Impressions of Iceland Revisited
The landscapes and towns of Iceland are rewarding subjects for photographs, but they also inspire other forms of art. After four trips I have a hard drive full of pictures of the island of ice and fire. Thousands of photos, but also a growing collection of what I call digital paintings, for lack of a better term.
This week it’s been two years since I was in Iceland, together with travel companion A; I wrote this blog post about it back then. It was great to see our beloved Reykjavik again but frankly speaking: the weather could have been better. Especially on the first days of the trip, our equipment and mood were severely tested by lashing winds and prolonged rainfall at temperatures just above freezing.
In other words, the conditions were not ideal for photography. But Iceland, in only slightly better circumstances, is so photogenic: colorful towns, picturesque harbors, rugged landscapes. Volcanoes, geysers, glaciers. Fjords, mountains, lava fields. Spectacular waterfalls, wild brooks, boiling puddles of mud. Lighthouses, churches, turf huts.
The weather also did not really facilitate the setting up of a stool and an easel to paint all that beauty. Fortunately, these days you can also do that afterwards. I had already made a series of impressionistic “paintifications” in Photoshop: digital art based on photos taken during previous trips to Iceland. The dark months of the second lockdown in the Netherlands were a good reason to also give that treatment to the photo material of 2019.
Filters, textures, relief
Photoshop is packed with filters that can turn a photo into a watercolor or charcoal sketch in a matter of seconds. But that’s not art… In most cases, those results are just a bit too simple to please the eye on a permanent basis. But by overlaying a number of those filters, combining them with paper, canvas and / or grunge textures, and applying a suggestion of relief or emboss, you can certainly create beautiful images. Impressions with many shades of color and a certain playfulness, roughness and coincidence.
Once I was in a creative mood, I also took a critical look at the previously made Iceland art. Most of them were about seven years old and could use an extra lick of digital paint. After all this time I obviously have learned a thing or two about Photoshop’s special effects.
Of course I hope to be able to revisit Iceland in the near future without worrying about contamination, masks or quarantine. Even after four trips, I haven’t seen everything there, and I certainly haven’t seen every highlight in good weather. But as long as covid-19 still stands in the way of physical return, digital painting comes closest to the real travel experience.
Iceland – the Movie
I have bundled all Icelandic paintings together in one movie. All of them? Well, to be honest I had to leave a few out; there are now 59 of them and they did not all fit in 2:47 minutes. So I had to make some tough decisions. Kill your darlings, as they say.
In my online gallery, powered by Werk aan de Muur/OhMyPrints, I don’t have that stress. You can admire all my Icelandic impressions there and even order them printed on canvas, acrylic glass, aluminum or a variety of other materials.
Es gibt auch eine deutsche Version, il y a aussi une version française. Delivery is included in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and some adjacent countries. If you live further away, there’s my gallery at Pixels.com, which ships worldwide.