Ideas Island

WOWSER! I wanted to write a blogpost about how A M A Z I N G my art residency on Ideas Island was, but I'm really struggling to find the words...

First let me explain... Ideas Island was created by Fredrik Haren, it's a simple, generous and kind concept. You complete the simple application here explaining what creative project you want to work on and if selected you are given exclusive use of a beautiful 7,000 sqm private island in Stockholm Sweden for one week to work on your project.

You reach the island by rowing over to it (my partner Steve aka Lazy Chief was the official captain)

You have to bring all your supplies for the week - food/ art equipment etc etc and tie up the boat so it can't sail away without you (although it is THE BEST place to be stranded).

Then first thing I did was to fill up my flower press (this is the first thing I do wherever I travel to)

I found lots of bird feathers and made quills to draw and paint with...

You stay in a really beautiful Swedish summer house, the island is FULL of birdlife so I was really pleased we brought the binoculars!

It was such a great opportunity to make mistakes, learn new marks, push myself and stop being so precious and careful with my drawings.

This was my favourite room in the house (although we were so lucky with the weather we were rarely indoors). A highlight for me was sleeping out on the dock in our sleeping bags, as we were there for the summer solstice it never really got dark.

I spent so much time drawing the trees on the island, and the one's I could see on the bank.

Being away from the studio, creating drawings that were not commissioned by anyone was really exciting. I pushed myself to explore, not make safe drawings, try new things, and frequently made bad work or spoiled things that were initially nice, which WAS GREAT as I learned so much!

I kept drawing snippets of different parts of the island so I could take them home with me  - they're now propped all around my studio (drawings are the best souvenir of any place).

The focus of the week for me was to make new marks, I found the constant movement of the water really helpful in inspiring new ideas and ended up with pages and pages and pages of painted marks...

....so spent a lot of time collaging.

My time on Ideas Island was magic, I swam every day, slept out under a sky of colour, had giant bonfires and BBQ's, watched the birds, rowed the boat, read books, listened to music, ate A LOT of liquorice, had a dance party on the last night and of course had time, space and permission to push myself and develop my artwork. It has made a big difference to me, and I want to hold onto the feelings, directions and ideas it's provoked for a very long time. THANK YOU FREDRICK (and if you are still reading congrats and I suggest you IMMEDIATELY apply for your own stay on Ideas Island x

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