Research diary below edited and published as a book January 2016. Available to preview at: http://www.blurb.co.uk/books/6773706-iceland-2015
13th of January 2015
Last night I dreamt that I was in a tiny ship of hibernation. Bound for a place of deep winter. Darkness, twinkles of magic, streaks of colour in yawns of light and some needed recuperation during winter. An adventure to absorb, accept and learn from its challenges, with time to consolidate a purely healed fresh rejuvenated being and with space to settle into this whole being. And to expand as an artist, through wonderfully rich encounters with the universe.
One ship-like bed, ready for me to climb aboard and sail up to THE ICE ISLE.
The ship was bathed in mystical, kind, green, northern light.
I am ready, here I am:
Flat Snowy Light Bright
Coming down from the clouds, down away from the sunlight into another layer. (New cloud-scapes, earth like mountainous formations of air, mist, mystic breath, crystals, lots of atoms of all the same things, floating like ballet dancers in similar forms.) IN towards
What I thought from the distance was the grid like outline of a city!
Streets in rows, dark, uniform blocks of life, formed by and for humanity. And then
I laughed as I realised the shadowy, grey, regular blocks of houses and twisting roads were actually choppy wisps of sea dancing in wrath of the windy gusts.
50mph from the Arctic North,
AND THEN I SAW THE EDGE!
Deep turquoise, teal sea with a squiggly jagged black ribbon dancing between the rough waves and the solid mammoth-like mass edge of thick white!
This landscape is mystical, magical, wondrous, joy-filling me up amazing, with rushes of exhilarating anticipation to explore and understand this surreal and soul serene place with PAINT!
A sunset recci and exploration to gauge my whereabouts- really upon an ISLE OF ICE! The sea and white shapes are ALL AROUND! I found the warm glowing orb-like space ship church and I discovered the degree of wind chill and northern temperature. Tomorrow I will wear double trousers and a wrap of protection pour le visage- the edges of my lips are cracked already. Onwards now to find dinner and warmth and draw and write and then to snuggle into dreams!
14th of January:
Night-time ghouls, story-singing, beer-full humans hobbling home beneath my window.
Dreams of my Grandpa and Kyle and some horrid anger, a subconscious revisiting of another time, memories jigged by my circumstances as a soul voyager…
And dreams of the yet un-discovered thermal pools. Edward jumped into icy water but I had hoped and planned on a nurturing hot steamy soak… Will it be thermal cool or thermal chaud?!
8.30am Swimming costume on. A moon guided walk in search of the water land.
Excited to be navigating the city pathways in the pitch black brilliance.
The pool windows were emanating the natural turquoise hue of the water within.
Impressively impeccably clean and warm and welcoming ancient tiled changing room interior and then school lessens in the luck warm 3.8meter deep rectangle. I swam lengths for 20 minutes, thinking this natural pool was all there was until I saw two men appear from a doorway at one end of the room.
At this point the eastern facing windows were beginning to glow deep Prussian, as opposed to the Northern facing ones which were still black beyond. An alluring Prussian promise…
I approached and felt the cool air, went through the door and shivered. White plumes of breath oozing from my stunned and smiling mouth. Magical to be outside in the night air (now 9.30am.)
I rushed up some painted white concrete steps, along and then down into a hot pool. HOT THERMAL water plus massage jets. A crescent moon! And a fizzling horizon, preparing to erupt with rainbow streaks. Wonderfully magical and bizarre!
I got so hot that when I returned to standing in the icy air with snow all around my body no longer felt any chill. Liberty. Singing heart. A V of geese flew overhead and I ducked inside to slosh and change in preparation for the day.
I explored for several hours, acquired bearings in the icy city, found the bank, PO, frozen lake, upon which fluorescently clad football players were running.
Geese, geese, geese, all throughout the day, on the streets and in the sky and on the pond and in the river. Swans and unknown dark ducking birds also.
Most of Wednesday was spent navigating through the city to The Icelandic Academy of Art. An interesting, small spectrum of workshop facilities with equal emphasis on all disciplines. 17/18 years old the academy seemed rich and receives much funding from the government- different emphasise on equipment to in the UK. One of the most striking differences to Scottish art schools was the prominence of the MA course and the division of space within the academy which prioritises the masters’ students as they are educationally more advanced in their journey than the undergraduate students.
And then a walk along the coast with gasps and elated exhalations in reaction to the fading snowy peaks and distant mountainous cloud air against the welling sheets of turquoise sea surrounding the waving ribbons of white which indicate the lands edge.
Dinner in the hostel by church bright views and green light glows with 3 French travelers.
These night-time views inspired a night-time exploration in search of THE NORTHERN LIGHT BRIGHT GLOW.
The sky is alive with mystic hope and radiantly dancing wisps of spirits and astral activity. Bright lights and colourful glows morphing all over the sky. I still await the spectacularly promised aurora experience but all the time, morning or night, the sky is wonderful and filled with morphing energies.
Earlier I wrote a message to a distant friend from Edinburgh, to say happy birthday and then suddenly, on the street, there she was- covered in glitter and celebrating her birthday in Reykjavik city. I was not surprised by the chance encounter as the city is gleaming with global travelers.
Good night to bed but unable to rest my mind after explosions of experience all day long!
15th of January:
Again dreams of assimilation about life. Space and TIME to work things out, to feel the significance, to gauge how things are and how they do feature in a part of my life and also how they are separate from me, they are in the past or they are situations involving other beings.
I am living and learning how to maintain a +ive distance of protection from harmful energies.
Cloak on cloak off, open beauty, whole safe.
EAT. REST. PAY for what I NEED in these days- keep out anxiety and –ive old tracks, lazy mind slip streams of past consciousness drain out of me.
