Yesterday I went on a brilliant day tour of Lake Myvatn with Saga. I caught an early bus from Olafsfjordur to Akureyri and Gifli my guide for the day picked me up from the bus stop.
The fist place we visited on the tour was the waterfall Godafoss. The snow is melting from the mountains very quickly and the waterfall was full of silt and running very fast. Godafoss was named after the local chieftain of the area threw the icons of the old gods into the waterfall when he decided to convert to Christianity in 1000 AD.
Then we drove onto Lake Myvatn which is about an hour East of Akureyri. It is a geothermal region as the earths crust is very thin. So the landscape is completely different to the other places I have visited in Iceland.
We stopped at the pseudo craters that formed from cooling lava about 2500 years ago. I was able to walk to the tops of the craters and get a great view of the lake. The pseudo craters are also home to lots of sheep.
Next on the tour was the Krafla eruption site. There was a volcanic eruptin there from 1975 to 1984, so the land is very new in some places. The new lava is black and the older rock faces are shades of orange. I walked up to Viti Maar ( The Crater of Hell) formed in 1724. Inside the crater this is a bright blue lake full of sulphur and minerals. It was extremely windy on top but the views were fantastic.
My favourite place on the tour was bleak Namafjall. This region is full of steampits and mud pits. The mud pits had a strange blue/grey colour that contrasted vividly to the orange and yellow sandy rock around them. The way the mud continuously erupted in the pits was completely mesmerising. The land is acidic, sulphuric and has a very high temperature which causes the bright colours.
After lunch we stopped off at the rift between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. The rock is pulling apart creating a giant scar in the earth. I was able to climb inside the rift to a cave where there is a river of hot blue water.
The final stop of the day was the Myvatn Nature Baths for a dip in the bright blue sulphurous water and then back to Akureri. A fantastic day!
Here are a few new prints and some images of Olafsfjordur from yesterday and today. I went on a walk along the coast yesterday morning with some of the other Listhus artists and the mountains were covered in cloud. Today the sun came out and completely changed the landscape. I walked along the beach and came across the old herring drying racks. They are no longer used but are quite an interesting ruined structure to find on the beach.
It has been a busy few days as I travelled north to Olafsfjordur. I spent two nights in Akureyri, the largest city in Iceland after Reykjavik. I used my day there to ride an Icelandic horse at a nearby farm. I had been looking for the opportunity to go riding since being in Iceland because the horses are so integral to the landscape. The horses are unique to Iceland as they have been isolated for so long and so they are small and very sturdy very well adapted to the harsh weather. They also have a fifth gait that called a tjolt which other horses lack. The riding tour went along Eyjafjordur and was a fantastic way to see the landscape around Akureyri.
After the riding session I went to the Akureyri Museum where there was a great exhibition on maps of Iceland. The maps often depicted fictional animals rumoured to be living on Iceland which for a long time was a mystery to the rest of Europe.
On Monday I caught the bus to Olafsfjordur, which is an hour north from Akureyri on the Trollskagi Peninsula. It is the furthest North I have travelled and the temperature is dramatically colder. Since I arrived it has been snowing most of the time. The mountains are completely covered with snow and are very dramatic. I will now be based at Listhus in Olafsfjordur for the next month.
I caught the bus up the coast to Siglufjordur yesterday, which is another fishing town and went to the fantastic Herring Museum. The town used to be the centre of the fishing industry in Iceland, mainly fishing herring to be dried and exported, until the herring went away in 1968. The musuem has a fish procesing factory full of fascinating machinery to walk around. I also really liked being able to go on one of the fishing boats.
Today I have spent the day in my studio at Listhus making mono prints from the photographs I have been taking while exploring Iceland. I am isolating particular forms and trying to look at them without the context of the whole landscape.
Views from the plane on my flight to Akureyri. Most of the interior of Iceland is still covered in snow. I took two flights to get to Akureyri so I had a really good view of Iceland from the air.
My residency at Skaftfell has now finished and I am travelling on to Akureyri tomorrow. Here are more drawings that I have made during my time in Seyðisfjordur. It has been quite a challenge to draw outdoors here and many of the drawing have spray from waterfalls or smudges from rain adding to my own lines and marks.