Part One: USA

Part Two: Dartmoor

As usual, this is a best-bits version of the trip, where “best-bits” = anything that stayed still long enough to be sketched. You should be able to see a larger version of the pictures by clicking on them, which in most cases will take you through to their Flickr page.

And so: Iceland.

The Light Grey Art Labs residency was wonderful: small, active (very physically active!), interested, entertaining. And Iceland was… I couldn’t process it at first.

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I spent my day before the residency looking around the Culture House and worrying about whether I would be able to work out how to process the lava fields I’d seen that morning on the way from the airport.

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Because Iceland is, above all, an exceptionally new country. It is horrifyingly young, geologically and in terms of its civilisation. Journey to the Centre of the Earth makes sense here. We all got the theme for Jurassic Park stuck in our heads. Parts seemed like a recently terraformed planet, the rocks are raw and rough and new, steam pours out of the ground.

Iceland 2016 - bubbling mud

They didn’t get people until 800AD (give or take a few hermits), and didn’t use wheeled vehicles before the late 19th century.

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We looked at sulfurous pits of boiling mud and climbed down lava tubes studded with ice and alive with spectral mists.

Iceland 2016 - Lava tube

Iceland 2016 - Lava tube

Page 22 Detail - mist

There were geysers, and everywhere people made little piles of stones.

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Iceland 2016 - cairns

Brown stones on clifftops, white stones in niches and arranged in little standing spirals below basalt cliffs.

Iceland 2016 - rocks

(This evidence of people marking, decorating, understanding, playing was one of my favourite things).

Page 23 Detail - Rocks

Iceland 2016 - Thingvellir

The lakes steamed. We scrambled over crevasses and into ravines.

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Iceland 2016 - Thingvellir

We marvelled at the pleated fans of basalt columns, drew volcanic plains and details of moss. Climbed. Watched. Took photos. Thought.

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Page 25 Detail - Jarred

It was wonderful travelling with other artists. Learning from each other over wine in our cabin on Blueberry Hill.

Iceland 2016 - workshop

Iceland 2016 - workshop sketches

We all approached work and landscape differently, but it was grand to be with people who understood spending half an hour recording the texture of a rock.

Iceland 2016 - rock

Or marvelling at light, or pointing out the rare welcome smoothness of a glacial stone after the raw sharpness of all the others.

Iceland 2016 - looking at rocks

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We fell in love with moss.

Iceland 2016 - moss

Page 26 Detail - Notes

Iceland 2016 - River

 

It wasn’t like a fairytale.

Iceland 2016 - white water

Fairytales feel older than Iceland does.

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It has fairytales, of course, but we had to learn to look at the land differently. And you start to understand where fairytales come from.

Page 27 Detail - horse

Growing up in Euro-centric Australia, you know there’s ancient and continuous human history but don’t really see it. We’re not taught to see it. We see European history, barely over 2 centuries of it, and then we go to Europe and envy them their castles and forts and standing stones.

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Then to go to Iceland, and see their European history is longer than ours, but not by that much, relatively.

Iceland 2016 - farm

Iceland 2016 - Reykjavik

And before that? There’s no weight of human story.

Page 28 Detail - Birds

I hadn’t realised that I was aware of that, until I came home.

Page 29 Detail - Puffins

But Iceland was exceptionally beautiful, full of curious microcosms and great raw new-birthed slabs and extrusions of uneroded mountain.

Iceland 2016 - rocks

Ash-soft plains.

Iceland 2016 - plain with artist

New-cut gorges.

Iceland 2016 - waterfall

Horizon-capping glaciers.

Iceland 2016 - Glacier

Sheep and puffins.

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Then I was back in Reykjavik for one more day: museums and movies.

Iceland 2016 - costumes

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Then on to Oslo.

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I’m home at last! Six weeks was a little long for living out of a too-large suitcase (but I had to take art supplies and boots). America and England were full of friends, Norway full of babies. Iceland was beautiful and so new. You can see the geology happening.

 

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I climbed over a lot of rocks.

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I’ll post more sketches (and a few photos) once I’m near my scanner for long enough.

 

Lana Crooks

Lana Crooks

Lana Crooks is the fifth member of Light Grey Art Lab‘s 2016 Iceland Residency: Team Mist to volunteer to be introduced. Previous interviews are all linked on this post: Iceland.

