I rented a car from SADCars again; this time it was a Suzuki automatic. I love driving manual shift cars, but given the wind gusts that made their appearance throughout the week, it was a much more sound idea to go with a larger car! Frumi and I started our journey on Sunday by driving around the Reykjanes Peninsula and surveying some of the sights. We wound up at Bryggjan in Grindavik for some of the most amazing lobster bisque soup I have ever eaten.
On Monday, we traveled to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and much photographing was to be had. I'd been on the search for abandoned farmhouses, and we came upon one in particular that I'd been searching for: Dagverdera. The landscape was so moving, and we watched as the Snæfellsjökull loomed in the distance and got ever larger the closer to the national park we traveled. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. Along the way, we met the wonderfully kind and inspiring Daniel and Linda, who are in the process of opening a guesthouse/spiritual center at the base of the peninsula. Opening in May, their facilities will include apartments in reclaimed buses. Daniel is an incredible woodworker, and was the artist behind much of the design of Guesthouse 1x6. It was a lovely to meet them both!
Keflavik boasts some really great places to eat. We returned rather late in the evening, but were still able to have a meal at Kaffi Duus along with a good glass of Gull beer, which is my favorite thing to drink in Iceland (other than crisp, clean tap water).
On Tuesday, we travelled to Vik. The weather was tempestuously grey, at times rainy, at times clear and sunny, and absolutely gorgeous. The wind gusts on the black beach of Vik were so strong, I couldn't help but laugh as my breath was taken away from me. On the return trip, we stopped along the way for photographs. I was struck by how many more tourists there were as compared to last year, and especially as compared to two years ago when my husband and I drove the ring road. At Seljalandsfoss, for instance, the parking lot was almost full. We returned late in the evening to have pizza at Fernando's Pizza in Keflavik, home of the Bianca pizza, which consists of multiple cheeses and jam and it is just delightful.
Wednesday took us to Reykjavik and after a day of walking along Laugevegur and in and out of the many tourist shops. Thankfully, there are still some excellent local shops like 12 Tonar, where we stopped so that I could grab a couple cds and discover new indie Icelandic bands. Then we made our way to Hallgrimskirkja, where, upon entering, we were enveloped by organ music. Afterwards, we headed to some of my favorite places in Reykjavik: the Laundromat Cafe and the famous hot dog stand by the Harpa,Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. I can't handle how yummy pylsur are. Of course, because I was in Iceland on business as well as pleasure, we stopped at a local print shop to pick up my transparencies for screen printing, followed by a visit to an Icelandic art supply store, Litir og Fondur so I could pick up a few things for my workshop on Saturday. We ended our day with a little joyride around the rest of the Reykjanes Peninsula, which took us past Seltun. We watched spectacular sunsets, ate again at Kaffi Duus, and ended the night with an incredible show of Northern Lights.
Thursday and Friday were work days for me. For whatever reason, exposing my screens was a bit more challenging in the sunlight and while I settled on an exposure time that worked, it took me a couple of tries. In addition to several works on paper, I also created panels for the doors of the Guesthouse - a triptych: Afternoon, Evening, and Morning.
Saturday brought my workshop at Bokasafn Reykjanesbaer, where members of the Keflavik community were invited to come and make art with me. I brought with me my silkscreens so that people could print from them and create their own unique works of art, incorporating gelli plate printing with caran d'ache drawings. I am grateful to my friends Anna Maria and Anna Margret for their help coordinating and putting the word out about the workshop, and was so happy to share a moment of art-making with those who came out!
Art is both a profoundly therapeutic and deeply vulnerable practice. There are so many beautiful things that come out of an art-making experience, namely, we make connections with others in those creative moments. Art-making affords us time to go within ourselves to find universal truths. When we work side by side, as in a workshop setting, we start conversations with strangers and we see the humanity and light in each person who gathers around the table. Much like gathering for a meal, making art in a group beckons us to start conversations with strangers and leave as friends.
I wished everyday for time to go a little slower. Too quickly, Sunday came and so I had to fly home, leaving pieces of myself behind. Guesthouse 1x6 has new pieces in their collection, as does Duus Museum, which will be showing my work in June to July. So while I say bless bless for now, I look forward to seeing my wonderful friends and that gorgeous, awe-inspiring Icelandic landscape.
My most sincere gratitude to my dear, dear friends Andi and Yukiyo for their continued support and kindness, and without whom this new body of work could not have happened or continued or started...because who knows where the work will take me next?