Karolina Afzelius about Ingrid Ström

Ingrid Ström —- an multifaceted artist

Such a dark and cold evening in February, when you most of all want to curl down in your warm bed and pull the covers over your head. I stood outside the door of a yellow brick house on a hill in Krokslätt (area in the city of Mölndal). My brown leather jacket was almost black by the rain that whipped the ground, but even so, I hesitated slightly before I lifted hand and rang the bell. In the pit of the stomach there was little worried fluttering butterfly. The door was opened by a smiling woman with bustling, sparkling eyes.Her warmth and laughter got my shyness to drain me and be lefted out there in the rain and the darkness. Now, I just felt joy and expectation of getting acquainted with a truly authentic artist – Ingrid Ström.

She showed me into her studio and I became standing inside the door dumbfounded by all the impressions that washed over me. Her workplace was a large, well-lit room, with huge skylight windows. Despite the darkness outside, I could imagine how the sun pouring in, how its rays wandered over all the artwork that covered the walls, of the bright happy oil paintings, the colorful fabrics and of the simple yet emotive charged lithographs and prints.

Ingrid said nothing. She just laughed and let me in peace to sort everyone of those feelings and thoughts that came over me.

So she cleared the way for me on a couch. I fell down and saw two paintings, which stood on an easel in front of me. Both represented the horses. One was a portrait of a powerful brown horse with floating movements, the other imagined a whole flock. Wild and angry, they came unreal reddish animals storming toward me.

I was forced to take myself hard in the collar to get started with my interview. Nothing was as I had imagined. I was filled with questions but not of the formal points I signed down on a paper at home in the workroom.

The first question I felt completely out of place. -Where are you born? I wondered, despite the wide i’s clearly revealed her origin. Entirely correct. Farmhouse on Bokenäset (Bokenäset area near Gullmarsfjorden on the Swedish west coast) in Bohuslän (Bohuslän one of Sweden’s municipalities located on the Swedish west coast) in 1921. I took kit to quickly get me through the introduction and start talking about the pictures instead, but then a small bell rang – farmehouse .. The paintings were filled with horses, cows and chickens. Yes, probably it was the childhood home of many of the motifs were retrieved. I calmed down and realized that perhaps it was pretty good to take things from the beginning.

From the beginning .. Ingrid was born then on a farmhouse. Her mother was very interested in art. She painted, although not herself, but she never missed an opportunity to go to a museum or exhibition. However started Ingrid her art artistic career early. She fondly remembers how she filled up the blackboard in elementary school with a stately horse and how happy and proud she was when the teacher decided that the horse was too good to be wiped away. The entire school year got the kids write and count around the beautiful animal.

Ingrid has no artist education. Since she had time to become quite old before she begun to paint on fulltime, there were no options that fit. All she can, she has made sure to learn by herself.

Her strongest motives have always been horses. When she was a little girl, the number of horses measured how rich a farm was. It was natural for her to see the horse as a testament to people’s happiness.

Some of the depicted horses are portraits, but most comes from within herself. They are wild, angry and explosive and they have just any colors. – Many believe that animals have no soul, she says with a smile. I perceives eg horse as a being who dare to show their thoughts and feelings. Perhaps we should also make it a little more often ..

A large part of the paintings also represents women. -Luxuriant mother figures who dance and sing or substantial farm women, with apple cheeks and kerchiefs, feeding the chickens or milking cows.

All Ingrid’s motives have a clear motive. – But really, I think most of non – figurative art, she says. Sometime in the future, when she painted all the motif that are within her, she will begin to paint abstract. -But it’ll take a while! She laughs.

Ingrid uses many different techniques and materials. -Oils, watercolors, prints, enamel, and fabrics. The prints are of several different varieties. She starts with a slab of wood, linoleum or copper, in which she cut or carve images. Prints are often in one color. If you want several colors the artwork must be printed several times, once for each color.

A large part of the paintings is precisely prints. With its free, a little irregular contours leaves they really so clear motive still something to the imagination. A single image may appear intimidating as well as idyllic depending on what mood you yourself are in.

Another material that Ingrid liked to work with was enamel. She uses a powder, mixed with water and paint on metal. When she is finished, the plate is heated up to 800 degrees and the enamel becomes hard and shiny.

Before I went, I could follow Ingrid down into the basement, which was filled with paintings. Mostly there were oil paintings, but also some enamels and lithographs. There, I found the very the most wonderful artwork. It was an oil painting depicting a few horses in the mild bright colors. They melted into the background in a dreamlike haze. When I looked at that artwork I almost got goose bumps on the back of just pleasure. It gave me just the same lovely feeling as Tchaikovsky and as the few beautiful words, which you hardly dare speak for fear that they will lose their magic.

Ingrid finally asked me to write in the guestbook. It was hard. How can I express how much this had meant to me, so she understood that I really meant it, and not only wanted to be nice or polite. Finally, I got a couple of lines.

When I turned Ingrid put a little painting in my hand. It was a paper lithography in a neat passe-partout. In one, otherwise desolate landscape wandering two round, cozy ducks. I need hardly mention that the painting hangs on the wall in my room. Every time I see it I think of all that I could see and feel that ruffled February evening.

Karolina Afzelius.

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