Donegal, Uncategorized, Workshops

A Postcard from Donegal August 2019

During this summer’s Donegal Sketching Holiday I gave each participant a sheet of a postcard-sized watercolour  pad.  The image they painted or drew had to reflect the pretty village of Kilcar where we were sketching at the time and, of course, they didn’t disappoint…..

But let’s go back to the first morning in Rosbeg. We started off making marks as we walked – a great way of sharpening the observational skills and becoming familiar with your surroundings

Placing yourself in front of a panoramic view can be daunting as to where to start so I handed each person a  piece of drawing paper, 45cms square, which I had folded and pressed together to form a “pad” approx 15 cms sq. The first drawing/painting within this square was to be of the middle-distance. They were then to fold out the side “wings” and draw/paint whatever was on either side of their original square – ditto for the top and bottom “wings” (are you still with me?). This was aimed to sharpen spatial awareness and also to explore compositional aspects of the scene. 

If I were to say the weather was perfect, I would be lying, there were a lot of showers but it was warm enough and the clouds were dramatic and painterly ( we Irish know how to spin a weather story!). However, by the time we got to Maghera on Monday afternoon the rain had set in so sketching time and the outlook were limited. Rossy still managed to get down some quick watercolour marks of the “Granny” (Pass) before it disappeared!Rossy5

These were a couple I did the week before when I was out scouting for locations – maybe next year we’ll make it ……

Never to be defeated by rain or wind, we stopped, on the way home, at Killybegs Harbour and sketched from the shelter of our cars

Tuesday morning was ceramics time and the potter, Alan Snape, had another brilliant project planned and what could be more fitting for Donegal….

..than a flock of sheep?

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We spent Tuesday afternoon at Kilcar. I’ve already shown the postcards so here are some of the rest

One of my favourite places in Donegal is the beautiful, deserted village of An Port. The first time I visited here (around 30 years ago) it seemed like the end of the world – empty – wild – elemental. This year we arrived down to find half a dozen cars, 3 camper vans and two coaches full of Spanish walkers! I suppose it was only a matter of time before the rest of the world caught on to the magic of Donegal and in particular these hidden gems. The Wild Atlantic Way has helped put the Atlantic coast on the tourist map and it is certainly good for the local economy. The Spanish walkers eventually made their way across the mountain path towards Glencolumbcille where the coaches would be waiting for them, leaving us to our sketching…..

Rossy McConaghy watercolour; acrylics

Roberta Lindsay watercolour pens; mixed media

Patricia Wilson watercolour; oil pastels

Pamela Greene watercolour; pastels

Oonagh Catchpole watercolour; pastels; watercolour pens

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Margaret Finlay pastels

Helen Mckelvey watercolour

Geraldine Snape frottage; assemblage

Rosie McClelland oil pastel; oil pastel on acrylic monoprint

Another fun-filled and productive workshop comes to an end. My thanks to everyone who took part, to the potter, Alan Snape and my helper, sister and fellow artist Gerry Snape. Thank you Donegal for your hospitality especially Ethna from Inishduff B & B who, quite frankly, spoils her guests, the Tara Hotel, Killybegs and the Rusty Mackerel, Teelin where we had fabulous meals.

Until next year……….

 

Donegal, Holiday, On Location, Sketching, Workshops

Donegal Sketching Holiday 2018

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An Port Ghost Village

An Port is a favourite destination of mine and we visited it this year on the second day of our workshop. Port has a very special atmosphere. It is said that the whole village was abandoned at the time of the famine in the middle of the 19c leaving the houses to fall into ruin. It must have been a very hard existence – what appears picturesque to those visitors who make their way down and leave again, the reality was in fact a harsh existence.

On the first morning we spent an hour on Fintra Beach before moving on to St John’s Point. At Fintra our first exercise was to walk and make marks as we go, seaweed, stones, footmarks, pawmarks, feathers, waves – anything that took our eye. These sketches ended up as scribbles in most cases but served the purpose of honing hand-eye coordination.

St John’s Point

Ceramic Workshop

On the final morning we had a ceramic tutorial from the potter Alan Snape. At the start of the holiday he had asked everyone to think of five or six motives for a mini frieze. Always daunting at first the final results were awesome to the delight and surprise of all the novice ceramicists!

