Weeks 16 & 17

What a wonderful busy couple of weeks it has been that I´ve not had a chance to do my weekly blog round up. It has been two full weeks of exhibitions, hiking in this calm bright weather and preparing for the opening of our Skammdegi festival.

Here is what I’ve been up to.

One of the most exciting and inspiring things I had the pleasure of being able to take part in my town here in Ólafsfjörður was scaling the mountain on a snow cat with fellow artists to watch the sunrise! The team at Arctic Freeride and our group ventured up the mountain at 10am on a steep and very adventurous snowy path to the very top of one of the highest mountains here in the North. The view from the top is something I will never be able to put into words or show in any of my photographs. We reached the summit and finally caught sight of the sun in the distance, the perfect sunrise which I think was something we were all startled to see after being sun deprived for 2 months in the dark winter. The darkness and short days is something I got used to in Iceland, however, nothing prepares you for finally being able to feel the sunshine on your face and looking out towards mountain after mountain all the way up towards the full horizon of the arctic sea. It is one of the most incredible experiences I´ve been a part of since I moved to Iceland in October and it is an adventure I´ll always be inspired by! From the textures, to the staggering display of mountains as far as the eye can see and the light that is only significant in the north of the world, it was impressive to say the least.

Another venture was speaking at the local college about my practise and the idea of ´The sublime in landscape art´to the students. It was a great experience in addressing the key issues in my work and my project as part of the Listhus Art space residency. I also gave the students examples of landscape art, working with the key ideas of the sublime in nature, human responses to it, emotions and the turbulence of it in western art. It was another great way of me being able to address the issues again in my own work and really think about the key ideas within my practise.

Secondly, our group ventured down to Akureyri again on the 23rd of January to hold another day of our show at the Salur Myndlistarfélagsins Gallery, you can also view more of the gallery´s website and info at Salur Myndlistarfélagsins. Our group show was open again to the public and a couple of artists here at Listhus, Will Plowman and Devon Wright performed in the evening. Again, we had a great response with a couple of other galleries holding openings which meant that there was more of a crowd and creative types in the vicinity! 

Sunday the 24th of January marked the day in Olafsfjordur when the sun peaked high enough in the sky to rise over the mountain for a few minutes which not only meant that we could see the sun but also it was high enough to light up the town! I´ve included a few photos in this post of the incredible hike we ventured on that day and also the epic sunset and fluorescent sky which followed.

On Monday the 25th, Robert Burns Day to us Scottish Folk, I embarked on another road trip with some friends from my past residency at Nes, this time to the wonders of Mývatn. We set off early in the morning headed for Siglufjörður first which is a beautiful little town right on the north tip of Iceland and only a 15 min journey through the mountain tunnels from Olafsfjordur. Then we journeyed south through Akureyri onto the ring road towards the mighty waterfall of Goðafoss which is unreal and is one of the most powerful and spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. It was then a straight journey to Myvatn where almost instantly you are mesmerized by the impressive and otherworldly landscape of the Myvatn lake and the natural wonders which are dotted extensively around the area. We bathed in the Myvatn Nature Baths at night under the full moon and milky-way and even had the place to ourselves!

The following morning we set off for the geographical wonders and formations of the area. We were based in Vogar which looks right out onto the infamous Hverfjall Crater, we spent a good while walking around this epic crater followed by hiking at Dimmuborgir Lava Fields, Skútustaðir Craters, Hverir Mud Pots, Krafla and Viti Crater Lake. These areas in Myvatn are in my opinion the most incredible features of this unique place and truly in some parts I felt like I was on another planet especially when I was surrounded by clouds of geothermal smoke which was rising from the ground in which I was standing on!

After spending two jam packed days in Myvatn, we headed back through the snowy mountains to Akureyri and spent the day there on a tour around the Akureyri Art School. The journey back up to Olafsfjordur made me realise how much I absolutely love this place and how much it feels like home to me, not only are the surroundings of the fjord absolutely incredible looking out towards the arctic sea, the people are also remarkable and the culture which is so deeply embedded in this location in the far north is precious.

The end of this week was spent in the studio working away on new paintings and drawings feeling inspired by my trip to Myvatn and also finishing off some pieces for our Skammdegi Festival. Our first exhibition of the festival opened on Thursday the 28th which was our group show in Listhus Art Space. It is an introduction to a lot of our varied ways in which we all work and the festival continues on running lots of different programmes until the 21st of February. Overall, this festival which translates to ´Dark Winter Festival´is our response to the dark winter we have experienced here as artists in residence in the very North of Iceland.

The rest of the week I have been busy again preparing my film for my upcoming funding campaign to go to Svalbard with the Arctic Circle Organisation which will be getting released very shortly and also working away in the studio producing final pieces for our festival exhibitions!

See you all next week!

Remember if you want to keep up to date with what I am doing in the studio day to day please head on over to my InstagramTwitter or Facebook. Also my website which shows my full portfolio!


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  1. Those are incredible. I love those images of nature. You are so lucky to be part of those lucky ones to enjoy the nature at first hand. Keep up the great work Ellis.

    1. Thanks so much Marc, lovely kind words! I feel humbled and blessed every single day to be living here and getting to experience such a beautiful and wild place. Being with nature is the best, I couldn´t possibly live away from it.

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