 11.   Borders

Now you have it! Almost all Rosemaling pieces have a border design, which can be as individual as you like. I used ‘s’ strokes around the edges of my box.

All you need to do is allow time for the paint to dry – which can be anything from 2 days to a week depending on weather conditions, oils can take up to 6 weeks to fully dry.

Rub off any guidelines and 2 coats of water based varnish will seal the deal! If you are wondering what type of varnish to use, that is a can of worms to ponder about. Experiment with  a few brands and types to see what works. I like to use a matte or a gloss spray varnish for speed. But equally good are the brush on varieties, or even final coat, which is a wipe on polymer. Oil based paints require oil based ( non yellowing ) varnishes.

If you have any questions, I am happy to guide you. I hope Rosemaling will be something you ponder about.

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Traditional Norwegian Painting – Rosemaling Rules and Telemark Technique

Norwegian Rosemaling

Rosemaling – the traditional painting of Norway!

Ah, the joy of painting. So little time and so many pieces of wood to paint…. the folk artist’s lament! Determined to get something painted this week, I traced a pattern on a base painted plate. I will share a few of the secrets to successful painting here.

For more on the history of Rosemaling, click on this link:
http://forestwood.webs.com/norwegianfolkart.htm

For the uninitiated, oils are quicker to paint because they blend so easily and beautifully, but take up to six weeks to dry….

On the other hand acrylic paint dries fast, does not give so much coverage and as for blending colours and shading/highlighting in acrylics…. well that has developed into an art form all by itself. It can be difficult to get a gradual blend of acrylic colour, even with chemical assistance such as retarders and various mediums that assist you to work the paint while keeping it open… that is slowing the drying process down. This can be an advantage and a disadvantage. Acrylics can be varnished several days after completion, but can easily develop holes or harsh shading lines. Even using wet -on-wet, you sometimes end up with a muddy mess that is much easier to avoid with oil paints.

I had the pleasure of guidance and tuition in Telemark techniques, from a great Norwegian friend, Mr Bjoern Pettersen, a master Telemark Rosemaler from Drammen, Norway. In painting this plate, I have followed his technique and palette. You can see some of his work here:
http://www.rosemaleklubben.org/main.asp?page=Galleri


My palette is set out according to colour family, each in the centre row, with respective shades above and highlights below, and of course, the Basic colours on the left.

Rule No. 1
Colour Harmony Choose your palette wisely and don’t be confined by the cool/warm colours of contemporary painting.
Bjoerns Telemark Colour families consist of green, red, blue and yellow family colours. He has developed this palette himself and it works wonderfully well in the traditional sense.


Painting Technique
First I laid in the scrolls, with their respective shade and highlight. It is none too balanced here, but I promise you that will come later. Scrolls are painted with a long handled flat brush in a Pettersen technique.
Rule No.2
Always paint for balance, so that if you divide your piece into quarters, each colour family will be represented in each sector.

Next step involves the application of paint on the flower and leaf shapes.
This requires the painter to paint hearts or half hearts, scrolls and c strokes to form flower shapes. I also like to paint the two shapes at the base of the flowers green, as they symbolise a flower calyx, (or small petals located at the base of the flower in nature, for those botanically challenged readers!)


Rule No. 3

Aim to not have the same colour family next to each other in painting each petal…. calyx excepted! You can see in the above photo, that I broke this rule, (the rebel that I am inherently am) because I was a little stuck and have 3 greens next to one another, yet it looked OK and was necessary to qualify Rule No. 2 “Balance”.

Flowers and scrolls completed
Now is the fun and most individualised part of Rosemaling… you can add your embellishments…. you can be as busy or as quiet in applying these as you like. This is what makes each piece your own! When I first started painting Telemark Rosemaling in oils, I tended to overdo the embellishments…. and the design can then become overwhelming and too busy. Bjoern helped me to know when to stop when painting embellishments and extra touches…

Individual embellishments on scrolls and flowers
Rule No. 4
Know when to stop with embellishments!!
Now all one has to do, is sign your work, wait for the oil paint to dry and then varnish….!!! Your project is complete.Feel free to contact me with any questions on the comments box below….I hope this blog post has provided some insight into this little known art form, which for me is mesmerizing in its dynamic impact on the eye. Something for painters to ponder about.

A tutorial on acrylic techniques to Telemark style can be found on another page of this blog: https://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/scandinavian-festival-tutorial-on-painting-freehand-telemark-rosemaling/

Happy painting,
Amanda

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