12 October daylight hours 10:08

Home is everywhere, literally and figuratively.  The exhibition at Tales from Iceland features a dozen or more short films and we are proud to have our home included in their treasure trove of films. Visiting Iceland is just a glimpse of what it’s like to live on this remote rock.  The exhibition shows what life on the island is like for Icelanders and foreigners throughout the media age.  This exhibition covers the music revolution, the political climate, sports and daily life adventures of conquering weather and natural disasters.  Below is an image of our first snow fall in Skessuhorn.

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1 October daylight hours 11:18

The color and texture variations this time of year are boundless. The photo above was taken at 18:57 and the one below at 16:09. The hue of the red glowing everlasting sunset was impossible to capture with my device. Civil twilight began at 18:46 last night.  There are three classifications of twilight astronomical, nautical and civil. These types are clearly defined in the photographers ephemeris.

Hiking along the mountain range is equally fascinating and varied.  Recently we hiked Brekkufjall with Icelandic friends.  We meandered with the river along scree and shale rock slopes, hopped light footed through moss covered lava flow along it’s banks, and climbed some boulders until we reached the falls. There are two other hikes which are very different from Brekkufjall.  Hafnarfjall ‘s is primarily scree and shale, it is exposed which means lots of wind yet once your reach the summit it offers remarkable 360 views of the area.   Hestfjall is a shorter less ambitious hike doable within 2 hours, it’s a very easy hike with unique vistas of Borgarfjordur.

 

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28 September daylight hours 11:38

Above is a close up of our beloved coffee machine paired with an amazing view.  The view from the kitchen window, especially in the early autumn light evokes images of Maynard Dixon’s poetic landscapes of the North American south west.  We take our coffee as seriously as we take in our views!  Samueles’ Italian sensibilities have nurtured our home, which means that in addition to our small collection of precision tools to make coffee, we also have a reserve of dried pasta.  We treasure our bean to cup espresso machine.  There is also an Italian Moka pot for those who love ritual and a French Press which has actually never been used, but gives peace of mind just in case.

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The window bench at the base of the undulating extinguished volcano range Hafnarfjall, was designed to feel like an old wooden rig. Our dear friend Jack North from North Design, created this piece by re-purposing scrap wood that originated from the house. 

The abstract painting on the left was made using water soluble oil paints and palette knives.  This artwork with it’s bold gestures and primary colors, was created when I was living in Antwerp and seeking out  alternatives to standard artist mediums used with commercial oil paints.

 

24 September daylight hours 12:03

This weeks weather forecast is wet, high winds, light storms, and lots of rainbows.  I made that up, there is no rainbow forecast.  Although there ought to be.  Consider this, in 2004 Alcoa had to have a government expert certify that their chosen building site was free of archaeological sites, including ones related to huldufólk folklore, before they could build an aluminum smelter in Iceland.  This is according to wikipedia and raises suspicion because Icelandic nature loving elves are ubiquitous…

Vedur.is  is how we start the day,  by checking the weather conditions and Aurora forecast. Today’s warning: severe gale (more than 20 m/s) is expected by the south coast tomorrow evening. The aurora forecast is positive and from a scale of 1 to 9, a 4 is forecasted for tonight.  After that I generally move onto Road.is for web cams and wind graphs. The map of weather stations is especially useful.  On this link you can see the actual wind speed and gust speed.  The graph below will show you what the wind pattern has been over the course of several days. This is important if you happen to be driving these roads.  For us Hafnarfjall and Kjarlarnes are what we pay closest attention to.

The Farmer in Wet Weather
Goddess of drizzle,
driving your big
cartloads of mist
across my fields!
Send me some sun
and I’ll sacrifice
my cow — my wife —
my Christianity!

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23 September daylight hours 12:10

Many thanks to our charming guests Curtis and Miles, who gifted this brilliant photo of the Auroras above the Mt. Hafnarfjall:  They shot this photo from our garden on September 12th, 2017.  The emerald green of the auroras reflect in the placid waters of the estuary.   What made seeing the Auroras on this night so exceptional was that the moon was bright, the sky was star studded and they also witnessed a simultaneous phenomena of a meteor.

Tonight’s very different night sky is raining heavily and belting gusts in at 40 km per hour. Below is the view from the study adjacent a smaller bedroom which overlooks the bay and the town.  This photo was taken hours before the storm rolled in.

The landscape depicted in the painting below titled “Amore” is inspired by the exquisite art created by Iceland’s deeply loved and prolific artist Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval.  The Kjarval museum has a vast collection of his works.  It is located in Reykjavik and for those of you who love painting this is well worth the visit.  Kjarval’s endless approaches to capturing the textures of the raw and greatly varied Icelandic landscape is awe inspiring. Below is one of the many paintings which have been exhibited that Safnahus Borgarfjardur Museum Gallery in Borgarnes in 2015 and 2016.  I am often asked how Iceland has influenced my approach to painting.

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21 September daylight hours 12:23

The sun shines on the east side of the estuary and its raining on the south side.  Left of the painting Lentincular clouds begin to form spirals.  The air is sweet and crisp, and  here and there misty showers.  Air-brushed clouds with Ceruleun blue portals, tunnels light and steamy warmth.  Back in the day, the previous owners fished for salmon out on the ridge adjacent the house.  However since the bridge was erected in 1981 sandbars and riptides continue to change the environment dramatically.FullSizeRender 3

The painting on the right (Switzerland in 2005) was  Inspired by the Dutch poet painter Lucebert.  A woman reclines peacefully cradling her creatures, embracing her yin and yang.

The kaleidoscope repro-duction in the foreground below was printed on cotton in Berlin, using mirrored images of rice paper and ink paintings (Hofsos, Iceland in 2012).

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20 September daylight hours 12:29

The photo above was taken today from inside my kitchen looking out over the estuary and the Borgarfjardar bridge.   The bridge opened in 1981 and the Hvalfjordur tunnel opened in 1998.  Most likely building materials arrived to Reykjavik by ship and were then transported to Borgarnes with a truck.  It’s a 69 km drive to Reykjavik these days, versus the 137 km drive back then (no bridge, no tunnel).  Imagining the long journeys on an unpaved road as the ring road was just completed in 1974.  This was perhaps how old Iceland used to feel.  Still today Icelanders refer to the Westfjords as the original Iceland because of it’s remoteness and rugged terrain.

Our home is built with an inverted gable roof also known as a butterfly roof.  There were about 5 other of these roofs installed in the late 60’s in Borgarnes, Iceland.  The first homes designed with this post modern aerodynamic roof  were realized in 1945. Borgarnes was just 2 decades behind the atomic age architectural trend.

Skorradalsvatn, not far from Borgarnes is a lake in a protected sunlit valley where affluent families bought summer cottages.  Considering the size of the original homes built in Borgarnes and the fact that most of the industry surrounding it was livestock, we can conclude that the first settlers were on holiday.  The Enskuhusin indicates that this area was indeed a prime fishing location for Scottish and Irish, lords and ladies.

The photo below taken yesterday afternoon shows a small detail of the rock siding of our home and the eastern part of the Hafnarfjall mountain range, an extinct volcano range.   The entrance and other surfaces of our home was laid with what we have concluded as Icelandite  an iron-rich andesite and has evident traces of  Iceland spar.

The original building plans were submitted by Jon B. Bjornson in 1964.  The elevations plan below shows the stones set on the chimney stack and side of the house, yet the builder chose to place them finally on the side wing panels of the back of the house and the wings of the entrance.   Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 19.30.41IMG_6175