The last day of the year!

I want to wish all my followers a Happy New Year! Hope you will have a great and inspiring 2016. 

Have you made any resolutions for the new year? I haven’t made any resolution, however, there are things that I need to practice and focus on, and one of them is to spend less time worrying.

“You don’t always need a plan, sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens.”

~Mandy Hale ~

Why do we humans choose to worry so much? That is a question that I think, many with me, are asking themselves. There is no sense in worrying about things that we have no control over, but yet we keep worrying about them. Whenever we worry about things, it takes up a lot of our energy, energy that we instead could use in order to enjoy life.

Well, I ain’t no better, because I tend to worry too much at times. And for 2016 I will try to break old habits by worrying less, it might prove challenging but will at least give it a try. What I have come to realise is that I don’t want to be like everybody else, I want to be ME, and do things the way I want to, dress the way I feel is comfy. The modern world that we now live in are painting up stereotypes – how we should be and look like. We only have to take a look at all these advertises that we see all around us, depicting those skinny, hollow faced models. Who want to look like that? 

We should never be afraid of being different or do things that we are passionate about, whether it is walking around in your PJ all day, write, draw or simply being YOU! Well, walking around in a PJ all day might sound a bit extreme, but you get the idea? However, I do admit that during the holidays I have had a few PJ days, there’s nothing better than feel relaxed and comfortable. The weather has been really bad and haven’t been able to be outdoors that much.  One good thing though is that I have got plenty of time to do what I love most, and that is to draw and illustrate. And here are a few of them:

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Zodiac sign – Libra

If you would like to have a zodiac sign like this for yourself or as a present to somebody, you can send me an email at: info@evaasonsart.com for details about size and price etc.

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Dragonflies and owls – yet again I have added the wizard in there.

For these drawings I have been inspired by a little bit of many things really, the Celtic touch that I’ve been drawn to for a long time, the mystical things, and fairy tales with fairies, dragonflies and wizards.

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Original Sold!
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Original Sold!
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Original Sold!

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I feel that I have an interesting new hear ahead of me, lot’s of things that will happen and to focus on. My daily job will be busy, and there will be some traveling involved, and one good thing that comes out of that is to be able to travel to my native country Sweden and hopefully to meet my children, grandson and perhaps some other family members. Even if it only be briefly, it’s still better than nothing. I will also focus on my art and I am leaning more towards the illustrating of children’s books and the types of illustrations I am showing you in this post, I will still keep creating the car illustrations of course and some others in between. But I think it’s time for me to set my mind and imagination free to do my own stuff, the way I want to do them. There are so many good artists out there, and my thoughts has been that I can never compete with these guys and girls, with their zillion years of art studies and training. I am just a self taught artist, with ambitions to be better. It’s an ongoing procedure, with a lot of practice, many hours in fact. I don’t know if lot’s of years in college or art institutions would ever be better, but instead I’ve learned the hard way, by finding my own way to mixing colours, how to draw specific things and to work with reflections and angles and proportions.

And in the meantime I am also doing my studies in forensic science, and some of you might think where does all these different themes fit in to my world and daily life. But the truth is, that those are the things that interests me and makes me feel fulfilled. I only wish I would have had more support from home when I was younger when it was time to chose my direction, but instead I had to chose as per my abilities at the time. But due to the circumstances I have managed pretty well, with a few bumps in the road, but that is only normal I believe. The road in life is rarely wide and straight, we ought to get astray and feel lost and in the end find our way back onto our destined path. Not sure what my destined path is about yet, but I am sure I will be aware of it one day. One thing is for sure, that I was born with a pencil in my hand [giggles] and I only had to figure out how to use it to my best abilities. I am getting there…!

But from now on I will spend less time worrying about things and where I am heading, and let life have it’s course, to see where my skills will take me. Have to admit that a career as a full-time illustrator is a very tempting thought. Who knows? And, in the mean time I tend to live my life as happily as I possibly can and enjoy what ever comes in my way and make the most of it! To enjoy my studies and to work away at the drawing board.

If you would love to see my previous work you can visit my website at: http://www.evaasonsart.com

And on this note I

am wishing you all a

Happy New Year

~Eva’s Chronicles ~

 

Being grateful!

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”   [Laura Ingalls Wilder]

I think that Christmas is a special time, a time for families to get together to enjoy each others company and share what’s been happening throughout the year. Christmas is a time to take a break from all the busy schedules we have, a time to reflect on life and on people that we have around us, and be grateful for.

