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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Iceland: Through the Eye's of an Artist part 7 Dancing with a Volcano

'Dancing with a Volcano'             8x10           pastel        ©Karen Margulis
painting available for purchase $150
There are many beautiful places in our world but few as alive as Iceland. Iceland allows you to get up close and personal with the inner workings of the earth. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge cuts through Iceland. This is the division between the North American and Eurasian plates. In some places you can stand in between two continents. Iceland lies on a Hot Spot which causes volcanoes and geothermal phenomena like geysers.

Through a moss covered lava field

The earth is active here. There are 30 active volcanic systems. The eruption of Eyjafjallajokull (can you say that?) in 2010 created a plume of ash that disrupted air travel over Europe for weeks. Evidence of volcanic action is everywhere. In places there are fields of twisted lava forming fantastical shapes. Many are covered in moss and lichen lending them an even more bizarre look.

I almost climbed to the top of a volcano. We stopped to check out the area for a possible painting spot. The volcano was imposing. It needed to be climbed.  I wanted to get a look inside the crater. Four of us took on the challenge. I made it about 3/4 of the way up when my mild fear of heights kicked in. I was more concerned with how I was going to get down the steep trail than seeing inside the crater so I made my way down.

Look at the trail going straight up the side of the volcano

To call it a trail isn't really accurate. The volcano was a perfect cinder cone and it was covered in a deep layer of small lava rocks (the kind you might put in your garden.) The path went straight up the side of the cone at about a 90 degree angle....well maybe 60 or 70 but it felt like 90.  With every step I took, my feet sank down into the stone so it was like walking uphill through quicksand. About 3/4 of the way to the top I stopped to look around....and down....and it was exhilarating but the path looked oh so steep. I took a few pictures and started down....sliding with each step.  Three members of the expedition made it to the top and would have covered for me but I am happy with my attempt. I think it makes for a better story. And there is still the mystery of what lies within the crater to spur me on the next time.

The view from 3/4 of the way to the top. See the sea in the distance?

Clare and Maria made it to the top

Look closely at the path going straight down...see the tiny car in the distance?

A mystery man made it all the way to the top

We returned another day to paint in this same area.  It was a gray day but the sky was filled with drama. The landscape here was fascinating. It was like no place else on earth....raw and edgy. Deep, dark and mysterious filled with twisted rock, spongy moss and colorful patches of ground-hugging flowers.

My Gogh Box in action

Christine hard at work

Mary Ellen painting in the lava field 

The Iguana Rock standing guard over the area

We braved the elements and set up to paint. I was fascinated with the brightly colored mosses and how they gave color and texture to the smooth slopes of the volcanoes. It was like nothing else I'd ever painted. Being there in that huge space and feeling the wind and the occasional raindrop made me feel alive. This was what it is all about!  Whether from the top of a volcano or painting in it's shadow.....this was an experience of a lifetime.

My plein air interpretation of the moss on the lava
5x7 pastel        $50

I hope you are enjoying my travelog posts. In case you missed any you can find links to them all on my Pinterest page here. Please feel free to share them with anyone who might be interested.


Carole Scureman said...

Mesmerizing! Still amazed at the scenery. You were quite brave to try to climb up to the top of the volcano. Again thanks for sharing.

Judy Baker said...

I have been enjoying your posts of your trip to Iceland. So very interesting and such a different place. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your journey with us.

Dave Casey said...

I couldn't pronounce Eyjafjallajokull even after hearing the trawler's first mate in Walter Mitty say it four or five times. I don't think I'm going to be moving to Iceland in this lifetime. :)