Let flow whole true reality, my pure being is soaring
S O A R
Layered in cloth and hoods up I set out for the church steeple before breakfast, before sunrise. I run and await the steeple elevator which will lift me 8 floors up into the sky- a religious derivative of Buddhism? I stepped into a square chamber with one huge glass clock on each wall. Peering through the condensed dripping glass I could hear the wind swirling around the tower (chamber) and I was awe struck at the long un-interrupted vast views of the city and beyond. To the mountains and to the sea and to the mountains and into the clouds. Gazing at the dazzling city bejeweled with multi-coloured twinkles I felt strongly connected with the northern and eastern clocks- in most places around the earth these directions represent light freedom in my heart. The sun was rising in a south-easterly direction, with beautiful rainbows erupting from around the distant mountain peaks and illuminating the most righteous, prominent, specs of Reykjavik’s architecture. I paid homage to NORTH, EAST, SOUTH AND lastly WEST where the crescent moon shone like a blissful guide into the night-time, again yet to begin reining in just 6 hours.
*A notice on the wall about THE KING OF DENMARK (ONCE ALSO THE KIND OF ICELAND…) RESEARCH!
Today I pursued a word of mouth ‘good gallery’ trail (tipped off by Icelandic artists). From one to the next I went, following the spoken directions I was given at the last. In the moment with the Reykjavik art scene and some inspirational, soulful and intriguing contemporary artworks and rich potential opportunities.
I crossed the Icy pond via the stone road bridge which had gushes of snowy flakes blustering harshly across it, pounding into my face which I was protecting with my mighty black mittens. A black shield to ward off the chilling winter white. I found my way to the Icelandic University where I sat in the café and wrote and drew and had an exciting realisation that paintings had begun forming within me. In two days I had reached a suitable level of absorption, processing and understanding all that I was experiencing and paintings were growing and becoming realities in my sketchbooks.
A shocking evening encounter with my shadow. Numerous ghosts cast onto sloping walls beneath the brightly-lit, green, glowing, water; suddenly I was swimming with milky water babies! My shadow cast by piercing underwater flood lights, onto the sloping white pool edge…
After leaving the hottest pool I couldn’t even feel the below freezing wind gushing across my bare limbs and still now, 2 hours later, my cheeks do emanate rouge warmth. So surreal to be lying beneath the winter sky with plooms of both snow and steam swooshing through the air, with icicles suspended from all of the pools hand rails and with the natural thermal water, hot from the volcanic earth, making everything into a treat rather than a torture! REYKJAVIK WESTERN-CITY THERMAL POOLS: CLEANSED.
Cook. Potatoes. Baked beans. Rocket (to settle the green craving) loads of pepper and other typical hostel cupboard seasonings. Yoghurt, kiwi. Chocolate.
Plans with Wax to drive north on Saturday. So one more day and night of Reykjavik and this hostel. ________
Friday the 16th of January:
My second lucid dream of the year! Whilst dreaming I was discussing why I was dreaming about the things I was dreaming about…
Up in darkness and onto the streets walking comfortably in north face trainers, a welcome light relief after days of great heavy snow boots. To the pool once more, in pink light, shepherds delights or a morning warning? (The snow boots will be laced up after my swim and a return to the hotel for breakfast.)
Dark purple clouds of depth and coldness and pink pale peachy streaks of light by the eastern horizon.
Cool air and a delightful flurry of white flakes as I stepped from the light, sheltered, inside shell of protection to the, dark, cold, exciting, OPEN EXTERIOR. A perfect balance of extreme minus degrees icy air and of comforting 40 degree + pools of luxurious body bathing liquid which fortifies the whole being with a deep rich warmth for the rest of the day.
Back to the hostel and a speedy pack-up and a dorm move, as my bed in the 8 dorm room had been booked before my plans to remain in Reykjavik for an extra night had formed. A short trip and transfer to a cosy 4 bed bunk shack will be my nest this evening. Tomorrow we set sail for the WESTERN FJORDS!
On to the streets,
IN SEARCH OF ORAL TRADITIONS
COME SING TO ME STORIES… I hear Iceland tells
I found my way to the Sculpture garden; beautiful, expressively mournful carved statues with poignant tales of humanity at war and in love with the world. I walked beneath trees and upon the fluffy blanket of snow around the garden, empathising with the artists’ vision. Some of these sculpted stories will enter into my painted lands, I suspect.
In Reykjavik art shop I bought some things which reflected the colours I am absorbing, a kin to Icelandic light and ambiance. Gouache and papier. Materials which represent a passage to learning how to describe the green Glow.
I walked to the harbour docks in search of the Saga Museum and inside, with a headset and English story guide I scribed pages and pages of notes, learning about Icelandic history. A spoken song sung by one rich man and one peasant woman; an insightful, open-minded, multi-sided, point of view.
AN ICELANDIC PREVIEW. FRIDAY NIGHT WITH BOTTLES OF BEER AND SPARKLY EAU, a buzz of creative minds and evening costumes ready for a night of celebrations. I looked and I tried to join in but it was very mustle nustle contact nudge nod and I didn’t know any of them. I didn’t mind. I let them muzzle and enjoyed the exhibition of small geometric watercolour paintings hung in a grid of dissected shapes of areas of this city, Reykjavik.
B A Y of SMOKE. Rising steam, expulsions from the earth.
A relaxing other day, a chilled eve.
Tired now to bed, alone in my four bed room. Peace I think.
An early morning after an uncertain (unsafe feeling) dark time. Alone in unfamiliar surroundings, just keeping a watch out for myself and my essential things (passport, food, money, painting materials.)
