It was exciting coming into Copenhagen on the ferry in the morning. We slowly passed a huge line of wind turbines that extended out into the sea and greeted us with an eerie wave of their huge ‘arms. In the distant mist we could see the epic sixteen mile bridge that crosses from Copenhagen to Malmo, Sweden that had recently been the lead character in our favourite Scandinavian TV noir. As we disembarked onto the dockside and caught a taxi to the airport, where we were to pick up another hire car for the week, I was immediately struck by how different the place felt from Oslo. It felt much more cosmopolitan with a familiar urban beat that made me feel more at home.
It wasn’t long though before we were heading off the motorway out of Copenhagen into the flat arable landscape that seemed typical of much of Zealand, heading out towards the coast to Vejby Strand, which wasn’t much further than a half hour’s drive. Here we had a wonderful summerhouse waiting for us, complete with grass on the roof, which we had rented for the week.
As we zipped along, the landscape opened up into big skies above us and a mixture of lots of different types of wonderful trees that also had a more familiar feel, strangely like much of the English landscape I love in the Midlands. After unpacking and cooking something that wasn’t barbequed, we went to explore the local landscape for an hour and to try and find the sea as the sun went down. Just ten minutes away were some beautiful rolling hills covered in purple heather that lead to a dramatic hilltop view across the North Sea. It was the most amazing pale transparent blue colour that appeared so vast that it wrapped itself around you.
A couple of nights later I found myself sat alone on top of this hill painting this view as the sun set on the sea. I felt extremely lucky being in this moment. I tried to chase the disappearing deep purple shadows as they dramatically crept across the landscape as the sun disappeared so quickly. The small paintings made were as much informed by my memory of the scene as the scene observed. I was particularly excited when I finished by the colours I had found myself using. They seemed very Munch-like with their crimsons, blues and yellows and the light contained within them. They appeared to have a distinctive Scandinavian feel.
I was so excited as I ran back to the car across the heather hills with my canvas paper flapping in the wind, wet with oil paint, desperate not to get them spoilt. It felt like a door had briefly opened and I had found myself in a new room.