Greenland and Baffin Island with the Friends of SPRI

A Greenland and Baffin Island Expedition with Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI). Simon Pierse is a painter who was invited  to join this expedition last September 2018 to the Artic with his brother, Richard Pierse.

Simon was born in London in 1956 and lives in Wales. He studied at the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art and he is a Fellow of Royal Society of Artists and Royal Water Colour Society. He is also an art historian and author of Australian Art and Artists in London 1950-1965, published by Ashgate.

Simon Pierse’s Day by Day Experience

4th September

Arrived from Copenhagen  and checked into Hotel Kangerlussuaq, in southwest Greendland.

5th September

To Russell Glacier for a walk on the ice cap – an enormous ice dome up to 3km thick, that covers much of Greenland. The vastness of it all is difficult to comprehend, especially when it is covered with a benign looking layer of snow.  Then to the port ato see the majestic Akademik Sergey Vavilov resting serenely in the fjord. We join members of a Canadian group who will be our shipmates for the next ten days. All aboard.

Simon Pierse brothers on ice
Simon and Richard Pierse, brothers on ice.


6th September

Onshore visit to Sisimuit. Visited the cultural centre, then to a good outdoor/indoor museum with historic buildings re-sited and preserved – all accessible through the whale jawbone archway entrance.

Sisimuit, watercolour sketchbook
Sisimuit, watercolour sketchbook, 4 x 6 inches

7th September

A beautiful sunny day! Onto the Zodiacs to cruise in and around the floating icebergs in the limpid, still blue waters of Ilulissat / Jacobshavn Icefjord. I learn that the parts of the icebergs which are blue-green in colour are made up of molecules that have been more compressed over time, deep within a glacier.

Icebergs, watercolour sketches
Zodiac cruising around the Icebergs, watercolour sketches, 4 x 6 inches

Then back along the boardwalk to the museum. I like boardwalks. For me they are emblematic of modern tourism. We walk a few inches above the ground, leaving its fragile beauty undisturbed. No footprints. Boardwalks are also a fine subject for a painting, especially when they zig-zag across the terrain.