Ben here with other female artist´s at Gullkistan in august 2012.

by Ben Valentine on August 30, 2012

Barbara Ballachey

I loved being in Iceland!!!!

The Gullkistan Residency was a wonderful and perfect opportunity to be there. The organizers, Kristveig and Alda, have a vision that they are putting out to the world. Their love for Iceland and it’s profound and startling beauty, and their love for the arts and for fostering and sharing creative experience, has led them to set up a most remarkable situation in Laugarvatn. I was unprepared – I really had no idea what to expect – and wanted no preconceptions to get in my way – for just how exciting the time would be. The apartment is so nice, the studio, well, one just wishes to take it home! All this on a lake in an area that was full of surprises and visual challenges!

I spent my time working outside and looking looking looking! We rented a car so were able to explore, (also I could sit in the trunk if it was windy or rainy – which it was some of the time – but mostly we were blessed with wonderful SUNNY weather. And thrilled by the long days and the quality of light, which was absolutely amazingly intense, and by the colors and forms of Iceland’s landscape. I know that I only saw and understood two weeks worth, and that being there in the middle of summer was special, but it was a most worthy two weeks. I have come home with a renewed sense of excitement and openness, which will affect how I continue to paint.
And see! All good!

So many thanks are due to Kristveig and Alda, and their wonderful families, for putting Gullkistan in place, and for the generosity and shared experiences they offered us as we discovered all we could about this amazing country. They could not have been kinder or more wonderful, and helpful in dealing with lost luggage and trying to answer all our endless queries about Iceland! This gave another rich dimension to the stay!
And as a painter, with landscape as my source of imagery, it was a powerful gift.

Barbara Ballachey, Canada, 2009

Barbara Milne

The Gullkistan Residency gave me two weeks of uninterrupted time in which to experience the shifts and changes in weather and light within a spectacular landscape.

For me, the benefits of this will be continually revealed in the months to follow.  The studio is airy and light filled and with the uninterrupted daylight of July, I could work well into the night.  This was an opportunity to exchange with the local community and to learn more about the many facets of Iceland – the history, art, geography etc. The accommodation is large, airy, and comfortable, with a fully equipped kitchen and shower.  We rented a car which allowed us the freedom to tour beyond the immediate area. The organizers of the residency, are both accomplished artists who believe in the far reaching benefits of exchange and community among creative people of all disciplines.  Alda and Kristveig are enthusiastic, informative and supportive in every way. I felt less like a tourist and more like a relative visiting her ancestral home. My painting is in response to the landscape and this residency, located in the middle of one of the most stunning areas of South Iceland, provided an ideal situation in which to explore and to reflect on my practice. Having been on various residencies over the years, I have learned that it is best to stay open and to avoid expectations. My two weeks in Gullkistan far exceeded any expectations I might have had tucked away in the back of my mind!

It was a privilege to be one of the first participants at this residency. I applaud the vision of Alda and Kristveig. Iceland is astonishing! My work is sourced in the landscape and while the Gullkistan reidence was over a year ago, my time at the residency continues to drive my new paintings – the light and shadow, the unique palette, the shapes of landforms, and the vast surrounding spaces. Iceland is a powerful experience.

Barbara Milne, Canada, 2009

Miriam Sagan

My residency at Gullkistan was a marvelous creative opportunity. I experienced Iceland–landscape, geology, people, culture, history–which was a dream come true. I was able to write intensely in a beautiful setting.

Miriam Sagan, USA, 2010

Bodil Steinsund

The nature was wonderful – changing every minute the rooms were nice and also the room for painting. We felt very welcome

Bodil Steinsund, Norway, 2010

Jens Thomsen

I think it was a fantastic stay in Gullkistan. The nature up there is a great experience. I felt a tranquility and a quietness in the surroundings and the residency that was relaxing and inspiring. I finished a major project up there that I had been writing on for two and a half years. Hope you will hear more about that later…and I got some new ideas. I could never have done that without Gullkistan and you guys…your kindness and hospitality and helpfullness made the stay even better…

The apartments are were nice, especially if you wanted to spend time on your own too. The farm was great in the way that you could meet and talk to other artists…

…I could never have written the things I wrote without it …and I could never have finished the big project without the stay…close to nature, close to art, close to people who are like yourself close to the things in life that really matter…

Thank you for a wonderful stay & hope to see you soon…

Jens Thomsen, Denmark, 2010

Joan Perlman

This past summer(2010) was my second visit to Gullkistan, a new artist’s residency in Laugarvatn near the highlands in Iceland. My work has focused on the geological phenomena of Iceland’s landscape for the past fifteen years. With comfortable accommodations and studio space, Gullkistan gave me the freedom from daily responsibilities to investigate ideas about my work and its sources in the landscape that is so central to my creative process. This simple but crucial gift of time and space provided the space to begin work on several video pieces and a new group of paintings.
Gullkistan also offered an important opportunity to meet Icelandic and international artists and writers and to encourage the cross-cultural exchange of ideas. This new residency in Iceland is a great addition to cultural life in Iceland, a place for artists to work in an amazing natural setting within an evolving cultural community.

Joan Perlman Los Angeles, CA USA ( She came pack also in 2011 and is on her way now 2012)