Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Iceland: Through an Artist's Eyes part 3 Exploring the Snaefellsness Peninsula

'Sea of Pink'    5x5       pastel     ©Karen Margulis    Sea  Thrift in Iceland
sold

'Beyond the Sea of Pink'     5x7      pastel  Grundarfjordur, Iceland
available for purchase $50

The town of Styikkisholmur was perfect for artists. You could find every possible motif all within a short walk. Bathrooms and food were close at hand. Our houses even had hot tubs filled with hot water from the geothermal springs. Why would we ever want to leave?  But if we had stayed in town all week we would not have experienced even greater magic. So true to the nature of an expedition....we kept moving. 

They say that the Snaefellsnes Peninsula where we were based is like Iceland in miniature. It has all of the features that make Iceland special packed into one area of the country. Think volcanoes, glaciers, a rocky coastline, quaint seaside towns, waterfalls and streams everywhere, lush green meadows filled with sheep and horses (with adorable babies) lots of birds, fields of wildflowers stretching as far as the eye can see, beaches with wonderful colored stones, stark red and black lava fields covered in spongy green moss....truly an amazing place.  We saw it all in a week’s time!


Long and winding roads

Lupine everywhere

Lava and moss

Just a small sample of my drive-by van photos of the Snaefellsness Peninsula



Stan had rented two vans for touring the countryside. He was the driver of what we dubbed the ‘bad van’ and Cory drove the new van. The bad van had seen better days and was probably driven on the forbidden F roads. It rattled and moaned with the wind and the door was a challenge to close. But it got us where we needed to go.  We all took turns riding in each of the vans and changed seats as well giving us all a different view for each trip. It really didn’t matter because everywhere you looked the view was spectacular. You truly could stick your camera outside of the window and shoot and you would have good photos. 

The red house and our trust vans

Our first trip from home was actually very close. It was a good start. We all climbed the mountain called Helgafell. Helgafell ("Holy Mountain") was considered sacred by the early Icelanders. According to myth, the god Odin will grant three wishes to anyone climbing Helgafell for the first time, as long as they climb in silence and come down on the east side without looking back. Did we come down on the east side?  I also heard that you have to be pure of heart when you make your wish. I hope my wishes come true. We were accompanied on our walk by a yellow lab puppy named Perla. She reminded me of my dog Heidi and I enjoyed her company. The view from the top was worth the climb! 


Helgafell on a gorgeous summer day

Nearing the summit

The view as I climbed in silence

Perla is a common name for Icelandic pets we were told

Riley descends without looking back

I want to paint her!

and her too!



On another day trip we loaded the van with picnic supplies and painting gear and drove to the town of Grundarfjordur to paint in the shadow of the mountain called Kirkjufell. This iconic mountain stands on a peninsula of it’s own and the summit is 1500 feet above sea level. The mountain is amazing by itself but it’s setting makes it hard to believe that it truly exists. Surrounded by shimmering blue water and fields of yellow wildflowers, it sits across from a spectacular multilevel waterfall. It was surreal.


The amazing Kirkjufell as seen from our painting spot


Approaching the town of Grundarfjordur

Stan doing a pastel demo of Kirkjufell. It was a bit chilly

Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall

The perfect spot for a picnic lunch

It was a beautiful day with drama in the sky. Everything was paintable...Kirkjufell of course, but the mist on the surrounding mountains, the sheep drinking from the stream, the waterfalls....It was overwhelming. Should I paint or should I take pictures? I had many days like this which is why I came home with 4000 photos and only 24 paintings. The trip was quickly becoming so much more than a painting workshop and I couldn’t wait to see what each day would bring. Iceland was amazing!

Be sure to come back for part 4 of my story tomorrow!  Click here to read part one. Click here for part two.


For some truly awe inspiring photos of Kirkjufell and the Northern Lights read this article in the Huffington Post. 


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow wow wow!!! I am so enjoying your posts and photos. Who knew Iceland was so magical. Thank you for sharing!! - HM

Krista D said...

Thank you for the terrific photos and descriptions. Those lupines are a real knock out and everything with red in it.

Eileen Sullivan said...

Thank you so much, Karen, for sharing your Iceland adventure with us. Your photos are inspiring and your paintings here are really strong,bold work. Love them!