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Friday, July 11, 2014

Iceland: Through an Artist's Eyes part 5 Journey around the Golden Circle

'Journey to the Golden Circle'          12x24          pastel      ©Karen Margulis   Iceland Summer 2014
painting available for purchase $325
It was a well rounded workshop/expedition to Iceland. We had painting days mixed with touring days. I was very much looking forward to Stan's tour of the Golden Circle. We spent a full day of sightseeing and I'm sure the tour rivaled any of the many tours that are offered of the Golden Circle. Along with the Blue Lagoon, touring the Golden Circle is just one of those things that any visitor to Iceland should put on their list of things to do.

In case you just started reading this travelog I went to Iceland as a part of Stan Sperlak's Painter's Passport program. This trip was an art workshop/expedition. Artists and adventurers from all over the world came together to explore and create art together. Most of us were pastelists but we also had a photographer in our group. On our touring days we could bring our supplies for a quick painting or sketch or just take photos and experience the landscape. I chose to experience the Golden Circle with my camera.

The Golden Circle is the name given to the collection of three of Iceland's best known historical sites and natural phenomena. They happen to be located fairly close together and a short drive from the capital Reykjavik. We had a longer drive from our home base of Stykkisholmur but any drive across the countryside of Iceland is filled with beautiful scenery. (today's painting was inspired by a photo I took on our drive to the Golden Circle area)

We took the long scenic route

Beautiful lush country

Our first stop was Thingvellir National Park. This area has both historical and geological importance. It was the site where the Vikings established their democratic parliament in 930 AD. It is also another place where you can see the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This division of the earth's tectonic plates creates beautiful scenery. I was especially drawn to the many wildflowers that graced the walking paths in the park.

Wildflowers along the Mid Atlantic Ridge

Interesting green flowers in the foreground

Love the color of this door

Check out the round stones on the gate posts

Such a tranquil setting

The second stop on the tour was the geothermal area of Geysir. This is an area filled with steaming earth, bubbling pools of boiling water and of course Geysers. We get our word Geyser from the Icelandic word. The highlight of this interesting spot were the geysers themselves. One of them erupted quite regularly. It went off about every five minutes while we were there. It seemed to spout off a really big one followed by some lesser eruptions. I enjoyed watching the tourists watch the geyser through their phones or cameras. That was quite entertaining...and a few people were in the wrong place and got soaked.

A few photos of the Geysir area. Loved watching the people!

The last site on our tour of the Golden Circle was the most spectacular. It was a breathtaking waterfall with two huge cascades called Gullfoss. (Golden Waterfall)  This waterfall was spectacular and so powerful. There was a trail that went close to the edge of the lower falls and the ground shook with the power. I can still feel the  mist and hear the deafening roar of the falls. It is said that a rainbow is visible on sunny days. It wasn't sunny (but it wasn't raining either!).

A few photos from Gullfoss

After a full day of wonderful sights we returned to the Red and Gray houses in Stykkisholmur. The hot tub was calling and another fantastic day in Iceland came to a close.

On our way home we took the shortcut through the tunnel 
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Mitch Burrell said...

Karen, I love your paintings of the landscape in Iceland; you have somehow captured such moodiness and grandeur and I can't quite figure out what it is that has done it. Is it the combination of color temperature and saturation? Whatever you are doing, it is just brilliant!

Karen said...

Thank you so much Mitch. Your comment made my day! I am so inspired by my trip and just excited to paint it while the memories are fresh!

Eileen Sullivan said...

When I saw your photo of the door, I had to call my husband over to take a look: It is exactly the color I picked for door of the garden shed we designed & my husband built last year--even the construction is similar! (Ours was made from recycled hardwood flooring that our neighbor threw out.) Actually I think the shed does look a little Icelandic.