Rosemaling is a little known traditional art form unique to Norway and is characterized by stylized flowers and ‘c’ and ‘s’ shaped scrolls, inspired by the Renaissance and Acanthus motifs. It is a regional folk art that is timeless and dynamic.
How did Rosemaling evolve?
From rudimentary beginnings in the woodcarving decorations and religious art of the Middle Ages, Rosemaling first appeared in Norway during the Renaissance and Baroque periods of 1550 –1700. Early examples, such as stylized plant motifs and acanthus scrolls, can still be seen in the traditional Norwegian churches dating from that era. In addition, regular trading of goods, with other countries in the Hanseatic League, provided the opportunity for East Asian influences to reach the shores of Norway and this provided further inspiration and influence for development of Norwegian folk art.
International trends in religious and modern art were relatively slow to reach the rural areas of Norway, and it was only as church furniture and fittings, (manufactured by the fashion-conscious urban craftsmen), were gradually installed in the country parishes, that new designs and ideas were introduced to the country folk. Well-to-do farmers and Government officials and the fashion conscious, urban Norwegian elite were more heavily influenced by international trends in decorating and thus Rosemaling was confined mainly to the households and churches in the distant, rural Valleys of Norway.
In this relative isolation, rural Norwegian folk artists adapted the Renaissance inspired religious motifs and changed it to suit their own purposes. Over time, this folk art developed into an original style that evolved into a new art-form, with individual characteristics pertinent to each Valley. Between 1700 -1850, lavishly painted objects were often seen as status symbols. Therefore, itinerant or local folk artists were in high demand painting Rosemaling designs on cupboards, dressers, bridal trunks, saddles, harness parts, sleighs, and even clocks
The symmetrical designs of acanthus vine elements, so popular in the Renaissance era, were heavily influenced by Rococco trends from Europe, and later adapted by folk artists, finally emerging, in the Telemark region of Norway, as the distinctive ‘C’ curves and ‘S’ scroll forms, of Rosemaling, on an asymmetrical central root.
This is the very popular style that we now identify as Telemark Rosemaling.
As the twentieth century approached, Rosemaling declined in popularity and it was only the political situation in Norway that saved it from complete obscurity. Once Norway gained its independence, as a nation, there was, amongst the Norwegian public, a groundswell of interest in all things Norwegian, particularly crafts and painting. The revival continued throughout most of the 20th century and ensured Rosemaling had a promising future, both in Norway and in immigrant communities around the world, especially in the United States.
An opportunity to see the rich heritage of Norway should not be missed. By studying the Rosemaling in the Stave churches, museums and contemporary exhibitions in Norway, a folk artist can, like those painters in centuries past, become inspired to create individual masterpieces and hopefully, their own original style.
History and Art is Something Beautiful to Ponder About
I love art but I don’t feel I am artistic; I love to draw, but don’t feel I am adept; I love to design but don’t have any technical training. What to do about it? Thanks to the World wide web, we can learn a lot more about design techniques and apply them to our art.
Every artistic piece contains some, or all, elements of design. These elements are then combined with a number of design ‘principles,’ in order to bring together an eye-pleasing, cohesive visual unit. Knowing these elements and how to use them, can make all the difference between being able to produce an eye pleasing piece of art, or a disjointed, unattractive one.
Elements and Principles of Design*
Every visual piece is comprised of certain design elements or parts which may include Line, Direction, Shape, Size, Texture, Value and Colour – in that order. Design Principles, (which I will talk about later), are applied to the elements in order to bring them together into a cohesive unit. How the principles are applied, determines the overall effectiveness of a design.
Week 1 – SHAPE
Firstly, let’s look at the element: ‘shape’ and its role in design.
“A shape is defined as a two or more dimensional area that stands out from the space next to, or around it, due to a defined or implied boundary, or because of differences of value, color, or texture. All objects are composed of shapes and all other ‘Elements of Design’ are shapes in some way.”[Kovalik and King]
Mechanical Shapes or Geometric Shapes might be the shapes drawn i,n a design, using a ruler, compass or drawing template or tool. Mechanical shapes, whether simple or complex, produce a feeling of control or order.
