Posted by: jeanne | July 1, 2017

artist mass exodus

i was going to call this post ‘nothing happening here’ except it reminded me of an old protest song, because nothing much is happening at the moment.

but that’s never true.


between the end-of-residency exhibition on wednesday, which is mainly an occasion for the artists to get together and see each other’s work, and friday, when most of them left, there was only connor’s soccer and our swimming, my work on the mural at the cafe, and yet another gorgeous day in olafsfjordur when i was really temped to go for another walk up one of the valleys. so thursday was pretty busy, in fact.



and on friday, everybody left first thing in the morning, i mean 10am. connor and i got up early so we could go swimming, and found a whole nother crew of people swimming and dozing in the hotpot, including a woman who did laps at speed, and put me to shame – i can only do one fast lap at a time, mostly holding my breath, and then have to sit for awhile until i get my breath back. this is opposed to those swimmers who go really slow but swim lap after lap after lap.

then we went over to listhus 10 – the original building with a large gallery space – and caught carrie at breakfast and jade-and-mark cleaning out their bedroom. stephanie had left a week ago, so there were only the two artists and the philosopher left. they’d cleaned like mad the day before, including mopping, and were all ready to go, so they got their cleaning deposits back no trouble. (the cleaning deposit only occurred after alice discovered that some artists just can’t be bothered to clean up after themselves, and many of them don’t think cleaning includes the common spaces or the art supply store room.) so then we went to check out listhus 12, the ‘new’ building (since 3 years ago when it was added). marie and eric were also really well organized, and left the place spotless – yay. and sonja, who is staying until august, had completed cleaning her space and moved upstairs to a bedroom where she can do her time-lapse and other photography of the mountains thru the window, instead of standing on the balcony and freezing her ass off.

so everything was great. we went back to the house to let everybody clear out, had second breakfast, and then went back to 10, connor bringing his tablet with a new game downloaded onto it (ninjago). and i started cleaning the fridge and the stove/oven, the bathroom, the sinks, all the stuff people forget. and even tho the place was clean when i started, i managed to scare up lots of dust, hair, some grime and a few things to throw out in the trash. at noon we broke to go home and have lunch, pack up some food in connor’s backpack, and get him dressed for soccer. this time he went to siglufjordur with the other kids on the bus, and i went back to the house and finished working. cleaning the store room and gallery, mostly. i moved jim’s drawings to a bulletin board, where they’ll stay until i leave, as the gallery is my designated workspace for my art, and i have painting and dyeing to do there.

i did two loads in 10, and left them spread out on drying racks in the gallery, and then came home and did another two loads at my alice’s house, and put them on racks in the attic. i was going to put them on the line to dry, as the artist downstairs wasn’t hanging his black tshirts there, but the clouds up the valley were black, so i thought better of it. and tho it didn’t rain until later, i didn’t risk it.

but then it was 4 and connor was coming back on the bus, so i went to the sports building and waited for him. then we came back and had a snack, and then i went to listhus 10 and got a bunch of paint out of storage and brought it back here to test it, for colors i can use on ida’s wall.



then i took a mini nap until our first artist of july – lizzie from florida – arrived, and i showed her listhus 10 and explained everything, and let her choose her own studio and bedroom, and then walked her to the store and pointed out places of interest (ida’s kaffi klara). and because we’d had a rushed time at the pool, connor and i went back after doing the laundry and stayed until they closed at 7. at 8 there was a concert given by a danish girls’ choir, which was very nice and full of locals enjoying the music.


my favorite singers – the ones who don’t fit in. and hey, i thought danish people had red hair

the selection incuded a bunch of a capella songs featuring very tight harmonics – wonderful. they also did a leonard cohen song, which i found amusing. then it was leftover spaghetti, ice cream, calling mommy and grandpa on skype, and then to bed.

and today, saturday, anna kristin came over around 10 and we sat at the kitchen table and worked on small tiny watercolors (without making a mess) while connor played on his tablet and bounced around looking for attention. he’s into spinning these days. spinning and falling on the floor. he wanted to go onto the ‘busy train’ in the closest playground last night, on the way back from the concert, but it was wet and the whole area was full of road construction debris, because summer is when they repair the roads here. i started a loaf of bread just before anna kristin got here, and it had finished the first rising by the time she left, so connor punched it down and i stuck the dough into the fridge to slow its rise while we did other things for a few hours. it was raining, so there was no chance of going to the cafe to draw in the troll woman.

