Week 5

The first week into my second month here as artist in residence with Nes in Skagastrond.

It’s been a quick and busy week with the newest arrival of 7 artists from all over the world for the month of November. I’ts such a great experience being able to engage with other artists practise, learning from them and finding out what their ideas and inspirations are visually.

I’ve been spending a more significant amount of time in the studio recently this week because of the high winds up in our remote fishing town. I’ve found it a bit difficult to deal with as the only way I can truly keep making work and producing drawings and paintings inspired from the landscape around here is by actually being in the landscape, hiking and immersing myself in it from day to day. The winds should hopefully settle down again and I’ll be able to do a bit more walking around the outskirts of the town. My favourite walk out of all of the ones I’ve embarked on so far is the one throughout the Spakonufell mountain Valley. The mountains are impressive, and the frozen river that meanders through the valley is a beautiful sight.

The best part about this week for me was seeing the most impressive showing of the Northern Lights so far. It was finally a clear night up here in the North and with it brought the lights starting out quite faint and then building up to complete fast moving waves of bright green and the occasional purple lines covering the entire sky! We are lucky artists up here as our studio is right on the coast where the waves come crashing in so there is virtually no light pollution that surrounds us here. We were all out standing on the rocks completely mesmerized by the display they were casting for us. I’ve been lucky enough to see the Northern Lights about 7 times since moving to Iceland since the start of October but  have to say Tuesday’s night is the best I’ve yet to witness! Hopefully they are as amazing for the next few months that I’m here. I’ve also attached a few of my photographs of the wonder, I’m getting better at capturing them but still needing to practise a bit more, please let me know what you think!

Secondly, I’ve also been working with a lot of slow exposure photo based work this week. As I am surrounded up here by a stormy coastline, high waves and rocky inlets I felt like I had to take advantage of this inspiration and capture the textures, details and vast moving of this stormy shore.

Lastly, for the round up of what I’ve been up to this week, we also attended the local town’s church choir practise on Wednesday night. Even though I didn’t understand a word they were singing, it was such a beautiful experience to witness the Icelandic songs being sung to us in such a harmonious way by a large group of people.

On Thursday a group of us artists took a trip to the Museum of Prophecies here in Skagastrond, you can find some more info on the museum here: The Museum of Prophecies. We learned about the legend and Icelandic saga of Þórdís the fortune-teller, the first named inhabitant of Skagaströnd, who lived there in the late 10th century. A painted tapestry tells the story of Þórdís. We also learned a lot about palm reading, tarot card reading and information on the local prophecies and fortune telling which is connected to this remote town.

The weather died down towards the end of the week which meant I could go on big hikes again, walked into the mountain valley on Friday capturing lots more photographs for my project and immersing myself once again in the place. I feel it’s imperative within my long stay here in Iceland to get outside as much as possible, yes I have a brilliant working studio space which I use and work in frequently but the Icelandic landscape makes you feel as though you are on another planet so I want to fully take advantage of being outdoors in this environment before the weather really comes in harsh. (I’ve been told that in the past, through the winter period, people have been stuck inside for a few days on end because the storms on the coast can be that high and aggressive) apprehensive but quite looking forward to seeing what this winter stint in Iceland brings!

Anyway, for now I’m appreciating the bright light we have here and making the most of this as the darkness comes in quicker and quicker each day!

It’s been a interesting week with a pleasure to be meeting some many new artists and spending an intense period with them here in this small town on the exposed North coast of Iceland! If you have any questions about my stay here or local Icelandic info please do get in touch and subscribe to my blog or webpage.

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