Friday, September 13, 2013

Come to Ireland With Me!! (and how NOT to get busted in security!)

Ruins at Ballinskelligs, 8"x10" oil on linen mounted on archival panel - for more information or to purchase, click here.

Ah, where to begin? I'll try to continue to fill you in with all the stories of this adventure- On my arrival to Shannon Airport on Sept. 1st, I was meeting up with three other ladies from CT, one whom I know (Jill) and two others that I hadn't met yet.  We had arranged to hire a van to take the four of us the three hour drive from Shannon to Valentia Island.  We stopped in Adare, which is halfway to our destination, for a bite to eat.  By our arrival to Valentia for our "meet and greet"  I had several new artist friends, three more attendees came in from Virginia!  It was my sixth time to return to Barbara Mastaglio's artist retreat there on Valentia Island. It's a wonderful place and she is a great one to introduce you to that area of County Kerry, Ireland! (so much so that now I'm starting to feel like a local!).

Monday morning we painted out in Knightstown, I did get a blog post in that day (scroll down for previous posts),  though I still wonder where I got the energy as each day was filled to the max! Most of us painted at the pier - as it's on a "corner" spit of land with so many great views - boats, the mainland in the distance, a quaint village, a fanciful clock tower, it's a painters paradise! After choosing to paint their local coast guard boat in its bright orange and blue, I had some time to photograph some additional interesting places in the village. I think I have some great photo references!

Before heading over to the light house and Dohilla for more painting in the afternoon, we stopped for lunch at Barbara's retreat.  Food with a view, can it get any better? Okay- it was- food with a view in the company of fellow artist friends!! Super! Here's Maureen waiting for us to join her for lunch on the patio! The Atlantic Ocean to the west of us, Dingle Bay to the north of us, Portmagee channel and village south of us, and horses grazing to the east of us!

So, without further ado- I can't wait to tell you- I'm offering a workshop at this wonderful place next summer! You can get the quick info at this link for "Art on the Ring of Kerry".  You'll want to claim your spot pronto as there is limited room!  It's a wonderful opportunity to feel like a local (take it from one who has returned to this magical place many times), I'd hate for you to miss out on this! 

I'll be teaching palette knife technique, but will help those who prefer brushes as well- mainly on how to deal with the 'predicaments' of plein air painting - getting your initial concept into a composition, how to get the 'vastness of all that Irish green' into a small format (ie. 8x10), how to simplify what you are seeing in order to make those decisions quicker (so that you can finish that painting in about 2 hours). The Irish landscape presents challenges every day- learning those concepts here will prepare you for ANYTHING!
Here I am with my favorite painting hat, lunch sack and camera bag (knowing full-well I could have lightened that load), and my fellow painter friend Jill on Skellig Michael.  It's an ancient monastic site 10 miles off shore (and a UNESCO World Heritage site)....and seven hundred steps atop a huge pointy rock in the North Atlantic!! (what were those guys thinking?). I'll continue that part of the story in tomorrow's post! Until then, Ireland's calling you....come for a visit and paint with me next summer! 

oh've read this far & might be wondering, "Okay, so where's the part about being busted in airport security"?  Well, SOMEONE in our group of painters changed around all their brilliant packing in order to make sure the Skelligs Chocolate was put in the carry-on along with the wet paintings (my two high priority items)....somehow my brush carrier fit in there as well.   My checked bag was getting quite overloaded after purchasing a couple books and woollen items. So, I was quite surprised when they pulled me aside and asked to open my carry-on bag..."sure, but you can't have my chocolate" I responded. They DID ask what was in the grey box (wet paintings), then they pulled out my fabric roll of brushes, which included palette knives for painting.  "And what are these???" the older security guard asked of me.
  "Painting knives, palette knives for painting" I just blurted out. 
"I'll have to ask my supervisor about these, they look dangerous".
Ugh, I can't believe it, attach the word knife to anything and I'm sure it's considered a weapon, even though the whole tip is flexible.  Perhaps if I had called them PAINT SPREADERS instead, I'd still have them.  Time to head back to the art supply store, I'm out roughly $40 in supplies for 3 'paint spreaders' and a pair of pliers (for removing sticky paint tube lids).  The pliers made it into Ireland, but not going back out.  I can't imagine what they thought I'd do with that (maybe pull out someones teeth with it??).  Well, you can rest assured you are safe on Aer Lingus from the likes of me! 

If I hadn't been distracted by CHOCOLATE I would have had the common sense to put the whole brush carrier in my checked luggage, and I wouldn't be needing a trip to the art supply store! I'll remember that next summer!   

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