Dressed in running gear and into the 7.45am air, enveloped in the midnight black sky. Last night was Friday and the now empty streets bare gifts of empty glass bottles and tin cans which signify that knees-up fun the costumed clan had! My bottom and thighs are burning with such cool air, certainly more minus that running leggings were designed for. To the theatre and Opera house I ran between these impressive cultural street land marks. Why am I thinking of Dad’s career so much? Because it was a source of exciting pride when I was younger and it is a positive expression from inside him but now grown up, I am aware of how his life is obsessed with work which allows little space for other things or people. I am not in awe of that imbalance. I am separate from it.
Zip zig-zagged back up the streets to the grungy hostel shower and a whole pack up ready to meet Wax in the bar at 9.30am.
We set sail for several shops and a Pingeyri friend who’d been staying in Reykjavik and then our Journey to the western fjords began. A beautifully bright, sunny, clear, day shining upon deep layers of breath-taking snowy landscape.
We wiggled up the roads and around giant loops of fjord, through mountains and under pieces of sea.
We eventually arrived into Pingeyri after 9 hours in the giant 4X4 vessel. Wax and I drove straight out of the other side of the village to the fields where the family horses live. Inside each of three shelters I learnt how the twenty two, half wild, Icelandic horses receive their food and then remain chained into their places of rest until the morning. Each beast placed in harmonious sequence beside its friends. Horse sleep upright?
I am content with my new little home for the next three weeks. My own little home! I will use the whole of the wooden, top floor sitting room as my studio. A beamed boat with glass on every side, resting above the snowy road and gleaming icy fjord. Bright white or blackness looming in from all four directions, caught amongst the mountains.
I made a bed but didn’t sleep until 3am. Dreams with stories of morning inside…About Edward and Caitlin and about Jack and about Dad and his lack of mother love.
All these painful things which have happened to other people and have affected me. Perspective and distance and expression in balance and space and awareness to
Let them all flow and let them all go…..
Up for a family swim
A NURTURING POOL- these delicious arm watered pots of glow- some of the most nurturing places to feel nice during Icelandic winter.
And then a day to eat breakfast, set up my studio and be in this world, the artist I am here to be +
I walk for almost two hours in the fading blue glow light
I found fish drying huts, with giant pieces of Shark carcass hung up, oozing wafts half dulled by the freezing air.
Some drawing outside. FREEEEEZING hands and then quickly into the amazing insulating mittens to cradle them snuggly after a quick sketch to capture the true magic in the moment. These quick expressive reflections on the moment, in the exterior, are precious and are the richest way to record this time. Making them provides the finest memories due to intense observation and learning as I theorise about how best and speedily to capture the essential elements of the whole experience.
I was out wading through the snowy drifts and along the deserted, more tightly packed road for two hours but it felt like only half an hour. I was ensnared by the mysticism of the moment.
Time is an odd being/ entity here.
And then a family supper and homemade pizza ensemble cook. Cosy, warm and friendly but also politically fascinated and prone to making unfounded attacks. I need to work out some boundaries. I am not interested in receiving the depths of anger-fuelled perspectives.
Now I am sitting in the dark coffee house using the internet and will soon return to my little corrugated iron yellow house for paints and my time and peace and sleeps.
I tried to skype the loved one to communicate with hearts and voices I know as that will be positive, but no response this evening… oh hello Kyle is ringing back now!
We had a lovely skype conversation, it was good to see my love heart, half, whole, boy-friend, cosmic partner. I miss him. I love him. We are separated and very much together + –
Monday the 19th of January:
Another sleepless night with thrashing wind and snow storm smatterings upon the corrugated walls. Icicle knives stabbing down from the outer rafters and heavy swathes of white blanket noisily sliding off the sloping roof. Crashes and knocks. Is it normal to sleep with the door unlocked? A trusting lack of security I assume is a kin to the whole village… maybe and maybe not, facts I am with-out. My senses are running on overdrive! Am I comfortable with it? I like to trust and feel secure in that. It is very different to the way I have lived for most of my life and it feels unnecessarily insecure. I do like and appreciate the trust of an open door and truly in my heart I do feel safe.
Early up with a sore throat, tired lots and in need of more sleep but up to follow an arrangement to look after Frosti, the families 11 month old boy.
Home for late breako and painting with Skilda.
White mountains and white sky and very little definition. A doubly opaque reality.
To the workshop by the fishing piers. An upside down light pine boat, a beautiful space being prepared for the new creative residency project in Pingeyri, Simbahollin. Keep in hollow, hollow it more, let there be light and lots of space to create!
A lot of questions and puzzles and perspectives about how to shape the new residency space. My mind, thoughts, opinions and ideas are being requested.
Boundary laying down. I. well done
I helped Wax in his workshop by taking his ice screws out of old giant tyres with a drill.
And then I spent another hour outside, walking, learning, absorbing more. Feeling at peace, part of and inspired by the wonderful landscape and tiny remote settlement of humans.
I miss the safe, secure energy of other people just being around (like in an 8 bed dorm at night, we don’t speak but we share a space and that is nice.)
I am contemplating what home-sickness is about.
Being in the moment is helpful but human contact when tired is comforting and that is true and a I recognise the desire for comfort.
I am working on finishing my RSA Residencies for Scotland application.
I also need to make an exhibition proposal for the WASPS gallery at Patriot Hall. And then these pressures, these applications will be done, will have passed and I will have more space to continue learning deeply and acquiring a profound understanding of things on new levels, refreshing and tiring and useful acquisitions of knowledge, a stage of experience now which will last lifelong I hope.
Awareness ohm now being. Valuable. Artist making paintings. Artist b e I n g
The light in the room is spookily swaying but, a quick check and all of the lights are still! The wild air outside is making the street lights rock and wave, casting pulsating life light and shadows into the room.
