In May this year, I spent seven wonderful days painting and drawing on the ‘Pea Islands’ (Ertholmene), more commonly known as Christiansø. The project was inspired by my 2018 KYST project, and I started each day at sunrise and stopped with the sunset – outside in all weathers, trying to make a physical and emotional connection to the islands by watching, looking, painting and recording. Once again, all the artwork was completed on the day, but whereas for the KYST project I stayed as close to the coast as possible, here I divided the islands into seven consecutive ‘zones’, one for each day, and allowed myself to wander and explore within these areas as much as I liked.
Situated about 12 miles northeast of my home island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, Christiansø is home to about 90 residents, as well huge numbers of eider ducks, auks, seals, frogs and toads. The islands share a fascinating cultural history, and during the 17th and 18th centuries were converted into a huge naval fortress, which has remained largely unchanged since it was decommissioned in 1855.
In the summer, Christiansø is a popular tourist destination from Bornholm, and hundreds of visitors take the ferry from Gudhjem each day, returning after spending three or four hours traipsing around the islands. In May, however, there were few tourists, and I was lucky enough to experience a taste of the sensations and experiences that the islands offer. My biggest challenge was the incredible richness of the flora and fauna and the overwhelming amount of things I wanted to paint. Add to this the ever changing light and weather conditions, and I had a very intense seven days that left me quite exhausted.
On my return, I shifted my focus to the exhibition and book I had already planned. In the beginning of July I returned to the islands with my paintings and enjoyed another incredible week – this time showing my work at the tiny gallery Palivaren on Christiansø.
Just in time for the exhibition’s opening I managed to write and publish the book ERTHOLMENE, once again with the help of the designer Nye Hughes from Dalrymple in Scotland, with whom I had worked with for the KYST book. The ERTHOLMENE book is smaller (60 pp), softback and follows the same layout and narrative style of its big brother.
At the time of writing, the book is available to purchase in many of Bornholm’s bookshops and galleries. The price is 150kr (£15 Pounds Sterling). If you are not able to visit Bornholm, drop me an email stating your address and how many copies you would like, and whether you’d like it signed – and I’ll let you know how much the postage and packing costs. Payment can be made by Mobilpay, Paypal or bank transfer.
The paintings are also for sale – many are sold, but not all – so let me know if you’re interested in any of them.