I had an amazing 14 day adventure up in the north of Sweden. We walked 125km though tough wilderness in Sarek National Park which lies above the Arctic Circle.
This painting which has nothing to do with Sarek has been at drawing stage for months and I decided on coming home to paint it and be done with it. I’m happy with many aspects of the painting, it is painted with confidence which pleases me considering I haven’t been painting watercolours so much recently. By the way, if you are going on a bad-ass trekking trip I can advise you to leave your painting gear at home, I personally was exhausted each day and I was more interested in climbing into my sleeping bag than creating a work of art. Next year I have promised myself a less rigorous holiday, one where I can spend a few hours each day doing some sketching.
I filmed a lot while trekking in Sarek and I will be posting several episodes of my adventures there at a later date. I will of course be painting watercolours that are inspired by my experiences too.
The trek took eight days, first we flew from Stockholm to Kiruna – a mining town in the far north of Sweden. Then we travelled S.W. by train, taxi and finally a bus to Ritsem where we stayed the night in a hostel. In the morning I flew in a helicopter for the first time, for most of us it was a first, we were four – two couples. The helicopter was pretty small and one felt how we were easily buffeted by the winds as we travelled low across the grey skies though the mountain valleys to Stáloluckta, a 25 minute journey.
From there we walked north along the Padjelanta trail. It was a grey day and by late afternoon it started to rain, it didn’t stop for the next 24 hours. I was in awe of the sheer scale of the landscape around me, an urban dweller isn’t used to nature’s might.
So we got wet, very wet. We packed up our tent in the pouring rain, ate a quick breakfast and walked 15 km without a real break as the weather was so bad. Thankfully that was the only bad day we had. We had frost one night so I froze a little but no big deal.
Unfortunately I do not have time to write so much more as I have to earn a living. It was a wonderful adventure and over the next five days I painted as much as I could, it was so rewarding. We had planned to walk to Akkastugorna on the Padjelanta trail but we turned north and headed for higher ground as the mosquitoes were so impossible to cope with. We detoured at Vidjáguojkka, headed north and walked along the Nordkalotten trail until we reached Vaisaluoktastugan. The morning after we took a ferry back across the huge man-made lake to Ritsam, then began the long tedious journey back to Stockholm and reality.
Tomorrow I travel to the north of Sweden to Sarek National Park which is south west of Kiruna. We will be trekking in the wilderness for 8 days, a helicopter will drop us in the middle of the park and the challenge will be to reach civilisation again! We have to carry all our food in the rucksacks on our backs. This means I will have to take as little art equipment as possible. After much thought I settled for what you see in the picture.
There is a large risk that I will be too exhausted most days to paint anything but I just have to try, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.