Sunday, July 24, 2016

See a Live Video Demo of this Forest Pastel Painting!

'Summer in Finland'           9x12          pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $155
 It's Sunday Studio Time!  We have been wanting to try doing a Facebook Live video of one of my daily painting sessions and we finally had the opportunity. My husband Michael was using Facebook Live to share our Disney World trip with our daughter who couldn't join us. We thought it would be fun to make a video of me painting. I am calling it 'Sunday Studio Time' and I hope to make a new video every Sunday (when I am home.)  The first video was live on Facebook on Sunday but you can still watch the video on my Facebook page here:

I take you through the process of choosing a subject and getting the plan in place for the painting and narrate the painting process through the finish. The finished painting is 'Summer in Finland' a 9x12 pastel on Uart 400 paper.

my reference photo and thumbnail

I began with a very quick thumbnail and then selected my pastel palette. I did a dry wash underpainting using 4 pink and red pastels rubbed into the paper with pipe insulation.

the pastels I used for the painting

I invite you to visit my Facebook page and watch the video. You can still comment or ask questions and I will do my best to answer them as quickly as possible. I hope you enjoy spending some studio time with me!!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

How to Get Back into the Studio After a Break

'Dancing with Friends I'        5x7       pastel       ©Karen Margulis
available $50
I haven't been home much this summer. My studio has cobwebs and is in need of a deep cleaning. I miss my studio and the long leisurely days of nothing on the agenda other than painting. My travels and adventures were wonderful and they have filled my inspiration bank full to the brim and now I am anxious to get back to regular daily painting and blogging.

Sometimes it is hard to get back into a regular routine after a break from the usual painting schedule. The habit has been broken and other habits may have taken the place of painting. If you have been away from home there will be things that need your attention....bills, laundry, chores, catching up with family and friends. And you may feel rusty and unsure. It is easy to find excuses and painting gets put off.

Action leads to more action....working leads to inspiration. 
I find it is important to get right into the studio and paint something within a day of returning home. Paint anything! Something small and simple just to break the ice. Set a timer for 30 minutes and allow yourself the luxury of creating something. (I usually throw in the laundry and then paint something while waiting for the cycle to finish.)  The longer I put off painting the harder it gets to restart the habit. It is important to break the ice and pick up the pastels....the chores can wait 30 minutes!

'Dancing with Friends II'      5x7     pastel        $50
I just spent a wonderful week with my family at Disney World. It was so much fun seeing one of my favorite places through the eyes of my two year old granddaughter. They left for their home in Chicago today and as soon as they left I threw in the laundry and pulled out some old unfinished poppy paintings. The underpaintings were finished but they had been put aside. They were the perfect icebreaker paintings. Something fun and familiar. Now that the ice has been broken I can't wait to get back to my regular schedule!

Watercolor underpaintings on white sanded paper

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Photo Tour of Venice


I am currently at Disney World on a family trip so I am sharing a post I started in Italy that never published. Enjoy!

I intended to sketch in Venice. I thought I would find a great spot and spend hours with my sketchbook. It didn't work out that way though. There was too much to see! I had to make a hard decision.....sit and sketch and slowly savor a small taste of Venice or eat the whole cake and walk over 15 miles in two whirlwind days. I chose the cake. 

I had the perfect home base at the Hotel Royal San Marco. I took my camera and set off exploring with no map or plan. It's hard to get lost in Venice though it may take you longer to get where you are going with the many detours. There was a treasure around every corner and I was in heaven. Here are just a few photos.







Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Week in Croatia Workshop Report: The People

'Choosing Moody'         9x12        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $150
Croatia is a beautiful country. My week at the workshop was filled with wonderful views, comfortable accommodations and delicious food. All of this was amazing but in the end it was truly the people I met who made the experience complete. It started with Mario, his wife Minja and their  5 year old son(who's fantastic behavior impressed us all). They worked hard to make sure the workshop was perfect. Everyone involved made sure our needs were met and that we were enjoying ourselves. There was always time for a smile and a hug. We truly felt welcome.

It is nice to feel welcome in an unfamiliar place but in the end it is about the group of artists who come together to learn and share. This is my second international workshop (Finland last summer) and I love having a mix of artists from around the world. The artists in the group came from England, Belgium, France, Finland, Slovenia, Canada and two from the US. We all were bonded by a common thread....our love for pastels and art. Conversations were always  interesting and enjoyable. I loved it when the the talk would sometimes slip into French or German! I have much more to say on the topic of an international workshop so I will save it for a future post.

The painting in today's post was the last demo I did at the workshop. I like to do an 'artist's choice' demo giving the artists a topic to vote on. They all chose moody and foggy. We laughed since we had experienced nothing but warm sunshine and clear blue skies all week!

Enjoy a few photos of the people I met on this amazing adventure.  Be sure to visit the Pastel Workshop Croatia website to see who else will be teaching! 

Working hard in the studio

Honey brandy welcome toast on our dinner in the country. Our hosts were great and we danced  to gypsy music!

Our tour guide 

the fantastic hosts of Pastel Workshops Croatia!

my new friends hard at work 

The chef!

