Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"And The Rains Fall Soft Upon Your Fields" - SOLD!

6"x8" oil on linen mounted on archival panel
This painting is sold, but others are available here

They say cows lay down when it's going to rain. Personally, I think cows do what ever they want to.  Out in the west of Ireland, rolling hills extend from the mountains, and reach out to the sea; ruins of earlier lives are now softened by wild flowers over grown into thick hedges from plentiful rainfall. May the rains fall soft upon your fields, such is a blessing. 

I'd love for you to join us next year at another workshop in southwestern Ireland, on Valentia Island, Ireland.  Hey movie fans, did you hear the latest scoop?  The next episode of Star Wars is being filmed right now on Skellig Michael!! Follow "Art On The Ring Of Kerry" on Facebook, for more information about next summer's painting workshop. This year was so much fun! I know you won't want to miss your chance to come along!
 

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

May The Sun Shine Warm Upon Your Face, or Monet's Great Idea

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

It dawned on me that one of Monet's great practical ideas was to paint familiar places, over and over again. Every thing is seen in a new light. The season, or weather may be different, as well as time of day. Over the years, our cumulative experience of being at that place enables us to see things that we didn't notice before, and our skill set has developed further as well.  This house on Valentia Island, Ireland - with it's thatched roof, has been painted many times, by many artists.  Each time I've painted it, the familiar brings comfort, yet there is always something new about it to me. And I find that's a wonderful spot to be in. So to any one who feels like "I've already painted that place"....don't be so quick to want to leave...what are you missing today?...time for another look!   

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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, decisions....life 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 jacket....am 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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