I am thrilled to have been invited to take part in The Arctic Circle Autumn 2018 Residency, during which a selected group of Artists and Scientists will travel up to the high north and set sail around the Svalbard Archipelago on a Barquentine Tall ship.
The ship will depart from Longyearbyen at the end of September and we will sail north over the sea and fjords for almost three weeks, taking a route around the islands which will be guided by weather conditions at the time.
This is an important opportunity for me to continue developing my understanding of the incredible Arctic landscape and delicate environment at the top of the Earth.
I am asking for your help to support my participation in this research voyage.
Having previously spent periods of 24-hour darkness (Polar Night) and 24-hour sunlight (Midnight Sun) making painting research in the extreme northern locations of Pingeyri and Petuniabukta, the next step of my research journey is to experience the twilight period in which the changes in light and weather signify that dazzling summertime is transitioning to deepest wintertime.
I need to raise a total of 5000 GBP to pay the Arctic Circle participation fee and to buy return flights to Longyearbyen and to supplement my extreme weather painting materials and clothing.
Through selecting me for the residency the Arctic Circle partners have already invested half of the costs of the voyage for me.
Breakdown of the total costs that I need to raise:
4520 GBP expedition participation fee,.
250 GBP return flights from Oslo to Longyearbyen.
(I will cover my flight from China to Oslo, return= 600 GBP, Total travel including transfers= 850 GBP)
230 GBP to help with buying materials and clothing for the voyage.
4520 + 250 + 230 = 5000
I have been selected from hundreds of applicants world-wide, to take part in a once in a life time expedition, travelling around the Svalbard Archipelago, for almost three weeks during October 2018.
During autumn in the Arctic, daily natural light will be diminishing rapidly, large amounts of snow will be falling and glaciers will be growing amid temperatures of about minus 20 degrees centigrade.
To better understand the seasonal shifts and to form a more complete awareness of the changing landscape in the Arctic I need to witness the dramatic transition from summer to deepest winter.
I am asking for your help to support my next period of Arctic painting research.
My aim is to absorb as much information as possible whilst journeying around the Svalbard Archipelago. On board the ship I will make drawings and paintings in sketchbooks, create larger paintings on rolls of paper/ sheets of cotton and silk and supplement this work with photographic/ film/ sound documentation as well as regularly making written observations. Upon making contact with land again I will publish images and words about the period of research on my website.
Please follow the links below to view information about previous northern painting expeditions:
Icelandic research diary: https://georgiarosemurray.com/2015/02/22/painting-research-iceland-2015-light-shadow/
Arctic research diary: https://georgiarosemurray.com/2016/09/07/arctic-here-now-there-then/
The Arctic Circle residency ship will provide the perfect environment for Scientists and Artists to collaborate on their individual research. Through communication I hope that inspiring and supportive scientific/ creative links will be formed and will be subsequently helpful when disseminating our work globally.
I intend for this new period of research to fuel the work for several new international exhibitions during the years following the expedition.
Through an expressive use of vivid pigments and oil paint, my paintings show the reality of our incredible Arctic landscape on multiple levels.
I hope that by creating new exhibitions, which 1000’s of people around the world will see, the global awareness of arctic shifts due to climate change will be increased.
After returning from the last expedition I made to The Arctic, I worked full-time, processing the sacred experience in my studio with paint and in my dreams with beautiful visions. I worked in response to memories, sketchbook observations (paintings and words), photographs and scientific climate change facts, which I learnt from the Czech Scientists I worked alongside.
I created a new exhibition of 20 Arctic paintings, for my first international solo exhibition, ARCTIC NORTH 1+1-1=1, which opened at Knupp Gallery in Prague, April 2017.
Having formed fantastic research bonds with the biologists, ecologists and geologists who I was living and working alongside, I was invited to be the first artist to make a presentation an international climate change conference in Europe.
Throughout the following months I continued creating new Arctic paintings in preparation for another larger solo exhibition at Duff House, an outpost of The Scottish National Galleries. The gallery location was identified due to its location on the edge of the Scottish north coast cliffs and its close proximity to the Arctic landscape, where inspiration for all of the new work had originated.
