• Orla Stevens

Sagas and Seascapes


I'm delighted to announce the beginning of a new project 'Sagas and Seascapes', collaborating with a group of composers, musicians and film maker to explore Norse stories, land/sea scapes and history.


We will be meeting in Orkney July 2021, to share the ideas behind each of the 6 compositions. I will be researching the narratives and histories running through each of the pieces, and responding through on-site plein-air painting and sketching sessions.



Plein-air research in my local landscape, 2021.



Once back on the mainland and in my studio, I will be developing a body of work that responds to the research, conversations and experience of this wild landscape; capturing emotive elements of the compositions and sense of place.


The project has been organised by Nordic Viola - a community and project run by Katherine Wren, that brings together musicians, composers and creatives from various fields responding to Northern Landscapes. In Katherine's words, 'Sagas and Seascapes' explores:


Norse stories and landscape around the northern sea-routes form the inspiration for this concert. Scottish-based Irish composer Linda Buckley’s Aud draws on the settlement of Iceland, while Lillie Harris’ sextet Elsewhen seeks to capture the atmosphere of Orkney’s ancient sites. In Carry His Relics for flute and viola, Orkney composer Gemma McGregor describes the journey of the remains of St Magnus from Birsay to Kirkwall, along the present-day St Magnus Way. Eli Tausen á Lava from Faroe reflects on legends of the Selkies in Søgnin um Kópakonuna í 10 Myndum for flute and clarinet and his compatriot, Kári Bæk, depicts the ever-changing sea in Wogen. The Danish String Quartet’s dynamic arrangement of The Dromer offers a rousing finale.

The project is being documented by Edinburgh based videographer Craig Sinclair, who will create a film that captures the collaboration, and showcases each piece of music. The film-concert will be hosted by Orkney International Science Festival.


It is with great thanks to creative scotland who have funded this project, to facilitate this cross-disciplinary collaboration.




I'll be updating this Notes space with process and research information as 'Sagas and Seascapes' develops, as well as sharing other insights to my personal practice, exhibition and event news.



Close up of a North Western seascape, Mark-Making inspired by sounds of the sea. Painted in 2020. Orla Stevens. Screen-printed and painted Linen Canvas.