Friday, February 25, 2011

Norwegian Rosemaling

My sister and I have stumbled upon our own tradition of taking a community ed class together each year. The last two years we have had the privilege of taking courses that teach us about our Norwegian heritage. Last year we learned how to make Rosettes just in time for Christmas. This year our course was Norwegian Rosemaling.

Rosemaling is a style of painting that people in rural Norway used for decoration. I learned last night that the traditional colors are yellow, rust, and blue. It's a flowing, scrolling style of painting that uses C and S strokes. DON'T GOOGLE IT YET! You'll see images far more superior to anything that I produced last night. :) Wait to see my first attempt and then you can be wowed by the skilled artisans whose work is on the web!

I'm a perfectionist through and through, and so it was difficult last night to put myself out there and try something new and so out of my comfort zone. Luckily I had my sis by my side, so we navigated this new skill together...with the help of chocolate that the instructor provided. I knew after she passed around a bag of full-size candy bars that it was going to be a good night.

We began by practicing C and S strokes on scratch paper. The instructor was very encouraging and said over and over again that there is no "right" way to do it. She said that we as artists have our own spin on it, and we should let that come out. That's not a great thing to say to a perfectionist. In my head, I'm thinking "I need a sample! Teach me EXACTLY how to do it!" :)

It was a great class, though, and finally Lins and I felt brave enough to start painting on the actual project - a box. Here is how my first attempt at Rosemaling went:

This is the front of my box. I did this at the end when I wasn't being as careful, so I don't love this side as much as some other sides. Yes, that's the perfectionist talking!

I wanted to put something larger on the top, so I made this tulip design for the center. The edges looked like they needed attention, so I used a very very thin brush to make the white designs.

And here is the side I'm most proud of. I really like how this design turned out. I had fun blending some different blues to give the image more depth.

Okay, now you can google Rosemaling and see some professionals' work. It's truly amazing and so beautiful! I have a much greater appreciation for this style of painting now that I have tried it and see how difficult it is!


  1. I love it! It's really pretty!
    Are you going to do more?

  2. Good question...I don't know. I wouldn't mind doing some more, actually. I felt like I just got a taste of it at the class and there's so much more that can be done with it!