October in Iceland

Gulkistan Artist Residency Studio Building - Iceland - October 2016

Gulkistan Artist Residency Studio Building – Iceland – October 2016

Gullkistan – the Residency

For the past few years, I’d been dreaming of visiting Iceland. Gullkistan was the perfect opportunity for me to experience the beauty of Iceland and also, have a studio to make art.  I spent the month of October 2016 at the Gullkistan Center for Creativity an artist residency, located in Laugarvatn, a small village on a lake surrounded by horse farms and mountains.  When the weather cooperates it’s possible to see Hekla, the stratovolcano in the distance.

Click here to see the paintings I was inspired to create.

There were six artists working at the residency.  Stacy Lynn Gould, Molly Burt-Westvig, Merle Pa, Josephine Turalba and Dennis Kim

The Artists - from left Stacy, Victoria, Molly, Merle, Josephine and Dennis

The Artists – from left Stacy, Victoria, Molly, Merle, Josephine and Dennis

We each had our own space within the 2 big rooms that served as our studios.  While I’m not a fan of group working situations, I was able to overcome my objection by setting up my studio first thing when I arrived.  The more comfortable I am in my space the easier it is to focus on painting.

My studio setup with paintings at Gullkistan in Iceland

My studio setup with paintings at Gullkistan in Iceland

The view out of my studio window at Gullkistan in Iceland

The view out of my studio window at Gullkistan, Laugarvatn, Iceland

The wall of paintings in progress at Gullkistan in Iceland

The wall of paintings in progress at Gullkistan in Iceland

I brought lots of prepared paper and a few small canvases.  I was limited by what would fit in my two suitcases.  Laugarvatn is such a beautiful and peaceful place, I was inspired to paint many views of the lake at different times of day.

View of the lake from mid-mountain.

View of the lake from mid-mountain.

Iceland – The Highlights

I want to share a brief glimpse of what I saw in Iceland.

Laugarvatn is situated in a perfect spot for traveling to the “must see” places.  It’s one of the stops on the Golden Circle a popular tourist route in southern Iceland, covering about 300 kilometres looping from Reykjavík into the southern uplands of Iceland and back. Luckily, the residency has a car available for the artists to use and take on day trips.  Once a week we would pick a few places to visit and all load in the car for a tour.  Some of the highlights include Gullfoss, Geysir, Þingvellir

Gullfoss  translated  means “Golden Falls” and is one of Iceland’s most beautiful and without a doubt  most popular waterfall.

Gullfoss waterfall

Gullfoss waterfall

Gullfoss - waterfall

Gullfoss – waterfall

Geysir

Geothermal area at Geysir

Geothermal area at Geysir.  The geyser just about to blow.

The Þingvellir is a national park. It is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

Þingvellir - National Park

Þingvellir - National Park

Þingvellir – National Park

The land of rainbows and waterfalls!

Skogafoss

Skogafoss

In the last week of my residency, I decided to leave a few days early to spend some time in Reykjavik, hike up a glacier and see the icebergs of the glacier lagoon and spend a day sightseeing around the Reykjanes Peninsula.

The glacier lagoon

The glacier lagoon

Jökulsárlón is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. I took an amphibian boat tour around the lagoon. During the excursion you sail among the huge icebergs in the picturesque scenery of Jökulsárlón.

Icebergs

Icebergs

Arriving at the Falljokull glacier.

Arriving at the Falljokull glacier.

I did it! I strapped on the crampons, faced my fear of heights and falling off of mountains and climbed up Falljokull (glacier). I had 2 very nice/patient guides. One super pro New Zealander and a newbie Icelandar. Luckily, they didn’t cancel the tour even though I was the only guest. We hiked down at sunset. Absolutely breathtaking view.

Hiked up the Falljokull glacier!

Hiked up the Falljokull glacier!

I made it up the glacier!

I made it up the glacier!

Sunset on Falljokull - glacier

The sun is setting as we make our way down the glacier

The Reykjanes Peninsula

The bridge between two continents

The bridge between two continents

The Bridge between two continents at Sandvík is a small footbridge over a major fissure which provides clear evidence of the presence of a diverging plate margin. The bridge was built as a symbol for the connection between Europe and North America.

Seltún - geothermal fields

Seltún – geothermal fields

Paintings – A Preview

A Thursday in October in Laugarvatn, Iceland

A Thursday in October in Laugarvatn, Iceland, oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″

 

The lake from above at Laugarvatn, Iceland. oil on canvas, 12" x 12"

The lake from above at Laugarvatn, Iceland. oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″

 

Laugarvatn Lake, oil on paper, 4" x 6"

Laugarvatn Lake, oil on paper, 4″ x 6″

 

Low Clouds over the mountain, oil on paper

Low Clouds over the mountain, oil on paper

I’m scheduled to have a show of paintings inspired by Iceland in March 2017 at Arthouse Gallery in Sacramento.

Click Here to see the series of Iceland Paintings.

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