An American in Stockholm – continued

Stockholm is situated on 14 islands. It really is a Northern Venice. Gamla Stan, which means The Old Town, is located on the island of Stadsholmen. It is a mind blowing place.

Stockholm is one of the very few European cities that did not get bombed into oblivion during WWII. The old buildings and stone paved streets are still there, intact for centuries, they can take you back in time like a time machine. Many date back to 1600’s, with some going as far back as 12th century.

I sketched this sitting in a cafe on the intersection of three streets, Norra Bankogrand is the street in the sketch. It leads to the piers, there between the buildings, and Baltic sea.

Stockholm has a different palette than any other city I’ve been to. It is all painted in natural earth colors. I heard this is a city ordinance of some sort. So I found myself using a lot of yellow ochre, sienna and umber. And my favorite – Palette Gray.

I was sitting in this cafe with my coffee and my sketchbook, working on my drawing, and somehow this made people think that I was local. I was asked directions, lol. In one case a family talking to me happened to be from Chicago, and we had a little laugh about it. Amazingly, I did know – this once – how to get where they wanted to go.


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  1. Reply
    Carol King August 31, 2012

    Another beautiful sketch. I know what to visit Sweden! I will add it to the list of places to visit. Thanks for sharing all your beautiful sketches and info on the country.

    Now a few questions…do you sketch in pencil first and then use the pen and ink? What sort of field watercolor kit do you use? And is your sketchbook a watercolor moleskine? Or something else? Thanks Alex!

    • Reply
      Alex Zonis August 31, 2012

      Thank you, Carol! Yes, I start with a pencil (prefer a mechanical pencil). When pencil drawing is down, it’s time for pen. I use Micron Pigma pens as well as a fountain pen, but my intention is to transition out of Micron and use only a fountain pen. For watercolor I use Schmincke 12 half pan travel box, but I added pans to it (there was a lot of room!) and now it has 20 half pans. I am not fully settled on my colors for field sketching and am still fiddling with them. This particular sketchbook with Stockholm sketches is Artist’s Handbook 5.5″ square, I am nearly finished with it. I am not sure yet which one will be my next one, but probably not Moleskine. I have and sketch in WC Moleskine, but don’t like its extreme landscape format, too unwieldy to hold and sketch if you don’t have a table. I am thinking of Stillman & Birn sketchbook as one option and Laloran as another. Hope this helps. If you are interested in Urban Sketching, I can connect you with the NY group.

      • Reply
        Carol King September 3, 2012

        Thanks for the info Alex. I would love to try some Urban Sketching. Please email me the info on the NY group.

  2. Reply
    Sue Pownall September 3, 2012

    I look forward to reading more about your Stockholm adventures.

  3. Reply
    Tracey September 3, 2012

    Such nice sketches of a great adventure!

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