Crosses in the graveyard- bright lights and snowy shadows. BALANCE. OHM
YIN AND YANG
Tuesday and Wednesday:
Aware of a sense of uncomfortable anxiety due to a lack of balance, an unsatisfactory amount of time to work as an artist as most of these days were taken up finalising my RSA Residencies application to travel and work on the Isle of Shetland for one month.
After emailing my application to the RSA artists yesterday I spent time working in the workshop with Wax. I found cocoa and drank it with Agave Syrup and Cinnamon, that comfort was welcome. I am feeling tired. We went to feed the horses as the sky cloaked on its night-time shadow. I met two sheep farmers with cigars and overalls and rams with curls in the dark snowy fields of utter peace. It was q u i t e magical.
Thursday the 22nd of January:
Tired heavy limbs when I woke. Purge work going on in this space. New layers and levels and a re-immergence from one anxious stage to a new conscious stage (STAGE 4- BEYOND HOMESICKNESS, EMBRACING, CREATING, SPACE TO FEEL AND BE. SIMPLE. BEING.) Upstairs in my studio I drew and painted for an hour in my pyjamas and then, after some writing to confirm my assimilations about where I am N O W, I dressed for a run and through the drifts of snow I found the beach! Black sand and gently lapping water, millions of sanded stones for skimming and distant TURQUOISE SEA at the mouth of the Fjord. Towards inland the staggering white peaks had a fleeting glow of PINK- a floating ship of sunrays refracting down off the clouds to call ‘Ahoy!’ Hope. Faith. Truth. Purity. Ohm
More painting. Now I have completed my RSA application I know I can devote all of my time (minus some family help in balance) to creating as I desire
In the workshop today I painted lots of window- dark grey gloss looking out to sea and soaking up the outside ambiance for a balanced sheltered inside world. Yesterday I worked on giant tyres, taking out the winter ice screws with a backwards rotating drill. Ambidextrous skills I strive to accomplish equally strength filled limbs.
I am tired and stressed from Wax’s expression of his fatigue with the Pingeyri community. I spend a lot of energy making sure I remain on the outside of his problems and his stress and his concerns which I can understand but do not want to have anything to do with; constantly fending off naturally empathetic notions of reacting to and sharing in the problems, as it is draining to always be considering problems outside of the self! Wanes boundaries are not very stable or fair but he reacts well to firm corrections and we can be straight with each other. He is over all optimistic and light of spirit so I enjoy his company mostly. I just don’t want to hear his raised voice in battle with the air, disturbing the energy amid my experience of Iceland. Tell the route of the problem or your girlfriend and business partner, don’t tell me, it is nothing to do with me. I have to keep being firm and just tell him not to express next time I feel frustrated and stressed and angry and worn out from his bombardment. I will tell him simply. Don’t express your bad feeling on to me. OK.
I chilled out in my yellow house and ate food, watched SATC and drew with bright new PROMARKERS. Birds and views and symbols all in communication, exchanging. Energies.
Braque. Eyes, ovals, ellipses as frames to still lives. For Georgia eyes in the mountain, trolls standing like rocks, black and solid. Eyes in the rocks framed by snow. Eyes in the sky, twinkling specs of icy eyes, eyes in hearts. Happy love. Whole eyes in eyes out. All AWARE. O H M . Georgia Thursday good night. It is snowing outside!
Friday the 23rd:
Snowstorms! Beautiful fluffy light balls of cool white clouds plipping out of the sky in thick flurries.
Wane interviewed me as to my perspective on their new workshop build and how it will become the home of their annual residency programme for artists and all creative people to work and live and experience this drastically rural land of mountains and sea in and out of the Fjord.
I used pastels and paint to reflect on the landscape! And then we went out in the giant wheeled 4X4, through the snow, along the thickly laden tracks of white. Swerves and slips and exciting little bridges on the small farm tracks.
We reached Bakki Farm and the giant upside down SHELL tank. I did some exciting, elating tobogganing up and down along the farm track and over into the deeply snowy blue ice puddle fields!
Wax drilled a whole, with bright orange sparks spraying into the snow, through the side of the SHELL oil container- he is planning to take down fences and drag it over a valley to use (upside down) as a shed for his Icelandic Horses! I admire his situation and drive and flair for carpe diem which all allow him to play out, experiment and make his ideas into tangible possibilities.
Ensemble dinner and a Christmas beer of sociability. Good to be with a group of young people who are a mid-way between myself and perspective and the Wax and Wane Icelandic vision/ contingency. A nice meal and cosy evening of communication about life and Iceland and travelling and where and what IS HOME?
HOME CAN BE WHERE YOU ARE FROM, WHERE YOU KNOW WELL AND IS WHERE YOU ARE HAPPY, SO IF YOU ARE HAPPY IN THE MOMENT THEN HOME CAN BE ANYWHERE? Yes. A tent.
Saturday the 24th of January 2015:
I awoke with definite ideas and dressed for a run, initially towards Simbahollin to speak to Wane. I need to have two days totally to work as an artist doing whatever I need for myself. So I will work a full day in the workshop (have previously been working roughly half and half energy wise- several hours on their jobs in the workshop or with their baby in the house and the rest of my time- through the night, when I wake, morns, eves, a mid-day stint or an afternoon- to absorb, reflect, create, experience, assimilate- be an artist now. So that is OK. Straightforward, open, honest, fair.
I achieved positive reality.
I ran and drew and painted and then finished painting the Vll workshop windows. Dark grey gloss. An accomplishment with thanks.
