ERTHOLMENE

(denne blog på dansk se her)

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.

A GPS record of my wanderings on the first day

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.

ERTHOLMENE 04.02 Udsigt mod Coucherons Bastion

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.

ERTHOLMENE 01.05 Ederfulge ved Frederiksø

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.

Screenshots from the book

Ten Days on Christiansø

DSCF7039I had the most amazing 10 days on Christiansø, also known as Ertholmerne –  the tiny group of islands off Bornholm, where I had an exhibition in the minute Palivaren Gallery. I had been to Christiansø several times before, but only on day trips, so I jumped at the chance to stay there a bit longer and get to know the place  a little. No cars, no animals (apart form birds and amphibians), incredible organic granite architecture and some fantastic and eccentric people. I really fell for the place.DSCF7038

One of the things that really interested me, especially as I had just been at Bass Rock with 60,000 breeding gannets, was ‘Suleima‘, Christiansø’s famous solitary gannet. It first arrive in 2011 or 2012, and has been there ever since. Thousands of miles from any other gannets, it must’ve been blown off course during a storm. It sits rights in the harbour and is a most obliging model. I got carried away telling the story to my kids, and I’m thinking I might make some sort of illustrated story about it.DSCF7040