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Friday, August 11, 2017

Pastels in Ireland Part 1: Art in the Open

'A Fresh and Fair Land'           11x14        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
Ireland was on my bucket list. After all I am half Irish. I have a photo of my great great grandmother Mary Jane McMahon standing in front of a thatched roof cottage in Ireland. It always fascinated me. So when I was invited to be one of ten international instructors for this summer's Art in the Open Plein 10th Air Festival the answer was a resounding YES! 

I knew about Art in the Open because my good friend Marsha Savage went several years ago and loved the experience. It was the perfect opportunity for me to share the beauty of pastel and experience Ireland at the same time. I put it on my summer schedule and waited patiently for July. 
What exactly is Art in the Open? Here is a quote from their website www.artintheopen.org

"From an inauspicious weekend event in 2008 our festival has grown to a 10-day internationally recognized event with close to 200 artists taking part. Wexford's Art In The Open attracts some of the best outdoor painters from around the globe. Renowned for its friendliness and relaxed atmosphere our participants can be seen painting the wonderful Sunny South-East's landscapes leading up to the exhibition."

I can't say enough about the fantastic experience I had at Art in the Open. Not only did I  have the opportunity to paint all day everyday in some beautiful places....I met the most wonderful people from around the world. Artists also have the chance to take mini workshops each day in a variety of mediums with fantastic instructors. It was an honor to share my tips and techniques with pastels in my two workshops.

I'd like to share my experience with you in more detail. I completed over 35 paintings and took thousands of photos. Over the next few days join me as I review  my journey....Pastels in Ireland.

A collage of photos taken near the airport in Dublin
 The festival is held in Wexford in the southeast of Ireland. I flew into Dublin and stayed the night at the Maldron Hotel at the airport. I know how I am after a transatlantic flight....good for nothing. So I chose to do nothing for the day to get over any jet lag. I had a pot of tea and pastry and took a walk around the hotel with my camera. I managed to find beauty in an unexpected place. These poppies and daisies will provide much inspiration. It was a great start to the trip.

Ahhhh I wonderful cup of tea to start my journey

The next morning I was scheduled to take the Wexford bus from the airport to Wexford Town. Marsha had recommended that I take the slow bus rather than the express bus. That way I would be able to see some of the little towns along the way, It was about a 3 hour trip and I chose a window seat. I don't think I ever turned off my camera! I took many many 'drive by ' shots that will definitely inspire future paintings (like today's 11x14 at the top of this post)

I loved the patchwork of green

Yes it really was as green as they say! I wondered if I brought the right green pastels!

When I arrived in Wexford and gathered my suitcase I was excited but a bit lost. I wasn't sure where my hotel was located though I knew it was walking distance from the bus. Luckily I saw that Lori Putnam was on my bus. I knew she was an instructor and had been to AITO several times....she would know! After introductions I followed Lori and her friend to our hotel...Clayton Whites Hotel. Lori knew the shortcut through the car park which saved me many steps over the course of the week.

I never did try a Guinness
 Check in was a breeze and I was so excited to see my room on the 4th floor had a fabulous view....and the sun was out!
It was going to be a great week! Stay tuned for more!

View from the stairwell (above) View from my room (below)
Painting notes: Today's painting is 11x14 on Canson Moonstone. I worked on sanded paper all week so wanted a change. The inspiration for the painting was one of the photos taken from the bus window.


Donna Gannon said...

Karen, welcome home. I missed you. I can't do without my regular lesson and chat from you. I'm eager to see your lessons from Ireland.

Linda B said...

So beautiful Karen! I'm watching these carefully, because I struggle with landscapes so full of green. I've already learned so much from you and have started being a little looser with my choices as I add in shades of blues, purples, oranges, yellows and reds. I do a lot of experimenting still and hope to soon "get it" so it isn't always an experiment! So grateful for you sharing!!

Linda Kriegel said...

SO beautiful! Can't wait to see what else you produce! Welcome home!