When Christmas time is approaching I get that feeling of excitement, hence my illustrations. I simply love it when I sit down at the drawing board letting my ‘younger’ self work away on the paper.

Christmas Collage

Here above is a selection of the illustrations that I have been creating during the months leading up to this Christmas. And as you can see I work a lot with the theme togetherness, and the reason for that is that Christmas to me has another side as well.

It reminds me of everything and everyone that I am missing. My Father is not around anymore, and my Mother is [I don’t know where] not around either, well she has been gone from my life for a very long time, close to 45 years. She is not dead, but decided to leave my Father and her children in 1970. So I was brought up with my Dad and older brother. And to me Christmas was a happy time back then, it was all the preparations, my grandmother was an excellent baker, and the cookies she made not to mention her special bread and buns. None of them are around anymore, grandparents from both sides are gone since many years, what remains are the memories and this part of my past is luckily good and happy memories.

It’s all these memories that are coming back each year, and there is a sting in my heart not having people around anymore. My siblings are spread all over the world, and we don’t get to meet as often as we would like. I have a younger sister living in Texas and we haven’t seen each other in 26 years!!! That is a very long time. The circumstances back then, mostly due to our Mother, kind of torn us apart. And it’s not until at grown up age we managed to pick up our contact again, after all those years. Even though we were brought up in different families, she with our Mother and me with my Dad [we have different fathers] there is always a bond between us. We have both been through the traumatic experiences with our mother, even though in different ways, but still it has had a big effect on us all. Luckily she and I are now able to talk about it and share our experiences. That wound is not going to heal in one day, and as I usually say that “Rome was not built in ONE day”. Need to try to build up the same contact with my other siblings, might prove a different struggle. I will never give up!

At Christmas it comes as a reminder to the things that we are missing out on with our own ‘blood’ family. We are both having lovely ‘new’ families around us with loving people, people that cares a lot:

Family collage

This is a collage of my precious family

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Me and hubby

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Me and my Daughter 

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Family pictures from Christmas 2014 – Love All of my family to bits!! They all make my life filled with meaning – so I dedicate this Christmas post to each and everyone of you; Hubby Peter, Mark, Ruth, Malin, Tom, little grandson Jack and of course little Dotty [she is a mood booster á la mega] – You guys Rock big time!!!

Merry_Christmas_2009

 

~ Eva’s Chronicles ~

 

 

 

Christmas gift and baking

The most enjoyable thing as an artist is when you receive a request to create something for another person. And, this week i received a request to create a personalized picture with a few vintage cars and a motorbike. And for this one I didn’t have that much time to do the work, but it was doable. So after I had received the reference pictures that I would  work from I sat down and started to sketch up the illustration.

In this picture you see how I have been sketching up the two cars and the motorbike. When I work with cars I prefer to have them as clean as possible, since I knew this illustration were going to the owner of the cars in the pictures, I wanted to make it sort of memorable and clutter free.

I started to paint the motorbike, and here you see that it has that vintage greenish blue color and luckily I did have the paint/s so that I could mix to get this particular color.

I started to work on this drawing on Wednesday this past week, and usually once I start with an illustration and if I am in the right mood, i usually work fast. As an artist [at least for me] I have to be in the right mood or have my mojo, to be able to create a good painting. These are things you cannot force to come out if they are not there. And this time I had the inspiration there in the photos, and my mind was set to create the illustration. I could see the image taking form in my head before I sat down to start putting it down on the paper.

This process is getting complicated if you get several images “lining” up in your head and you don’t have enough time to put them all down at that particular moment. What I usually do then is to scribble down some notes and make a doodle to be able to remember the different images.

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Well, on Thursday I managed to finish the illustration completely to be able to bring it to my colleague at work on Friday. It always feels nice to hand over  a work you have created.

At the moment i can’t say that I am too stressed about creating art, I sit down and do some work when I have something substantial to work on. And as many of you know it’s all about Christmas these days, and it’s only five more sleeps until Christmas Day’s here.

Yesterday, Saturday, was my baking-day for Xmas and I really enjoy this moment of the year and keeping traditions.

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Cinnamon buns were on the agenda to make this time, and they are really simple to make:

500 ml whole milk
150 g unsalted butter
2 eggs
10-15 dl white flour
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 dl sugar
1 dl white [sugar] syrup
100 g dried yeast

Filling:

1 dl granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
75 g butter

1. To make the dough place the milk and butter into a saucepan over medium/low heat and cook until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly and, once lukewarm, mix in the egg.

