Gudmunda Kristinsdóttir Painter - Reykjavik, Iceland

Can you discuss the importance of colour in your current work?

The colours are essential in my work that is inspired by the nature of my country, Iceland.

Auga Óðins 190 x 190 cm.

Auga-Óðins, 2015, 190-x-190-cms. Oil on Canvas
Icelandic wilderness shows natures use of colour expand on how this has impacted on your work?

I just open my mind to the wilderness and let the colours and light of  nature flows.

Aska og ísbráð- Ash and melting ice, 150 x 150 cm.

Aska og ísbráð-Ash and melting-ice,  150-x-150-cms

In your series ‘Life is a Saltfish’ can you discuss?

          The importance Saltfish in Iceland?

          Why women play a major role in each painting?

In Iceland the sea and the fishing industry has always been our most important livelihood. The most valuable export goods used to be salted cod- saltfish. I was born and partly raised in a small fishing village. In the village and all around the country the women worked at preparing the fish, cutting and salting. So they played a major role in the fishing industry. It is customary to praise the brave fishermen for their extremely hard and dangerous work at sea; and we must remember that without the hard labour of the women everything would have been futile.

Life is saltfish 1, 75 x 120, oil on canvas

 Life-is-saltfish-1 75-x-120 cms Oil on canvas

The women are faceless explain?

Without faces they are simply women in themselves, not some special persons.

Close by, 80 x 80, oil on canvas

Close-By 80-x-80cms oil on canvas

In your work ‘In the Power of Women’ can you discuss how the actual women take control of the work?

I was painting abstract paintings when the women suddenly appeared on the canvas and demanded to be painted. While I was painting one of them others waited behind my shoulder. They came in a long row for a long while.

Why are so many of your women ‘Red’?

At first the women were in red colours. Maybe it is because of the warmth and intense energy of the red colour. It is a powerful colour and we sometimes need the red energy in our lives. At least I welcomed this energy.

Peace and quiet, 100 x 100, acryl on canvas

Peace and Quiet 100-x-100 cms Acylic on canvas

Expand on your thoughts on the importance women play in society and why your need to paint them?

The importance of women is of course extremely high. I am happy to say that in my country men and women have relatively equal rights and I hope that in the future this will be so in all parts of the world.

United, women could be a very powerful force and I would like this force to be towards peace.

Can you take ‘Honesty’ and discuss.

Honesty is inspired by friendship and love between women, sisters, friends and family.

It is painted with oil colours on canvas using palette knife and brush.

Honesty, 80 x 80, oil on canvas

Honesty, 80 x 80cms, Oil on canvas

The women appear to float in and around your paintings, expand on this?

They don’t stand still, coming into or out of the painting all the time.

Maybe they need more space than the canvas.

In the “Earth” series you have used Iceland as your base explain this series?

Even though my paintings are abstract the nature always comes through. I love the nature of my country, the colours of the vegetation and the harsh beauty of the wilderness. The geyser and glaciers. Mountains and deserts. Our very shifty weather and the sea all around our Island. My aim is to capture the dramatic contrasts on the canvas.

‘Moss’ expand on the use of colour in this painting?

Moss can be found widely spread in Iceland. It’s in beautiful green, yellow and grey colours that light up against the more harsh colours of the lava. Among the moss you can find tiny flowers.

Moss, 50 x 50, oil on canvas

Moss, 2015, 50×50 cms, Oil on canvas

Discuss how your passion for Conservation is found in your art?

Simply painting the nature is a statement of my passion for conservation. Iceland’s nature is extremely tender, due to our position so far north on the planet. So we have to be gentle and treat it with utmost care.

North trail 120 x 150 cm.

North trail 120 x 150cms Oil on Canvas

Is all your work done in your studio?

Most of my work are done in my studio, at least the physical part of it.


Do you take photographs or do you use a sketch book for recording?

I take a lot of photographs and do some sketches also. But the use of them is largely for inspiration. The way I paint is like an unplanned journey.

You have recently added volcanic ash to your paint medium.  How does this work and what has it added to your work?

The ash is from the volcanic eruption 2010 when Eyjafjallajokull erupted.

Large parts of the country was covered with ash.

Overwhelmed by the awesome power of the eruption

I was inspired to harness the destructive force of the ash and turn it into artistic creativity.

The rough texture of the paintings surface is created with actual ash from the volcano.

DSC06825 (2)


Contact details.

Gudmunda Kristinsdótti, Reykjavik, Iceland

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, August, 2015