Studio: international art — 5.1895

Page: 210
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A Painter in the Arctic Regions

longest stay there being on the second visit, I got
to know my surroundings, and was able to wait for
exceptional effects. For you must not suppose
many of these wonderful skies are normal to that
region, anymore than they are to our own. Indeed,
the most surprising effects there, I never saw twice.
For instance, that one, which I call The Gates of
Hades, happened by chance when we were out for
a deer hunt in Olrik's Bay, September roth, 1893 ;
the clouds piled up with the lurid effect I have
tried to represent. No, the colour is not a bit
exaggerated; vivid as it is, it is not so dazzling as

the snow off my panel with a palette-knife, bit by
bit, and drop the colour into its place. Of course,
under such circumstances I could only jot down
the colours as quickly as possible out of doors ; then
in my studio, a well-lighted, big room, when it
was warm I merely got the sketches into shape
without altering anything."

" What time of the day did you paint mostly ? "

" At midnight or thereabouts, as a rule ; you see
there is no great difference in the light all the four-
and-twenty hours round. That sketch, for instance,
of Bowdoin Bay, I distinctly remember making


the actual sky was at the time I painted it. The
calm water mirrored the fog-banks drifting over it,
which were dyed to a blood-red by the sun shining
through a cleft in the ice at our back. Did I paint
all these on the spot ? Why, yes. That is to say,
all the sketches were done in the open, and these
few larger pictures are merely transcripts of the
notes made on the spot. I believe in working
direct from Nature ; but it was not an easy matter
there. The paint froze as it left the brush, and
rolled off in dry pellets. Sometimes, as, for instance,
when I was making that sketch on the ice-foot at
the head of the Bay, there was a driving storm of
sleet all the time, so that I had literally to scrape

under peculiar circumstances. On August 5th we
steamed to the head of the Bay and went ashore,
drawing up our boat after us. Then heading over
the ice-bed, we ascended gradually, planting poles
here and there to guide us on our return journey.
At nine in the evening we had just spliced a pole
and planted it, dead tired by a walk of eight miles,
during which we had climbed some 3300 feet;
we had not brought snow-shoes, and were consult-
ing on the advisability of sending some of our party
back for them. So Professor Heilbrun and three
men decided to return, while eight men went for-
ward to plant another pole ; just as the Professor
had started away and had gone a few hundred

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