K: What lights you up about what you do?

Lana: I enjoy trying to figure out shapes and patterns and new way to build forms. I spend a lot of time researching so it makes me feel like I am unwrapping mysteries. I started out as an illustrator so I still like to bring some narrative into the works as well.

K: Do you have an example?

Lana: Snake oil was a piece for an exhibit called Zealots Elixir at Modern Eden, It was my first attempt at a snake skeleton. Each vertebrae is 7 individual pieces of fabric so it is a pretty good example of translating the flat to the 3D.

 

Snake Oil by Lana Crooks

Snake Oil by Lana Crooks

 

Snake Oil by Lana Crooks

Snake Oil by Lana Crooks

K: And where can we find you online?

Lana: I am at www.lanacrooks.com and @lanacrooks on Instagram

Betsy Bauer is the fourth member of Light Grey Art Lab‘s 2016 Iceland Residency: Team Mist to volunteer to be introduced. Previous interviews are all linked on this post: Iceland.

K: What lights you up about what you do?

Betsy: I think creating concept artwork for animation is particularly exciting because you see your ideas realized by other artists.  It’s so rewarding to see a character or prop that I have designed translated into 3D by the modeling and surfacing departments.  Animation is such a collaborative medium!

K: Do you have an example?

Betsy: This isn’t really a great example of what I’m talking about because it’s hard to show that, but I do really like this image. :).

by Betsy Bauer

by Betsy Bauer

K: And where can we find you online?

Betsy: betsybauerART.com

Jared Tuttle is the third member of Light Grey Art Lab‘s 2016 Iceland Residency: Team Mist to volunteer to be introduced! Previous interviews are all linked on this post: Iceland.

Jared Tuttle

Jared Tuttle

K: What lights you up about what you do?

Jared: What I enjoy most about my work is the feeling I get from seeing my vision come to life and take shape on paper.
K: Do you have an example?
Jared: I’ve attached an image of me working on a piece that I suppose could fit with the above response (ink, graphite, and gold leaf on claybord)
Jared Tuttle: Sphinx work in progress

Jared Tuttle: Sphinx work in progress

K: Where can we find you?

Jared: www.jared-tuttle.com

Nicole Gustafsson is the second member of Light Grey Art Lab‘s 2016 Iceland Residency: Team Mist to volunteer to be introduced! Previous interviews are all linked on this post: Iceland.

Nicole Gustafsson

Nicole Gustafsson

K: What lights you up about what you do?

Nicole: I love it when I lay out  gouache paint in little dots on my paint pallet…and they look like the most delicious candy. I get excited every time I see those little dots and can’t wait to paint.

K: Do you have an example?

Nicole:

Nicole Gustafsson's palette

Nicole Gustafsson’s palette

K: And where can we find you? 

Nicole: My website is nimasprout.com. Though I’m under everything as “nimasprout” so folks can always find me on all the other social networks too :)

Alexandria Neonakis is the first member of Light Grey Art Lab‘s 2016 Iceland Residency: Team Mist to volunteer to be introduced!

Alexandria Neonakis

Alexandria Neonakis

K: What lights you up about what you do?

Alexandria: I love it when something accidental happens in a piece that really helps with whatever narrative i’m trying to get across. When it happens, it feels like everything’s clicking nicely into place.

K: Do you have an example? 

Alexandria: This isn’t necessarily my favorite image but the light cutting across the top left and not appearing anywhere else was an accident. I had initially had a bit of light towards the bottom of the image as well, but some layers got turned off and I felt it just sold the story so much better. It also felt like a much bolder choice than my original intention.

Alexandria Neonakis: Weasley Wizard Wheezes

Alexandria Neonakis: Weasley Wizard Wheezes

I also was painting the “extendable ears” sign onto the wall when i came up with the idea that his missing ear wouldn’t have been magically replaced, he probably wears an extendable ear so as not to scare kids who come into the store. then when they ask him a question, he can pull the ear towards them and ask them to speak up.

I really love fleshing out these off-screen moments in a well know story, particularly with Harry Potter which has been a huge influence on me for most of my life. I know fan art gets a lot of flack, but I feel there’s a real place for it, and it’s often a nice gateway for people to start exploring their own narratives. It certainly has been for me.

K: Where can we find you?

Alexandria: My tumblr is alexneonakis.tumblr.com  and my website is alexneonakis.com :)