Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fuchsias and Ferries, Clocktowers and Cliffs, Puffins and Pubs

8"x8" oil on archival panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here.  

After a morning demo on 'simplifying shapes' and 'relative colors' our group headed over to Knightstown, on Valentia Island. This is the spot where a car ferry takes you over to the mainland of Ireland. Near the pier there is a beautiful Clock Tower- quite a noteworthy landmark. 

8"x6" oil on linen mounted on archival panel - SOLD

It was a beautiful morning out by the water, our painters had lots to choose from in town.

We were still talking about the puffins we had seen the day before on Skellig Michael.
   and perhaps they are still talking about us? All those gawking people cooing over their cuteness?

"Make sure you get my good side"!

 "Okay, this paparazzi posing is getting tiresome, I have fish to catch".

On previous trips to the skellig, I've walked all the way up to the top, to the ancient monastery, and the stone 'beehive' huts.  The place is a World Heritage site, and quite a treasure. This is the first time I haven't gone all the way up the stairs. Since it was early July, when the puffins are still nesting, I really wanted to get as many photos of these funny little birds as I could! They are so cooperative (and cute). I found an accommodating rock ledge to sit, and yes, even brought my sketchbook - as they do sit around long enough for quick sketches. As soon as I brought it out of my bag & got part way into my sketch , a seagull swooped in, right between me and the puffin- no doubt thinking I had a nice juicy sandwich! ugh! What an interloper.

Enough chatting about our Tuesday trip, we had a bog walk to take after a morning of painting. The mist came in off the ocean, clouds were moving in fast from the south, rain was on the way. 
  Some of our "bog-walking-women" here, headed towards the cliffs of Culoo.

Sheep graze all over this area, and a couple popped their head up over the cliff edge to see what was coming their way.
 "Who goes there"?!

The rest of the herd grazes across the plane of the bog.
 We were soon the recipients of a FREE Irish facial, courtesy of the mist turning to rain along the southern side of Dingle Bay. We continued our walk out to the cliffs at Culoo.
 When we finally made it out there, we came upon two other walkers, one who came up to chat with our group. "Ian, of the middle road"  is how he introduced himself (and how we spoke of him later). 
 Ian and friend walking along the cliffs...which btw, is one place you'd never find me! This little cove/ pond at the top disguises the drop-off on the other side! ACKK!! 

Lichens and moss (and rocks) cover the ground closer to the cliffs, and as the bog stretches away, grasses and waterways run through this place where peat has been cut for fuel over the years. Refreshing, invigorating, uplifting, and yes, even spiritual  - a bog walk is all these things.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

May The Road Rise Up To Meet You....

Winding Road along St. Finian's Bay
8"x10" oil on linen/archival panel
To purchase, or for more information, click here

This location along St. Finian's bay always reminds me of the Irish blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rains fall soft upon your field
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand. 
Mid-way through painting, the sun came out! The land around us sparkled like emeralds. We were all on a "post-chocolate buzz" happily painting in the open. Our non-painters went exploring along the shoreline, and some followed "the path less traveled"...and came upon a small road-side stand that sold Guinness Ice Cream!!! WOW! (yes, it was indeed delicious) - he shared it so we'd all believe his amazing discovery!

You wouldn't believe what an appetite you can work up spending all this time outside. For dinner, we went over to Boston's pub in Knightstown, back on Valentia Island. I noticed that nowadays, the smoking section is moved outside...and there was no one there! 
But inside, we're enjoying each others company, and the stories of the day. 

Old buildings seem to have the most unique touches. Down the street I spotted a unique pair of door handles...interesting curiosities.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Ruins at Ballinskelligs Beach and a windy morning of painting on the beach

8"x10" oil on linen mounted on archival panel. 

This piece is already sold, but there are still some others available from this trip.

The weather looked dramatic that morning. Wind picked up and the dark clouds rolled in close. We were able to weigh down our easels with rocks (which are readily available). It wasn't gale force by any means, but it did demand our attention to our gear while painting.
Here we are under the 'life guard' shack, with a view of the ruins just ahead of us:
 These second two photos are courtesy of Kathy O'Connor, the photographer extraordinaire of our group!
Bet you never had tea & cakes at a beach shack after your lunch (which was a hot-home-made thick veg soup)! Perfect lunch out on the enclosed garden patio! On my trip there last year I did buy one of these knitted tea cozies (and they really work! Keeps a pot of tea warm for over an hour from a stiff chill wind off the sea!
So, how could we top a perfect morning? We started with a demo, then painting on location, a hearty lunch... Well, we got on our way to the Skelligs Chocolate Factory - for the serious task of 'tasting' (before a second round of painting that afternoon..ah, but that's another story). 

Decisions, is a series of decisions. But someone has to make them!

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Giants in Ireland! Jet-lag in USA!!

"Sleeping Giant"
8"x10" oil on linen mounted on archival panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here.  

I'm finally back home...and nearly recovered from jet-lag.  So the stories are long overdue! 

I always find the sight of this land formation remarkable...irresistible to paint.  So I knew it would be the first thing I'd want to demo when talking about shapes and masses.  I couldn't resist giving the 'old man' a page in my sketchbook, as soon as we arrived!

