This past January I had the distinct privilege and pleasure to return to see Odd in Norway, nearly four years to the day after my first visit. Whereas before I stayed three weeks, this time two would have to suffice. That said, do not let yourself be easily fooled by normal perceptions of time. Passing through the gates of Memorosa is like crossing into Xanadu and there should be a sign at the threshold that prepares you for the coming dog years: 1 day = 7 months of relentless and erudite examinations of soul and substance.
It has been almost two months since I have returned and I am just beginning to regurgitate and reprocess all that I managed to garner in those fleeting 14 days (98 months). What I wrote in a letter to Turid and the editors of the Nerdrum School back in May of 2012 holds true:
[Watching Odd paint] brought rejuvenation, inspiration, and most importantly, much needed clarity and understanding:
“You see,” Odd would say as I stood but feet away watching him paint, “it’s so simple.”
Indeed. To see. To see the alchemy performed, the craft demystified, the magic made tangible. To see that mere mortals who dare can climb the confounding Mountain we call painting.
To see is the secret of the Nerdrum School.
In addition to discussions with Odd, there were the usual routines and rituals with family and new friends. My thanks to all (and immediate apologies for misspellings)—Odd, Turid, Bork, Öde, Aftur, Myndon, Andreas, Kristina, Eric and Roberto—for their kindness, generosity and camaraderie. Is there a greater gift to give another than to assist in making life extraordinary?
Below is a gallery of the evolution of the main painting I started and developed during my stay. How fascinating to document the changes… and later see when things might have been better in an earlier stage!
Below that, the people and place.