Then I went home, really tired and drawn to going outside while it was still light. I waterproofed my exterior and prepared my creating equipment of choice for this sunset exploration. I headed for the shore, the Viking ship and the waves on the black sand. I sat at the edge of the Octagonal look out gazebo, sheltered by the wall of tethered animal hide roped to the wooden poles. I transcended beyond the freezing air gushing in rushing circles and translated the mesmerising view into my sketchbook with Promarkers and some other thin tips. I saw a white animal dash across the far peninsula but it was too quick to capture a form beyond an imaginary creation. The reptile seemed to writhe through every layer of water, Fjord, air, mountain/ clouds and sky into space.
The purging snake.
I coughed up a lot of flem on that shore. I have been coughing up purge in the last few days. In this place I am aware of anxieties and I am working to understand them and spending time getting them out of me before they go deep. I am clear and fresh and free and whole with purity in reality. Anxieties are becoming revived by extreme situations I am surrounded by and with my knowledge, understanding and fresh oneness I am able to work out what they are about, seeing that the symbols of anxiety (are just symbols of tiredness, hunger, exhaustion etc) are created because my brain resorts to using old tracks when it is under stress (tired, hunger, exhausted etc) and when I am in a situation that is similar to one that I have experienced in the past.
Become aware, acknowledge, learn reasons and realise new routes of reality; fresh and true in the moment. ANXIETY is to do with safety. Gauging my levels of safety with the humans I am in contact with. ROUTE shock of my Dad having appeared as a figure of ultimate safety, as a role model to his daughter, a person to ultimately trust but that person had a secret, un-open and fearful and pain filled and that secret hurt me until it was finally revealed and it reverberated through my soul and rattled my core. Conscia. Know that is/ was him and be open to the world being as the world is, individuals, ohm with all. Open and free, have let Dads woe go and feel free to let all life now and in the future be part of that instance.
Living in the moment; feeling what is real, true, needed and part of that situation.
Reaching realisations about myself and my mind processes now, whilst away in wintery Pingeyri with one family for company. I know, I feel, I trust my core and what is externally around me and if that has secrets it doesn’t matter, they don’t need to affect me. O H M
A storm tonight and a pleasant evening with the family in the living room. Long emails to friends, post cards and writing these words and just being in peace.
! Horizontal snow sheets sailing past the window
Sunday: A day to I. Things are getting intense.
You are a beautiful swimmer. Said the smiley old lady!
Paint by the window.
Packed to climb a mountain- Sandafell!
Set out. A sublime, wondrous, beautiful, scary, thrilling, white-out! Knackered legs. Dinner at home. Rest. Insomnia night. Over tired AND SPOOKED BY THE MOUNTAIN. Spooked by purging on the shore. Spooked by the graveyard.
Trees in their own graves. Some-one standing on my chest, tears. I had to get out, I was being told to get out, I felt I had to get out, I knew I shouldn’t be in there. Aware.
Monday: Tired due to little rest. Up early to look after Frost. And then to the local town of Isafjordur- my first departure from this small valley in ten days! It felt weird to leave and I felt a bit overwhelmed by the small towns’ mass infrastructure. As soon as we arrived I walked away from the streets to the harbour, to space and the sea and to mountain air and big views and masses of ships and exciting fish factory buildings. Loads of photographs. Freezing air piercing my bare flesh face. Tired head, hungry body brain. Sick mouth.
Vivid rouge Icelandic lamb’s wool for Kath, post office communication with friends and relatives, art shop- things I need for painting and drawing- exciting! Then to BONUS the supermarket. Lots of good food and things to nourish, things I feel I need:
VITAMIN D AND OMEGA 3 FISH OIL (a girl in my dream told me I needed them and I’ve got them!)
Home for a cup of Rooibos with SOJA and then to the workshop to paint a window (after unloading the shopping and delivering my goods to the yellow home.) Painting dark grey gloss on top of dark green gloss is really difficult between the hours of 4 and 5 when dusky light is falling down from the sky below the horizon.
Back to Simbahollin to thaw out and do internet communicating, emails and skype with Kyle and finish making the parcel of wool to send to Kath.
MEDITATE. REST. PEACE. OK. LOVE. GOOD NIGHT. CONSTANT INTENSITY IS TIRING. BE AWARE TO REST AND LET ALL BE PEACEFUL.
Tuesday Morning, 27th:
More peace than I’ve had for several days.
I communicated my state to Kyle in skype, in emails, to myself in my book and I told Wane I needed a day of rest and explained how intense this time is for my creative self.
From Scot Isle and Ice Isle Kyle helped me download some podcasts and chill-out watching material- internet communication is precious when parted. Open, light, help thanks!
I bought OMEGA 3 fish oil and VITAMIN D and a candle
I willed peace on myself and the yellow home
I achieved light inside (vitamin D sunshine in my body) and outside, bless the home with glowing warm bright candle light.
AWARE to be open to all +ive and cloaked to all –ive energies, beings, realms, to myself.
I bought wool and began making Kath a parcel. This is significant communication and a sharing of our loss of dear Jacko, whose death I am deeply mourning here.
I bought Kath bright red Icelandic lambs wool- enough to make a pair of mittens (‘in just an hour or two’ said the lady in the shop:)
A day to myself.
An adventure clamber up the DEEP snowy hill behind the yellow house, nice perspective of the Village from up high and good to explore my immediate surroundings further. I found a padlocked snow buried little house with a big wooden table outside. Spooks make things morph in my mind- I thought the table was a giant reindeer and the big wooden posts and Christmas fir trees were people, souls, standing watching, being part of whatever I am in. On the surface there is so much desolate isolation in the landscape here, but when in touch with all of the layers from the core to space, spooks from all realms appear and claim their space along-side you.
Sometimes still, dark and ominous, sometimes fleeting in a quick dance of light.