Organic Shapes are freehand drawn shapes that are complex and normally found in nature. Organic shapes produce a natural freer feel.
Rangoli is a traditional and transient form of art drawn in chalk by Hindu women, in southern India, on the front steps and entrances of buildings as part of a daily devotional practice. The decorations use ‘shape’ in a variety of styles and motifs which vary according to different tribal groups and festivals. There is more information about Rangoli here.
The Acanthus leaves is an organic shape used prolifically in Norwegian Rosemaling: particularly Gudbrandsdal style. Os Rosemaling frequently uses mechanical shapes such as circles and diamonds.
I am currently running a Design Sketching Challenge in a Facebook group I admin, and I’d love to extend this invitation to you, to join a blogging version of this challenge here, on our blogs. The challenge is a great way to encourage those who would like to sketch, but don’t yet have the confidence or motivation, to try.
Seeing others strive for, and share, their artistic journey can increase inspiration and awareness of one’s design skills. You never know what you are capable of, unless you try! You can opt in and out as you wish. See more about joining in below.
Here are my sketches based on the first prompt: Shape
Using organic shapes of leaves and flowers I found, in my garden, I created this sketch:
It needs further adjustment and improvement, so I try another.
Still not satisfied, my final sketch for this first prompt, comprises circles, semi-circular arches, some natural elements in the leaf like scrolls and the heart-shaped flowers. I used a simple border to frame and hold together the design in one cohesive unit.
Would you like to join me in the Design Challenge?
What you Need to Do:
Draw a 15-20 minute sketch or sketches using your own idea, or the prompt ‘shape.’
Write a post about titled Design Challenge Week 1, upload your sketch and include a link back here to Something to Ponder About
Next week I will post links to those blogs that participated.
Leave a comment here on this post, so others can find their way to your blog.
Follow me to view each week’s prompt posted on a Sunday.
Something Creative to Ponder About
* N.B. I am not a tertiary qualified Art teacher and don’t purport to be one. I have based this information on my own research and experience. I am happy to take on board further input and or any corrections, deemed necessary, by way of comments on this post.
In 1734, South-eastern Prussia a guild was founded for the blue and Schönfärber crafts, wherein linen, and in later years cotton fabrics, were printed using a particular indigo blue dye and a resist process.
History and Development
Although Blaudruck or Blueprint fabric design is highly parochial and a traditional folk art, rather than existing on a commercial level, the ideas and inspiration for this form of textile design, had its roots in the wider art forms of the eighteenth century. Peasants from Cottbus and Lusatia were influenced by elaborate tapestries, expensive furnishings and blue and white porcelain styles they saw in around them during the 18th century. Blueprint then developed into a cottage industry of hand-woven linen fabrics, made by the rural population, and then dyed predominantly in indigo blue but occasionally in red or yellow.
For many handcrafts, as well as Blaudruck, industrialization spelled the end of most blue printing workshops and only a handful remained to carry on this craft.
The color is transferred directly to the fabric surface and appears first as brown. After drying, the material is placed in a developing bath, in which the brown ink changes to a bright blue by a chemical reaction. The fabric is finally boiled, pressed and then ready for use. Printing must be done very carefully, as errors can not be corrected. This craft process is a further development of the original reserve print and is used when a blue pattern is to be created on a white background.
It is a dyeing process, not a printing process as the color is transferred directly to the fabric surface and initially appears brown. After drying, the material is then placed on racks in a developing bath, and a chemical reaction turns the brown ink to a bright blue. Lastly, the fabric is boiled and pressed before it is ready for use. The fabric is hung on an iron frame in layers and dipped into a deep ‘Färbebottich,’ or vat.
An alternative process can create a similar blue colored fabric using a form of etching using a corrosive substance (etching), which also leads to a white pattern on a blue background.
The ornamental motifs and patterns that are used, in Blueprint textiles, are some of the oldest known patterns used in textile design. Florals, perpetual borders and Christianity motifs were popular themes and clearly an integral part of folk’s lives.
