Electric Racing Car

I have painted the covers on some sketchbooks for family members, and last out was for one of my nephews, who has been involved in making an electric racing car. And is involved in making a second one. So – the motive I would choose for his sketchbook should be obvious, right?

Yup. A red racing car. Electric, of course. However, I didn’t paint one that looks like the ones he’s been involved with – I used my artistic freedom!

A red racing car
The front cover

While it’s not “his” car, it’s undoubtedly a racing car, and I had fun coming up with how it should look, which took some time, and then painting it. Still with the “problem” of a coarse surface to paint on, making small details hard to paint. (At least for me, currently.)

But – how can we know that’s an electric car? Luckily I painted the back cover, too. So let’s see how it appears when taken in all at once.

Electric car, powered by an extension cord plugged into a wall socket …
The source of the electric power revealed

Here, my humour should be revealed. The car is of course powered by an extension cord plugged into a wall socket. It limits the distance it can drive, but hey! It’s electric, right?

Towards the Lighthouse

It’s been an exciting start to the painting class this year, and I couldn’t resist the urge to embark on a personal artistic journey during our first session. While our teacher is always a valuable resource for guidance and does suggest themes to paint, I felt compelled to follow my own muse this time around.

My inspiration? A picturesque scene featuring a solitary lighthouse perched at the edge of a series of interconnected islets, linked by a quaint road and bridge. With a photo providing the needed inspiration, I dove into the world of acrylics, eager to bring this vision to life on canvas.

The initial stages of the painting involved blocking in the main colours, defining the vast expanse of the sky, the tranquil waters of the sea, and the main shapes of the islets and bridges. And the lighthouse, of course. However, as any artist knows, the creative process is never without its challenges. Sometimes a little break is needed to see the work in process from a little distance, both physically and time-wise.

Towards the lighthouse

Upon revisiting the painting after a brief hiatus, I realized the importance of refining the composition. The horizon demanded a straighter, more horizontal alignment, while the hues of the sea and the light in the sky needed to be subtly muted to evoke a sense of serene tranquillity. The rough outlines of the islets needed to be better defined, and I got some details in to make it easier to see the real shapes and figure out the placement of the lighthouse and bridge.

Ah, but the true heart of the painting emerged with the depiction of the lighthouse itself. Time was spent meticulously crafting its structure, ensuring that every colour and detail resonated authentically with the scene I envisioned. Or at least, making it look good. While not an exact replica of my reference, I aimed to capture the essence and spirit of this wonderful beacon.

With the lighthouse taking the main stage, attention turned to enhancing the surrounding landscape. Additional details were painstakingly added to the islets, bridges, and roads, imbuing them with a sense of rustic charm and character.

In the end, the road led the eyes from the bridge towards the lighthouse, where it rose towards the sky.

Death of the Death Star

While Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Saviour, the painting I decided to paint and give away as a Christmas present to a friend has a theme revolving around the other end of life: Death. More specifically with a motive inspired by Star Wars: The fight to destroy the Death Star.

The fight in space to destroy the Death Star from Star Wars
“Use the Force, Luke”

It should be no surprise that my friend enjoys Star Wars and collects various Star Wars memorabilia, so I felt pretty good about the motive. And his reactions after unpacking and seeing it confirm that.

So, OK. I painted it. And? Where are the details?

Here are the details

I had some problems getting started on this painting, I must admit. Even if I had all the other presents ready, my mind just wasn’t cooperative. However, I did reach the conclusion it had to be a Star Wars motive.

Once that was decided, the idea and decision of the Death Star came quickly. Quick idea sketches were made, first from memory, but I had to find sources for the spaceships to get them correct. In the end, I had the perfect inspiration for the painting.

Black. Completely black. That was the start of the painting, a completely black background. And figuring out the size of the Death Star itself, outlining. Then start with the back, getting the galaxy and stars in place, and add the Death Star itself before adding the spaceships fighting. I wondered a bit if I should use something to make sure the straight lines were straight but opted for the more organic feel instead. Partly because it had to be finished the day after, I must admit …

So, for the actual painting, I used an evening. I’m happy with what I managed.

Dragon Notebook Cover

Christmas is over and all the presents are unpacked, so now I can show a couple of things I painted. ?