Good and bad, happy and sad, everything in balance.
SOYA MILK IS RICHER THAN WATER. DELICIOUS BREKO HAPPY MM. (Milk again after an absence of two weeks.)
Studio now, surrounded by thick heavy flakes, masking the mountains and even mostly concealing the near Fjord. Wafting soft blankets cloaking all around.
The heavy flakes continued through the night, falling thickest at midnight!
This morning Pingeyri is adorned with the most, beautifully fluffy, soft, delightful, welcoming snow I’ve ever seen or been amongst!
To the pool-
TWINKLING STARS IN THE SKY
MOUNTAIN RIDGE APPEARING
A LITTLE GLOWING LIGHT ON THE MOUNTAIN-I THOUGHT IT WAS A PLANE BUT THEN DECIPHERED THE MOUNTAIN TOP HANGING IN THE SKY
SO MUCH SNOW TODAY
WE ALMOST SAW THE SUN
I FELT ITS REFLECTED WARMTH ON ME FOR THE FIRST TIME IN PINGEYRI!
FAMILY HELP ALLDAY: HOOVERING WHILE BABY SLEEPS, FROSTI CARE, WORKSHOP PAINTING. A LONG DAY
THE BREATHING FJORD IN THE THICK SNOW, A WAVERING, HAZEY, THICK, GREEN, BLANC HORIZON
So much snow!
Rest. Create BALANCE
Thursday the 29th of January:
Snow snow snow swim snow snow. Workshop- painted concrete walls. Snow snow sun snow sun glow through snow heavy horizon unclear in snow snow snow snow! Home paint now o h m snow.
This morning in the darkness, walking to the swimming pool the snowflakes obscured all of the stars except the one guiding orange twinkle from a top the mountain. Saying: “I’m still standing, south and safe and guiding.”
It keeps snowing. Thick big flakes of gorgeous snow. It is beautiful but it is getting relentless… It is so thick and delightful under foot and a mesmerising all around my face and in the air. But after one whole week without a clear sky it seems ruthlessly non-stop. This is deep winter. I love it and I also look forward to optimistic warmth and brighter lengths of light.
LOTS OF PAINTING. FORMING PATTERNS, THEORIES, SYMBOLS TO EXPLAIN ALL THAT I AM EXPERIENCING IN NATURE AND WITH THE SPIRIT WORLD- A WHOLE ONENESS, DANCING TOGETHER ALWAYS
I see and feel this mysticism all around, it is overwhelmingly ginormous and would conceal me to nothing if I let it. This is AWE, this is reverence. I am humble to:
this SPACE and TIME, and AWARENESS which I am part of-
Being, in and out of stages; 1,2,3,4,5,6 and realisations about the past and about now and onwards forever, swirling circles of growth.
As I was cooking supper (7pm ish) Wax appeared- happy and grateful for my workshop painting help that day. He wanted to ask me to go and babysit that evening. I felt that the lack of warning was unfair and I felt sure to stick to my planned desire for peaceful solitude, reflection, replenishment and artists drawing, painting, writing time. We then had a heated discussion and boundaries were ruptured before he left. A sleepless night. Writing and thinking about my perspective on the whole matter of this balance we are all (they and I,) trying to create to ensure that everyone feels this arrangement of me living in Pingeyri is symbiotically satisfactory.
Early awake. Painting upstairs! And then to look after Frosti for 5 hours. After a walk to put him to sleep and when Wax and Wane had returned home, I began the discussion. Open, frank, all angles, voiced perspectives, raised voices unpleasant, heat, wrath, all out and energies buzzing- things addressed as much as needed- an eruption between strangers who share some surrogate family fuelled vibes of closeness! After a few hours of reflection and settling snow, we reached a place where they said the work I’ve been doing is great and they like me and I said I like them and we agreed –
With both sides understood and respected (I think)
to continue living as we had been but with the addition of an awareness of all the individual needs and all of the personal boundaries and limitations.
I need to respect myself as an artist so I need to know when I can have space and time to create.
They are willing to go with that. I am willing and happy to help them a lot and enough to pay for this experience and to create satisfaction for them and good feeling all round. Mutual respect for individuality. This we didn’t have before- they wanted more than I could give so I crept away as much as I could and feared being with them. They want a lot and I will give what I can and feel is fair and allow my energy to flow harmoniously between that and outputting creatively and initiating replenishing space and peace time.
We shook hands and hugged. Positive and warm. Nice doing business- from both sides!
A lovely evening with loads of children and delicious picnic dinner and cake and chat and communication swirling between guests from many nations. Words of Icelandic, Scottish, Dutch and Flemish.
I learnt that Icelandic people are very aware of how sensitive each of their friends is and they say that sensitive people have their ELECTRICITY RUNNING ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE WALLS i.e. their nervous system is not by their spines but on the outside of their bodies!
Nice spiritually aware poetic phrases and sensitivity to nature.
A walk home just before 11pm and A BRIGHT MOON, TWINKLE STARS AND SOME GREEN SMOKEY GLOW SWOOOTHS OF NORTHERN LIGHT!!!!:)
THE BEST SLEEP SINCE ARRIVING IN PINGEYRI. SETTLED AND SAFE.
A run with angels floating out of the sun behind the mountain with glowing sunbeams and large purple whales basking in the glorious morning sky!
A swim in the outside thermal pools and
I rolled in the crusted icy snow in my costume!
It snowed in the air as I drank hot coffee in the steaming water
BJORK. ICELANDIC ARTIST CONNECTIONS. GUNNER’S GALLERY IN ISAFJORDUR:
ON FACEBOOK: GALLERY UTHVERFA
Home to bed. Good night raven pairs, goodnight seagull swathes, goodnight white foxes and swirling spirits.
