To mark the special days from Christmas to Epiphany, we send you a calendar of new works by artist Jonathan Parnham, to inspire you to celebrate the beauty of landscape in the deepest days of winter.
In his poem of 1871, 'Iceland First Seen', William Morris wrote:
"Why do we long to wend forth through the length and breadth of a land,
Dreadful with grinding of ice, and record of scarce hidden fire?"
During his recent painting tour of Iceland, artist Jonathan Parnham, who refers to Morris's poem as 'an essential calling to witness this awe-inspiring, voiceless and slowly transforming terrain' encountered the geographical wonders of the land of fire and ice.
Painted mostly en plein air, this unique collection captures the raw power and natural drama of the country's majestic waterfalls, glaciers, geysers and volcanoes. These include the spectacular Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, two of Iceland's monumental waterfalls: at Seljalandsfoss, the water plummets 60 metres over a former sea cliff, and behind the fall's deep, wonderous plunge pool is a cave. Here, Parnham was able to climb up and behind the fall and create studies of the tumultuous cascade of water, which later meanders through the eroded valley below. Painting at stages during a walk up to the mighty Skógafoss waterfall allowed the artist to gain a sense of Iceland's elemental energy, while the waterfall's spray - exhilarating and all encompassing - at times became subsumed within the misty aesthetic of his paintings. On a crossing to the island of Heimaey, works made on the ferry capture the early morning light across the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago, approximately seven miles from the coast of southern Iceland. Travelling on foot with acrylic, ink, paper and board, the artist climbed the ash slopes of the 'Hill of Fire' Eldfell volcano, and hiked to the spectacular Sólheimajökull glacier which, as part of Iceland's most southerly ice cap, has formed this distinctive landscape over thousands of years.
Painting directly from, and within, these magnificent sites has been essential to Parnham's understanding of Iceland's ever-changing light and atmosphere, while paintings created later, at his studio, are charged with the power and vitality of his extraordinary plein air works.