Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sketchbook Journeys - Ireland: Days 1-3

The last line has been drawn, the last brushstroke painted. My Ireland sketchbook is complete! I still want to dress up the cover a bit when I get a chance, but I'm so anxious to share my sketches with you that I just couldn't wait any longer!

7" x 11" watercolor sketchbook

(In case you're new to this blog, my mom and I spent two wonderful weeks in Ireland in September 2011. If you missed my earlier posts and want to read about our itinerary and see lots of photos, check the blog archive for October 2011.)

I worked in a 7" x 10" spiral bound Canson Montval Field Watercolor Book , and sketched with pencil, pen, and ink, then added watercolor, and, once in awhile, a touch of colored pencils.

Title page, watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

The title page was done back home in the studio after the trip. Even though it's the first page of the journal, it was one of the last ones I painted. The Celtic designs and the scene of green fields divided by stone walls say "Ireland" to me.

Watercolor, pen & ink, colored pencils, 7" x 10"

My first sketches were done in the Chicago airport while waiting for our flight to Dublin. Hurricane Irene had totally messed up our travel plans, and we had been delayed two days in leaving for Ireland. It was a nightmare, and we almost had to cancel the entire trip! In the end, everything worked out and we were so grateful to finally be in Dublin that we almost kissed the ground when we stepped off that plane.

I had to include a sketch of our tiny little car that I maneuvered through the narrow, windy roads of Northern Ireland ...

Watercolor, pen & ink, marker, 7" x 10"

We loved the B&B where we stayed in Bushmills, Northern Ireland. The hosts were the nicest we encountered on our whole trip. What a great welcome they gave us!

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

It wasn't easy to find the time to write each day. Often I would still be at work long after my mom had gone to sleep at night, but it was important to me to get it all down on paper. I knew I would forget so many of the little details and experiences if I didn't. We had waited a long time for this trip and I wanted to remember everything!

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

It was starting to drizzle when I got out my sketchbook to record this scene on Day 3 at Whitepark Bay, so I had to work quickly. I got down the basics in a quick pen and ink sketch, then added the watercolor later. It was a dreamy, beautiful place, one I'll never forget.

Detail of the old boys' school at Whitepark Bay

All in all, I completed 52 pages of paintings, writing, and collage in my Ireland sketchbook. Working on it at home after our return allowed me to relive everything we had seen and done, and enhanced the whole experience for me. Although it would have been great to sit and paint for hours while we were in Ireland, that wasn't realistic, considering all the places we wanted to see in a limited amount of time. Catching those first impressions while on site and adding color later, is a good compromise.

Detail of cliffs near Ballintoy, Northern Ireland

More to come tomorrow ...

9 comments:

  1. This is marvelous, almost like being there...

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  2. What a treat to see a peek of your Irish journal!! I just stumbled on your blog this evening when I saw that Laure Ferlita had responded to you on Facebook about your Journal of your trip to Ireland. Just the comment raised my interest because I too had a short trip to Ireland early in the year and I plan to do sketches from my trip - from the many photos I returned home with. Unfortunately I didn't have time to sketch during the trip itself. I also enjoyed listening to the interview with you and seeing many pages of your journals. I love your work and I'll come back for more visits. Thanks for sharing! Your enthusiasm and joy is contagious.

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  3. Claire,
    It makes me so happy to hear you say that my enthusiasm is contagious. That's the whole point of this blog - to inspire people to be creative in their everyday lives. Be sure to let me know when you do your own sketches of Ireland. I'd love to see them. You can email me via the Contact button.

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  4. Leslie, You never cease to amaze me. Any suggestions on how to educate your followers/admirers on doing this kind of sketchbook? Have you ever thought of teaching watercolor in a series of posts? Probably not the best way, but at least mentioning what supplies one needs to get started? Books?

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  5. Joanne,
    Thanks for your suggestion about doing more teaching from my blog. I think that's a good idea. I'll give it some thought. Really though, all you need to get started is a sketchbook of some sort and a pencil or pen. Just start recording the world around you. Practice is the best teacher. At first you'll feel awkward, but if you put in the time, your renderings will improve, along with your confidence.

    Do a simple drawing. Add some text - nothing fancy, just write in your own handwriting. Add some color with pencils, markers, or paints. Just have fun. Don't tear pages out of your sketchbook if you're unhappy with them. Leave them there - they're part of the journey, and it will be fun to look back at how far you've come. You just have to commit to doing it. Give yourself permission to be who you are and enjoy the process. Just do it.

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  6. I ran into your blog as I was searching for 12x12 Ireland SB paper. I am preparing to be broken hearted as my sister in NY and myself in CA are venturing to Ireland from May 8-18. My 2nd trip to the Emerald Isle but her first leaving the US! (we’re in our 50’s). I made a rather wonderful journal for her to track her trip and the PO seems to have likely lost it (even with a tracking # - very sad). I was searching for more paper to make a replacement journal and found your blog and was absolutely stunned, mystified and amazed! Your artwork is truly magical, beautiful, exciting, colorful, soothing, AMAZING! I love love love the drawn in pictures interjected and as a background to your beautifully written entries and the full page sketches are mind-blowing in your God-given talent! Your journal is a true wonderland reflecting the absolute magic of both Ireland and your very special talent. I am so inspired and if I wasn’t excited enough about my trip before, I am even more so after traveling with you on your special vacation through your very incredible journal. Thank you for sharing such beauty and I am a new (GIANT) fan for sure! Pam Austin Costa Mesa, CA

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    1. Your comment made my day, Pam! Thank you so much for your heartfelt sentiments. It's so sad to think that the journal you made your sister might be lost - I hope it turns up eventually. And have a WONDERFUL trip to Ireland. How special to share it with your sister. My mom and I are longing to go back. Those two weeks we spent there were simply magical!

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  7. I ran into your blog as I was searching for 12x12 Ireland SB paper. I am preparing to be broken hearted as my sister in NY and myself in CA are venturing to Ireland from May 8-18. My 2nd trip to the Emerald Isle but her first leaving the US! (we’re in our 50’s). I made a rather wonderful journal for her to track her trip and the PO seems to have likely lost it (even with a tracking # - very sad). I was searching for more paper to make a replacement journal and found your blog and was absolutely stunned, mystified and amazed! Your artwork is truly magical, beautiful, exciting, colorful, soothing, AMAZING! I love love love the drawn in pictures interjected and as a background to your beautifully written entries and the full page sketches are mind-blowing in your God-given talent! Your journal is a true wonderland reflecting the absolute magic of both Ireland and your very special talent. I am so inspired and if I wasn’t excited enough about my trip before, I am even more so after traveling with you on your special vacation through your very incredible journal. Thank you for sharing such beauty and I am a new (GIANT) fan for sure! Pam Austin Costa Mesa, CA

    ReplyDelete

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