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Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Benefit of Real Life Observation

'Down by the Sea'         9x12       pastel        ©Karen Margulis
I had to go down to the sea. I spent over a week perched on the bluff overlooking a mesmerizing view of the sea. I took many photos. I painted the many moods of the view. I spent hours just staring out the window and painting what I saw in my mind. But the ribbons of blue beckoned. I saw the waving grasses and dots of yellow flowers. I needed to get closer.

So one day I set out with my camera and took a walk down to the sea. It was actually an easy stroll on a paved path. And while the view from above was amazing it was heaven to be down next to the sea. The smell of the tidal flats and the calls of the sea birds added flavor to the picture perfect scenery. It was a crisp clear day and the water was an unbelievable shade of blue. The wind whistled through the grasses and the tiny yellow flowers danced on skinny stems. I took a deep breath and tried to soak it in. I let it fill every pore. I wanted to remember this moment. It would pay off later.

a few photos from my walk down to the sea

Back home from Iceland I am now spending my studio time painting these images that are in my mind. I am using my photos to jog my memory but I am drawing on the mental notes I took while there. The many hours spent staring out a window or walking in the wind are helping me when I paint. The paintings I did of the view while in Iceland are now helping me when I look at my photos.  I am able to recall those sensations and memories. It is all still so fresh. I hope that my paintings are able to show exactly how I felt at the time I was there in Iceland.

Real life observation is the best teacher. Spend time this summer just looking and feeling. Let the images, sounds and smells fill you up. Then paint them.

I now have made 10 of my Iceland studies available by Daily Paintworks auction. Opening bids start at $50 for the 5x7 pastels. Here is the link to view the paintings: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/564246

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

I love this theme. When I go outside and watch the trees across the road or the variety of birds around here, I get so moved. I spend lots of time just watching the barn cats and occasionally take photos of them - but the images in my mind are even more vivid. Sekhmet, who'd win any Miss Camouflage contest with her long black, white, buff, ginger and brown patchy coat laying in high grass like scuffed dirt till she raises her head. Or sprawled on the low stone fence of the garden like an oddly cat-shaped rock, she looks at me and appears with her wise tiny leonine face. Great golden Sutekh prowling across the grass. Little tabby Calcifer who might be dead laying flat on his back in the goat-clipped lawn, till he moves. They're all beautiful and fascinating.

Sometimes I sketch from memory as well as life, it helps.