I’ve been at Baer (pronounced ‘Buy’ with a hint of a rolled ‘r’ on the end) for two long days now and its more spectacular than I dared to hope.
The accommodation is luxurious (in a minimal, modern way). The hospitality of our host, Steinunn Jónsdóttir, is delightful and never ending. The location is perfect and the natural environment is breathtaking. All five artists at the residency have been in a state shock for the last two days as we have struggled to take in the gift that we’ve been given.
It’s hard for me to know where to start! First the studios, then I’ll venture out into the immediate environment and further afield over the next few entries. I’ll keep my explorations and work in progress till a bit later, so that I can continue to experiment, brood and meander for a few more days.
My studio (400 sq.ft.). A small private bedroom and bathroom adjoin with views over the water to the north (and the midnight sun). The easel makes a good hat stand!
Down the sun drenched hall linking the individual studios…
.. to the glass common room facing out on the fjörd Skagafjörður – like being at the helm of a giant landlocked ship.
From the outside you can see the DNA of the building as a restored barn.
The living roof is both contemporary and reflective of traditional Icelandic turf and stone buildings
From further afield both the artist’s studios and the main house come into view nestled at the foot of the escarpment.
Looking East back to the homestead
Baer means ‘place’ in Icelandic or perhaps ‘site’ – an apt name for a place to consider the land and the process of art making.
Looking outwards, the house seems to be totally surrounded by water and mountains. There is the fjord to the south and west, the lake to the north, and the looming escarpment to the east stretching away to the south.
Looking West across Skagafjörður – 2.3oam
The most dominant feature is the huge bare cape Þórðarhöfðí – like a mythic, giant beached sperm whale.
Þórðarhöfðí at the end of several miles of gravel berm
Due North in the middle of the night (2am), across the lake.
A quick and dirty panorama – fjord on the left, lake on the right.
The light is such an important part of the experience here, with only 3 hours without the sun and those three hours are just a long drawn out sunset extending seamlessly into a sunrise. It is such an incredibly exciting experience – like a solar eclipse. I just can’t go to sleep; not because of the jet lag, or the excitement of being in a new place but just for the sheer beauty and strangeness of it.
The only down side is that I haven’t had enough sleep for several days now. So I will post this and resume tomorrow!