  It's been almost a week now, and this jet-lag really HAS caught me by surprise. I found myself wide awake at 4am most mornings, ready to start the day, and dropping off to sleep at my computer desk mid-afternoon.  I think I've even discovered sending out an 'erroneous' blog-post...that I 'thought' was a draft....which I did later delete due to a poor photo and incomplete text. Oddly enough it turned up in my email inbox as having been sent out. Ugh! could I really have fallen asleep at the laptop and hit 'send' before I knew what I was doing?  Was that really my head bonking the key-board? 
Here are the ladies...

and the gents along on our expedition.
When I think of ALL the incredible things this group did on our trip...well, maybe it's more than jet lag, we packed in a lot of activity; powerful plein air painting, puffin photography, bike riding, skellig climbing, pub singing at all hours of the night, long hikes along skinny roads, free Irish facials (from the mist), castle climbing, bog walking, beach strolling, Irish golf, garden gawking, sheep whispering, cow calling, swimming in North Atlantic Irish waters, rock collecting, rainbow following, ship-shape shopping,  and of course....."food, glorious food!".  Some did all, and all did some! What good company to share all this fun with!! 
I have been rolling all these memories around in my head, savoring each one! It's been especially fun for me to see this place anew...through their eyes- those who hadn't been there yet! It reminded me of the first time I ever saw it!....and I was over-whelmed! I knew I'd return many times, just to take it all in! I'm so glad Barbara and Tom share this wonderful place with us, and welcome us into their home. Between the Mastaglios, and Mary and Jim Lane (of Shealane Country House B&B)....they make us feel 'like locals' and that we actually live there.  So grateful to return and be able to share the week with you all!  

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cadbury's in Ice Cream? Are you kidding?!?!

Honestly, I deserve some kind of a medal for resisting this....Cadbury's in ice cream. Or perhaps a straight I crazy? I passed up Cadbury's in ice cream on the beach, on a sunny day in Ireland? I must be certifiable. Or desperately jet lagged! So we all are, but we are kept awake by the excitement to come.  Tom Mastaglio, our host's husband gathered us from the airport in Shannon, this morning for the long trek back to Valentia Island.  
Ah, so much to do, so little time! Surfing...I could've gone surfing, in summer, on a SUNNY day in Ireland? But we did get our feet wet. We just couldn't resist an invigorating dip (of our feet) in that brisk water in Dingle Bay, along the 

Well, too much fresh air and sunshine works up a mighty thirst for travelers. So between coffee, tea, and perhaps Guiness, we were revived.  Did I mention it tastes better over there (here in Ireland)? It's true, not kidding on this one. Once you've had it at the source, all the rest (that gets shipped to us in the States) tastes a bit like 'tree-bark-water'.
 So much to see along the way, but we finally arrived at our 'home away from home', our B&B - SheaLane B&B on Valentia Island.
I discovered there's a new baby in the "neigh"bor-hood!
I love getting to share this place with new friends, as we enjoy the view at Coarha Beg, with the skelligs and little islands in the background. 
This place holds more than a bit of magic for me. I've been enchanted by this part of Ireland.  After dinner, Barbara shares some wonderful stories....
and we are all held in its wonder and delight!
  Goodness, I've bent your ear for far too long tonight. We got some serious issues to tackle tomorrow..... like painting, and giants, beaches, ruins, and hey...there's a bit of the world's best chocolate involved, too. I need my rest to keep up!


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Friday, June 27, 2014

Return to Ireland!

6"x6" oil on archival panel
Click here to purchase.  

"Traveler, There is no path,  paths are made by walking."

- Antonio Machado 1875-1939
Traveling holds such great  delight for so many. We discover not only a 'new place', but a 'new place within us' as well. And this is whether we are by ourselves, with strangers, with friends or our spouse. Sometimes the 'taking on the personae' of being the tourist, helps me to see my own home town, and my own life in a different way.

On the 28th (tomorrow), I'll  be headed over to Ireland along with a few friends!  I'll be teaching Palette Knife painting and sharing techniques I've been integrating into my work over the last several years.  Our host is Barbara Mastaglio of "Art on the Ring of Kerry".
I'm thrilled to be sharing this wonderful place with new friends and old.  So grab your coat, boots and cane, and follow along!

There's always a fun adventure in store - as we'll travel around Valentia Island, and further out along the Ring of Kerry, make our way up to Dingle (did you know they have honeycomb ice-cream there?). For painters, there's boats, and colorful buildings, and ocean views. For shoppers, there's some gorgeous wool knitwear, and some truly fascinating pottery (who will ship back to the states for you, too!).

Heading south from the colorful fishing village of Portmagee, we'll make our way down to St. Finian's Bay for a morning of painting, followed by a stop at the Skellig Chocolate Factory (which has the most incredible hot-chocolate, and cake ever). 
Another day of painting the ruins along Ballinskelligs Bay followed by lunch with the best pot of tea, well, you can see I'm always thinking about food! It's good to be well fortified before a day of painting out in the open!

The coastlines are rocky and dramatic!

  Ruins on the beach at Ballinskelligs Bay (below), as well as the Ballycarberry Castle, with it's 2 nearby ring-forts, are great places to paint and explore.

Just a bit more to pack, un-pack and re-pack. Then I'll be ready to pull up the zip, and rest assured that all is prepared.  Just a quick flight over night, and I'll be there in Shannon in time for an early breakfast....before catching our ride to the west coast!

 So, shake your shamrocks, it's time to pull it all together, we're going to Ireland!


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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Stop! You're Making Me Blush!

6"x6" oil on archival panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here
or here.  
You're telling me these things that make me blush a little self-consciously.....Stop! You're making me blush! 

Bring a little blush to your face, sans cosmetic!

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Peonies in the Sunshine! - Mentoring Mondays

12"x12" oil on archival panel
Click here for more information, or to purchase. 

Got to share another bouquet with a fellow artist on "Mentoring Monday", a class I teach at my home/studio/gardens. Here we dragged the table out into the sun, while we stood under the cool shade to paint. (Love this garden my hubby & I designed, all that hard work is paying off in fun painting time!). "Peonies in the Sunshine". New diagnosis: POCD....peony obsessive compulsive disorder. 

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