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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Iceland: Through an Artist's Eyes Part 11 A Skywatcher's Dream

'Early Morning Daydreams'            16x20             pastel         ©Karen Margulis
 From the window of a bus the landscape of Iceland slipped by. I logged many miles on the roads of Iceland. First as a passenger in the vans Stan Sperlak had rented for the workshop. Then as a tour passenger on the big tour buses of Iceland Excursions. I took a tour to see South Iceland and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. It was a 14 hour tour which covered 600 miles!

A typical shot through the window of the van...no charge for the rain drops!
Every mile was worth it. Most of the time my camera was on and ready. I have become proficient at drive by photography.  A quick glance ahead with a finger on the shutter and click! Many of these shots are out of focus but they still capture the essence of the land...the mood, shapes and colors. Sometimes it is the only choice because you can't possibly stop as much as would like. It is all about the journey but with a limitations of time sometimes a shot through a bus window is necessary.

Here comes a waterfall...cameras ready!

From the moment I arrived I noticed I could see the sky form anywhere. There are no trees to block the view. I had heard about this but it is hard to imagine such a lush landscape without trees. But it is true. No matter where we drove I could see the sky and I could see for miles on the clear days. I really didn't miss the trees. Instead I noticed the other things...the lushness of the grasses and mosses covering the hillsides. Even the lava fields were covered in spongy green moss. It truly is landscape suited for elves. I could imagine them being quite content here.

No trees but beauty all around us

The lack of trees encouraged you to look up. As we drove through the countryside I would often find my gaze following the many streams and waterfalls to their source in the mountains....and this is where it got thrilling...that place where the mountains met the sky. The sky was always changing and always amazing. We never had a simple blue sky day. We never had just plain white puffy clouds. No, we had dramatic skies and they changed by the second. I think we probably saw every type of cloud formation and sometimes in the matter of a few hours!

Interesting clouds

The arctic sky is different. It is lighter and warmer. It never really was a deep dark blue. It was almost like the lower part of our Eastern US sky. It was quite beautiful and I was glad I had brought a selection of blue pastels with me.

This is an untouched photo. Just look at the vibrant blue in the water and sky!

Iceland is a skywatcher's dream come true. We had mist,  fog and low lying clouds. We had dark brooding storm clouds moving over the mountains. We had clear blue skies peeking through clouds to reveal the sharp white outlines of distant glaciers. We had beautiful sunsets with painted clouds. This was the stuff dreams are made of.

Just a few of the many drive by photos taken out the window of the van and bus

My thousands of 'drive-by' photos of the landscape and sky will provide me with endless inspiration. Today's painting is inspired by a photo I took from the van window on the drive back to the airport. Several in the group had an early flight so we were on the road at 5:00 am and this is when I took the reference photo. The clouds were low and the day promised to be beautiful. I was glad I still had another 5 days in Iceland!

1 comment:

jytte said...

Dear Karen
thank you very much for showing us your paintings and photos from Iceland. Before you went I wrote that there are no trees in Iceland. When the vikings arrived the Island was covered with trees. But as they cut them down little by little without planting new ones the erosion took place and the earth disppeared. Thanks to the moss (which is protected)it has stopped. I went to Iceland 35 years ago when Rekjavik was a little town with mostly wodden houses. :o)Jytte