Small islands, big ocean


I have several friends who refuse to use a camera, explaining how the camera keeps them at a distance. The act of producing memories prevents you from actually being present.

The artist Pive Toivonen, a resident of Kökar 2004-2006, bought a sailboat which she renovated for three years and then sailed it out on the Atlantic. She used a small watercolour paint box to to make her diary. “The paint box is my camera”, she says with a big smile, “but a bit slower. And weighing only 250 grams.”

Monday, June 27, she was back at Kökar, told us about her journey and showed her watercolour paintings which has also become a book: “Atlantin viemää” = “Gone with the Atlantic” (Painotala Printon 2015).

Slowness, care, love of detail make the difference. Pive is a blessed marine painter. Her father never let himself be blown into a harbour and it seems to be the same with Pive. She has sailed Biscayne six times and the book’s most beautiful pictures are those in which she stands at the helm at night, on her way to some of he Atlantic Ocean’s small, remote islands and meet gigantic waves two thousand nautical miles from home (see for example pages 178-187).

She works on a small scale with the mountainous Atlantic waves. The sea, the ocean’s beauty and the sailor’s small size fits well in her 28×30 cm format. She visited Helgoland, Ouessant, La Graciosa, La Gomera, Porto Santo, Pico, Bere, Arranmore and Anholt among others, and report on later travels to New Zealand and Tierra del Fuego.

Unfortunately the book is only in Finnish but the pictures don’t mind. They speak all the world’s languages.

Pive 4


På Atlantens fjäll


  1. I agree that why a film maker should be transparent so the reality is not disturbed and people can be present. Loïc Jourdain, director and Producer of A turning tide in the life of man.

  2. What a lovely post, Christian. Thank you! It puts me in mind of Tim Severin’s the Brendan voyage, which had on board Faroese artist Trondur Patursson who captured the adventure on paper. Apparently he was handy with a needle and thread – or whatever it took to fix holes in a leather currach in the middle of the Atlantic!

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