Truly, I have never experienced vistas that made me cry from how awe-inspiringly beautiful they were, but, as I crested over gravel mountain passes, my heart opened in ways I can't express, and a head-over-heels love affair with Iceland was born.
So to say I was ecstatic at the invitation would be a huge understatement. I'm grateful that my school supported my mission, and before I knew it, I was boarding my WowAir flight (http://wowair.us/) out of BWI and was on my way!
I rented a car with SADCars (http://sadcars.com/). I had rented a car with them over the summer - they specialize in used, well-loved, but well-maintained vehicles. Travel tip: roads in Iceland are rural! You may find yourself on an empty, gravel, mountain pass road that hugs narrow cliffs leading straight to the ocean. If that's the case, you probably want an old reliable rather than a flashy new vehicle. I have to say, SADCars took very good care of us when we were there in August; we got a flat tire in the East Fjords, and their maintenance guys had us back on the road with new tires in no time.
This time I got a little red Toyata Yaris. Here in the states I drive an automatic, but, thanks to a lovely colleague of mine, I learned how to drive stick just for traveling in Iceland (the cost difference between automatic and manual transmission was enough that in July I forced myself to learn a new skill) Getting back behind the wheel during this trip felt natural and fun.
The goals of this trip were:
- To create a body of work, both on paper and on the walls of the Guesthouse, from photograph to finished work. For me, this involves several steps: taking the photos, processing them, having transparencies printed, exposing the silkscreens, creating paintings, and screen printing over the paintings. I wanted to complete the whole process and the body of work within my week-long time constraint.
- To photograph the landscapes and farmhouses of the Reykjanes and Snaefellsnes Peninsulas
- To make friends and art connections (with hopes to come back!)
- To offer a printmaking workshop to the local community, teaching screen printing and gelli plate printmaking
Below are some of the photographs I took during my journey around the Reykjanes and Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Honestly, I have about 1,000 more photos on my camera that I haven't really had a chance to look at yet. These were taken on my phone.
I also had my transparencies printed at a shop in town, Merkiprent. They had great service, had my transparencies printed the same day, and it was such a joy to be able to do some business with a local printshop. Below are the images I wound up using in this first batch of screens.
I exposed the screens using natural sunlight, at about 2pm. My exposure light did not work with European voltage.
My heart is full and open.
I am so grateful for this opportunity and am especially grateful to Andi and Yukiyo for being such warm and kind hosts. I can't wait to be able to get into the studio to work with the ideas that have been bubbling and churning from this trip. More than anything, I leave a piece of myself in Iceland and have a longing to return.
I'm reminded of the Asgeir Trausti song, "Home":
Home, I'm making my way home
My mind's already there...
Takk fyrir and bless bless until we meet again, Iceland.