skip to primary navigation skip to content

Arctic Artist 2018: Nick Jones

Arctic Artist 2018: Nick Jones


In September 2018 I travelled with the Friends of SPRI to Western Greenland and Baffin Island as their Arctic artist in residence. It was the fulfilment of a long held yearning to travel north, and was an extraordinary experience that is already proving to be the catalyst for a significant new body of work.

Landscape, abstraction, colour and light had long been the dominant themes of my painting. For many years I took my inspiration from the countryside around our Somerset home, from visits to the Lake District and Scotland and dreams of places further afield, and sought to evoke the world of nature, of hills, mountains, water, skies, trees, and above all, light. Over time those 'abstracted landscapes' slowly became more simplified - pure celebrations of colour and light, and as they did so I found myself being drawn north and to the empty landscapes of the Arctic. I became aware of that strange and mesmerizing phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. Somehow it seemed that those main themes of my work came together in an irresistible way in the aurora. And so in October 2014 I made the first of four trips to Finnish Lapland in the hope of seeing the aurora for myself. Those visits culminated in over sixty paintings attempting to evoke the astonishing other-worldly beauty of the Northern Lights.


In preparation for the residency with the Friends of SPRI I spent nine months working on a series of exploratory Arctic paintings. I was fascinated by how in the Arctic such a rich and varied beauty can be created from the simplest of elements: ice, rock, water and light. Many of the works are concerned with the remarkable variety of optical phenomena that occur in arctic skies: solar and lunar rings, halos, and coronas, and the fog-bows, cloud-bows and rainbows that arc across Arctic skies.

My appointment as the Friends of the SPRI Arctic Artist in Residence for 2018 provided me with a wonderful opportunity to experience and immerse myself in the light and landscape of the region. Since returning there has been an outpouring of paintings, (currently numbering well over forty works), some of which are illustrated here. It is my hope that these works succeed in evoking and celebrating something of the fragile and untamed wonder of this extraordinary region of our world.

All the works done in preparation for the residency in Greenland and Baffin Island are being exhibited at the Crane Kalman Gallery in London from 14th February – 9th March 2019. You can browse the online catalogue.

Further examples of my work can be found on either or