Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sketchbook Journeys - Ireland: Days 8-9

The Dingle Peninsula is the Ireland that everyone knows from photos on calendars with titles like "Magnificent Scenery of the Emerald Isle." Stone walls surround vibrant green pastures where flocks of sheep idly graze. Picturesque cottages perch atop towering cliffs with waves crashing below. It's almost too beautiful to be real.

But a few weeks ago, I was there! That scenery was all around me, and I could hardly believe I was finally seeing it with my own eyes!

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

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

Our driver/guide, Danny, was the sweetest guy, and he taught us so much about the history and culture of Ireland. He had a wry sense of humor, too, and, as we were driving through the drizzle in western Ireland one day, he popped up with this quote ...

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

It's not easy trying to draw while holding an umbrella overhead to shield your sketchbook from the rain, but that's what I had to do to record the Dingle Harbor sketch, above, in my journal. Overall, though, the rain wasn't so bad; we had plenty of sunshine to balance out the occasional showers.

Detail of Dingle Harbor

Here's another collage filled with ephemera: clippings from brochures showing places we visited, a business card from a wonderful restaurant in Dingle where we had dinner, a soap wrapper from one of the B&Bs we stayed in, a label from the milk I used in my morning coffee, and a paper coaster from a hotel in Portmagee.

Collage, watercolor, marker, 7" x 10"

The Falls Hotel in Ennistymon is a favorite venue for weddings, and to set the stage they have a dovecote on the front lawn, surrounded by flower beds. White doves flutter in and out, cooing to each other. Ah, how romantic! I enjoyed sitting in the late afternoon sunshine to draw them ...

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

...and this view of the falls, with the village of Ennistymon in the distance.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

Alll of us were really, really, really excited to finally arrive at the long-awaited Cliffs of Moher. It was a sparkling, sunny day which made everything even more awesome.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

To give a sense of scale to my sketch, I added two tiny figures at the top of the cliffs - they really should be even smaller to be correct. Wow, those cliffs were impressive!

Detail of Cliffs of Moher

And that's not all! Stop by again tomorrow for even more sketches of Ireland, including my favorite stretch of windswept beach.


  1. These are so beautiful! Did you do them on site? They tell so much about the feeling of the places you visited. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I did almost all of the sketches on site, but most of the painting had to wait until I returned home. Only the first few pages were completed while I was in Ireland. After that, the whirlwind pace of traveling barely allowed me the time to do an ink sketch or two each day and keep up with the written journaling. But I actually enjoyed working on it after I returned home - I was still immersed in Ireland for weeks afterward. And here it is now, almost three months after my trip and I'm still writing about it!

  3. I enjoyed seeing your pages of the Dingle Pennisula and the Cliffs of Moher. A close friend of mine has told me how much she enjoyed the Dingle area, but I haven't had a chance to see her photos - so your images opened my eyes to what she was referring to. Also, earlier this year I painted the Cliffs of Moher from a photo as I have not been there myself. It was fun to see your journal page for it.


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