“Blueprint” have been used to decorate such items as tablecloths, pillowcases, curtains, and wall hangings.Even in clothing fashion, it was used as as an element of ethnic minority from the Lusatian region. Aprons, in particular are printed with different patterns on the front and back
The Polish Pottery Festival in Boleslawiec, Poland celebrates a tradition of ceramic pottery dating back to the 14th century. Largely unknown in some parts of the world, it has become a sought after souvenir by tourists visiting the German-Czech border region. In this month’s Traditional Art Post, I explore Bolesławiec (pronounced Bowl-e-swa-vee-etz) stoneware.
Using a fine, white kaolin clay found in the river basins of the surrounding area, Boleslawiec pottery is molded or turned, and then fired in ovens, at temperatures in excess of 1350°C with a clear, lead-free glaze, thus making it non-toxic and highly impervious to abrasives. Incredibly, it doesn’t chip or crack easily and can not only be used in the oven or microwave, but is also dishwasher safe!! The perfect stoneware!!!
Traditional Boleslawiec patterns were punched using hand-stencils, originally using vegetables such as the humble potato. [Remember doing this kind of stamping in kindergarten art?]
This was the preferred decorative design standard for hundreds of years until the master potter, Johann Gottlieb Altman, introduced designs of circles, dots, scales and clover leaves in the early 1830’s. The colorful and durable work of arts on white backgrounds appealed to the European nobility and as a result, Boleslawiec’ popularity grew.
Today, the contemporary ‘Unikat’ series has taken Boleslawiec ceramic design to a whole new level. With ever more complicated motifs, patterns and colours, and complemented by hand-painting techniques, this means a finished piece of Boleslawiec pottery will now easily command a high price in the marketplace.
The fine grain white clay, Kaolin, is of such high quality, it is used to make fine porcelain dishes as well. Once processed to the right consistency it begins its metamorphosis from earth to heirloom quality stoneware. Either molded or formed on a potter’s wheel, the piece is air-dried, trimmed and cleaned, then pre-burnt in preparation for the application of the final design. Originally stamped or “punched” using vegetables, the artists’ tools have evolved to longer lasting media like sea sponges or rubber stamps. This time-consuming process may require from one to ten different sized or shaped stencils to fill the ceramic’s surface design. Moreover, the number of punches may reach into the thousands on a particular piece. The paints used are completely non-toxic, free of lead and cadmium. Source: http://neveradulldayinpoland.com/boleslawiec-poland-aka-polish-pottery-heaven/
Stamped pottery decorations with the famous “eye of the peacock’s tail” motif have been produced since the beginning of the 19th century and are recognized among the finest examples of European pottery. Village craftsmen and peasants of lower Silesia, inspired by the peacock’s feather motif, have added incredible strength and beauty to these objects, which have long been admired for their quality and decorative appeal. Each piece is hand painted and initialed/signed by skilled artisans.
In 1897, the Professional School of Ceramics was established in Bolesławiec. The many technological advances and innovative methods taught helped town of Bolesławiec to earn the reputation, “town of good clay” in the region.
However, World War II took its toll on the Bolesławiec ceramics industry. The ceramic workshops were destroyed. In 1946, efforts began to revive the ceramics industry in Bolesławiec. Over time, new cooperatives were formed and the skilled and talented potters in the region began rebuilding the pottery industry in Bolesławiec to what it is today. Source: (http://www.polishstoneware.com/about_polish_pottery/sec_polish_pottery_history/)
Traditional art is always something so inspiring to ponder about.
When it comes to darning socks, almost no-one does it anymore. Cheap items and time poor couples with high disposable income, have relegated simple repairs to low priced essentials, to the pages of history books.
Shouldn’t we be overjoyed that we are freed from the yoke of menial tasks?
If so, why do I feel relaxed when making something with my bare hands; why am I so drawn to up-cycle items where possible, or feel desperate to create an individual item that was designed and made by me even though it is not so appreciated in today’s world? I am hopeful that design trends may come full circle and a retro movement will one day re- introduce hand made objects in preference to ready made, shop- purchased, mass- produced items? Or am I just ‘dreaming?’
Factory made items lack the durability and quality of hand made and not only do they not last, but are sterile and you can see them duplicated in almost every home. Is this really what we want? No need to travel except to see the difference in natural landscape as no cultural individuality will exist?
