It's been a long time since I have existed so almost consistently out of doors. The past few weeks have involved a routine of pitching camp, de-camping, re-pitching, moving on when the time is right; slowly adjusting to the entirely different rhythm that a life outside demands. A daily routine that has become set by natural light, dark, cold and heat and the noises of wind and rain on the flimsy tent fabric that separates my only interior space from the wild landscapes around it. Without the distractions of solid walls and a roof it has been immensely satisfying to base what I do and when I do it on the tangible elements around me; relentlessly aware of the dynamic nature of my surroundings.
My route across Iceland has taken me from Snæfellsnes and Flatey in the west, to Mývatn, Húsavík and Ásbyrgi in the north, through the moonscape of Iceland's uninhabited interior; Nyidalur and astonishing Landmannalaugar and weaving through Skaftafell, Jökulsárlón, Fjallsárlón and Þórsmörk in the south. Before I set off I imagined that I would capture all I wanted to draw as I went and return home with a full sketchbook and a ready-made series of drawings to document my time here. But there is way too much to absorb and I realise that I will be drawing Iceland for a long time before I have exhausted everything I've seen here......
I also need more paper. I thought I had obsessively over-provided with the sack of twenty-plus pens I had packed but hadn't counted on the sense of space that a drawing of these landscapes would demand. The beautiful sketchbook I brought with me (bought on my last trip to Reykjavík) fits perfectly in the small pocket of my rucksack but it's sheets seem too cramped and although it is full of lines now, they seem, rather than finished drawings, to be captured memories stored up for expanding outwards when I have the space.
In one sense though this gives me an excuse to allow not only more physical space to the lines I plan on drawing but also the time to turn over how to capture the sense of movement and ever constant change held within Iceland's topography. The forces and processes that were taught in my school geography classes as explanations of events past are here in motion; the breaking, scouring and flow of the land visibly at work before your eyes. I feel that to make sense of this in line form will take time but I like the idea of sitting back in Scotland in the months to come, holding the image of the landscapes here in my mind's eye while reading the record of those same topographical processes in the more static land before me.