May 02, 2014 Here I am day 2 of a month long residency in Iceland. I’m still a little jet lagged (obviously as I type it is midnight and I’m wide awake) but I have done so much in 24 hours. I made a big change to the original plan, which means I now have a car for the month.After I arrived it became very clear to me that without a car I would be completely isolated, which also meant no means to get groceries. I’m in a rural village called Laugavarten, an hours drive outside Reykjavik. The road to here is really something to see. It travels through tundra looking landscapes surrounded by snow topped mountains as far as the eye can see and then passes through a national park where the speed limit is 50km for about 20 minutes. Then it moves into thick grass covered mossy lichen gullies with rock crevasses dividing the earth. There is also the most amazingly large natural lake called Þingvallavatn which is the largest lake in Iceland where the road travels around to the other side. Once you are heading down the hill into Laugavarten you see the first stand of trees which are an evergreen of sorts. Now that I have transportation I can make trips into Reykjavik for groceries and paint supplies easily at anytime. There is a bus service into Reykjavik but it comes only once a day and takes all day to get to the city. One would have to over night before being able to return the next day. So, now I can explore more than I initially anticipated. I managed to set up a place for myself to work in the studio and I expect to start tomorrow. I have been invited to go visit an old church somewhere that you must hike into…I’ll bring the camera. I have also been told about a hot river that you hike to and of course you can swim in it. Then there is the “secret hot springs” that you could also visit and probably have all to yourself. There are so many things to explore that I can see I might be torn between working in the studio and heading out on an adventure. Here are some photos of where I am staying: My house for the month, The studio, Inside the studio Here is where I start to lay the ground work by blocking in colour The first layer goes on May 05th, 2104 I can’t believe it is already day 5 of my residency. Between painting dry times I have managed to start exploring the area that I’m located in. Its called the Golden Circle and it also happens to be in the volcano zone. Infact, On a clear day I can see the volcano Hekla from my house. This is an active volcano that erupts about every 10 years…I’m told we are past the 10 year mark and waiting…comforting thought. I have had some interesting conversation with locals about living in a volcano region and what I am most surprised about is that from day to day they don’t worry about it. Apparently when a volcano erupts the locals get excited and many will try to drive as close as possible to watch the spectacle, celebrating the event. I also visited Geyser and Gulfoss Falls. The falls are simply stunning. I describe it as walking to the edge of the earth which suddenly drops off into a massive gorge below and the water fall pouring over the top into the gorge below is breath taking. The one thing I have concluded is that it is impossible to not consider the landscape in how I approach my work. Every where you look the landscape dominates in a huge way. The contrasts in colour, shape and form are what is most striking. I’m not a landscape painter but I find the work I am doing here is all about the landscape. I have added another layer onto the three canvases above and started working on the remaining 6. Below is a shot of the studio with works in progress:
Day 8 I came across carded wool the other day. Sheep and wool products are very popular in Iceland and I thought this could make a great collage item that will incorporate some authentic Iceland into my work.
After working on the paintings all day yesterday…I managed to tack two of them up on the studio wall so that I could get a much better idea of how they are going to work together.
The second Painting group begins!!