2. Place the flour, cardamom, sugar and salt into large bowl and mix together.

3. Add the dried yeast and mix thoroughly.

4. Add the liquid mixture and mix to form a rough dough. Tip out onto the worktop and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

5. Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with cling film. Place somewhere warm and allow to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

6. Line two baking trays with parchment paper and set aside. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured worktop, flatten into a rough rectangle and then roll out until approximately 25 cm x 35 cm (10″ x 14″).

7. For the filling mix the sugar, cinnamon and butter together to form a smooth paste. Using a spatula or spoon spread the filling evenly across the dough.

8. Roll the dough along the long edge into a sausage. Using a serrated knife or dental floss cut into twelve rounds. Place onto the prepared baking trays and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise until almost doubled, about 45-60 minutes.

9. Whilst proving, preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F, gas 4, fan 160°C). When ready to bake brush the buns with a little beaten egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar, then bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Best served still warm.

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And this is how they look, the smell was lovely in the house afterwards.

~Eva’s Chronicles~

 

 

Celebrating Lucia the Swedish way

It is the 12th of December and we are getting closer to Christmas every day now. One Swedish tradition that is very big for us Swedes, is to celebrate Lucia on the 13th of December. [It is actually a tradition in all four Nordic countries Sweden, Norway, Denmark & Finland.] This has always been a big thing in my country and I absolutely love this tradition. And even now when I live abroad, I always tune in to the Swedish television on the web to watch the morning program on SVT.SE. Thankfully they broadcast this tv program for us living abroad as well. At 7 a.m. on Lucia morning the show is starting, but I usually watch it sometime during the day, and sometimes a few times.

And tomorrow the program will be broadcasted from one of the churches in my home town Göteborg [Gothenburg]. Lucia Celebration 2015 and guess who will be ready for it? Yes, you guessed right..that would be me. An early morning wake up, making a pot of fresh coffee and enjoying a plate of gingerbread cookies, lit some candles…that is Christmas for me. And it will only be eleven day’s til Christmas.

Here is a link where you can read more about Lucia in Sweden and how we celebrate it: https://sweden.se/culture-traditions/lucia/

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I thought this illustration would be good to share in this post, I have been inspired by the story about ‘The Tomten’ that I posted about a couple weeks ago. I now have this book in two variations, one Swedish [the original] and one in English [by Astrid Lindgren]. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the children’s book author Astrid Lindgren [Swedish], she has written about Pippi Longstocking [Pippi Långstrump]. When I grew up I was reading a lot of books by her.

At the moment everything is about Christmas in this girl’s head, but I do not think that I am alone though. But for once I am all organised and have all the pressies sorted, only have the baking and preparation of the Swedish dishes to do, but won’t do that until next weekend. There’s still lot’s of time.

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The Christmas tree is up and all ‘dressed’ for this festive season. The house looks nice and cozy and we are so ready for the upcoming break. This Christmas I will have a break all during Christmas and New Year which I haven’t had in my nine years living in Ireland. So for me this will be awesome.

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Here is another illustration that I was working on last weekend. You might think that I am obsessed with Christmas, but it’s just that I love the time leading up to it, the preparations, decorations, delicious smells and flavours, Xmas scented candles, fireplace lit, christmas tree up…and there you have it…Christmas is coming!

Santa Lucia’s Day is celebrated on December 13th in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. It commemorates the life of Santa Lucia, who is also known as Saint Lucy. It’s the beginning of the Christmas season in those countries and is a celebration of light – at the time of year when the world is darker.

Sankta Lucia

(Swedish)

Natten går tunga fjät
rund gård och stuva;
kring jord, som sol förlät*,
skuggorna ruva.
Då i vårt mörka hus,
stiger med tända ljus,
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.

Natten går stor och stum
nu hörs dess vingar
i alla tysta rum
sus som av vingar.
Se, på vår tröskel står
vitklädd med ljus i hår
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.

Mörkret ska flykta snart
ur jordens dalar
så hon ett underbart
ord till oss talar.
Dagen ska åter ny
stiga ur rosig sky
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.

Santa Lucia

(English)

Night walks with a heavy step

Round yard and hearth,
As the sun departs from earth,
Shadows are brooding.
There in our dark house,
Walking with lit candles,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Night walks grand, yet silent,
Now hear its gentle wings,
In every room so hushed,
Whispering like wings.
Look, at our threshold stands,
White-clad with light in her hair,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Darkness shall take flight soon,
From earth’s valleys.
So she speaks
Wonderful words to us:
A new day will rise again
From the rosy sky…
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

I will leave this with you for now, enjoy your weekend and your preparations for the upcoming festive season. Hope you will have a joyful and relaxing time leading up to it! And to those of you that are missing somebody that cannot be with you at this special family season, I am sending out warm hugs! I know a few of my friends, and also myself that remembers loved ones that cannot be with us, but they will always be with us in our Hearts.

