THERE ARE SO MANY PHOTOS. And I wrote a bunch too, but the photos are really the most important part, so feel free to skim over the written deets.
This is the first time I have been at an artist residency. I had some preconceived ideas of how it worked and how I would work in the conditions I imagined I would be in. I knew to be flexible and open to changing my basic plans, but I had a good idea of what I wanted to complete.
I had a red eye flight from Kona, Hawaii with a short layover in LAX and a longer (7 hours) layover at JFK. While in JFK I made sure to walk around as much as I could stand it, eat some fresh(ish) food and drink as much water as I could. I ended up sleeping through my two first flights, and was energized from being on airplanes all day, so by the time my flight for Iceland was taking off, I was wired and too anxious to sleep. And even though it was 9pm in New York, it was early afternoon in Hawaii, so my body was a little more than confused.
Once I arrived in Keflavik, Iceland (which is where international flights come into, not Reykjavik, as my ticket suggested) I was just starting to get that weird feeling you get when it's 3am and you've been up all day and night watching movies from a screen that's less than two feet away from your dry eyeballs. Obviously, I could not go to sleep anywhere because I had to figure out how to get from this airport, to the domestic airport in Reykjavik so I could catch my flight to the Westfjords. I had a seat on one of two flights going to a small town in the north west, ísafjörður. I was trying to get to the airport to catch the early flight, but made my reservation for the later flight just in case. I got to the airport just minutes after the morning flight left, which meant I had to wait around in this tiny airport all day for the second flight. They would not take my luggage so I couldn't go walk around (it's big and annoying). So I stayed put for more than 8 hours. This was a very small airport, and there were maybe less than 200 people that came in and out of the airport while I was there. I fell in and out of sleep while waiting, then finally, my flight to ísafjörður took off. I landed about 45 minutes later and got into a car, and was driven 45 more minutes to the tiny town of Þingeyri.
According to Wikipedia, Þingeyri has a population of around 260 people. There is no grocery store and no post office, and the bank is only open for a couple hours a week. It's a small fishing village, right on the water of a fjord, and surrounded by beautiful mountains and plateaus. The sun is staying out longer and longer until the vernal equinox, so while I was there, it stayed pretty bright blue all throughout the night. Birds chirped all night and day.
The folks that run the artist residency also own a small coffee shop in town. They have almost thirty horses that are kept on a larger piece of property outside of town, too, and offer horse rides during the summer months. They have purchased a few buildings in the town, and use them for different purposes, but mostly for the artist residency. The building I am living and working in is the old post office. There is an apartment on the upper level, and the lower level has been cleared out to be a pretty good studio space. I've decided to keep my studio in the upstairs flat, for convenience sake. There are a ton of windows and the light is wonderful. It looks over most of the town and the water too.
The other artists in the group and I got to go hiking around the town and surrounding land, we visited the horses and we got to witness an accordion "festival" that some of the older people in town put on. The owners of the residency took us to an awesome waterfall and a tiny geothermal pond to soak in. Every night we met up for dinner and talked about our art and our experiences outside of the residency.
I was able to stay focused on my sketches and making finished pieces throughout the residency by giving myself mini goals and a working timeline. At the end of the residency I created over 10 small pieces of finished art, mostly ink only monoprints and gold leafed monoprints. I had a great experience, and am excited for my next residency opportunity!