Children are not taught practical hands-on skills either at school or by their overstressed, time-poor parents, so we are fast becoming a consumer in all senses, and are no longer creating. Where will this end? Do we realise fantastic one offs such as this wood carving will no longer be obtainable?
For these reasons, and more, I am drawn to any hand-made items on my travels. For these are items usually developed from crafts, that have evolved, in a small locale and been handed down over many generations. They scream workmanship, love, beautiful, naturally-synchronous ‘form’ and function. They inspire me to create – more and more!
Everyone loves chocolate eggs at Easter time, but for some cultures, eggs have always been much more significant than a sweet treat, and have evolved into a traditional art form in itself. This month, in Traditional Art From Around the World, I showcase some examples of Painted Easter Eggs from Eastern Europe.
Poland, The Czech Republic an d other Eastern European countries, follow a tradition of decorating eggs, in specific designs and colors, at Easter. The designs themselves are painted on hen or goose eggs, not wooden eggs, as some might think, and are executed with great care using age – old techniques. The egg yolk and white are either allowed to dry up over time, or are removed by blowing through a small hole in the egg.
The designs are highly indicative of not only a cultural region but, in some cases, also a particular family, as can be seen in the following photo, from http://polishfolkdolls.blogspot.com.au/
The practice of covering an egg,with knotted wire, first developed as a Slovak tradition, but is also used in egg creations in the Czech Republic. Motifs and color combinations can at times appear cross cultural, and while traditional styles prevail, egg artists add their own individual form of inspiration in order to personalize the decorated Easter eggs.
The most recognizable symbol of Easter, in Prague and the Czech Republic, is a hand-painted or decorated egg known as “Kraslice.” These eggs are made from ordinary eggs and ink, by the village girls, and are given to the village boys, on Easter Monday. On Easter Sunday, the boys make a kind of twisted cane/whip that usually decorated with a ribbon. On Easter Monday, they then travel to the houses, to visit the girls, and hit them around the legs with this whip, (an old tradition supposedly thought to increase fertility), after which the girls then give the boy an egg which the girls themselves, have decorated!
[Where were women’s rights in those days?]
These days the eggs are not so much a gift of love, from girl to boy, as a general reminder of the heritage and beauty from the region according to the differing techniques unique to each geographical, or cultural, area.
In Valassko, (Wallachia, Romania), Easter eggs are decorated in red, orange, and black with figural motifs like girls and roosters, whilst South Moravia is known for eggs created using the scratching technique.
Painted and decorated eggs is a traditional art form that dates back to ancient times in the Ukraine. As such, each regional area and indeed, each family developed rituals, symbols and meanings for Easter, along with their individual brand of decoration for the Easter Egg.
“Pysanka” is often taken to mean any type of decorated egg, but it specifically refers to an egg created by the written-wax batik method, utilizing traditional folk motifs and designs. In the western Ukrainian town of Kolomyya, there is a museum dedicated to ‘Pysanky’, with several thousand eggs on display.
The word pysanka comes from the verb pysaty, “to write”, as the designs are not painted, but ‘written’ with hot beeswax, using a stylus or a pin-head. Wooden and beaded eggs are also known as “pysanky,” because they mimic the decorative style of pysanky, but in a different medium.
Several other Ukrainian techniques of decorating eggs can be identified throughout the region. All but the krashanky and lystovky are meant to be decorative, (as opposed to being edible).
Krashanky –from krasyty (красити), “to decorate”– are boiled eggs dyed a single color (with vegetable dyes), and are blessed and eaten at Easter.
Pysanky –from pysaty (писати), “to write”– are raw eggs created with the wax-resist method (batik).
Krapanky –from krapka (крапка), “a dot”– are raw eggs decorated using the wax-resist method, but with only dots as ornamentation (no symbols or other drawings). They are traditionally created by dripping molten wax from a beeswax candle onto an egg.
Dryapanky –from dryapaty (дряпати), “to scratch”– are created by scratching the surface of a dyed egg to reveal the white shell below.
