Monday, September 26, 2016

Studio Classes start Thursday & Sketches from Ireland (Fellowship of the Ring, of Kerry!)

While it's on my mind, I'm going to mention that my studio classes for "Sketchbook Journaling" are starting up this Thursday.  Here's the link to the scoop if you'd like to join us. It's close to full, but you might want to be on the waiting list- as I think there will be an opening in mid-October.  Also- you can click on the images to enlarge them! 

Now, back to Ireland- We started our first day with a quick demo and focusing especially on the thing that really 'cracks the nut' on success with watercolor - the pigment to water ratios!

The best way to quantify and explain that? Relate it to something we are very familiar with - FOOD! Tea (so weak that it can't get itself out of the pot!), coffee (a little more pigment), Milk (more pigment yet), cream (heavier still, you might not be able to see through it), and butter (almost straight out of the tube). Once you understand this, that's a big part of the learning curve.  Getting a bit of practice time in so everyone is familiar with their new supplies:

We have lots of opportunities to take in the local beauty. We had a carriage ride waiting for us in Knightstown, with Joe (of Valentia Ice Cream) and his horse Max. Can you imagine a guy that would be any more popular than that? (horses, home-made ice-cream, beautiful scenery, oh my).  

We rode past the pretty church on the way to Knightstown (many years ago, I painted a wedding commission of this place - good memories!).

Here's the view coming into the pier area of Knightstown, where you can ride the ferry over to the mainland.
Down the main street of Knightstown, this colorful coffee shop happens to be a great place for lunch...
I was really happy to see that there was still a lot of wildflowers in bloom, recent storms hadn't taken them out! There were montbresia and fuchsias filling the hedgerows, and wild blackberry brambles still putting out berries! 

This was along the road back to Valentia Ice Cream; to the left of us - cows in the pasture.  Below us, the Valentia Light house shines in the sunlight of a beautiful Valentia day!

We followed up our delightful ride with ice-cream! I got to chat with Joe's wife after she scooped up ice-cream for us. They are just closed for the season...but we are special guests that day.  They have expanded and added a whole new room, and patio-deck, as well as a play space for the kids! What a treat getting to visit with them again!

From here it's time to head back to Barbara's cottage for lunch! Yes, we worked up a nice appetite photographing the town, and all it's views. The ice cream was a bit of an appetizer!
The men are contemplating lunch, and the afternoon activities to come! After lunch, we cross the bridge to Portmagee and head south to Ballenskelligs Beach to visit the ruins, (and sit for a sketch if so desired!). 

Ever since Luke Skywalker made it out to Skellig Michael, everyone has been discovering what we've known all along....Skelligs Chocolate is FAB!!! 

Need we say anything more about that?! Now that we are fortified with a mug of hot chocolate, we proceed on our way, to Waterville, and Hogshead beach for a bit of beach-combing and views, and sunset!

The path to the beach is so lush!

and some can't resist getting their feet wet!

These stones are the colors that inspired my decorating choices in my home.
Looking back up the hill - another pretty view!

It's not difficult to imagine that fairies would live in such a lush and tender landscape!
The big view back up the hill!
The sun sets on our first day! 

We head off to dinner, and are already worlds away from the 'selves we left behind in the states'.   Is natural beauty important? Yes! Can it change our lives? Yes!  Does it continue to amaze and enthrall us? yes, yes, yes! Our humanity has us hard-wired to appreciate beauty in our daily lives!

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