Tag Archives: Icelandic art

A Missed Artistic Opportunity in West Iceland

So, you’re an artist and you meet a blank canvas under the volcano. What are you going to put on it?

On the Dagdeverðerá by Malaríf


Granted, there’s not much light at the winter solstice, but, hey, you probably did it in the summer, so would you paint this?

Maybe if the original owners had been able to spray paint their love on their walls, they wouldn’t have given up in the gloom and moved to Canada.

The Eggs and Petroleum Tanks of Iceland’s Merry Bay

The Eggin í Gleðivik are one of Iceland’s national treasures. They represent the eggs of the main birds of Iceland, carved by Sigurður Guðmundsson, and set up permanently in the Djúpivogur Harbour.


Well, sure, you can show an image of them looking out to sea, all pristine and romantic like, but Iceland is neither pristine nor romantic. It is real, and it has rust.

Best to keep that in mind. Beautiful, isn’t it!

(You can read more about the eggs, and view an image without the oil tanks, here.)

Reykjavik: City of Books

Like Gunnar,


I had to leave the farm  …

snaefells… (It was hard for us both), and go to the city of books …

bookcity2… which, as you can see, centre

… has, like my Canada, adopted a new colonial master. Colonies do that, of course. It’s all they know. Still, in this city where everyone is a poet, some of this poetry is illegal…P1530675


… while some of it, identical to an eye from the farm, is legal…

P1530676 … which is weird. Copyright squabbles can be like that. But, hey, it’s a city, with its own sense of the commons and its own intrusions into it, but even so some, of it is beautiful…cracked … and the horses still have powerful things to say …bike


… there are still meadows full of flowers …



… and I would almost be tempted to say that we writers are guilty of something for which there is no possible absolution, except that even here we are children of God …


Agnes, Child of God

… and he has kept the light on. We may be for sale, and a little hounded by traffic …



… but that’s the book business for you. At any rate …



Painting with Ice

The Icelandic artist Páll Guðmundsson of Húsafell does a lot of work with rock. Sometimes he makes faces on boulders and scatters them in streams, where they look a lot like the boulders with natural faces that are already scattered there. It is like adding extra cards to a deck, and makes life a worthwhile adventure. On December 1st, 2008, however, the Church of Reykholt, Iceland, put on a display of prints of St. Cecilia, which Páll created by painting ice with images with pigments made of ground local stone, then allowing the ice to print them onto paper as it melted. They are inscribed with poems by Thor Vilhjálmsson. Here is one…  


What an inspiring transformation of the art of lithography! Páll is not the only artist in Iceland playing around with the interface between faith, ice and stone. Here’s a spontaneous piece of folk art I found at the sheep fold on the cinder cone, Grabrok …P1280259The angels are among us. Good to know.

Next: snow meets the sea at Sauðarkrokur.