Friday, July 31, 2015

Sun Over The Skelligs and Montbresia, Summer Skelligs View (Ireland)

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

This one was painted plein air, from our host, Barbara Mastaglio's back garden. There's a fabulous view of the skelligs from there (among other things!).  The morning was bright yet quite windy for this demo, with the wind picking up gradually as I neared a finish.  Wind - for the plein air painter can be as difficult as rain (perhaps more so).  But painting out in the elements truly gives you an understanding of the colors you are seeing, and the sensations of the day.  That's the only way you can transmit these to an indoor studio painting.  

The second one of this view, is painted from a photo, during one of our indoor demo's from a photo on a very rainy day.  The other element in this painting that wasn't in bloom at the time we were painting were the 'montbresia' as they are called in Ireland (known as crocosmia here in the states). They are brilliant and grow wild in the hedges over there. They were just beginning to open when we were there. They are probably in full bloom right about now! And luckily, mine were still in bloom when I returned home.
"Montbresia, Summer Skelligs View"
8"x10" oil on linen/panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here.   

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blue Door and Buoys-Irish Cottage, Pagan Graves-St. Brendan's Well (SOLD)

8"x6" oil on linen/panel - $200

So much has happened this summer, and I haven't finished telling about the Ireland workshop trip! Yes, being Ireland, we did have some rain. Usually it's not too bad. But there are days when it is inconvenient. Sometimes you can 'make the best of it', and sometimes, one must go indoors.  This began as a demo:
and as is often true, painting outdoors in Ireland can be a full contact sport! We thought we could outlast it, but the rain became relentless, and we packed it up to go into the studio. In Barbara Mastaglio's studio, one can paint from window views or work studies from photos to learn technique.The two prime windows hold views of the skelligs, out in the Atlantic, and the other window looks out toward the village of Portmagee, across the channel. 
Another view of the island, that is worth a walk down to visit, is the "Pagan Graves" down by St. Brendan's Well, this one is already claimed!

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Foxgloves on the Ring of Kerry - SOLD! & Glanleam Gardens

10"x8" oil on linen mounted on panel

Each year that I've been in the southwest of Ireland during the summer months, there is usually foxglove blooming wild, here and there. Usually there are just a few of them together in a small stand. This year, the wild blossoms were in rather huge groupings along the roadsides, edges of pastures, etc.   This demo was to show these same techniques from the day before in a floral grouping, all the while paying attention to composition, focal point, values, and edges. 

This was to be the day of our 'skellig excursion' to Skellig Michael, an island 10 miles offshore, with an ancient monastery site & stone beehive huts. Puffins are still nesting at this point in the year.  But, as it turned out, this was the first year we were unable to make the trip. It had been too rough to make the landing, so our boat did not go. We tried rescheduling twice for later in the week, but the seas did not cooperate.  Mother Nature had her way this year. 

There is no lack of things to see and do however. More painting time - with some lessons taught indoors due to rain, and an altered itinerary; flexibility is always highly valued! Lots of discussion among the group regarding social media for artists. 
Here are some of our social media mavens:

The rain cleared leaving a misty atmosphere and we were able to visit Glanleam Gardens, for a picnic lunch, painting demo & painting time & hiking (for the non-painters). It's an incredible property with quite an unusual rare subtropical plant collection.  On the front corner of the house was an Australian Manuka tree.
I knew that would be an interesting view for a quick demo on foliage and architectural details. 

10"x8" oil on linen mounted on archival panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here. 
I did manage a short hike while there on the grounds. Some of the largest fern species I've ever seen simply felt pre-historic!
 Some of the foxglove blossoms were taller than people!
Dark hidden paths through forest and glen were truly enchanting, with old iron gates, and sea views through standing stones.

Oh yes, and those stands of foxglove I mentioned earlier? I did see one near the grotto at the Valentia Slate Quarry. 

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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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