Week 8

My last week as artist in residence at Nes is coming to an end and it’s brought with it even more snow here in the far North of Iceland.

The week started off with a trip to the amazingly located Grettislaug hot pool which is right in the north and in among a beautiful vista looking out to the mysterious Island of Drangey. We spent a few hours in the hot pool soaking in the geothermal water and taking in the sights of the snowy fjord around us. It was a clear day and on the way back we witnessed the most spectacular Icelandic sunset lighting up the epic mountains around us a bright pink colour. The infamous blue hour passed and the huge moon rose over the mountains creating an atmospheric ride back! The rest of the week has passed by quite quickly with snow blizzards and high winds forcing a lot of us to stay indoors, it has been fine for me as I’ve been able to finish off all of my art work that I have produced throughout my time as artist in residence but the need to get outside here and make the most of the surroundings is calling.

There was a team of people from the Akureyri Art Museum who came to visit, we had a wonderful thanksgiving dinner, I managed to go on a few walks while the snow laid around me and spent a great deal of time with the other wonderful artists here. The sun rise is getting later and later every day here in the North, for example today the sun didn’t rise until 10:55am and that’s even if you get to see the sun. As it has been so snowy this week, there has been a distinct lack of the sunshine in the sky, I’m not complaining though the sky here is so heavy and when it’s truly dark you can witness storms out to sea. One main thing I have realized since moving to Iceland is the weight of the sky and the landscape around me here. Everything is more intense, heightened and atmospheric because we are living so close to nature and the ocean, it is present here always and we are very much shaped by the land instead of us trying to change it. Almost everything is weather dependent and I know I’ll experience this more and more throughout my dark winter here.

We had a heavy amount of snow to finish the week off and had my last opið hús at Nes on Saturday. This is a monthly event where we open up our studio to the public and invite everyone to come in to have a look at what we have been up to in the month, it’s quite an informal event but it’s a really good way of connecting with the locals and putting our work made here in residence out to the wider public. 

One of my last days ended with a walk to the south beach in the town while the snow fell around me gently. Just a short walk from our studio there is a beautiful ice lagoon where the ice slabs are carried off into the ocean sometime washing up on the black sand beach which surrounds it. The winter sun shone and then another snow blizzard came in just as quick as it left.

It’s been a tough weekend saying bye to a lot of the other artists who are leaving this month, I have been here in Skagastrond for over 8 weeks now and I can honestly say it has flown in. It has definitely been an immersive and intense experience surrounded by such talented people and an incredible environment with which to work in and also to get constant inspiration from. I’m moving on now to Akureyri and then to Ólafsfjörður to start my 3 month long period at Listhus Artspace. I was awarded the Skammdegi Air Award which translates to dark winter among 20 other artists from around the world! I’m looking forward to getting started with this residency and to be based further North but also feel strange about leaving Skagastrond after such an intense time here. The town is so small so you really get to know it through and through!

Anyway here is some photos from my last week here at Nes and for my next blog I’ll be giving an update on my new temporary home in Ólafsfjörður and my first week at Listhus!

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