Monday, July 13, 2015

Return from Ireland - a weeklong journey to paint & tour

6"x8" oil on linen mounted on archival panel
"Morning Fields, Valentia Island, Co. Kerry"
For more information, or to purchase, click here. 
View from the plane as we fly into Shannon airport.
After an overnight flight leaving JFK Saturday evening, we arrive at Shannon airport at 6am. 

This first day of our trip, we must acclimate ourselves to our new time zones (five hours later). No napping! - or you'll find yourself awake at 2am ready to start the day five hours too early! We gather ourselves for the drive out to the coast where our workshop takes place. A bit of 'purposeful sightseeing' will get us used to our new time zone & hopefully alleviate the jet lag.   Leaving Shannon, we stop in the town of Adare for a break & a bit of tea and scones. 

Bark of a cork tree at Adare manor house.

We make a short stop at Adare manor to stretch our legs and see this incredible place! One of the most fascinating things I've found is the oldest Cedar of Lebanon, there on the grounds. It is said to be the oldest in Ireland and Great Britain, planted around 1645!

The gardens were rather spectacular there, as usual!
 We also make a stop in Foynes, along the Shannon River, and then head over through Ballybunnion to Ballyheigue. We have a bit of lunch at a tiny bistro along the beach at Ballyheigue Bay. Then we continue to wind our way through Tralee, and down through Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Caherciveen, and Portmagee before crossing the bridge to Valentia Island. Mary and Jim Lane, owners of SheaLane B&B welcome us to our home away from home. We get freshened up for dinner, and our meet and greet at Barbara and Tom Mastaglio's cottage. Barbara operates "Art on the Ring of Kerry" and is the 'Queen of Fun', making these art workshops and retreats possible.  There are so many wonderful things to see and do in this area of Kerry. It's a lot to pack into one week! She has been cooking dinner for us while we have been making our way across the countryside. Cooking aromas greet us as we enter the cottage. 

We've had some time during our travels to get acquainted with each other, and now all get to meet Barbara and Tom, our hosts during the retreat. We go over our itinerary for the week and take a tour of her property. 
 Above, from the patio, over looking Portmagee, across the channel.
Going to have a look at Barbara's studio.

So, enough about arrivals day. On Monday we begin our workshop at 9am.  Yes, it does rain in Ireland every day...or almost every day, usually not all day long, and if you time it right, there's always a bit of every kind of weather.  We started out with a bit of rain, but we have a fantastic multipurpose room at our B&B. It's a 'solarium', with windows on all three sides, perfect for painting from life, when it's pouring outside.  There's a different view in each direction you look. "Morning Fields, Valentia Island" was painted inside Mary's solarium room, looking north, as the weather changed outside.
Our first lesson is on simple landscapes, skyscapes, landforms, atmospheric perspective, composition, focal points, SQUINTING as a painting practice, as well as dealing with rapidly changing views due to weather, while plein air painting. Each day we'll cover a new painting subject while covering these topics. 


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