13.5″ × 16″, oil on linen (2019) Glacier Lake, Turner Glacier and Mount Asgard, Akshayuk Pass, Auyuittuq National Park, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
In Norse mythology, Asgard is the dwelling place of the gods. In the Arctic, it’s a spectacular mountain in Auyuittuq National Park.
I first heard about it while preparing for my 2007 expedition. I never made it there, as my attention was instead consumed with Thor Peak. Eleven years later, a 50-kilometre hike brought me there at last. Camping on the edge of Glacier Lake with my daughter Sydney, we watched Asgard rise into the clouds.
I had been searching for a striking view that could lead to a large companion painting for my Thor canvas, but nothing had yet materialized. Packing up camp under a dusting of fresh snow, I struggled with the idea of leaving this place. Then the sky opened and I disappeared over the rise in search once more.
With my canvas oriented vertically, a composition formed unlike any I could have imagined. The light caught the fresh snow on mountain-framed Asgard, streaking intermittently across the surface of Glacier Lake, tied together by the icy tongue of Turner Glacier spilling down the valley.
Within half an hour, it was over. The mysterious mood that piqued my euphoria gave way to a different kind of beauty as clouds were replaced by clear skies and a clarity seldom found elsewhere.
I sat and took it all in, trying to absorb the experience deeply – to bottle it up inside and take back to the studio in hopes that it would spill over a large Asgard canvas to come. Perhaps in some way it might share with others who view it the wonder I felt at the time.
And I cannot help but wonder what will remain of this rapidly receding Turner Glacier if I have the good fortune to return here 30 years from now.