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I have been exploring land for many decades. As a child, my perception of the landscape was paired with a feeling of beauty. It came about during movement, while running, cycling or mountaineering, when the landscape-space components foreground, background, sky and light came together in such a way that an aesthetic moment arose for me. This basic visual question arises for me as a visual artist to this day. In addition to the visual perception of the landscape, the question of the use of painterly and graphic means came up in the course of my artistic representation. Bringing this together is my job.

The art project LANDSYN – land in sight has the elements land, point of view, movement, observation, sighting, decision and execution “en plein air”. I chose the island of Iceland as the country. The point of view is the old fishing trawler Pall Helgi on the North Atlantic. A tent with a large lookout on the coastline was installed on top of it. There was a painting table in the tent, from which the landscape was viewed and the time for the start of the graphic and painterly action was determined. The oak boat drove a total of about 2500 nautical miles at a speed of two to ten knots. 48 Icelandic fjords were sailed one or more times and landed in 28 ports. I worked on paper, Arches Rives handmade paper, 300g / sqm in the format 80 x 120 cm or 60 x 80 cm. My graphic devices were the bone folder, a blunt eraser, pencil, steel pen and an ink brush. As a coloring agent, I used color pigment dough from the Kremer company, which David Kremer made especially for the trip. The binder was shellac.

The time of the bypass was June to mid-August 2021. Bolungarvik in northwest Iceland was the starting point and end point of the painting trip. Direction N-E-S-W.

I only worked on the water. My inspirational observations always took place during the sea voyage. From my tent lookout I looked at the landscape and ignited my painting and drawing process in a landscape situation that was moving for me. It usually came about by first embossing indentations in the front and back of the paper with a folder, an eraser or a blunt pencil. After such a picture idea came up, I put the drawing in color with ink. Most of the time, the sheet was titled with place names and located with nautical dimensions in length and width and then signed.

The external conditions, temperature and weather have had a major impact on my work. The decisive factor, however, was the movement of the boat in the swell. When the swell was very strong, the work was mostly very direct, with a strong, expressive style. It was very rigorous recording and expressing. The strong physical physique at the workplace required a very consistent implementation. I really appreciated this wildness. Correspondingly delicate and delicate works were created in calm waters. The drawing could be set in a more complex way and the colors mixed in a more differentiated manner. The weather, waves and the strong ocean currents have fundamentally influenced my observation and my work process. The rapidly changing lighting moods were the basis for the respective color decisions.

The artistic confrontation was directly linked to the current situation on the water. Wind, weather and water shaped my work. The further voyage of the ship thus constantly changed the point of view of my land sighting and is therefore the immanent difference to my work on land. The point of view on land is always fixed and the view is only characterized by changing light moods, completely different on the water in seafaring. A situation that required precise perception and lightning-fast implementation: procrastination impossible, an impressionistic impression, expressive execution, a momentary decision, no weighing up, radical implementation, heads or tails, always risky. It was a work in the here and now full of concentration, a work frenzy, wonderful for me.

The simple, free life aboard Pall Helgis framed the workplace. We cooked, ate and slept together with the crew in the small cabin in the bow of the boat. Almost exclusively the previous day’s fish was eaten, everything was discussed at the small cabin table or a spontaneous decision was made based on the respective weather situation: briefly, directly and immediately. The team’s mood was always excellent and there was a lot of laughter. The team consisted of the captain and engineer Loftur Bjarnason (56 years), the cook and manager of the trip Sigfus Almarsson (66 years), Gabriele Lang-Kröll as documentarist and sailor (55 years) and the artist Peter Lang (55 years). While leaving Loftur, Fri∂thjoffur Saevasson (54 years old) took over the helm and Arni Samuelsson (70 years old) supported him as a machinist. Sometimes we also had guests on board who accompanied us for a few days. Together we defied all adversities and were surprised and rewarded with the incredible beauty of the island.

Thanks to the careful and professional captains, we survived the wild sea voyage unscathed, which is luck. We didn’t hunt the fish together, but the beauty of the island. What a painting adventure!

At sea, August 20, Nöronna (ferry Iceland-Denmark)
Peter Lang

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