Malyovanky –from malyuvaty (малювати), “to paint”– are created by painting a design with a brush using oil or water color paints. It is sometimes used to refer to coloring (e.g. with a marker) on an egg.
Nakleyanky –from kleyaty (клеяти), “to glue on”– are created by glueing objects to the surface of an egg. Eg Lace
Travlenky –from travlenya (травлення), “etching” – are created by waxing eggs and then etching away the unwaxed areas. This is not a traditional Ukraine practice, but has become popularized recently.
Biserky –from biser (бісер), “beads”– are created by coating an egg with beeswax, and then embedding beads into the wax to create geometric designs.
Lystovky –from lystya (листя), “leaves”– are created by dyeing an egg to which small leaves have been attached.
Other Eastern European countries also may use wax resist techniques to decorate their Easter eggs:
Rangoli is a traditional women’s art form common in Hindu households throughout southern India. Designs are drawn directly on the ground and entranceways as part of a ritualistic religious practice. The front steps, entrance, and walkways of buildings are properly cleaned and then decorated with designs and patterns made with chalk powders. There are a remarkable variety of styles and motifs which vary according to the tribal groups and festivals.
The activity is a welcoming of deities into the home or space. In particular, the way is prepared to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of good fortune but many gods and powers are honored. The activity of drawing the forms is a religious rite and the devotional intention is more important than the end product. The temporary nature of the designs make it clear that the significance is in the deed for it is not creating an object to be held aside and preserved. The designs are quickly lost to the passing of feet, wheels and paws, fading into the dust and bustle of daily life and the ritual of washing and drawing is rhythmically repeated, particularly on auspicious days.
It is one example of the blending of religious practice and art within the rhythms of daily life that are found quite commonly throughout traditional Indian culture. Unfortunately, rapid urbanization and westernization are negatively impacting this remarkable tradition. However, even in an urban environment of modern apartment living the tradition continues on for the blending of religion, art, and everyday life is very much at the heart of Indian culture.
HOW IS IT MADE?
In the early morning hours when the world is just awakening, the woman of the house begins preparations for the day ahead. Daily rhythms include a thorough sweeping and cleaning around the home as well as the courtyard and entranceways. Special care is given to prepare a particular space for drawing rangoli designs and patterns in front of entranceways and along walkways.
The designs vary according to tribal groups and in terms of complexity and scale, there is a very wide range. Designs are generally done with white chalk powder but all reaches a colorful and exuberant zenith during festival time. The designs are laid out with a regular grid of dots or hatching lines which are developed into a wide host of motifs. Designs using a regular grid of dots are created by either connecting the marks or looping around them.
Designs are built upon basic geometric shapes and are further developed into mandalas of swirling lines flowing, curving, and twisting into complicated knots of undulating, rotating, and repeating patterns. The grids also lend themselves to designs of fixed shapes and mosaic like tessellations of stylized flowers, plants, animals, birds, conch shells, chariots, lamps, and much more. The are also given borders and embellishments of running lines, undulating patterns, and mandala like emblems and symbols.
All the designs have an underlying wholeness built upon primary geometric shapes such as circles, squares, hexagons, octagons, and a very wide range of running forms, spirals, rotations, and looping patterns. Most commonly, a simple motif or shape will be rotated and layered to build up the designs, creating a flowing movement or spiraling gesture. The result is an organic and dynamic balance between the fluidity and movement of the hand and the fixed order and determined boundaries of direct line and shape.
The remarkably diverse forms reflect the expressive and devotional impulses of the women who make them. The variety of designs while traditional in origin, often have a very personal character and are a result of the creative vitality working to enliven the energies that connect earthly and cosmic forces. From a social perspective, rangoli is an outward sign that “this is a proper household where the gods are honored”.
Patterns are taught to girls by their mothers and by the time they are young brides, their skills with this art form are most impressive. Quite naturally, the rhythmic nature of the activity leads to some highly developed skills in terms of draftsmanship, control of hand, and balance of form.