~Eva’s Chronicles~

How a new illustration comes to life…!

Let it snow

“Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It doesn’t show signs of stopping
And I’ve bought some corn for popping
The lights are turned way down low
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

When we finally kiss good night
How I’ll hate going out in the storm!
But if you’ll really hold me tight
All the way home I’ll be warm

The fire is slowly dying
And, my dear, we’re still goodbying
But as long as you love me so
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

Well, we haven’t seen any snow in this part of the world yet, but instead we’re having a big storm roaring bringing lot’s of rain and strong winds. And on days like this what is better than sitting indoors by the fire place (preferably) and reading a book, wrapped in a warm blanket to make you feel all snug and warm. Or, you can spend time with your favorite hobby, like I tend to do during most of my free time, well I might add that I tend to have the usual housework out of the way first before I can completely chill.

It’s the fifth of December already and I am feeling the Christmas spirit entering this house, slowly but surely. Tomorrow the Christmas decorations are going to be brought down from the attic [by my husband of course] we usually make a nice family event of decorating the tree and putting up all the snowmen, Santa’s and everything else that makes the house looks comfy and Christmassy again. Most of you have probably gathered that I am a big fan of Christmas, and it’s just that there are certain things you just do once a year. And to stick to those traditions is important, I think, it does not have to be so complicated but instead you can simplify a lot of things. And to make the house “ready” for Christmas is one of the important and big event in our house. I am quite curious though, how our newest family member will react having this big green thingy put up, and the humans hang all sorts of things in it?? But she [Dotty] has already gotten her Christmas jumper, she and her best buddy has gotten the same matching jumpers, they’re so cute.

In one of my previous posts, I posted a famous Swedish christmas poem “Tomten” by Viktor Rydberg. Well, I have got the book and here it is:

The illustrations are fantastic too, and they bring back memories to my own childhood, and the christmas’s that we had. Each picture in this book is beautifully done, and you get that warm and cosy feeling just by looking at them. This to me is Christmas, seeing those old pictures illustrating beautiful landscape covered in a layer of snow, birds sitting on the branches, foxes on the fields and every now and then you could see a deer or two. Growing up on the countryside had it’s advantages, you get to appreciate what you have nearby.

And I believe that my view of Christmas is shining through via my illustrations, I try to stick to the old and traditional, and every now and again there is a new little character popping up. So, last night when I sat down and drew up this illustration, I had the empty sheet of paper in front of me and was thinking – “what do I want to put down on this one?” I had a vague idea what i wanted to make of it, I wanted to have a fence in there and some trees, but the rest was not really clear. So I started to draw the fencing, and then I put the owl on one of the posts, and then the sleeping rabbit on the fence [thought that was a cute and funny thing], then the second rabbit was added sort of popping up. Then I thought I have to have a snowman in there for sure, so there he was.

I gave him something to hold on to, and that’s how the bird house got there, and on top I added my old blue bird that is present in some of my illustrations. I tend to use the same characters but in different settings. And for the sake of Christmas I added in the reindeer with the red nose [giggles] and for a change I added in the Santa riding on his sleigh with his reindeer’s. It’s the first time I have created something like that, was a bit tricky with the reindeer’s sort of running in the air.

IMG_0158While I am working on a picture my work space can look quite messy, but I love having enough space to work. So, this new picture I call it “Santa’s helpers”, I thought it was quite suitable.

What to do next? Well, it usually comes to me, my pencils usually don’t lay there untouched for too long. However, I prefer to be in the right mood if I should illustrate and draw. Sometimes I can get a notion from seeing or hearing something and ca-ching!! there the image is in my head. That is usually how i get the inspiration for my illustrations. Then I usually think about it for maybe one or two days, before I sit down at the drawing board and start working away. At other occasions I get this image and simply have to sit down straight away, it’s like there is an urge to create at that particular moment.

And today I will end with this quote:

“A lot of people forget how important it is to be creative. We get caught up in getting ahead and in day-to-day minutiae. But creativity is a fundamental mode of expression, as is being tenacious and standing by your own convictions and passions, even if it’s not the ‘popular’ choice.”

Tabatha Coffey