Finland... a labyrinth of waterways and forests

My nearest lake a short walk away
The art residency I am now undertaking is in a quiet area of the Finnish lake district. With its twisting labyrinth of waterways, lakes, 14,000 islands and uninterrupted hectares of forests there's no shortage of views.

Haihatus is run by a friendly Finnish couple 'Merja and Raimi' and it is thanks to them that they converted an old hospital into the artist refuge it is today. Not long into my stay and I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude that there are places like this that open up their homes (albeit a very large one!) to artists who need space and tranquility to focus on their work. Plus for all its quietness, you get a real feel for the cultural differences here... which can take a bit of adjustment!

Haihatus residency building
Once I got used to the slower pace of life and my new, strange environment, I slowly started a steady stream of drawings. This led to an experimentation of media (watercolour, pastels, acrylic) to get a feel for what would work best to depict the serene Finnish landscape. I was quite limited to the range of media and paper materials I could bring with me due to weight and practicality, for example, I chose not to bring my oil paints with me as I feared they would not have enough drying time before having to be packed up in my carry case. Also I could only bring an A2 sized case due to plane restrictions and this meant only paper and no canvas materials.

A couple of weeks into the residency I now have a reasonable body of work that I can use for adapting to canvas when I get back home... And let's hope this is the case with the new snowfall outside!!


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