nature

A stopover in Shetland

So up until now I’ve not really stopped travelling. I left Norway the third week of May and then went straight to Shetland, then onto the mainland, then up to Ullapool, over to the Isle of Lewis where I travelled down through the Isle of Harris, Berneray, North Uist, South Uist back over to Mallaig where I then caught the ferry to Eigg to where I am right now. Talk about going the long way around. I’m going to spend quite a bit of time though on this post showing some of my photographs and travels around Shetland, a place that will forever inspire me, also because I took so many photos whilst there and had such a great adventure.

I spent only a few days in Shetland having explored the Islands quite thoroughly in the past few years and me being me I decided to fly back to the Scottish Mainland via Shetland from Bergen, a good way of connecting the landscapes together. My accommodation for my few days in Shetland was the beautiful homely and well situated Ortolan House B&B, a large Georgian townhouse dating from the 1780’s, well located in the central conservation ‘lanes’ area of Lerwick, less than a minute’s walk from the bustling main street which is home to all amenities. Ortolan has a wonderful well-established walled garden with stunning views overlooking Lerwick’s busy harbour and the tranquil island of Bressay. The property offers two exclusive bedrooms with an emphasis on having a relaxed and comfortable stay and I certainly did have that! Here’s a few images of the accommodation and the places I explored whilst on the Northern Isles.

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Sunday

My first full day began with a trip over to the neighbouring Island of Bressay. A quiet place but home to many wonderful clear coastal routes, I aimed for a few hours there to take in the sights and also view Lerwick from a different perspective. I spent my time wandering around the Island and taking sanctuary in the beaches that surround the west coast of the Island. I then spent the rest of the day wandering around the Mareel and Shetland museum, always a great place for finding new contemporary art that’s inspired from the unique Shetland landscape. It was then onto Burra for a coastal hike with a couple of local artist friends, impressive geology and wild seascapes leading us around the shore.

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Monday

I set off in the morning for an Island I’d never been to before. I’ve been to every single one of the Shetland Islands now apart from Foula and Fair Isle, that is a must for in the autumn of this year! And so Whalsay it was, without a clear plan I headed off for the ferry with just one aim, try and hike around most of the Island and see the unique natural wonders and coastal paths.

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Tuesday

On my last day of my short trip I hiked out to the Knab, one of my favourite coastal walks in Shetland and ideally located so close to Lerwick, such incredible views over to Bressay and down to the south of the mainland. It was then onto a boat trip around Bressay with Shetland Sea Bird Tours, the same lovely couple who ran the accommodation I was staying in. Turns out both Rebecca and Phil not only run their homely Ortolan B&B they also are very knowledgeable and expert guides on bird and sea life. Not only do they stock an enviable natural history library for their guests but with their combined knowledge and expertise they are perfectly placed to advise and even facilitate your time in the field. The trip to Shetland was perfect in gaining some inspiration from a landscape that so richly appeals to me, and leave with a new appreciation for the varied geology there.

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Again another wonderful trip, I’ve realised that my blog is turning a bit into a travel, photography and art blog which I don’t mind one bit. I’ve gone from one project in one country to the next consistently this year and I find it good for myself and reflection through my art to document and write what I’ve been up to in the place. It’s also really fulfilling for me to share it with you all so again thanks for reading this. My next blog is going to be about my further onward travel around the wonderful Scottish Islands where I’ve been recently, it’s good to be back in my home country, a place that inspires me to the highest level and always will do.

May: Artist in Residence with Leveld Art Centre, Norway & New Work

So for the month of May I was Artist in Residence at Leveld in Norway, a small village in the Ål municipality, Hallingdal home to 300 inhabitants about 700 m above sea level. Another remote mountainous location: perfect once again for me. I feel like I’ve done just about every remote artist in residence programme that there ever has been!

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I spent the 4 weeks mainly based at the Leveld Art Centre, it’s very much a residency for creatives to go to and be immersed in the village and location without any distractions. There’s not even a shop in the village so it really is about going there to get headspace, think about your ideas and work to develop on a project that needs time and space.