A flying dragon in the moonlight
A flying dragon under the moonlight

First off, the cover of a little sketchbook – or however the recipient wants to use it, as part of the Christmas present. I figured a dragon would be a fitting motive for him and after various attempts on the PC to figure out what kind of dragon, I settled for this.?

I wish it was easier to get nice details on that surface, but it was well received, which is the most important!

Girl with a pearl earring?

Sometimes I have fun with the Reface app on my phone, and one time I replaced the face in the painting “Girl With a Pearl Earring” with my own. Just for fun. A bit later I figured it could be fun to try painting it, but painting a portrait? That was a scary thought. Could I manage?

But I still started painting it, on a small canvas. Just, I waited with the face; that was the hard part, I figured. I managed to fill in the rough placement of the features in the face before I had to end that painting session. And – I never continued. It stayed unfinished.

Until now.

The last evening of the painting classes, and portraits was a challenge. I figured I could try to finish it.

My version of “Girl with a pearl earring”

So I attacked the task with my smallest brushes trying to get the details in place. And to mix sensible colours, of course. Maybe it would’ve been easier with a larger canvas. It would provide a bit more wiggle room to make the placement of details a bit easier, and they wouldn’t be that small …

As it is, I managed to make some things correct, while other things really should be adjusted. If I want to paint portraits, I should practise more. Much more. At least if I want to get the likeness I would like, but I must also admit that I was my own largest critic; the others apparently saw more likeness than me …

That said, I’m not unhappy with it. I do think it looks nice, so I’ve managed that, at least. I do have another portrait I need to finish, too. One day. But it will be done – I’ve got a little push now.

Flowers on splashing background

Today I want to share with you a painting experiment I did recently. I had an idea, and wanted to see if I could manage it: Splashing wet paint on the canvas and letting it run down, before adding a motive on top. OK, it didn’t turn out quite as I imagined, but I did try something new.

You tell me if I should be happy about it.

A bouquet of various flowers

The Inspiration

I’ve seen several paintings where some paint is running down the canvas, and at times this makes a wonderful effect. The seed was sown in me, the idea to make a painting myself, using that effect. But I didn’t really have any idea of a motive I would try this with myself, until a digital painting simulating the effects got my mind working. It was a simple painting, with just a few random, loosely painted flowers on a background with some paint splatter, and some watery paint drops running down the digital canvas.

I fell instantly for the image, and wanted to see if I could recreate something similar with real paint.

The Process

To create this painting, I used acrylic paint and a canvas. I started by making a gradient sky as a background. I mixed some water with various colours of paint to make it more fluid, splashed it on the canvas with a brush and let the watery paint drops run their way towards the bottom.

Then I painted the flowers themselves, loose and impulsive, in the mood right there and then.

Above you see the painting how it turned out. Not quite how I imagined it when I started, I admit, but still …

The Conclusion

Even though the painting didn’t turn out exactly as I expected, I’m glad I tried something new and experimented with different techniques. I learned a lot from this experience, and I think it’s important to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone sometimes. You never know what you might discover or create.

In hindsight, I should’ve tested and planned a bit more beforehand, and also been prepared for making a bit more mess than I dared to be in the environment where I started painting. And use a brush that could hold more wet paint for the splattering. But it’s all a learning process, and I’m not discouraged. With the right motive, I’ll be trying this again. Maybe even do a “second run” at this one.

What do you think of my painting experiment? Do you like the splashing effect and the flower motive? Have you ever tried something similar with paint? Let me know in the comments below.

Blue Moon: A Painting of Reflections

Have you ever wondered how to paint reflections in water? I have always been fascinated by this topic, and I decided to challenge myself with a project that would capture the beauty and complexity of light and water. In this blog post, I will share with you my process and inspiration for creating “Blue Moon”, a painting of a city skyline at night, with a stunning glow-in-the-dark effect.

The Inspiration

The idea for this painting came to me when I was thinking about what kind of scene would be interesting and challenging to paint with reflections. My thoughts went immediately to a city skyline, with its tall buildings, bright lights, and busy streets. I wanted to create a contrast between the dark and the light, the natural and the artificial, the calm and the chaotic.