after that we went over to listhus 12 to deliver the laundry and check to see that everybody had enough towels and sheets, and to listhus 10 to get the deposit from lizzie and check on a light that seems to have blown in her room (not that you need lights yet).

then we went swimming. connor is a capable swimmer as long as he has swim fins on, but that’s not right, so i’ve been making him take the fins off and swim to me in the big pool. and he’s been so resistant – getting hysterical, screaming for help, insisting between sobs that he can’t swim without his fins. and i’m just as dour as i can get, insisting he stop the nonsense and swim to me. with the usual results.

so eventually, yesterday, we got to the point where he pushed off the side and came to me, standing 3′ away from him. and swimming back to the side. and i’d move back a step and having him do it again. and again. and again. and when his teeth were chattering, we moved into the hotpot, where i threw the locker key down into the water, and he had tons of fun trying to dive down and get it. no screaming in that pool. no insisting he was going to drownd.


last night i heard him boasting to mommy about how he was such a great swimmer without his fins, so today i reminded him of his boast, and we started with 3 feet and worked our way up to about 20 feet, and he was fine. when we moved to the hot pot, he was so busy trying to swim to the bottom that he didn’t want to go down the big slide, and when i made him go he forgot his swim fins and had no trouble at all swimming to side after he splashed down. then, in the locker room (the management has kind of insisted he come with me instead of playing in the boy’s changing room forever while my hair drips on the lobby floor), the lady removing the tokens from the lockers praised him mightily for swimming so well, and told him she watches him very carefully
(like a lit fuse). he was very proud. yay connor.

i noticed the notice of the art opening in kaffi klara as we were leaving the pool. we were late. so we stopped at home to drop our swimming things, pull the bread out of the fridge to warm, get money and the revised troll woman drawings, and ran down to the cafe.


it was very crowded. the artist was born in olafsfjordur and stayed until he was 16, when kids had to move to akureyri in order to continue school. he works in wood, carving 3″ triptychs of waterfalls and mountains, including olafsfjordur scenes.


i talked to him for a moment, and he confessed that while his eyes are still fine for such detailed work, his hands are a little bit shaky. this happens when you get old. painters go blind and take up ceramics; that kind of thing.


i saw lara at the cafe, and ida gave connor a bowl of ice cream, so we sat and talked while he ate it. she’s got a friend and colleague at a college on the monterey peninsula in california (unless i got the location wrong) who will be coming for a few days, and she’d like me to meet with her and discuss listhus. perhaps we can do some kind of exchange with her college. i’ll get together with her early in the week, and we’ll see what we can come up with. i also told her that i had discussed doing a troll parade during the first weeks of this coming school session, with karolina (one of the project managers at rót), and that jim was starting work on a bunch of troll portraits that the kids could use as models for making papier mache troll masks and costumes.

i also heard the story about the troll rock i got into so much trouble drawing on. turns out it’s a troll woman. she and a troll guy were very much in love, but he was a warrior and always off to do battle. one day he was over in hedinsfjordur and it got to be so late that he stayed there that night. and the troll woman was worried about him, so she peeked out of her cave looking for her, and the sun caught her and turned her to stone. lara assured me that she wouldn’t have gotten mad about my defacing her, but her man would have, and was completely capable of burning out the microwave (and to think about it, jim was the one who chalked it, and the microwave burned out reheating his coffee – it’s all in the timing). she suggested that i make a sign telling this tale, and put it up right at the crosswalk across from the cafe, and also to put some cut flowers near her rock, as her man would do. so i can do that; it’s part of the troll project after all.

and then we went to the grocery and bought some lamb, some hotdogs, and hotdog buns. we’re planning on making pizza tomorrow night, so i got some tomato puree and shredded cheese. but when we got back, we put the bread in the oven, and connor went to play on his tablet, but there was no charge, so he had a meltdown. right now he’s on the couch doing battles between a minecraft figure and a plastic spoon. it goes back and forth from raining to used-to-be-raining. the laundry i found hidden in a closet at listhus 12 is spinning dry, and it’ll soon be time to call jim and see how his work is going (he’s now working on the sketches for the sports center).

and those are the days when nothing much is happening around here. there’s no time to get bored.


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