Muckross Head

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Our final destination was at the stunning Muckross Head with wind and waves and foam – an inspiration for any artist of paint or words.

Thank you to all who took part – to the tutors, the companions, the helpers. Thank you for all your work – sketches , paintings, poems and most of all – thank you for the craic!

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Donegal, Holiday, On Location, Workshops

Donegal Sketching Holiday 2017

The weather gods were kind this year although if I were one to bite my nails they would be down to the quick! For painters it was perfect – windy, cloudy and sunny all in one Donegal day. Motifs are always plentiful, satisfying every taste whether landscape, water, fishing ropes, scudding clouds, busy, colourful, towns or sweeping mountain passes.

 

Below is a slideshow of some of the work produced

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                                          This year we had a guest tutor, the ceramic artist Alan Snape, who gave a masterclass in modelling in clay. Results were stunning as you can see…

All over for another year. My thanks to Alan Snape, the Potter, for his excellent tuition, to Gerry (Mrs Potter and my big sis) for her help making thousands of sandwiches and gallons of coffee and tea and of course to all those who took part for your work, the laughs, the wine and the company!

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Donegal, Holiday, On Location, Sketching, Uncategorized

Donegal Sketching August 2016

Another long overdue blog!20160808_115644_resized

Monday August 8  – The deserted fishing village of Port was our first venue. A windswept but sunny day creating a continually changing light show….

       Tuesday August 9     Assaranca Waterfall and Ardara Town

 

Wednesday August 10 – A wet day so drawing exercises inside the cottage using Donegal’s wild flowers20160825_161811_resized

‘Losing control’- Sketching with charcoal taped onto the end of a paintbrush                   (left to right Margaret F, Kay McC, Karen W, Gavin H)

‘Large and Small Scale’ – drawing with a paintbrush and black ink on scrolled paper, pen and ink on small scale card. (left Kay McC, right Pamela G)

Subtraction drawings with charcoal and putty rubber.(left Pamela G, right Gavin H)

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Brambles (Margaret)

Thank you to all who took part!

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Donegal, Holiday, On Location, Workshops

Sketching in Donegal August 2015

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The summer already seems like a lifetime ago but before the Autumn draws in completely here is a little reminder of the August sketching holiday in Donegal.

I don’t think I could get away with saying the weather was brilliant (the photos of raincoats and warm jackets are a testament to that) but we certainly weren’t washed out and Donegal is beautiful and inspirational no matter what.

Our locations this year were Killybegs Harbour, Fintra Beach, Port, Muckross and an “invigorating” sea outing with Sliabh Liag Boat Trips.

Donegal, On Location, Workshops

Donegal Sketching Holidays 2015

It might be snowing outside but it’s time to think about summer sketching in beautiful Donegal

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Location:    Largy in SW Donegal lying between Ireland’s largest fishing town of Killybegs and the beautiful village of Kilcar in the heart of Donegal’s Gaeltacht
Dates:           Sunday July 5 – Wednesday July 8
Sunday August 9 – Wednesday August 12
Tuition Fee: £195 (£50 deposit with booking-form and balance to be paid 4 weeks before beginning  (Euros 260, deposit Euro 80)

The weekend starts with light refreshments on the Sunday evening, continuing with painting on location on Monday Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am – 5pm with a break for lunch from 1–2pm (sandwich lunch included in price)
The course is suitable for all levels

There is excellent accommodation in the area at reasonable prices
Contact me for further info and a booking-form

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Donegal

Silver Strand

On the south west corner of Donegal lies a cove with pink sand and humbug rocks.

Yes I know, the name suggests silver sand but the day I went it was definitely pink!

On sunny, summer days tourists, hikers and locals climb down the steep steps to sunbathe and swim in the clear water. But even on a dull day, if your ageing knees will allow it, it’s well worth the effort to descend those steps and walk along the strand surrounded by a somewhat claustrophobic, horseshoe of majestic cliffs.

What fascinates me down here are the unusual humbug-like metamorphic rock formations. Last winter, with the storms and tidal surges, earth from the cliffs was washed away to reveal evidence of a 7000 yr old petrified forest. I was positively beside myself to find this! I just hope the good people of Donegal find some way of protecting this – the temptation to take a sample home is so great I practically had to tie my hands behind my back!

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