Expressionist Painter David Sandum

Expressionist Painter David Sandum

Interview with Expressionist Painter David Sandum by Angela Cappetta

Landscape Painter David Sandum

Interview with Expressionist Painter David Sandum. David Sandum is a remarkable painter. Not only is he highly prolific, his work is prized among collectors. I myself am lucky enough to own a pair of his gouache pieces.

Interview with Landscape Painter David Sandum

2 small gouache paintings by Swedish painter David Sandum



David’s preferred mediums are either oil on canvas or gouache on thick paper.

David enjoys the difference between these techniques. “Working with oils is like taking a long mountain expedition,” he says, “while working with etchings is like climbing without a rope. One mistake and you’re dead!”  An acclaimed author as well an artist, David wrote a memoir about his challenges with mental illness. At any rate, he is very public about his struggles with depression. His book is called  I’ll Run Till the Sun Goes Down: A Memoir about Depression and Discovering Art. It was published in September 2015. He is also working on a second book.

A kind, gentle soul, David exudes graciousness. Above all, he works carefully and deliberately. He takes his time. So perhaps its because of the Scandinavian pace of life, or maybe its just his personality. Still, David’s work draws you in (in a good way. The saturation of his palette is lush and high. One can’t stop staring at his work. We asked him about it:


What is your subject matter all about?

The focus of my work is to transfer emotion. Artists work in many ways. Some copy what they see and others start with an empty canvas and see what evolves. I am of the latter kind. It happens that I have a clear motif in mind, but it is rare. Even if I do, it never ends up the way I thought because I paint impulsively. There is always a psychological element in my work. I started to paint to deal with my struggle with depression. Artists such as Edvard Munch and Vincent Van Gogh were huge influences in the beginning. Not only in style, but because of the feelings they conveyed, and that they addressed both the good and the difficult. Munch was inspired by the Norwegian bohemian writer Hans Jæger, who said that every writer and artist should convey their life story. This is always in the back of my mind. My feelings and experiences always enter my work, wether I travel to a cites like Barcelona or New York, or walk in the Scottish Highlands. I often paint nature but often include a lonely figure. But I am just as interested in dialogues. Adding another figure changes the theme instantly, perhaps addressing the difficulty of communication. I also think in symbolic ways. Two trees standing opposite of each other appear in my mind as two people. Two trees far apart can speak about distance and isolation. Two intertwined trees can address passion or drama. Poetic and symbolic artists such as Marc Chagall and Odilon Redon are equally inspirational to me as more expressionistic painters. Yet the clear and strong colors used by the expressionistic movement are key for me. Color is my main tool.


What colors are on your palette right now?
These days, I tend to use warm red, orange and yellow as a base. Or Blue, turquoise, purple and soft pink. Complimentary colors are always mixed in with black contours. With intaglio etchings it is different. At the moment, I am actually working a lot in black and white, adding grey tones. I also love a blue background with white lines.


Explain your switch back and forth between gouache and oil.
Oil paintings are built up on canvas in layers over a long time. Gouache dries quickly on paper. If I want to work fast, I use gouache in small formats. I most often work on 3-5 works at the same time, making the base of a few, then moving onto details with others.


Tell us how you set up your work for sale shop on your website?
These days, it is so easy to use your phone to take good photos. I simply photograph them and upload them to my website, and, like most artists, struggle mentally with the sale part. I would love to only paint and not worry about selling. But this is a must to be able to continue. It must however be a simple platform to use. The site itself must be easy to navigate and find works to purchase. I used a skilled web designer for help.
Original gouache on acid free paper. By, David Sandum Interviewed by fine art photographer Angela Cappetta

Original gouache on acid free paper. By, David Sandum Interviewed by fine art photographer Angela Cappetta

What else do you want us to know about your work?
This is actually an interesting question for me. When I first started to paint it felt important to be understood correctly. Titles were often direct and telling of what I wanted to say. Now I am starting to understand how differently we interpret art. My titles and personal perceptions are now less significant. I only care that the viewer feel something, using psychological themes that we all share: Longing, love, pain, loss, difficulty in communication, admiration of nature, energy, passion and so on. People will interpret these themes based on their own experience. But in the end, our journey and experiences as human beings on this Earth, are similar.
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