But, all things return to the earth and the designs quickly fade into the scuff and dust of comings and goings, creating another layer to the cycles of daily life. Over the past decade, I have marveled at this Hindu practice, appreciating it’s many creative and dynamic forms as well as it’s devotional intentions. This common, everyday aspect of Indian life is a rich artistic and social tradition which imbues spaces with positive intention, heightened purpose, and deeper significance, as well as beautifying the meeting of public and private spaces. As an artist and teacher, I have been fascinated and inspired by the creativity, the endless variety, and sheer beauty of this powerful and dynamic art form.
No matter where you travel, in the world, within each region you will find examples of innovative forms of folk art. These are not completed by the skilled artisan, but rather by the common person, often with little training and few tools, simply decorating their homes and surrounds. Historically, an itinerant artist might travel from town to town this way, painting as he went, eeking out a meagre existence through the doors of time.
Rosemaling is often seen in Churches in Norway
Rangoli is a traditional women’s art form common in Hindu households throughout southern India. Designs are drawn directly in white chalk,on the ground, at the house entranceway, by the women of the household, as part of a ritualistic religious practice.
My primary interest is in Norwegian and old Hansa traditional art forms, such as Rosemaling, the Danish Almuemaling, and the Dutch Hindeloopen, styles of painting that ordinary folk used to decorate their homes during the dark cold days of winter when they could not go outside to work.
I find the differnt forms of these old art styles dynamic. They feel alive and have a historic connection to a way of life long past, but still valued.
In many forms of folk art, religion symbolism is rife, and the tulip is a common feature. Once the Tulip meant the Holy trinity, something inherent in many different religions and I guess this is the reason we see it represented in art in the East as well as the West.
The following link displays border designs in South India – Take a look. How often do you see the Tulip form?
Doodling with a pencil or paintbrush can assist in tapping into the right side or more artistic side of your brain as the logical left brain gets silenced.
I developed a new logo for my artwork a day or so ago, whilst doing just that. As there was blobs of crappy mistakes in the original taken with snapseed, I employed the phone camera apps Picsart and Aviary to help me edit and process the photo into something better and useable.
Taken on my Nexus 4 with snapseed.
This is posted for Sallys phoneography challenge which happens each week on a Monday US Time at Sally’s blog. Join in here
A new logo for your business from a phone photo of a product….
This was my second top post for the year. The top post was a photography theme I posted just the other day so I thought it better to re-post No.#2. There are a few people out there wanting to learn these old traditional painting methods, or so it seems. Was my tutorial helpful?
Something to ponder about.
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.
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.
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.
Rosemaling is the traditional painting of Norway. Originating in the mid eighteenth century, Rosemaling reached its zenith in the early 20th Century. Renewed interest in everything considered traditionally ‘Norwegian’, popularized the art form, and created renewed interest, without which, it may have been relegated to history.
1766 Chest from Simenrud Fåberg
What first began as a form of peasant painting, developed into a highly stylized and exquisite form of religious art, based on the acanthus leaf motif, rose and tulip forms. Itinerant artists travelled the countryside painting the not only the walls of the local Stave churches but also the living areas of farmers, who enjoyed the decoration on their walls and everyday objects.
In the isolation of the Norwegian countryside, this new art form continued to develop further, resulting in a variety of individual styles that differed according to the valley or regions, from whence they came. Examples include: Telemark, Rogaland, Hallingdal and Os (from Bergen area).
To find out more about Hallingdal Rosemaling, try out a free design for yourself, go to the free Hallingdal project design found here.
Telemark style appeared in the Telemark Valley, is characterized by free flowing, dynamic scroll work, and asymmetrical designs. It is this style this tutorial will focus on here. Some knowledge of folk art comma strokes is necessary to paint this. If you are not familiar with basic stroke technique – there is a video on this post.
Telemark Rosemaling Tutorial
Acrylic paint in the following colours – (choose a good quality gouache, not transparent student quality paint, as this will help you with this technique)
Prussian Blue or the main colour
Filbert or flat brush, about 1/4- 1/2″
Liner brush, – not too long, a size 1 or a Quill liner
Sandpaper #400 – #600
A wooden piece, canvas or object to paint
Base paint – flat, matte or low sheen paint. Stay away from glossy finishes for base paint, otherwise your paint may not lock, or key, to the base colour.
