Baer – A crepuscular landscape 2

One thing I’ve been doing so far is making time-lapse videos of the changing landscape and of the sun’s move towards duskdawn. Its the only way I have devised so far to capture the movement and quality of the light. It definitely satisfies the constraint that I placed on myself to ‘be aware of the passage of time’. I didn’t realize when I made that constraint how profoundly imbedded time would be in everything I see and do here.

Speaking of imbedded time, here is the early part of the evening from 9pm to 1pm. Four hours compressed to 20 seconds.

I found that acute angle the sun follows as it slides towards the evening so surprising. Even in the few days we’ve been here the sun is getting lower in the night and staying down for longer. I love the way you can see where the sun is even after it’s gone down from the reflection on the clouds. At the end of this movie the morning was just beginning to lighten towards dawn.

Must be time for bed! Góða nótt!

Baer – A crepuscular landscape 1

As I wander out into the local landscape I’m always excited to feel my senses tuning in to the different (and familiar) smells, sounds, sights and feelings.

I have spent half a century wandering beaches, shorelines and marshlands so in some ways the land at Baer is very familiar and reminds me of many shorelines from my past. But it’s unique and has its own special character – its Genius loci. 

The first thing I noticed was of course the light. I understood in my mind how the sun would move, but it’s not the same as seeing it and feeling it. Seeing how the light changes through the day and the shadows and colors and contrast shift constantly. Feeling that extended twilight. In my experience dusk and dawn are separated in time – opposite moments of the diurnal cycle.

The dusk is warm and glowing and golden, dust filled and tired, tending towards the night, cooling, sleeping.

The dawn is damp and cool and pink and quiet with everything waking up and getting started for the bright day ahead.

Here those two are one, they merge seamlessly into one another with no night in between. It’s as if the summer is the day and the winter is the night and the twilight is  a hint of the season to come imbedded in the season that is here.

Twilight is a derivation from ‘two lights’ and here those lights are the dusk and the dawn.

I have become crepuscular here – a creature of the twilight. The light of the day is so clean and bright and penetrating. The duskydawn is the time when the light is more subtle and indefinable. When the fading sun seems to be of the earth rather than something distant.

Þórðarhöfðí in the predawn/postdusk light

I’m used to the sun moving ACROSS the sky. From east to west. Or as my friend Richard La Trobe Bateman first pointed out to me – from left to right in the northern hemisphere and from right to left in the southern. But here the sun moves AROUND the sky. In the duskydawn it’s due North coming throughout my bedroom windows. Now, in the middle of the day, it’s coming from due South. It moves obliquely at all times, painting different shadows and contrasts on the landscape as it moves.

Baer – First impressions

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!

Knolling to Iceland

Laying it all out on the bed seemed too depressing and indigestible so you will have to see a distillation. I wish I was Dr. Who sometimes. Infinitely compactible  space would definitely be sweet. Hermione’s bag was the best piece of magic in all of Hogwarts!

My new check-on luggage looks like the space shuttle but in designer colors.


And the contents of my day pack has finally got down to “schleppable and essential”. To me at least.

What did I forget?

It’s been a challenge and fun to go knolling through everything until only the key pieces (plus some wiggle room) are left. Still not sure about the banjo….

I’m wondering about the tendency to Knoll – named after Florences’ design aesthetic. Some have it some don’t. Tom Sachs of course is the current guru. You couldn’t set it out more keenly. We both love rules and regulations – as long as they are ours!

Tom Sach’s Bullet #2

Next stop Reykjavik!