"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson

"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson
"Sour Milk Gill" From the award winning painting series.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Iceland Cometh

"The Iceland Cometh"
By James Swanson / Traveler Matthew
14" x 18" Oil on Canvas

See the journey of this painting.

The Icemen Cometh, to Iceland! The Traveler story of four English Firemen's trip to Iceland for a walk.

Our new Traveler Matthew, and his crew took a little walk on the wild side on this trip.

Traveler Matthew from his web site.

Besides seeing the raw natural beauty of the county the Vikings named "Iceland" on foot, they also took in some other offerings of this land. But what else would you expect from four fire fighting men from the UK? Oh, Traveler Matthew says what sealed the deal for the Iceland trip was the documentary of his all time favorite bands Sigur Ros. They're from Iceland too take a look.

Blue Lagoon-geothermal heated waters

Traveler Matthews Story: I am an English fireman, I work part time on an English fire station in my local town and full time on an American airbase at an American fire dept, that's why the truck looks familiar to you.

Matthew's Firetruck

Quite a few of the guys I walk with are from work, Paul and Geordie who went to Iceland with me are also on my fire crew and Lee who went with us is a friend from my previous employment of I.T.
Photos are from Matthew's Iceland trip.

I guess what appealed to me about Iceland is the strange landscapes and how dramatic it is. The whole place is pretty much made of lava and ice, not too many places in the world like it and I haven't been to anywhere like it. It's only a 3 hr flight from London.

Five days in Iceland with Paul, Lee and Geordie. Waterfalls, national parks, glaciers, geysers, volcanoes, northern lights but unfortunately no Elves.

The Northern Lights at night.

Considering it was October, we fluked it with the weather. Hiking season in Iceland is usually June to September.

An Iceland Horse steak yum.

I'm pretty sure the steak was grilled, we had it in a restaurant that was right next to a horse racing track. We joked that the losing horse got eaten, it tasted fantastic!!
I didn't see anywhere else serving horse but we did spend our nights eating from cafes at not to frequent fuel stations.

The photo of Matthew's that I chose to work from.

Traveler Painting: "Iceland Cometh"
Finding Traveler Matthew as all luck. I happened to be looking at some links on a Travelers web page and I came across his story of being a fireman and the walks he's taken. A fireman taking walks? I had to probe farther. Beside taking some gorgeous landscape shots of his UK walks, Matthew also had a page for his Iceland trip with friends. The photos were pretty funny and the landscapes were the strangest things that I had seen so far on this journey. So I had to paint one.

The sketch on canvas to start. I rubbed a mixture of burnt sienna and raw umber into the canvas, and then pulled off some of the color with a paper towel.

Here are the colors on the palette that I will start the painting
with. Making some of the colors up for the painting before you start is a great way to keep color harmony.

Dark color from the palette are painted first. This gives the painting structure right away. Darks are usually painted in first also because when you get to painting the lighter colors they won't get muddied up so much and look cleaner.

Some Mid-tone colors are added.

Just add water. I'm trying to Block the whole canvas in quickly. Some of the brush strokes I will leave a lone and not touch them again.

Putting in the Sky. I wanted a little warmer sky to bring the mountains in the background into play more.

The Painting is now totally blocked- in. Now the work begins in adjusting the colors and redefining the drawing.

It's getting close, but somethings are jumping out at me. Some strokes are lining up and making a line in the painting and looks like it was smugged or something.

Artist's Tip: This Is a good one that I picked up from a fellow painter through another painter. When you get to the point that you don't know what your painting needs, take a picture of it. Bring the photo into Photoshop and you can play with things like color or adding things to the painting. It's a lot easier that way, than painting things in, and then taking them out because you didn't like how it effected the other parts of the painting.

Done, I was worried that the crazy lava crevasses would look real strange, so I decided in the beginning to paint them like I would a mountain or canyon.

Details form the painting

The Finished Painting

"The Iceland Cometh"
By James Swanson / Traveler Matthew
14" x 18" Oil on Canvas

I knew when I started this one it wasn't going to be easy, and I was right. I kind of bit off more than I could chew with this landscape, somewhat like Traveler Matthew did with the horse steak. A big thanks goes out to those four travelers to Iceland, I highly recommend taking a closer look at the trip and Matthew's site www.peakseekers.co.uk it's quite amazing and funny at the same time. And Matthew I look forward to seeing your next adventure in Nepal -"The Himalayas".

I'm always on the look out for new Travelers with a story. Contact me here or at www.theartistandthetraveler.org

Until the next time, Watch Your Top Knot!

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Have a good travel story and some fun and interesting pictures and we can get started on a painting journey.E mail me here with
name, place, and a few pics of the spot,and I'll get back to you.