A year ago I was lucky enough to be appointed Artist in Residence by the Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge. Since then of course there’s been covid and the ship was having a refit so there was no opportunity to get down to the Antarctic last season. I was happy to wait; after all, the anticipation of travel is a pleasurable part of the experience and it’s given me time to read books, talk to other polar artists, mull over some ideas. Now, as winter approaches at home, down in the southern hemisphere the days are lengthening and HMS Protector is in the South Atlantic on her way to the Falklands where I’ll join her later this month.
My journey begins with a train to York on Monday, as I have to quarantine for 8 days at an RAF base before flying out to the Falklands from Brize Norton. Much as I love travel and adventure, I get in a flat spin over packing so you won’t get much sense out of me this week as I juggle open studios with last minute preparations and lists of ‘things to take to Antarctica’ as well as ‘things to do whilst in quarantine’. When I finally go south, I’ll be in contact only occasionally when wifi permits so the full story with sketchbooks will wait until I’m back in January.
What shall I draw?
I have a question for you all – what would you like to see in my Antarctic sketchbooks? (apart from penguins, of course!) What would you focus on if you were there? What would you like me to find out, to record? I’ll be trying to draw the wildlife, of course, and the sea and ice, but I’m also interested in maps and charts, the history of exploration and discovery, and the importance of the polar regions for meteorology and science, which is more critical than ever. Whatever happens, I won’t be short of material! But I would like to have your thoughts and questions too.
Whilst I’m away….
I have friends and helpers looking after home and studio whilst I’m away, so my online shop will be open but with a slightly limited range. If you’re able to order this week before I go, please do! (I have year planners – let’s make plans!)
Finally, a grovelling apology for all my friends and family who will yet again receive no Christmas cards or gifts from me…. but you must admit, it’s a good excuse. I’ll be thinking of you!