I’ve realised through close inspection and really challenging how I think about my work and how I intend for it to develop that there is very much a clear style within my practise and how I respond to the landscape in which I immerse myself in. A major part of me making the art work is being surrounded in an environment that not only invigorates me in terms of remote and harsh elements, it also provides me with the right visual inspiration for me to go forward with new work. The harsh strong black lines I use convey the significant unique texture, shape and linear quality of the landscape whilst the energetic mixed medium marks are responding to the temporary elements that surround the land. It is about connecting people to this energy that exists in nature. I hope my photos of my work below show this kind of idea and give the work clarity.

And so I won’t go into detail about every piece of art work I made, instead here is some photographs that show the location of the place and some of the new works I produced within my time there! At the moment I’ve just left my post as artist in residence in Leveld and currently in Bergen where I will then depart for Shetland then back to the Scottish Mainland so that’s what to expect from my next posts!

Thanks again as always for reading and if you would like to purchase my work head on over to my online shop for small original works at online shop or you can browse my full portfolio at website.

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Week 20

20 weeks now of living in Iceland.

I can´t really believe it, the level of time here is something I’ve never experienced before, the days seem to be long yet the overall residency has flown in and I still feel like I’m getting used to place and finding amazement in the details of every single day.

I’ve spent my second last week here preparing for and exhibiting my last show as part of the Listhus Skammdegi Festival, took a day trip to the nearby town of Dalvik situated just a few miles south of our town along the fjord and overall immersed myself in the place as much as possible. My last show as part of the Listhus Festival was a collaborative exhibition with my fellow housemate, studio pal and overall wonderful friend Jade De Robles Rossdale. You can view some of her work over at her website here. Our exhibition was titled ´Reaction to winter´and seemed fitting that we exhibited our work together as we shared our studio throughout  the residency. Here are some photos from the show.

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I´m sitting here writing this and realising I only have a week left in Iceland, I recall leaving Scotland all the way back in October and having no idea what my experience would be like, what type of people I would meet and if I would enjoy living through the dark winter in Iceland. This experience has surpassed all of my expectations, Iceland is absolutely unreal, a place of wonderment and a place that will always lie heavy in my heart. I´m going to keep this blog short and just show you some of my images from one of my last weeks here in the far north. I’m also going to spend my final week here enjoying it and stop dwelling on leaving and just make the most of this incredible country!

My next blog will be coming to you from Scotland next week after I´ve spent my last week here!

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Iceland

Last year, April 2013 I decided to go on a very spur of the moment trip to Iceland. My draw to wild landscapes and atmospheric lands has forever been the motivator in my Art and so I knew that by travelling out to Iceland would fuel my work for years to come and I had been thinking about it for a long time.

It is also a place that I think of when I imagine a powerful source of nature within landscapes.

I flew out to Reykjavik and hired a car. I spent the two weeks I was there travelling around the Island and capturing as much as possible; drawing, taking photographs and just staring in awe at the sights in front of me. Among my favourite places I would highly recommend visiting are,  Gullfoss Waterfall, The Geysir Hot Springs in the Golden Circle, The Blue Lagoon and of course the Skaftafell National Park which is outstanding.

You can explore Iceland thoroughly, the most exciting thing I found about the overwhelming place was that you can drive for thirty minutes and find you are in a complete different landscape, it almost feels as though you are on a completely different planet. One hour you can be surrounded by vast low desert land, the next you are in a blizzard of powerful mountains, until you are in a green mountainous area with no snow in sight. It is amazing, it is by far the most startling and unique place I have ever been too and would recommend anyone to go.

Just remember that from December to February there is barely any light during the day, the sun does not rise in the sky, however if you go in the Summer months it is day time all the time. I also found that when I went in April, it was harder for me to see the Northern Lights, (hence why I’m planning my return trip very soon) but if you venture out there in the Winter months, viewing the Northern lights is almost guaranteed!

A photo blog of my time spent here to follow!