The Lovely Camilla Engman

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Last May I made a sojourn to Sweden to take a workshop with the very talented and lovely, Camilla Engman…that’s her in her studio, smiling next to one of her paintings. The workshop was organized by world traveler and adventurer, Angela Ritchie. Her workshop offerings are always unique and a little offbeat and you can check them out here. She’s in India right now with Lotta Jansdotter…how fun would THAT be???


Seven of us gathered from around the globe…me (the only American), two Aussies, one Swiss, one Italian, one German and one Argentinian – lovely, smart and talented women all. On our first day we wandered from the hotel in Goteborg’s city center to Camilla’s studio in the Konstepedemin artist’s community, getting to know each other along the way.

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We gathered up some traditional Swedish pastry and sat outside enjoying the May sunshine and each other’s new company.

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Camilla’s studio is light and beautiful (like her) and filled with not only her amazing paitings and illustrations…

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…but little installations…

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…and vignettes…

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…and moments…

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…and collections…

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…and works on cardboard…

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…that make the heart inspired and the mind curious.

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She shared her work with us…wonderful paintings…dreamlike and questioning.

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This world and yet another world; familar yet strange.

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Being an American, and wanting to probably overanalyze everything, I tried a couple of times to ask Camilla about the motivations and inspirations for her work. She would smile and shrug. Or say she doesn’t know. Or turn the questions around and ask, “What do you think”. The more I thought about her answers the more I think she’s onto something. Our work doesn’t need to be explained. It can just be. Images swirl and surface and if we are wise we accept them. We can simply be a conduit for them, letting them be whatever they are. Beautiful and mysterious and unexplainable.

Please go to her website here and her blog here to see her beautiful paintings and work in high resolution. These photos barely do them justice. I only used my iPhone on this trip…while handy and convenient, it certainly doesn’t replace a real camera.

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A generous teacher, she took time to walk us through her painting process from sketch to finished painting. It was a glimpse into the way she works (which is always fascinating), but not an explanation of why or what the images mean to her. We are watching on a tiny iPad…as the little projector in the background on the table was having technical difficulties.

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Thoughtful, approachable, intelligent and lovely with a keen sense of humor…

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…Camilla opened her studio and her heart to us for a lovley Swedish week.

Next time…more about the arist’s community that Camilla is a part of and some of the workshop work.

5 Responses to The Lovely Camilla Engman

  1. Kylie says:

    Oh Fran! What a WONDERFUL summary of our week in Gothenburg!! Yes, you have hit the nail on the head about all of it. We are so institutionalised from our schooling that we expect to be told and it’s such a revelation to learn how to feel our way 🙂 Camilla was so amazing and the ace camp is one of my very special memories. So glad to have met you and spent time getting to know you, even though the time seemed to rush by so quickly! Thank you for making it such a special time for me 🙂 Kx

  2. belinda says:

    such a gorgeous post to read! was just thinking {dreaming!} about a sweden reunion yesterday! it was just so good and lovely to meet you xx

  3. Andrea says:

    Hi Fran, what a great post. And what a great week it was… I am going to Gothenburg in the end of november and very much looking forward to it, but I guess it will be strange as well this time, not meeting all of you…Andrea

  4. yael says:

    this is just wonderful Fran!!!!!
    Thanks a lot!!!!!!

  5. jane cabrera says:

    Lovely! Your words are just perfect. I went to Camilla’s work shop in 2011 and the inspiration for my Art and also life still grow from this. (Us Brits also over think everything too…she showed me that enjoying the process is so freeing!) Very best wishes

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