I didn’t use any reference photos for this painting, but I looked at various photos for inspiration, and I had a rough idea of what I wanted to paint in my head. I also added elements from my imagination, such as a bridge and a Ferris wheel. I thought these elements would add some interest and variety to the scene, as well as some reflections of their own.

The Process

To start the painting, I jumped in painting right away, without sketching with a pencil first. I painted the background with acrylic paints, using a dark blue for the sky and a lighter blue for the water. I also painted the moon with white paint, leaving some space around it for some light at the rim of otherwise invisible clouds.

Next, I painted the buildings with black paint, using a wide brush to create the shapes. The buildings were too far away to see any details, they were just dark, almost black shapes with lights from windows breaking the monotony. I also painted some red lights on top of two skyscrapers that are connected by a roof, forming a bridge. I thought this would create a focal point and a contrast in the painting.

Then, I painted the Ferris wheel with yellow and red paint, using a small brush to create the lights and spokes. I also painted some yellow streetlights along the water, illuminating the green trees. I wanted to create some warmth and cosiness in the scene, as well as some reflections in the water.

The skyline in daylight

Finally, I added some glow-in-the-dark paint to the painting, using a fine brush. I applied this paint on top of the white moon, creating a halo effect. The glow-in-the-dark paint used on the moon is blue, hence the title of the painting. I also applied it on some of the windows of the buildings, especially those near the water. I also added some dots of glow-in-the-dark paint on the water, creating some sparkles and ripples. I wanted to create some magic and mystery in the scene, as well as some contrast between day and night.

The Result

The painting was finished after several hours of work, and I was very happy with how it turned out. It looked like a painterly and beautiful city skyline at night, with reflections in the water that captured my attention and imagination.

The skyline at night

But the best part was when I turned off the lights and saw how the painting transformed in darkness. The moon glowed brightly in blue, creating a stunning reflection in the water. The windows of the buildings also glowed in different colours, creating some patterns and shapes in the dark. The Ferris wheel also glowed in red, creating a circle of light in the water as well as on land. The painting looked like a different world, full of wonder and mystery.

Free Willy!

Free Willy! That was the comment when I said I wanted to paint an orca. I pondered the iconic movie poster as an inspiration but settled for focusing on the orca. Or an orca, as it’s not exactly “Willy” himself.

This was a continuation of the watery challenge mentioned in an earlier post. Still, instead of staying underwater, I went with a creature that stays primarily submerged in water, breaking the surface to breathe, or to have fun. And as I revealed already in the first paragraph, the creature is an orca.

It’s my largest finished painting so far, 65×90 cm

And I really wanted to challenge myself, by using the largest canvas I have. Well, an orca may not be the most difficult subject to paint being black and white, but then again shadows and highlights are essential not to make it look flat.

Blocking in the colours was quick, but then there were the details. While this isn’t a realistic style painting, adding details to the painting still takes time, at least for me. I’m sure it’ll get easier and faster with experience.

When I look at it now, I see all the things I could do differently or better, but I still got nice responses from people who like it. This just goes to show yet again: There’s no one more critical of my work than myself. Maybe this was what Leonardo da Vinci had in mind when he said “A painting is never finished, only abandoned.”


My Instagram account is Dionaea Design. My domain name is dionaea.com, and I use the name in a few other places, too. Why Dionaea? What’s that about that logo I use? It all started when my imagination wanted me to draw a character. It turned out to be a flower; a carnivorous, mobile flower. When? That I can’t say for sure – the earliest documented memory of it, is from the last century, back in 1985.?

The name Dionaea I got from a botanical book, and inspired by the carnivorous Venus Flytrap. Dionaea muscipula in Latin. I liked that first part.?

A sketch of Dionaea, by blue colour pencil
My Dionaea sketch from ’89

I never got so far as to develop a story around Dionaea and make a book out of it (as I was encouraged to do by a famous fantasy artist …). I just have made some drawings here and there. This sketch from ’89 turned up together with my dog drawings, on a flimsy piece of paper.?

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything with my Dionaea character, even though I’ve had ideas of what to do. I probably should try to do a bit more again. Maybe just something as simple as trying to paint it with acrylic paint?

Time will show what I’ll do.