Tag Archives: Huldufolk

I Have Seen The Lights!

14 Nov

I have finally seen The Northern Lights and it was a truly awesome experience, in the real sense of the word. It inspired awe and wonder. Extraordinary.

Shadows and reflections at Harpa opera house, Reykjavik, Iceland

Shadows and reflections at Harpa opera house, Reykjavik, Iceland

That was at the end of a long day, beginning with a walk around the fantastic Harpa opera house on the seafront, with a view of snow capped mountains across the bay.

Mountains from the Harpa opera house

Mountains from the Harpa opera house

Then we went off to explore Reykjavik on foot through the light snow and ended up at the Elfschool for 4 happy hours eating pancakes, drinking tea and listening to the school’s headmaster, Magnus Skarphedinsson, relating marvellous stories about the Icelandic elves and the people who have seen them.

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On my last visit to Iceland, I had a very odd experience, seeing some strange sights. I drew what I had seen and blogged about it and I have just republished my original blog earlier today. Check it out if you want to see what I saw that time. I thought it might have been the Huldufolk ( Hidden People ) but the head of the Elf School thinks they might have been trolls. How cool is that?

The Hidden People

8 Dec

This is definitely my last blog about my recent trip to Iceland, probably. Our most excellent guide, Olafur, told us about the hidden people, the Huldufólk,   supernatural beings who live in rock formations and only rarely show themselves to humans. Many Icelanders believe in their existence.

One day, we went off road in giant jeeps to the Gigjokull glacier. As we drew near the ‘tongue’ of the glacier I noticed a vast snow-covered fissure in the icy cliff which clearly had faces staring at our vehicles across the landscape. I kept pointing them out to Husb, but he couldn’t see what I was talking about. I snapped some photos through the bus window and when I got home and put them onto the computer, I could clearly see the faces, still staring out at me. Here they are below; the scale is enormous, people are like tiny ants at the bottom of the cliff.

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I rarely work from photos but this one really inspired me, and spooked me out a bit as well, if I’m honest. I’ve spent the past week working on the piece below. It’s size A2 on paper primed with rabbit-skin glue and coloured randomly with thin washes of yellow, red and blue acrylic paint. I’ve worked up the image in black and white oil bars.

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The faces are so obvious to me, I can see four, dominated by a rather imperious woman. There are many legends about their origin. The one that interests me most is that they’re descended from Lilith, the first wife of the biblical Adam, who ran off with the fallen angel, Samael, because Adam was a bit rubbish. In the Jewish tradition she had many children by Samael, including the Lilin, her daughters reputed to steal newborn babies, but I hadn’t come across this Icelandic version before. This was very hard to draw, it took ages to make the faces appear, almost as if they wanted to remain hidden. Spooky.

That’s the last about Iceland, unless I can ever save up enough to go back. Many thanks to Discover The World for putting together such a fantastic adventure.

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