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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Cold and calm in Skagaströnd

It's Thursday at 21.48 as I begin todays offering. I have been in the studio since around 3.30 after a long walk on the cliffs in virtually zero wind - which is unheard of in Skagaströnd.

I wanted to put a few more of the images from the trip up and to get back into some kind of routine regarding the blog, as it helps me to structure my days and end each one with a bit of reflection. The first 4 images are from the trip to Myvatn, the volcanic area where we went swimming in -18°. The moon was so bright and although we didn't get any aurora, the brightness and clarity of the air was stunning.

Staying in a wooden cabin , we were hoping for clear skies and northern lights, but alas we had to be content with moonshine and wine (still some left over from the previous vinbudin trip).

The visit to the Westfjords was equally wonderful, if different. This is an area of Iceland which has difficult driving all year round, going there in the winter is often impossible so we were checking and re checking the forecasts every 5 minutes. We had a plan, we had booked a hotel and the car had studded tyres, however, we realised very quickly (well, after about 4 hours driving and seemingly going round and round fjord after fjord) that we were not going to make it to Ísafjörður....

Looking at the 2 maps, in the first one, the marker is where we expected to get to within around 4 hours. (the journey started in Skagaströnd, on the western side of the far right peninsula on the map). Where we actually got to in many more than 4 hours, was Drangnes, which is on the eastern side of the Westfjords. It looks like a hop and a skip away, but it took ages and the wind was horrendous.

The experience of feeling that the car was moving with the wind was a bit frightening, but I was so excited! This is a bit of video of the wind whistling past the car, with the light from the sun coming through. If the video is not visible, it is on my instagram 'Alyson Jackson'. 

 We had the most amazing experience of sitting in a hotpot on the edge of the sea, with the waves crashing in and the wind whistling around our heads. The pot was 41° and it was total bliss.... The first 2 images are to show what it looks like in the summer... The 3rd one is the lovely Sophie, a brilliant writer from Dublin, testing out the warmth.

 When we got back from the trip, I felt tired and drained, not least because there had been some bad tension, but I also felt invigorated to get on and make some art. After a day to get my back sorted out and catch up on lost sleep, I made a number of mono prints which I know will form the basis of some layered work. I also managed to get some good walking in and made some nice images. These are a few of the mono prints:

The last one is an impression of the lighthouse which we made a massive effort to get to the night before the car had to go back, but we were totally thwarted by the wind.

Collaborative piece made in anger but it's all ok now....

The scary road to the Lighthouse, which was 30km along a dirt road. The wind was too strong to get out of the car

So, as I've said, I have had much to think about and be concerned about, both at home and here and it has really prevented me from getting into any kind of routine or 'groove' in terms of making work. Yesterday was better, lots of conversations and the healing of time, so as the evening wore on I was already feeling better, both physically and mentally. Then, to confirm that the universe has ways of just turning things around, this happened!

Stunning Level 5 of 9 aurora show. It was extremely windy, so the positive is that they were moving and dancing like mad, the downside is that it's so difficult to get perfect focus. This was around 2am so I eventually went to bed at 3.30am.

I awoke at 10.30, it was still quite dark and so I managed to drag myself up and get clothed in many layers! I went for another walk around the cliffs and the wind was gone - totally gone. It was silent but for the birds and I loved it. I fell over a few times as it's difficult to see where the gaps are and often the snow is deeper than you think, but what a beautiful walk I had. This selfie is weird as I don't remember taking my glasses off.... Anyway, it was a lovely walk and again, I got some images I am hoping to work into some somewhat darker pieces in the coming days. 

I think that's all for today. It's now 10.45 and there's only me and one other person left in the studio. I will start the walk back to Manabraut within the next half an hour or so. Thank you for reading and I'll see you tomorrow, or the next day.... or the next. Watch this space!

And finally:

The wonderful Taylor Swift!!


Aly x

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It would be great to hear your views or any questions you have about Iceland, Skagaströnd or the residency. Fire away!!