We set sail in late March bound for the Lefoten Islands in the Norwegian Artic circle. At 68 degrees North and at a rough speed of 5 knots we had a long journey ahead that would take many months. During my time on board I documented the changing landscape. Sketching everyday as England turned to Ireland, to Scotland, the Sheltand islands and then the big push over to Norway riding on the back end of gale which pushed us over to the pristine landscape and meticulously cared for ‘huts’ on islands and inlets of the Norwegian coastline.
Travelling so slowly meant that I was often able to paint and sketch while sailing, being careful to listen out for changing weather when your whole world would suddenly tip sideways with the propensity for paints, pens, water and half made work to scatter in all directions unless fast enough to secure them. The wind and choppy seas would also lend themselves to capturing an atmosphere as you were sometimes buffeted from all sides and wave spray merging the colours on paper in unplanned but interesting ways. The viking spirit as water wanderers and fishing people is still an integral part of the Norwegian psyche with some of the fishing village houses propped up on stilts to accommodate the multitude of fisherman who used to descend in the winter.
Celebrations were made for safely reaching the stunning Lefotens islands. This did seem like like a minor miracle as much to the skippers constanation I hadn’t know my port from starboard at the beginning of the voyage! Its the land of the whales, where clawlike mountains rise from stormy seas. The sun never sets, bathing the landscape in a red, pink glow for hours through the night making it an artist’s paradise. The piece (far below) ‘Lefoten, life above waves’ is created from maps, nets, champagne labels and other recycled materials found en route. Depicting life and fishing as seen from harbour life. Some of the buildings continue as fishing warehouses while others have now been converted into the trendy summer residences of Norwegian families.
The collection of work is based on some of the sights and experiences of creating work and living at sea for four months and returning 3500 miles later to tell the tale.