Sunday the 1st of February:
Awake at 5am with food poisoning aches. Sick when I woke and very lethargic. A delicate swim without energy. A will to continue with the days plan which the family and I had made. Sharp achey pains, shivers in the snow. I painted for 2 hours, completed the workshop walls. Weak and weary, to the house to await looking after Frosti. A temperature and little energy to be a parental leading figure. 4.30pm I get ready to leave, walk home through the snow, being sick little bits in the snow, I see a raven pair (which usually I wish to observe,) but have no will or energy to photograph them. Besides they were just sitting and I wish to absorb flying wing shapes. I looked a bit and listened, they have interesting and complex cries. I was sick a lot when I got home and think- fingers crossed the bug may be out of my tummy now. I had one Paracetamol, wrapped up and watched the Simpsons and then ate 3 rice cakes with a scraping of apricot jam and drank double hot water to try and re-hydrate. I watched another episode and had a little sleep. I will have a bath and make a simple gentle supper with and for a little energy. A supper rice pudding with a little Soja and agave I think. Perhaps some plain white Skyr… perhaps not:/
Rest tonight and hope for strength and a well tummy tomorrow to complete my Jon Schueler application and to paint!
+ Follow up idea about an exhibition in Isafjordur next weekend- raise the heart rate again; an element of stress to get me back into the real world of human exchange, after this time of ultimate space and quite simple living (+family have provided stress and structured (unplanned, overtly flexible with a lot of boxes to be ticked…! ?) stability and warmth.)
P E A C E NOW, WELL TOMORROW X .
Up early to look after Frosti, tired but feeling more strong and my body was becoming my own once more. I met the fish farmers on the pier and asked if I could go out to sea with them one day-
“I’ll have to ask the Captain, it shouldn’t be a problem.” Later that day I heard back that a space on board their vessel had been offered and I will go on Wednesday morning.
I worked on my application to the Jon Schueler Residency (three months on Skye this summer,) and painted a bit and rested too and was more hungry but still my stomach asked for very gentle small feeding. Whilst painting and looking out of my studio window I realised that something was different:
ABOVE THE MOUNTAIN PEAKS SURROUNDING THE VILLAGE THE SUN HAD COME UP! PINGEYRI SAW THE SUN AND I FELT IT FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE ARRIVING HERE, MY HEART SOARED, I CHOKED WITH TEARS AND I WAS FILLED WITH ELATED GLORY AT THE LIFE OMMITING ORB WHICH SHONE MORE BRIGHTLY THAN I COULD HAVE REMEMBERED. That reality was striking and I felt like I must have conveniently, optimistically forgotten what real full-frontal sunrays felt and looked like. In the minus winds the light pulsated hope and (although not much,) warmth and the confirmation that relaxation and natural peace will come and now can begin to fill our beings with energy. Out of hibernation and in to the universal community where humans and animals, the elements, the sky, the fjord and its water creatures, the more simple to access mountains, paths, bridal ways and roads can all interact with more equality than in the winter months when artic winds and sharp sheets of snow have been blowing us inside houses and the lullaby of darkness has been whispering uncertainty and surreal melancholy into our bedrooms, shhhhshing us to lie dormant for longer than we really wish. The sun appeared and it was fantastic!
Tuesday the 3rd of February:
A long sleep after a late night of words. Rich dreams,
A conversation with Mum about colour. I miss Fluorescent pigments but also know how to create some new colours with new colours- mum is really good at this too. Layers.
Ceuroleum GREEN and pale lemon yellow= fluoro green.
Paint with expressive experimentation onwARDS now. OK
A run East towards the Fjord mouth, strong wind- I was relieved I will not attempt to climb SANDAFELL today, (a possible plan- weather dependant.) I will PAINT and BE and SWIM and CHILL + OHM
Painting with Alex and Alyson Grey and Duncan Trussel- inspirationally spiritual.
The sun and the moon together in one sky- true oneness OHM. I painted this alien scene…
A lunchtime walk to the garage to acquire newspapers with pictures. I drew Plein Air, quick exciting captures!
EAT and replenish after 2 days of little _+=| .
“There is a string that goes from Heaven to Earth and we are that string and God tunes it.” Alex Grey
God= the psychedelic realm humans reach when on drugs/ medicine. Why is it the same for most people? Because it is god! …?
Swim. Hot tub heat. Simindur Carpenter friendly chats
Anxiety in and out- tired. Peace moments remember reality feel being I now reality +ive o h m
Proper supper KALE BEAN health
Letter to mum. Love. Her positively with me.
Love Kyle too
Mary Poppins. Power-cut. Candle light kind glow
Good night stormy Iceland ohm
Cerulean GREEN! (Colour chatting with Mum dream.)
Up early with an alarm and bright black sky. Dressed super warmly and skipped to the pier to meet the fishermen farmers and travel with them on their red boat out on to the Fjord.
The sky was beginning to glow blue to the East. After loading up with fish food we drove out of the harbour in to the open water space. And then I saw
Glowing! A GIANT MOON PEAKING FROM BEHIND A MOUNTAIN! Something I could never see if I just stayed on land. It would not be possible from that angle!
ABOARD A FISHING VESSEL!
Great drawing of that watery perspective. Dead Cormorants, gutted, bloody beating hearts. 1000000 Rainbow Trout. Just above 0 degree sea, chilled to the bone. Hot coffee. Very sea sick. Home to snowy land, elated at my triumphant excursion to witness exciting new angles and sea boat magic.
After a bath to thaw out and some hot breakfast I dedicated hours to writing a long letter to Mum. I then made some preparations to set sail away from Pingeyri in the coming days. A sleepless night in anticipation of this big change.
