Tag Archives: Iceland

Scribbling Iceland

23 Nov

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I spent a few days in Iceland recently and although I took a sketchbook and some pastels with me, it was too cold to draw. Even just 30 seconds or so without my gloves and my fingers stopped working. So now I’m back home and back in the swing of all the arty shenanigans going on in Swansea at the moment, I’ve taken a look at the photos I took and I’m catching up with some drawing.

 

I took this Daler Rowney Ebony sketchbook with me and also a set of Daler Rowney artist quality soft pastels. The black paper lends itself to the climate and volcanic landscape of a wintry Iceland and is a good starting point. I used the pastels mainly in strong diagonal strokes, occasionally rubbing the surface with my fingers, again diagonally.

The Dawn Road From Reykjavik

18 Nov

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The last few photos from my recent trip to Iceland, the road back to Keflavik airport at sunrise. It’s so far north that the dawn is about 9.30 am which is very civilised.

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Once we were out of the city there were little isolated farms or homesteads dotted across the lava landscape.

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The movement of the bus gave a nice smudgy effect in the foreground.

Keflavik airport is really nice, one of the best I’ve been in, super architecture, unhurried ambience, lovely food and it was a fairly short hop back to Bristol …….. and torrential rain.

Icy In The City

16 Nov
Across the ice

Across the ice

Some people thought we were nuts, visiting Iceland in November but it’s so beautiful! We saw the Northern Lights – I can die happy now. Proper snow that sticks, not like over here. Bright, crisp days and iced up lakes and that low slanting sunshine that makes everything glow. We walked alongside the frozen lake in Reykjavik, past a house that we had heard about the day before during our afternoon at the Icelandic Elfschool. The house had been the site of Elf sightings and contact for decades.

Like many old European cities, it has grown organically and the older parts are full of little nooks and crannies, lovely odd houses and surprises around corners. Bright paint decorates many of the corrugated metal walls and roofs and the climate in the city is warm enough for trees.

The food is fabulous! Fish is a staple, in many forms, cooked, pickled, soused, salted, smoked. Lamb is another staple and the national Icelandic Lamb Soup, Kjotsupa, is very similar to the Welsh Cawl and Irish Stew, possibly a nod to their mixed Celtic / Viking heritage. We ate mostly in Cafe Loki which has the maddest mural Husb and I have ever seen. It takes up an entire wall and has scenes from the life of the Nordic god Loki, who was a bit of a bad ‘un so it’s full of slaughtered corpses receding into the distance. But that doesn’t detract from the ambience of the cafe, nor from the delicious food.

Big Boats And Arctic Char

15 Nov

 

At the National Maritime Museum, Reykjavik

At the National Maritime Museum, Reykjavik

Husb and I have had a few days in Reykjavik, Iceland, a beautiful city. We strolled downtown in the crisp brilliant sunshine yesterday to take a look around the old dockland area. There are a lot of museums down there, the National Maritime, the Icelandic Saga and Northern Lights museums. And some lovely places to eat fresh fish too. We stopped for lunch at the Kaffi Vagninn, I stuck with standard fish and chips, delicious light batter and fluffy cod with a delicious selection of mayonnaise sauces. Husb had a gorgeous baked Arctic Char, lightly spiced on a bed of creamy, buttery sweet potato. The area is being redeveloped and it’s a lovely place to visit, walk around, eat and buy locally made goods.

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 Little Volcano

12 Nov

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I’m in the land of ice and fire, Iceland, for a few days. Arrived this morning and on the bus from the airport to Reykjavik, I snapped this little volcanic dome in the grim lava landscape. Been awake since 3am so I am going to get some shut eye now. Good night 😊

Land Of Ice And Fire

4 Nov

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Husb and I visited Iceland (the country, not the shop) three winters ago and we managed to get a really cheap package deal to go again in a couple of weeks. It’s a fabulous place for an artist, although hard to draw outside in winter temperatures. I tried out different preparations for the papers I took last time so I’ll be replicating those when I go again. You need robust, thick paper, like a heavyweight Khadi, or card – I used mount board (matte board). I laid down some colours onto my papers and cards with ink washes and acrylics last time and drew over them with oil bars and soft pastels. I’ll be doing that again. My usual M.O. of lightweight sketchbook and drawing pens just doesn’t stand up to the moisture in the air and the piercing cold.

We’re hoping to see the Aurora Borealis this time – they didn’t show up on our last visit and I’ve booked myself into a half-day introduction at the Icelandic Elf School.

Emerging Heads

15 Aug

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I’ve spent two days working with the 15 Hundred Lives art collective in the Creative Bubble artspace, giving the public open access to our working processes and at the same time putting the finishing touches to the last pieces of work for our upcoming exhibition at Oriel Ceri Richards. Here I’m drawing onto vintage paper that I’d prepared by squeegeeing black and gold acrylic screen print inks straight onto the paper, to break up the tyranny of the white. I’m working onto it with chalk, compressed charcoal and white conte crayon. I’ve broken away from my usual practise of working directly from life, drawing instead from my imagination. The imagery that’s emerging has been influenced by some visits I made about three years ago to Berlin and Iceland, but more of that later. Now to bed. I’m shattered!

The Icelandic Hat

31 Dec

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Just over a year ago, Husb and I were striding across glaciers in Iceland. Husb had forgotten to take a winter hat with him and he bought a locally made, hand knitted traditional hat. He dug it out this week because the weather has been so bad, so I nabbed him for a scribble on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet using the Magic Marker app.

It’s been a strange year, coming to terms with the loss of a much loved family member and sometimes it’s been quite a struggle,but drawing and blogging every day has been a good focus for me. I hope that everyone has a happy and fulfilling year ahead.

Queueing For A Viewing

17 Dec

17 queueingHusb and I were given free tickets to the cinema this evening, ‘The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’, with Ben Stiller. I’m not a big fan of Stiller and hated the original ‘Walter Mitty’ film with Danny Kaye but this turned out to be a really good movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially as a lot of it was set in Iceland, one of my favourite places. There was a huge queue in the foyer so I grabbed the chance to practice drawing a group, always good for perspective and proportions. I find it easier to focus on one person to start with and then work out from him / her. Then I pick out that person in a slightly thicker pen to finish off. I used Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens, size F and M into my clothbound A5 sketchbook.

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