Posts Tagged ‘finland’

more natural characters

July 30, 2012



It is now a full month since my time at Fiskars Village Artist Residency in Finland.  It’s been a busy month of travel and seeing new things, but now I’m back in Australia (and back to winter), and busy with installing Fog and Faultines at Megalo Print Studio here in Canberra.  With all of that, four feetthe tumblr site for our residency project has been a little quite, but not any more.  The major outcome from the residency was a set of drypoint prints made collaboratively between myself and fellow resident David Wills, titled Natural Characters.  We are planning to upload all of these images to four feet, one per day over the next month or so.

natural characters

July 1, 2012

‘Natural Characters’, Drypoint and Collograph in 32 parts, Davis Wills and Peter McLean, 2012.

It was a big push to get all our printing done on time, but we made it, and here is the final install of ‘Natural Characters’, our collaborative project of drypoint and collograph prints.  32 panels in all with each one 20×20 cm.

Sadly, today is the last day in the Artist in Residence house in Fiskars.  We had a lovely open studio/exhibition Friday night, and quite a few of the locals came along to see what we had been doing.  It turned into quite a late night with the grilling of moose sausages over a fire sometime around midnight.  Saturday was spent doing the things we’d been meaning to do for the month but had somehow missed, like the museum, the Desico candle shop, the Fiskars Company shop, and one last cinnamon bun with some of our new friends from Fiskars.


island engraving

June 22, 2012

Eye Island, wood engraving,Peter McLean, 2012

This is the second of the wood engravings I have made in Fiskars, Finland.  A group of nearby lakes forms the shape of an eye on the map, and is my favourite area to go walking.  On my first visit there I was entranced by the light shinning behind this little tree filled islet.  Placing the image in the centre of this elliptical block of apple wood, the whole image has become rather eye-like.

I also posted a photo of this little island a while back on Four Feetour blog about the Fiskars Residency.

pic of the day

June 20, 2012

engraving on apple wood

June 18, 2012

wood engraving, Peter McLean, 2012

After some initial trouble getting hold of some suitable ink, I’ve finally been getting into some printmaking.  First off I edditioned this small engraving I did on some apple wood left by the previous artist in residence.  By traditional criteria, the apple turned out not to be ideal for engraving.  While it is reasonably hard, the grain is certainly not uniform, with rings of softer wood containing minute pits.  Perhaps this is the rapid spring growth.  The end result though, is quite pleasing.  The pits are just big enough to show up as lighter rings in the print, but not so much as to overly distract from the image, and I had made sure that the focal point of the image was at the centre f the growth rings so the two patterns would be working together rather than against each other.


Of course seeing how those growth rings show up, I also did some printing of other pieces that had been sanded smooth, but not yet engraved.  I felt like turning these into something more than the simple cross section, even though that is nice, and they became a little text piece.


Apple, relief print, Peter McLean, 2012

pic of the day

June 14, 2012

I wonder how much to rent this little cutie for a summer, not too much surely.  It had an unoccupied look to it.


June 12, 2012


This wonderful building is the village sauna.  Sauna is an ancient custom in Finland and still very much an important part of the culture, and we were delighted to be given an invitation to take sauna recently.  Even more so since the village sauna in Fiskars is rather special.  It has been built by community members more recently than it’s appearance might suggest, but it is a very traditional type of sauna.  It is a ‘smoke sauna’ which is heated by wood fires for up to six hours before use, after which no more wood is added but the sauna stays hot for many hours.

The sauna is in a beautiful location, just slightly out of the village on a small promontory that protrudes into a large lake.  The lake of course being an essential element in the experience – to go from the heat of the sauna and then into the cool water of the lake.  Apparently still the thing to do even in January when the lake is beginning to freeze over.  I’m glad it’s June.

The sauna has three rooms.  The first was a kind of dressing room, with benches around it’s sides and hooks to hang your clothes on, but it was so much more than a dressing room.  There was also a table which when we arrived was laden with food being shared, and a small fireplace in the corner where people might sit for it’s warmth (though the whole room was quite cozy) or cook sausages.  An iron candelabra with candles hung above the table to add to the fire’s warm glow.  It was around midnight, so it was dim outside.  The next room was for washing.  There was a great tub of water heated by the fires, and tubs of cool water pumped from the lake.  Then the third room under the peaked roof was the steam room.  Quite dark, and filled with the rich aromas of wood and smoke, we gingerly clambered up the tiered benches to find an unoccupied place to sit.  Someone nearest the great oven threw ladles of water onto it creating hissing bursts of steam.  The whole evening was certainly one to remember and I was assured that no other sauna would be quite like this one, even in Finland.

wallpaper drawings

June 11, 2012

Summer House, charcoal on wallpaper, Peter McLean, 2012

I found this wallpaper while browsing in op shops in Karja.  It’s got a nice old fashioned feel that seemed to fit Karja.  I thought I was going to use the back for drawing on, but as you can see I’ve used the patterned side for this charcoal drawing of a small island in one of the lakes.  After walking through the forest for some time to get there, I was surprised to see this small island was host to three or four summer houses (in the usual red and white colour scheme).  It looked very idyllic indeed.  I hope the drawing on wallpaper suggests the idea of cosy homeliness nestled into the landscape.

 The lakes seem to be developing as the main focus of my work here in Fiskars, and there is a particular group that seem to create an eye on the big map in the kitchen which have become the focus of my walking too.  This second drawing is based on the same  long narrow lake, called Långsjö (I think that might be in Swedish, not Finish?)

Promontory, charcoal on wallpaper, Peter McLean, 2012


June 10, 2012


June 8, 2012

Ink on paper, Peter McLean, 2012


I’ve taken to drawing with ink and a skewer over the last week (no real reason, except the previous artist left some drawing ink behind, and the first likely implement that came to hand was some bamboo skewers in the kitchen drawers, this being the way artistic choices sometimes get made).  I loved the fluidity of this scene, where the undulating land, patches of forest and irregularly shaped cultivated fields intersect.

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