Group photo....some missing. I am on the right

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Week in Croatia Workshop Report 4: The Towns

'Hillside Towns Istria'          5x7     plein air pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $50
I only had 10 minutes. Mario and I decided that the overlook would be a great place for a demo. We were on a tour of the interior of the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia. I was excited. I had already looked at photos of the spot and knew it would be the perfect place for a demo and talk about aerial perspective. When our tour guide announced that we would have a 10 minute photo stop I gulped!  Ten minutes to set up, paint and clean up would be a challenge!

While the group wandered around taking photos I quickly set up. I love my Heilman box set up. It made it possible to quickly set up and clean up. I managed to finish the painting and clean up in about 15 minutes. It was exhilarating!  I may not have a perfect painting but I captured the essence and have a great memory as a bonus!

I loved the towns we visited during the workshop. They were each extremely photogenic. I could have stayed all day in any of them. We had time to tour and do a little shopping or sketching in the three towns over the week. I took out my watercolors in Rovinj. Most of the time however I was anxious to take as many photos as possible.

Enjoy just a small sample of the photos I took. I am so inspired and can't wait to paint some of these scenes!

Flowers everywhere. Truly picture perfect.

Old and majestic

I love cats

Notice the very slick some streets!

sketching the harbor after a delicious ice-cream sundae

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Week in Croatia part 3: The Sea

'The Calming Sea'        8x10     pastel          ©Karen Margulis
available $150
I am happy to say I've been in the Adriatic Sea (Barbara the secret is ours)  Mario had been after me for a week to take a swim. We were staying just a few miles from the sea and went just about everyday. Some evenings for a swim and sometimes to paint and sometimes just to relax and sketch. I loved it. 

The beaches we went to were not typical sandy beaches. They were actually rocky with clear blue waters and reef areas. They were wonderfully designed for comfortable swimming and relaxation.  A Paved path ran next to the sea with a beautiful forest as the backdrop. There were paved stone patio areas with stars and other entries to the sea. Lounges and umbrellas were available to rent and many families set up under the trees.

Food was also available with several coffee /snack bars and outdoor seaside casual dining. I loved the snack cart that came around. He had ice-cream, hot dogs, popcorn available.

The views were wonderful and breezes under the trees were perfect. The painting in today's post was a demo I started in the workshop. The water truly was this beautiful combination of blues.  Enjoy a few of my favorite photos of the sea.

Is this heaven or what?

Scottish broom adds a pop of color and scent to the seaside landscape

I can't wait to paint this tree!

A good look at the patio and rocks

A nice spot

This is the middle of the Adriatic Sea as seen from my ferry ride from Venice Italy

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Week in Croatia: The Food

'What's for Dinner'           5x7         pastel          ©Karen Margulis
I tend to be a bit of a picky eater.  I am getting more adventurous but I didn't know what to expect about the food I would encounter in Croatia. I needn't have worried. The food was absolutely amazing! At Villa Gloria we were spoiled with three meals a day. Breakfast was a generous spread of breads, meats, fruit, cereals, juices and coffee with a special treat each day such as Nutella pancakes. Lunch and dinner.......was up to our chef!

Our amazing chef outdid himself at every meal

Our chef took great pleasure in spoiling us with platters of delicious food. The portions were so big that we had to ask for less! We always began each meal with wonderful salads and bread. And then chef would present his masterpiece. He was not only a good cook he was an artist with his food. The platters were always garnished with an artistic flair. He would give us a few minutes to dig in then would reappear asking us "Is OK?" It was always more than OK and he would smile when we told him so. Meals were an event which always ended with some kind of delicious dessert.

Meals were also very leisurely. We enjoyed the lingering sunsets while we all chatted and solved the problems of the world. It was a great way to wind down after a day of painting and sightseeing.

One of my favorite meals of the and chips
The food was good wherever we went. From wonderful ice-cream sundaes to donuts on a stick I enjoyed sampling the food. Its a good thing we were walking quite a bit!

On one of our touring days we stopped for a special wine tasting. The wines were wonderful and the appetizers paired with each wine was perfect. We all enjoyed the wine tasting even those of us who don't drink much. We were all singing on the bus!

wine tasting.....delicious Istrian wines that can only be found in Istria!

I wasn't really expecting to be blown away by food but it was one of the highlights of the trip....and chef will provide us all  with inspiration for paintings! Enjoy the food pictures!

we dined poolside every day

What's for dinner?

Fish!! Fresh fish hot off the grill

The sweetest and juiciest fruit ever!

Plenty of Procuitto freshly sliced

last night group dinner by the sea with an amazing sunset as a bonus


sardines and calamari

dessert....crepes (pancakes) with Nutella and fresh berries and whipped cream

A platter of calamari for lunch....we also had a tray of fired calamari which were the best I ever had!

Catch of the day...heavenly

Truly the best dessert I ever had....chocolate cake with strawberries and fresh ricotta cheese 

Breakfast spreads. I decided that everything is delicious with apricot spread and Nutella
This is the third installment of my Croatia workshop report. Read part one here.   Part two here.