I have been selected to participate in The Arctic Circle 2016 from an international open call. This is an annual series of art & science expeditions to the High Arctic. For 3 weeks I will be sailing the waters of Svalbard upon the SVAntigua with 19 other international innovators, explorers and artists.
This is an absolutely amazing opportunity; we will be among the last people in the world to visually capture this disappearing landscape. Arriving by water will create an alternative point of entry to the place as everything will be seen and heard from the sea.
My intention is to make a body of work reflecting the immersive experience of observing a changing Arctic landscape.
In 1897 Salomon August Andrée launched his balloon The Eagle from Dane Island, Spitsbergen, in an attempt to reach the North Pole. He failed, owing to the unpredictability of the weather and extreme conditions, yet left records of his extraordinary attempt, documenting weather, topography and wildlife.
Time spent in the Arctic region will be used to make my own ‘observations’ of a journey; to document ice sheets and glaciers, and respond to the sheer expanse and sublimity of a fragile environment as we travel through the landscape. ‘Observations’ of the Svalbard region will be documented almost as a captain’s log book might, by writing, mapping, drawing, painting, and filming traces of movement and change, as well as responding to methodology and equipment employed to measure/record data by scientists working alongside me.
I have made studies while walking and looking out at the Atlantic Ocean, also drawing whilst traveling upon it. I have recently begun to make studies looking into the sea, recording movement of water and light against rock and weed; these are the beginnings of a series of larger scale drawing and paintings. This project may continue to develop whilst in the Arctic - looking into ice and sea, working with colour transmitted in ice crystals, and to experiment by making and freezing colour mixed with seawater and snow-water, melted onto paper to create images similar to those achieved by dipping litmus paper into substances. I want to incorporate materials found on site - ice, earth, ash, dust, sea water - with materials brought with me - graphite, water-colour, charcoal, chalks, ink, marble dust, film, paper, gampi tissue ….
Depending on whether possible in such a climate - making reference to Andrée’s journey - I will attempt to launch small balloons (or perhaps kites) with cameras attached and take aerial photographs. These images can be incorporated into subsequent drawings and paintings.
I need to raise funds for this trip so will be applying to various funding bodies for support. I will be making some small paintings on paper to sell as match funding and will post these on this Blog for people to buy. Please watch this space, and if you would like to support me then please buy one of the posted paintings. They will be from £40 - £60.
My daily interactive Blog will record, both in written form and images, my progress, events, discoveries, thoughts; my Twitter and Facebook feeds will alert followers to posts; the RWA will follow and post updates of my journey on their website.