Monday, October 27, 2008

Norway

I'm just back from spending two weeks teaching at a College in Volda, Norway. It was my first time in this country - somewhere I'd always wanted to visit - and it was a wonderful experience. The landscape is truly stunning, with majestic peaks, steep cliffs that plunge thousands of feet into fjords and distant snow capped mountains. I also found the wooden buildings very interesting. It rained a bit (most days - that's what the splodges on the drawings are) but it didn't spoil it - the autumn colours were spectacular and I met some really great people. I'll post a link to the photos later
  • my photos
  • Meanwhile here's a few sketches done with a broad nibbed art pen - I really enjoyed using it - the ink comes out very fast so you have to work equally quickly - and when it's about to rain that's a bonus.

    Here's the view from my bedroom - with the steep side of the Rotsethornet on the left - I didn't get to climb up it this time - but I will return...


    Volda has an open air museum - a fascinating collection of buildings showing traditional building techniques. The turf roofs were very interesting with a wealth of plants growing above a layer of birch bark...

    I think this may have been a small water mill. There's a millstone in front of it and it had a horizontal many-bladed fan underneath it...




    I went for a walk up the hill behind the town. There were some very picturesque mossy forest areas with streams and waterfalls. On the way back down I sketched the view over the town - again with the Rotsethornet behind...

    The neighbours house had terrific Viking style dragons on the ridge of the roof...

    We visited the Briksdal Glacier at the weekend - it's difficult to get an idea of the scale - even in the photos. If you take a picture of the whole thing with someone alongside it they just become a tiny dot. Whilst we were exploring the edge we heard a terrifying crack and far above we could see a few bits fall off - it took a long time for the to reach the bottom. Sadly the glacier is retreating at quite an alarming rate...


    This is a typical Norwegian barn. They always have at least one ramp for the farmer to drive his tractor up and drop off er, um, some farm type stuff - straw or cows or something...

    The day before I left was very special - some intrepid students agreed to come out for a walk in the rain and we found a reconstruction of a traditional Sami dwelling called a Goahti. The Sami are Reindeer herders from the far North. Ailu was a Sami himself and he quickly got everything in place and a fire lit. There was a table without legs and some decorated reindeer skins to sit on. What a fantastic place for a picnic. This is the view of the front door...


    Finally the trip back. I had three planes t catch so I made it into a bit of a sketchcrawl. Here's Aalesund airport at 11AM and Bergen at 12...


    This is an old glider, also at Bergen, at 12.30PM...



    On the plane, somewhere over the North Sea at 2PM...



    And Aberdeen at 3.30PM (my first time in Scotland)...




    Other Nordic observations...

    - Fish are very important in Norway.
    - There doesn't seem to be any crime in Volda - people don't put fences and gates round their houses or businesses and bikes are left unlocked on the street. Or perhaps stealing a bike is pointless. You'd either have to risk getting caught as you cycle slowly up a very steep hill - or end up at the fjord at the bottom of the hill.
    - You can't buy alcohol in a supermarket after 6 on a Saturday (bear this in mind if you're invited to a party on a Saturday night and don't want to arrive looking like a beerless cheapskate)
    - Most of the TV is taken up by news and current affairs - and most of the news and current affairs is about fish.
    - Norwegians are very fit and love the outdoors. Whilst descending a 700m mountain in cold, almost horizontal rain we were overtaken by several joggers, dogwalkers and even a couple with a pram.
    - Beer is expensive - almost £5 a pint. The barman will ask you several times if you really wanted 4 glasses before pouring them.
    - They recently launched a cruise ship called the 'Hurtegurten'
    - Norwegian for fish is 'fisk'

    It all seems a long way off now I'm back and working again. I hope I go back again soon.

    3 comments:

    Tarjei said...

    Hello Stefan!

    I'm from Volda, and was wondering if it is possible to buy any of your sketches from Volda.

    You can contact me at t[a]onsite.no

    Ailu said...

    Hi Stefan!

    Ailu here :) That was a nice hike up to the "goahti" Sorry for not seeing you off on the last day. Had no phone to reach you on, but I guess you had enough with getting packed.

    Anyways, really nice couple weeks with a excellent introduction too maya! Thank you.

    ps:Noticed you have Bengal and Craig Mullins on the links, really nice artist´s I admire for their illustrations.

    Greetings from Volda

    stefan said...

    Hey Ailu, nice to hear from you - glad you liked the Maya introduction. I'm looking forward to seeing your animations.

    Craig Mullins has been a bookmark of mine for many years now - I'm always amazed how his seemingly random semi-transparent brush marks combine to make such real looking scenes. It's worth checking out the other links too.