Monday, 10 September 2012

....Norwegian Wood'

Norway. About two days before we were due to fly to Oslo I had a message from the friend we were going to stay with that he would now be going on holiday on the Monday following the Saturday we were due to arrive. A few weeks before he had mentioned that he may be going away later on that week, say Wednesday or Thursday, but I didn’t expect this. I felt a bit sick realising that the trip I had been planning for months had suddenly taken a very different shape. It seemed very unlikely that I was now going to meet any of the artists we had discussed meeting up with, visit any studios in Oslo, or source the locations I had been hoping to explore on the edges of the city with his help. After a couple of sleepless nights we flew out with little idea what now lay ahead. My anxiety was made worse as Isaac is only four years old, and this was his first trip overseas. It was not a good start to things. I felt very unprepared.

The weekend in Norway with our friends was nice enough though, and it was good to see them, despite the knowledge that it would be so brief. We drove an hour out of Oslo to their ‘hitter’ or cabin, in the forest landscape near Bastad, which my friend seemed insistent on saying was more like Sweden than Norway. The ‘hitter’ life is how many Norwegians spend their weekends and holidays away from the city and work, and there were many cabins around which looked great tucked into the hills. Our friends had two cabins: a nice large family cabin and a smaller one room place one where we stayed which doubled as my friend’s studio. With no running water, a loo (don’t ask!), or a cooker,it was a little basic. The shower was a customised bucket hoisted up outside.
I-Pad Painting
It didn’t take long to feel quite immersed in this life though, and before long I found myself sketching the surroundings and painting on my i-pad. With my other plans up in the air regarding exploring the edgelands of Oslo, I mentally made the decision that this landscape would have to be my focus for the week instead. This felt natural but also right.  The landscape seemed such a rich source for painting that it seemed crazy not to think about working in it.

Come the Monday morning though, our friends were gone by 9 o’clock in the morning, their family cabin locked up, and we were left with a kettle, a couple of mugs, a gas barbeque to cook on, and a sad sense of feeling abandoned in this foreign landscape on our own having come all this way…

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