Thursday, 2 April 2015


When I was planning this trip of a lifetime I did a lot of research into towns and campsites so that we could travel easily without worrying where we would be staying. I booked each one in advance too as I thought that being the summer it would be very busy but I was wrong, until midsummer all was very tranquil.  I was so pleased to have found this camp about 15 kilometres from Kalmar, right by the sea on a beautiful wooded peninsula.  We were able to cycle in many directions to explore and this little vignette caught my eye as we cycled along a country road.

We went to Kalmar on the Sunday and found a beautiful clean town with old walls, a castle and a lovely church in the centre which we spent the morning exploring.  What a shame all the shops were shut, I would so have loved to do a bit of browsing!  (Bob was pleased though!) 
This page shows a few of the other places we visited, including the Orrefors glass factory where we bought ourselves a vase to celebrate our 40th anniversary.

As we were camped at the water's edge we had a ringside view of the creatures that lived in the reeds.  These dragonflies were almost tame, coming to sit on my green clogs to sun themselves.  While out walking along the shore one evening Bob spotted this big wooden box and when we went to take a closer look I saw a dried up shell attached to the outside. We realised it must be some sort of nesting box when we saw another with a half emerged nymph which gradually opened it's wings as we watched in amazement.  I carefully took the empty shell back to camp so that I could draw this sketch later. 
When we arrived home a few weeks later I found a dead dragonfly that must have got trapped in our boot when the doors were open.  It's now safely stored in a little box so that I can draw it again sometime.

Everywhere we went in Sweden we were delighted by the wild flowers growing at the roadside and even the middle of the dual carriageways were full of colourful blooms.  Under the birch trees the cow parsley was like a froth of foam covering the ground and deeper in the shade the wood anenomes
were abundant. It was wonderful to see masses of cornflowers at the edges of the cornfields too!

I painted this view as I sat next to the camper car one afternoon, in fact it goes further to the right but I couldn't get it all under the scanner.  The weather was very pleasant while we were in Sweden and although a few clouds passed over it was never too cold.

The camp at Kalmar was a haven for birds and I spent quite some time watching a pair of Great crested grebes building their nest in the middle of the reeds right in front of our plot.  I was waiting to see their courting dance but  unfortunately missed it.  As you can see in the sketch there were lots of other birds to watch too!

A family of swans passed every day at the same times with their brood of cygnets and the heron flew past regularly flapping his enormous tablecloth of wings.

I pre-painted a few of the pages in this watercolour sketchbook with acrylic ink so that I could have a bit of variety in the drawings.  I used the acrylic as it is permanent and wouldn't pick up when I painted over with watercolours or the inktense pencils I took with me.  These fishermen's cottages were right at the end of a lane and we had been hoping there might be a cafĂ© we could use for our lunch but this part of the country is wonderfully unspoiled so we had to cycle all the way back to camp instead! 
The colour of the buildings  is very typical of all the rural houses we saw and I really like the way they contrast with the green of the trees and grass.  I can just imagine them in winter standing out against the white of the snow too.