My final swim in Pingeyri POOL. A dip outdoors into the icy air for a swirl in view of the Fjord smothering mountains.
Final painting hours in Pingeyri.
A green view, from a sketch and memories made on board the fishing vessel on the sea.
A cathartic final purge layer- a Caitlin portrait PUKE.
Final times with the Simbahollin family. Frosti, Freda (grump shriek), squash soup with pearl barley and positive fairwells to the parent ships.
A late night pack for me. And a readying of the house for my early morning exit on Friday.
A very noisey storm filled Night.
Friday the 6th:
Peter knocked on the door as I was wrapped in a towel- we left earlier than planned!
Through the dark morning night black sky and thick sleety snow in sheets to Isafjordur, the Landsbankin and then on to the road for our descent down the Island to Reykjavik.
Amazing journey. Extreme, intensely breath taking and at four points (a-top each high mountain pass) scary, with 20mph gusts and white outs to only several meters ahead of the front lights and lost snow poles of guidance making surety of direction impossible!
Peter drove masterfully in his special winter Mercedes. We only stopped for wees and arrived in good time. I was exhausted after the sleepless stormy nights, the journey and my whole Pingeyri experience. It was nice to be back in the warmth and lights of Reykjavik and also strange. I cried tears when we were approaching the city as I didn’t feel like I wanted to re-join the thick civilisation and major amounts of criss-crossing human energy and felt drawn to remaining with the solidity and desolate peace of the mountain land. What is safety? Overall Reykjavik feels liberating and positive, I am ready to be here. Safety is mountains and space and also places where one can be in charge of navigating alone- walking city pathways, buying food in a shop…(The city’s optimistic ease for humane functions is invigorating after life in the most remote village I have ever been to, where I would die if I got lost in snow.) Yin and Yang. Positives and Negatives. All in balance.
A run up to the church look-out tower- my space- triumph, I’ve made it and I am here in me now with all of my whole intact and well and rejuvenated.
A long walk to the Planar, drawing time, lunch, the Geysir, adventures along icy paths in thick pine woods down to the thermal beach- I SWAM IN THE ATLANTIC and then was blessed with having been drawn to this place in Reykjavik on this day as a gong musician played to us whilst floating in the thermal thawing pool on the sandy beach. Beautiful, relaxing- I went into another state which I needed to. Hallucinatory, wonderful. Nature, vibrations, the self and my heart pumping in UNIVERSI life.
Another long walk to ASI GALLERY, met a nice Icelandic Artist- we discussed his show a lot and then he drove me to see other exhibitions and we chatted MFA speak Edinburgh/ Marseille and then we went to an opening of Daniel Bjornsson and Ingo Frohlich at Gallery Listamenn. Beautiful space, delightful and interesting work, attractively hung, exciting and amusing. Playful and pleasing- the work and the occasion.
Dinner and writing and emailing to try to organise documenting my work in an established gallery space in Reykjavik before I fly away.
Then a late night windy winter walk up to the LIGHT INSTALLATION on the church. Gymnastic ladies, climbing bodies and bright scribbles- the van and projectors and the moving dark air lights- all shaking in the heavy gusts.
At 10pm I popped into see the swimming pool free open night- heat, candles, happy swimmers good atmosphere, I decided I would save my dip for the morning and energetic limbs, my brain was ready for bed.
Sunday 8th February:
I nice sleep but vivid dreams which I can still float in and out of even at this evening hour. Jack, Tom, Heroin, Dad, Theatre and Brother needs male influence.
To Baronstriggur and my favourite pool. A lovely long swim and morning light soak with massaging bubble jets. Warm. Hostel time I breakfast, Braque, writing, prepare for day, Georgia power beads Taiwan beauty neck and 4 sketchbooks and a folder of paintings. Aim: to find a space to momentarily exhibit and document my painted research from Pingeyri, Iceland.
To the Reykjavik Gallery of Modern Art.
Arranged to use the library room space in the Gallery.
Bought a ticket to see all of the exhibitions. A lot of interesting paintings to see and decipher- a lot of sketchbook scribing and drawing.
A visit to The Volcano house and then to acquire dinner ingredients.
My Taiwanese friend Shu-Hway and I met to make Taiwanese food! She eggs and tomatoes and I Chou-fan, it was a lovely celebration of our love for that home land and our togetherness in the Ice land!
Monday the 9th of February:
Up for a run and earlyish set off on bus to Ulfrasfell to PA SHAN! The weather was tough today, I spent two hours navigating the steep snowy peaks, through forest to the wild wind beating top with ice and sodden moss-sinking mud and soaring birds around cliff-top homes, waterfalls and cairns. There were no visible paths around the high peaks which on unknown terrain was disconcerting but enlivening. Amazing and scary. Icelandic nature sans any other humans. Although I felt spirits and trolls all around and animals in the snow- pigs and snakes, lizards and sunshine on rocks where there was only cool air and clouds. Pure hallucinations.
I navigated my way down by following a mountain stream through blissful smelling pine trees and walked for ½ an hour to find some mountainside thermal pools. There were 5 outside with jets and two greatly slippy and speedy flooms of fun smiles! Life is good when there are rushes of fun. It was relaxing and warming.
I journeyed back to Reykjavik and set out to find the second hand bookshop I suspected might hold the visual record of this landscape which I hankered after. I had a 20 minute hunt before 18:05 and lights off in the shop. Lots of amazing old catalogues, similar to some I’ve acquired over past years but none quite what I needed.
I have the material and memories and drawings and colours all in my heart and soul and body and mind and
I am ready to paint it all out in my new studio in Scotland. Tomorrow I fly there