Kaare Espolin Johnson’s own words about the painting Petter Dass:
“Being a priest in Northern Norway was no joke in the old days. Many would “find their grave in the deep in the realm of the fish”.
They could sail when the wind was with them, otherwise their journeys required endless rowing. The priest would often row with a small flagon of strong cheap liquor between his knees. Back then the church had a more liberal view on the subject, thinking that weary rowers would benefit from a strong drink between the headlands, so the journey could continue in a merry mood – just as this painting entitled Petter Dass shows. His journey led him past the delightful Seven Sisters peaks along the Helgeland coast on a summer day. To the right we see threatening clouds, but Petter seems to be safe and sound. He tells the rowers stories as the rowers exchange a glance. They are devoted, but we can almost discern a grin on their lips.