Exploration // Producing New Vision

I’ve been in home for a little over a week. I’ve acclimated to trees, warm weather, and sandals again. When I think about the fact that I was in Iceland for a month, it doesn’t seem real. It feels like a dream. But it’s a dream that wouldn’t trade for anything. It’s through the boundry-stretching-fear-conquering-perspective-shifting experiences that produce new vision. I’m grateful that I was given the opportunity and I can’t wait for the next adventure.

Week Three and Four Adventures: We traveled to Southern and Eastern Iceland. We explored waterfalls in caves, drove through lava fields, visited harbor towns, and met some unique artisans along the way. I created artwork that was inspired by various landscapes. My last week consisted of exploring areas near Laugarvatn. We visited the sheep farm where the residency was located. One of the last places I visited was Þingvellir, a national park that is home to a canyon between two tectonic plates. In my opinion, it had the most breath-taking views in all of Iceland!

Waterfall    Behind the Waterfall Cape near Vik, Iceland       Glacier LagoonHarbor town   Stream

Pingvellir        Pingvellir Pingvellir    Sheep at the residency

Perspective // Learning to Let Go

Our perspective is a powerful thing. It’s what defines us. However, when we are thrown into a situation that challenges our expectations, we have the choice to change our perspective. We have the ability to view our circumstances differently. I have to admit that it’s taken a while to change my attitude towards my current environment. I am learning to let go of my initial opinions and emotions. I am attempting to take every thought captive in all areas of my life. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).  I don’t know about you, but I’d like for my thoughts, my perspective, and my beliefs to align with God’s Word. As I mentioned last week, it is a process. And that’s okay! God is not looking for perfection; He’s looking for a people who are committed to following Him through the process.

Week Two Adventures: We traveled to the Snæfellsjökull Peninsula located in West Iceland. I thought that the residency was in a remote area, but I was soon proven wrong. So when we came across towns, it was all the more beautiful. I am captivated by the juxtaposition of the tiny houses and the large mountainous backdrop. We visited Cave Vatnshellir that was formed from lava. It’s one of the largest caves in Iceland. Our guide was actually part of the cave’s initial  discovery. He and his friends built the spiral staircase into the cave (seen in the picture below). We stopped at Saxhóll, a crater formed after a volcanic eruption 3-4,000 years ago. And we CLIMBED to the top. I think this trip is just about overcoming fears! It was an amazing view from the top. We stopped in a couple towns along the northern coast of the peninsula, where scenes from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty were filmed! (SO COOL!) Since we’ve returned to the residency, I’ve worked in the studio. I’m trying to incorporate influences from the landscape into my work!

West Iceland   West Iceland

Stykkishólmur   West Iceland

Cave   Cave Interior

West Iceland  Climbed to the Top!

Walter Mitty   Church in Stykkishólmur

Transitioning // Building Capacity

I’ve been in Iceland for one week and I have to be honest with you – it’s been a really difficult adjustment. Of course, I’m in a BEAUTIFUL country with amazing landscapes, but I think I caught a case of “culture shock.” I was not expecting to be as homesick as I was. Who knew I’d miss the great ole state of Texas? Stepping outside of our comfort zones is not an easy task. Psalm 34:4-5 states, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Overcoming fear does not happen with one step. It is a constant choice that must be made. In the midst of building capacity and stretching our limits, there is grace in the learning process. It’s not going to be easy; however, it’s not always going to be hard either. I’m trying to take every day as it comes and live moment by moment.

Week one adventures: I’ve worked in the studio, gotten to know my fellow residency peers, and have already taken tons of pictures! We explored the city of Selfoss, where one of our Gullkistan Residency directors owns a wool shop. We stopped for some pictures of the black sand at Ölfusá River. We’ve gone to Geysir Geothermal Field and Gullfoss Waterfall, one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls. We have attempted to make a traditional Icelandic rye bread that bakes in the ground, which is still cooking! Last night we had an Open Studio at Eyvindartunga (the farm where we are located) and enjoyed a pot luck dinner with the Gullkistan Residency directors and guests.

Alda's Wool Shop   Black Sand   Geysir   Gullfoss Waterfall   Makingbread   Alda