Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sketchbook Journeys - Ireland: Day 7

The 7" x 10" Canson watercolor sketch book that I used for my travel journal contained 20 pages of 140 lb. watercolor paper. I used both sides of the paper, which gave me 40 pages to fill during my 2-week trip. The whole time I was in Ireland, I had a niggling worry in the back of my head that I would run out of journal space before I hopped on that flight back to Pittsburgh, PA. But, wonder of wonders, I managed to end Day 14 on the last page of my sketchbook!

Watercolor and collage, 7" x 10"
  (Click on any of the pictures to see a larger view.)

At home, I removed the wire binding temporarily so I could work on finishing the watercolors. That way I could work on several pages at the same time. I'd paint a little on one page and set it aside to dry while I started on another. I also added several extra blank pages (from another sketchbook) to use for a few more collages. With the addition of the collage pages, the journal is a bit plumper than it was originally, but the binding still fits.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

We finally had the opportunity to hear some live Irish music when we stopped in Kenmare overnight. It was fantastic! It gets your blood pumping and your feet stomping -  then, with the next song, it stirs your soul and almost brings you to tears. I loved it. I drew the above sketch while I was enjoying the music, and every time I look at it, it brings it all back to me.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

I sketched Muckross House while we were waiting for our tour to start. I wanted to change the look of the page and try a different layout, to keep the sketchbook from becoming too monotonous. I did my sketch inside a circle, then later added the curlicues to frame it, but I still had a big white space all around it that was looking pretty empty. Then I got the idea to do a light blue wash with a plaid sort of pattern over it. I like the way it turned out.

We arrived in Portmagee in the evening, tired from a full day of touring, but I felt the need to get outside and walk around a bit on my own. I grabbed my sketchbook and headed out the door of our hotel into a fierce wind blowing off the ocean. I wanted to get a good view of the town for my sketch, so I walked out on the bridge that crosses over to Valencia Island.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

I got out my sketchbook and tried to do a quick pencil drawing, but it was tough, because I was being buffeted by the howling winds. I was suddenly horror-struck, thinking, "Oh, my gosh! What if I dropped my sketchbook off the side of the bridge?!" I think I would have had to jump in after it! I figured it was much wiser to pack up the art supplies and head back to the inn for an Irish coffee. I snapped a photo and finished up the sketch later at home.

Detail of the harbor at Portmagee

During the day, my tour companions were very patient in allowing me a few extra minutes when we stopped at a point of interest, so I could do a quick sketch and get my impressions of the place down on paper. Even if I don't have time to complete a painting on location, there's something about getting that sketch done on the spot that adds life to a picture.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

Join me tomorrow on the Dingle Peninsula ...

1 comment:

  1. I'm really enjoying seeing your journal pages. You had an amazing trip!


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