To a Scot, Norway seems a familiar landscape. You stand somewhere and it reminds you a bit of Glencoe, or Glen Affric, or somewhere in Knoydart. But it’s different too. A bit bigger, grander, somehow cleaner as if their glacial retreat in the last ice age was a bit more decisive. Scotland feels older.
I saw mountains there as if drawn by a child. Straight up lumps.
Pieter Brueghel concocted his landscapes, a bit here a bit there. Brueghel’s first biographer Karel Van Mander said that “when he travelled through the Alps that he had swallowed all the mountains and rocks and spat them out again, after his return, onto his canvases and panels”
Finding some old sketchbooks I do something of the same, fragments of landscape knitted together; forested hillsides near Alesund, houses at Forde, mountains drawn from the train, somewhere between Trondheim and Bodo.
I find myself allowing, encouraging, a kind of naivety to come out. Trees that are too big and barely recede in size as the space goes back, a sun like an orange. I am somewhere too in Italy thinking of those mini mountains in Sassetta. Most of all Noggin the Nog comes to mind, Pete Firmin and Oliver Postgate’s cosy, scary imaginings of the north.