When dreams come true

Windstärke 4, Pastell, 50×75cm, 2010© Astrid Volquardsen

It’s not my dream, but still, it’s an exciting one…

A few years ago my family and I had this fantastic sailing cruise in a part of Denmark, which is called the Danish Carribean. The pastel (Wind-force 4) is a result from this trip. We were guest of one of the loveliest couple, we ever met, David and Ea. Back then, they were dreaming of a world cruise they wanted to undertake with their beautiful ship Yukon. Their time has finally come and next month they will be setting their sails. If you like, you can take part as a paying guest on this exciting voyage.

© Marc Volquardsen
© Marc Volquardsen

Workshop with Margaret Dyer in France



Blue robe
©Margaret Dyer


Well, this is a big opportunity for everyone who lives in Europe and would like to attend a workshop with Margaret Dyer. She is coming to France and will give a workshop at the house of Kippy Hammond, »an artist from Atlanta, who moved to France many years ago. She and her husband refurbished a 150 year old farmhouse, converted the barn to a studio, and now host artist retreats and workshops there. They’ll feed us, take us on day trips to Paris and the local markets. In the studio we’ll work with models and the photos taken during our day trips.«

I’m going to join them (jippyyy…) and I am really excited .
There are still some places left, so if you would like to come see for further information Margaret Dyer

High in the sky


This week we had this fantastic weahter, typicall for April. I just love to watch the quick changes in the sky: From light clear blue to dramatic scenarios. Yummie…

So I said at the window, took everythink in and hurried into the studio. It was such great fun.

Unfortunately now the sky is one boring pale blue:-)

Studie, Pastell, 10×17cm, 2010, © Astrid Volquardsen

Colourimpression: Birches

Studie, Pastell, je 10×17cm, 2010, © Astrid Volquardsen


Our new neighbourhood is surrounded by birches, so now I can easily observe how they change their color every day. I always believed they start right away with some light green. Well, they don‹t. I didn’t take any photos and as I stood there and looked at the colors to memorize them, I was really surprised to see these brownish, greenish, reddish…whatever colors.

As I again took a closer look today I was startled by the color of the sky. It usually isn’t that blue, something was somehow different. It obviously has to do with the flight restrictions over northern Europe, because of the vulcanic ash cloud from Icelands vulcano Eyjafjallajoekull (that’s a grand name, eh? I found a funny link about it’s pronounciation: Iceland Volcano spews consonants and vowels). All airports in Northern Europe have been closed for two days now, so no condensation trails can be seen in the sky.

Foto, © Marc Volquardsen

Danish Southsealand

Blick von Ærø, Pastell, 8×24cm
© Astrid Volquardsen

© Astrid Volquardsen

The other day I had a really nice conversation with a customer about a sailing trip I undertook some years ago along the danish shores. Nothern Europe is famous for it’s special light and has attracted many artists.
Looking at my sketches and pastel studies from this trip it all came back in an instant: The colors,the light, the sun and warmth on my skin. I think as an artist we are really blessed, because we somehow seem to explore nature much more intensive.

© Astrid Volquardsen


2010 © Astrid Volquardsen


The idea for the monotypes first came to me during an exhibition visit in Paris. Reading some information about Degas‹ work, it struck me, that some of his pastels were done over monotype. Degas applied an oily ink to a metal plate with a brush or rag and put it through a press. After that he used a mixture of pastel, gouache, and distemper to color his monotypes. I was surprised to learn that some of Degas‹ pastels were even done directly over oil paint. Unfortunately I can’t recall which those pictures are. (Imagine you’re in Paris and have caught a stomach flu!)

So I thought why not try oil paint instead of oily ink.
I just put some oilpaint (Sennelier) on an extra plate, added turpentine, and applied this with a brush an a piece of glass. Instead of a press I simply used an ink roller.
I tried various grounds for the monotype, but the Pastelmat seems to take it on best.
I varied the mixture of turpentine and oil paint and it seems best to work with pastels the more the oil paint is thinned down with turpentine.

The bottom right was done with the most amount of turpentine.
(Winterfarbimpressionen I)
2010 © Astrid Volquardsen


I waited for about a week till I applied the pastel, but I’m not sure if there won’t be some alterations. I’ve got the feeling the one monotype with the most »pure« oil paint alters already. (I guess, every experienced oil painter could have told me that.)
A number of Degas‹ monotypes have suffered from cracking and subsequent flaking. Well, they still looked beautiful to me.

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