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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Week in Croatia: The Studio

'Up With the Roosters'          8x10        pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $150
I was up with the roosters every day. Partly it was the roosters but the other part was from excitement and anticipation. I came to Croatia not really knowing what to expect except an adventure. I had met Mario, our workshop coordinator last summer when he was a student in my Finland workshop. Mario is a very talented pastel artist with a passion to paint and share pastels with others. He has a wonderful blog Pastel News which is an excellent resource. I knew that he would work hard to make the workshop experience a success. My expectations were met and exceeded and I came away with new friends and memories to last a lifetime!

Over the next few days I want to share more about my experience taking you behind the scenes. I am also getting back to the easel and my first painting 'Up with the Roosters' was inspired by one of the first demos I did during the workshop. It is a scene just down the road from our villa. I was up early and took the photo of a quiet morning (except for the roosters!)

 Let's start with the studio.

We stayed at a wonderful place ,Villa Gloria near Porec, Croatia. I will share much more about the place but one of the reasons Mario and his wife Minja chose it for the workshops was for the wonderful studio space. We had a large open and airy space under the pool area just a short walk from our rooms. It was cool... a perfect retreat from the hot summer sun. The light was also wonderful. It streamed in from the open windows.

There was an assortment of beautiful wood tables and chairs left over from the room's previous uses. We had complete freedom to rearrange the furniture to our liking. The workshop supplies portable easels and boards as well as wipes, tape, alcohol. It was great not to have to travel with these things!

When I arrived I set up the room in preparation for the artists. I created a 'demo area' with chairs and my easel. The artists each had a table complete with a vase full of fresh lavender sprigs.
We had all the comforts in the studio including plenty of cold lemon water and afternoon chocolate. And it was nice that a bathroom was convenient to the studio.

The demo area where we met for lessons and demos

the thumbnail I did for my demo during the first day

One of my favorite features of the studio was the display space. Mario and Minja set up a big piece of fence complete with clothespins for the artists to display their finished work.  We quickly filled one section and by the end of the week needed three to display all of the finished paintings!
It was a great way for everyone to share and to see their progress. I also loved using it for our final feedback session. Everyone regrouped their work so that they could individually share all of their work together. It was a fantastic way to share and inspire one another!

I loved that we filled the room with art every day!

Just outside the studio door is a patio which faced a meadow looking out to the sea. I was so excited to see the little meadow which was dotted with poppies and other wildflowers. It would be perfect for demos and painting subject for a plein air landscape workshop. Imagine my surprise  (and distress) when I saw someone mowing the lawn next to the meadow. Fortunately Mario saved the day and arranged for the meadow to be kept wild and free for the duration of the workshop!

Every morning the patio was filled with the day's laundry. Everyone was excited to see the laundry especially in the late afternoon light. I took many photos of laundry in the line. Mario laughed when he saw how excited we were for laundry on a line! Ellen Eagle had taught a workshop the week before and evidently they were just as interested in the laundry as we were.  In the end we all had a good laugh about the laundry. 

On the last morning one of the artist's had sent her laundry out for washing and we all laughed when it was unceremoniously hung on the line right outside the studio as we worked....underwear and all! 

It was that kind of week. Full of friendship, fun and laughter....and many paintings! Next I will share more about the place.
More about the workshops in Croatia can be found here:


Suzana said...

I arrived on your blog by chance, looking for some ideas about pastels.
I like a lot your works. So, I think I'll stay for a while nearby...
The week in Croatia I suppose was amazing!

Have a beautiful and inspired day!

Charlotte Berwind said...

Thank you for always being so open about your life, your thoughts, your art. This Croatia workshop sounds like it was enchanted and how lucky for them to have a pastel wizard like you to lead them. Life here is tough right now and I don't always get to read the blog posts daily but when I do I am transported into your world and often, its the only art I get. Thank you Miss Karen.