One prairie raised painter dared to dream of bringing his talents to life on harsh terrain across the North Atlantic Ocean.

Shaunavon, Sask. artist Andrew Robertson’s ambition to paint on the glaciers of Iceland was born from watching the 2013 film The Secret Life of Water Mitty, and it finally came to fruition last month.

Teaming up with Swift Current videographer Adler Irwin (Irwin Films), Robertson embarked on a journey to translate his visions onto canvas.

An exploratory hike led to the perfect spot for Robertson's creativity could unfurl against a backdrop of ancient ice, powerful ocean and piercing winds. With a makeshift contraption to stretch his canvas, and nerves of steel to brave the shifting foundation, Robertson plunged into his work, attempting to capture the essence of Iceland's resilience.

“It was terrifying because you could hear the ice shifting and cracking and the spot that we had gone to two days before had already collapsed into the water,” he said. “It was terrifying and I was shaking, but it was also thrilling.”

irwin films andrew robertson iceland

The artists spent around four hours on the ice formation; Irwin filmed the process of Robertson creating a masterpiece that reflected the history of its surroundings.

“I wanted to portray somebody who had endured the environments of Iceland and the harsh life that's there,” he explained. “Show the age and the wear and tear on the face of the person that would have lived that in their entire life.”

And so was born stöðugt — the acrylic on canvas stretching 36” by 48” received its name from an Icelandic word for "steady.”

Through each brushstroke, viewers are transported to the windswept plains and ragged cliffs that know endless stories of endurance. 

The piece will be on display at the Grand Coteau Heritage and Cultural Centre in Shaunavon for around three weeks, before being moved to Bozeman Planet Bronze Gallery where he will host a reception and present the piece for sale. 

‘steady’ by andrew robertson 2024