I make a disposable palette for acrylics, by wetting some ordinary kitchen paper towel and squeezing it so it is just damp, and not wringing wet, and then wrap this in grease proof paper as one would a sandwich.
Base paint your piece or prep your canvas, in a chosen colour scheme. It is more economical to purchase a larger pot of base paint, but you can use tube gouache fro this purpose as well if you water it down a little. I picked Jo Sonja’s Prussian blue and lightened it down with a creamy colour (Jo Sonja acrylics Smoked Pearl) Two coats. Allow this to completely dry.
With non- powdery chalk or chalk pencil, chalk in some guiding points, like the root of the Telemark design and outside border. If you don’t want to paint freehand, you could chalk or mark in the main scroll lines, with transfer paper, and use a outline for the flowers. Later, when 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.
To make your own transfer paper using chalk:
Draw up your design on tracing or grease proof paper, using a lead pencil. Rub a stick of chalk, (held parallel to the paper), over the BACK side of the penciled design. Carefully lay the tracing down on the wooden piece and secure with tape. Now just trace over your design again, and you will have a chalk tracing imprint on your piece. Voila. Easily removable once your painting is finished and dry.
When designing, keep in mind balance of shape, size and element.If you divide the design in quarters, it will appear balanced if there is a major element, or part thereof, positioned, in each quarter. Each quarter should also have an equal measure of positive and negative space.
Tip: Look at the design upside down to distract your left brain from interpreting as you normally would, giving you a fresh eyes to see any design faults.
Step 1. 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 this on your palette a number of times so that the colours gradually blend across the bristles.
Step 2. 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 3. Repeat the stroke if needed for coverage then add more of 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. Retarder can be added to your brush or brushed on to your piece. This gives you good practice at stroke-making prior to laying down the paint.
Step 4. Paint remaining scrolls in the same manner. Try to have them all merging towards the one root point. This is a very important part of making Rosemaling eye catching. Vary the length of the each scroll to add interest.
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.)
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 something like flow medium to your paint to do some liner work. This will help a beginner. Practice a little on scraps of wood or paper first to get the hang of the brush to save wiping out mistakes.
Step 6. 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 7. Flower details
Outline flowers in same technique with your liner brush.
Be individual and don’t follow the same outline each time.
Step 8. 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.
But…. Know when to stop. Overdoing it can make a design look too busy!! I am guilty of this often when I get lost in my liner work and don’t stop to look at the whole piece.
Step 9. Borders
Now you have it! Almost all Rosemaling works have a border design, which can be as individual as you like. I used ‘S’ strokes around the edges of my box.
Step 10. Finishing
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 difficult question to answer. 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 or wipe on varieties. Oil based paints require oil based (non yellowing) varnishes.
If you have any questions, I am happy to guide you. You can find some of my Rosemaling designs printed on fabric at my online Spoonflower shop here.
Further instruction in painting Telemark Rosemaling using Oils paints visit this post.
Hindelooper art is a type of traditional decorative painting originated in the northern province of Friesland, The Netherlands.It is a form of folk art painted by the maritime community of Hinderloopen, (a small town on the Zuiderzee). During times of bad weather when there was no fish to sell, sailors/fisherman would turn to painting as a way to pass the time and make some money. Hindeloopen sailors traded with other Hanseatic league member countries – especially Norway, and often brought home objects painted in other traditional styles that had developed from the Baroque art, primarily Norwegian Rosemaling.The presence of these styles in the community, in turn, influenced the development of the Hinderlooper’s own village painting, until it evolved into the Hindeloopen art that we see today. The following pieces are my interpretation of Hindeloopen, inspired by the Australian artist, Heleen Van de Haar.
I have been painting Hindeloopen style of painting and only recently discovered an old family link to Friesland. NO wonder I was attracted to this elegant and very relaxing style of traditional painting. Traditionally it was the men who did the painting in the village itself, but I so enjoy it. Perhaps the women were so busy with domestic chores they had little time for painting, and it was the men who were stuck ashore in times of bad weather that had time on their hands to create and decorate.
I will include a tutorial on Hindeloopen in the coming months. Something for those interested in traditional art, to ponder about…