The experience of existing in the incredible Arctic environment, almost completely separate from human civilization was perception shifting and life changing. Having space to truly perceive the power of the Earth and Universe was ultimately liberating and humbling. In a place where there are more Polar Bears than people grasping a sense of oneness becomes much easier.
I hope that the paintings I make translate the awe I feel in response to the landscape at the top of the world. I use strong colours and expressive brush strokes as symbols to convey the unique and powerful Arctic energy.
Through visiting the Arctic and then creating international exhibitions which show the reality of a drastically changing place, I hope to raise climate change awareness. My role as an artist is to connect to the source and communicate the actuality to people who are remote from the truth.
The concertina sketchbook which is featured above provided the source material for 'Petuniabukta', a 10 meter long version of the watercolour painting which was made over one whole day, on the shores of Billafjorden. 'Petuniabukta' is made of 8 boards which hang together to show the entire 180 degree view from The North Pole to The South Pole. An image of the entire painting, as well as a close-up of one of the eight panels are shown below:
So far Petuniabukta has been seen by thousands of people during exhibitions in Prague and Scotland and is currently on loan, hanging in the entrance to Ernst and Young's funky new offices, near the conference center in Edinburgh.
I am passionate about climate change and believe that by making paintings that communicate the extremely special and beautiful Arctic space, more people will care about maintaining and saving the precious polar regions.
If you believe in the language of painting and you want to support me in my new Arctic research, please help by making a small or larger donation- whatever you can afford will be greatly appreciated.
In return for your support you will receive a memento of my research expedition, in the form of an exhibition poster, a hand painted postcard from the Arctic or a session of studio tuition/ creative guidance.
Should you select the tuition reward you can be assured of sound advice due to my experience over the last four years of working as a Lecturer in various Scottish institutions and now I am working in China as Programme Leader of a new international Art and Design Master's course.
I am offering half or whole day tutorial sessions in which I will visit your own studio, to discuss what ever you wish, give demonstrations showing specific techniques with particular materials, and generally provide whatever kind of studio guidance will benefit your practice most.
Additionally I am offering original Icelandic and Arctic paintings of various sizes, in exchange for your support. My paintings are made with Oil, Gloss and pigments on board or with watercolour paint on paper (paper works are framed and glazed). Please see the range of paintings available on my website:
Finally the images below show 2 colour variations of original 5 layered Arctic Screen Prints which are also on offer as rewards:
If you are interested in my research expedition but are unable to donate, please share this Kick starter project with your friends and colleagues now. Additional exposure will be so helpful!
Thank you to everyone who has provided support to me and my practice in the past and to anyone new who is interested in investing in this research project. Your support means a lot and is hugely appreciated.
Very special thanks to Kyle Noble for helping to produce the fantastic video for this Kickstarter campaign and to Edward Murray for composing the amazing music which is the soundtrack to my film!
Thank you again, please donate if you can and share this web page with as many people as you can!
Risks and challenges
Flying up to the top of the world, to travel on a Barquentine Tall around the frozen landscape of Svalbard will involve some risks.
Low temperatures, bad weather and hungry polar bears are the biggest dangers.
Surviving minus 20 temperatures will be combated with suitable clothing, good boots and gloves to allow long periods of painting outside on board the deck of the ship.
Extreme weather will be watched and avoided by the ships captain and crew, redirecting our course as and when it becomes necessary.
A well equipped ship with warm cabins will provide rest-bite from the cold Autumnal elements.
Polar Bears are sadly quite scarce in the Arctic however if they do approach our boat we will be prepared with have kind, safe methods of deterring them.
On my last trip to the Arctic I received 'Polar Bear safety training' in which I learnt the steps of protection; 1 is to blow a whistle- hopefully the Bear will retreat. 2, is to light and throw a flair, hopefully the coloured explosion and bang will scare the Bear away. If not and the Bear is approaching fast, 3, is to fire a rifle, the powerful explosion is likely to make the Bear run.
We all hope that using a rifle to kill a Bear is never necessary...after all when humans are in the Arctic, we are trespassers in Polar Bears' natural environment.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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