Monthly Archives: July 2013

Over and Up

Finished another piece this morning:

Over and Up, ink and gouache, 12" x 16"

Over and Up, ink and gouache, 12″ x 16″

I think this is a continuation of my ongoing giraffe series.  I didn’t really expect much to happen with those while here in the Faroes.  Silly of me to think that I am in charge of my sub-concious.

Some details:

Over and Up det1

Over and Up det2Yes, that is a puffin.

Over and Up det3

I see the images I am creating here as mostly experiments, which will turn into etchings when I return to Albuquerque.  I think this image may end up turning into three images, more or less corresponding to the parts in each detail.  In fact, I’ve already begun the gouache and ink versions:

3 starts


The title of this post is what a Faroese friend, one of the teachers at last week’s Outer Island English Retreat, exclaimed upon seeing the green blob on the piece of paper on my studio table.


Blot/grot tekneeursk við grunt blob (possibly that was Faroese for blue/green paper with green blob)

I hadn’t meant the green blob to be Fugloy, though by this point I was pretty sure it was an island.  The green blob had begun life as a ghost image from another piece of paper that I had applied too much grey and green gouache to.  The white boat shapes had shown up just an hour or so before my visitor came by.

I worked on the image more today.  I don’t know that it is finished, but I am done working on it for now.  Working on it has been yet another trip through “Why the heck would anyone do this artist thing?”.  For almost the entirety of working on this piece, I did not know what I was making, let alone why I was making it.  No one asked me to make it, and I had no idea if anyone would look at it, let alone like it in some way.  To work on the image at all, I had to shove these questions to one side of my brain, while still keeping enough of my logical brain turned on to create something besides random marks and splatters.  If I worry about what I am making, and why I am making it, and what it means, while I am in the middle of making, then I would never make anything at all.

One thing just followed another, and it was only the shape resonating with someone that kept the piece growing into something besides a green blob.  It is not quite the shape of Fugloy, but it is remarkable close.  Fish (herring, in this case) seemed important, and the boats were something I wanted to draw more of.  I wasn’t sure what to put on the island.  At the point I left off last night, the association with Fugloy was getting in the way of deciding what to do with the drawing.  Then, as I was waking up this morning, I realized that a giant Faroese house, with a turf roof, would work just fine.

I still don’t know what it means, other than “I went on a trip to the Faroe Islands.”  But maybe it isn’t my job to figure out what it means.

Island House, 16" x 12', ink, gouache, colored pencil

62.3 N Ladder

Lots of fog in Torshavn today, so I mostly stayed in the studio.


I have four pieces in progress.  I think I finished one today:

Ladder at 62.3 North, 16" x 12', ink, gouache, colored pencil

Ladder at 62.3 North, 16″ x 12′, ink, gouache, colored pencil

My Career as a Coloring Book Artist

I spent Thursday through Saturday at the G! Festival, in Gøta.  I could go on and on about Nordic musicians enfolded in mist on a North Atlantic beach, but that is outside the scope of both this blog and my writing abilities.

wtf at g

I got to be at G! by helping out with Watch That Film, a series of screenings of Faroese music videos, experimental films from the Orkney Islands, Faroese short films, a new silent film by Faroese musician Teitur, a documentary about the metal band Hamferð, and Barnafilmar–four short animated films screened for children.  The “opening act” for Watch That Film was Read That Book–readings by Faroese authors/poets.  Everything took place in a barn converted into a lounge for the occasion:

My official job title was “Minion”, which mostly meant some schlepping and some driving; however, I also created coloring pages for Barnafilmar.  Children in the audience voted for best of the four children’s films by selecting a coloring page for their favorite.  Rabbit and Deer, an exploration of friendship and the metaphysics of 2-D versus 3-D, won.  We set out markers and children colored the pictures (or created their own on the reverse) and entered them in a drawing for a mobile phone.  The much-improved-by-coloring pictures will be displayed on


Rabbit and Deer, directed by Peter Vácz


Ormie, directed by Rob Silvestri


Much Better Now, directed by Phillip Camarella and Simon Griesser


Premier Automne, directed by Carlos de Cavalho and Aude Danset


Collecting the finished artworks.

During my spare moments, I also found myself creating small sculptures out of masking tape.


Hattarvik Church

Today, along with the other 18 people participating in the Outer Island English Retreat here on Fugloy, I walked over to more-or-less the other side of the island, to the village of Hattarvik.  The road between Kirkja and Hattarvik winds up, up, up, and then over a ridge and then down, down, down again.  The elevation change means increasing amounts of fog and a constant stream of epic views.





And, of course, sheep.


Despite the scenery and beauty and all, I spent a large part of the walk wondering what I am doing here.  When I am in my right mind, I am pretty sure that I am just soaking everything in, and making a few drawings, and eventually this will all turn into “real” art.  Sometimes, though, it feels like I am just wondering around on some islands, hiding out from reality.  Then, in a little village on a little island pretty much on the edge of the world, I walk into a church and see the most unexpected sight:

IMG_20130716_102012 IMG_20130716_102310

This might be the most contemporary, post-modern, delightfully abstract take on a church altarpiece I have ever come across.  And it is not in some large North American or European city, but in the middle of nowhere.  And on top of that, the images are etchings, printed and mounted on boards.IMG_20130716_102319

Somehow, the sight of these 14 pieces reassured me that I will make more work, even though it probably won’t really happen until I get back to New Grounds.


Journey to Fugloy

Yesterday (Sunday), I traveled to the northernmost Faroe Island, Fugloy, by car and by Ferry.

For the car part, I saw many things, but the main was rain, so there are not many pictures.  However, there was a beach:


This is actually kind of a big deal, as most of the Faroese coastline consists of precipitous cliffs.  Beaches are kind of rare.  This particular beach is in the town of Gøta.  Later this week, it will be the location of the G! Festival.  Set-up for this had already begun on Sunday.


There were also tunnels.  One of which was long and only wide enough for one car.  We were traveling in the right-of-way direction.  On-coming cars had to pull out into one of 18 niches.  The on-coming cars tended to pull out at the last minute.  It was quite exciting.


I also saw a giant fishing hook, at the roundabout in the town of Klaksvik.


Apparently this hook was somewhat controversial, in that some felt it was not really art.  I disagree.  The description of the controversy reminded me of Albuquerque’s Chevy on a Stick.

Shortly after Klaksvik, the ferry portion of the voyage began, aboard the Pitan.


In describing the voyage, words fail me.  I am just going to post a few pictures and leave it at that.  Tomorrow I hope to have some drawings to put up.  Failing that, there will at least be a few photos of me un-gracefully rappelling down a cliff face.

IMG_20130714_100610 IMG_20130714_102143 IMG_20130714_102253 IMG_20130714_102455 IMG_20130714_102757 IMG_20130714_102850 IMG_20130714_103249

An important note:  The ferry didn’t really stop at the dock at the village of Kirkja, on Fugloy.  It just kind of moved close to the dock and we had to jump off.  The it sailed away.


And we headed up the stairs to Kirkja.


Kirkja, as seen from the ferry.

Kirkja, as seen from the ferry.  (the dock is that gray bit on lower right)

Voyaging Penguin

Faroese Voyage, ink and gouache, 12" x 18"

Faroese Voyage, ink and gouache, 12″ x 18″