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
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!
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!
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
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!
Through the media of paint, glass and photography Rosie McClelland and Pamela Greene each explore the complex issue of identity. Recognising that identity has may facets and is subject to reinvention, their work explores the relationships we form with certain people, landscapes or objects and why these draw us close on emotional, spiritual or physical levels that we do not always understand. Drawn to the imperfections in the human condition and in nature, McClelland’s and Greene’s work recognises that it is in connecting with these fault lines that we find our DNA
‘Little Blue’ oil on linen 50 x 40cm Rosie McClelland
The condition of self is transitory, never fixed. Our position within society, family and workplace can change radically throughout our lives. It is with this in mind that I approach my work which is first and foremost intimate and reflective, a personal response to my subject matter.
My chosen method of working is figurative, weaving underlying abstract forms into reality and, in the process, hopefully creating a sense of presence – a vibration. The study of the human body, an ongoing fascination throughout my life, returns time and again as does the art of still life which is about much more than the objects it portrays and more often than not represents human relationships. Another repeating motif is the tethered boat, so long a symbol of the spiritual, at times swaying on choppy seas, times on still waters portraying a reflection of the self.
Woven into this process is the acceptance of faults, fractures and imperfections as it is only through a holistic view of reality that the truth and the real self are revealed. Rosie McClelland
Iceland Series ‘Frozen Sea’ dia 30cm depth 18cm Pamela Greene
Through the media of kiln-formed glass, photography and poetry I explore my primary interest, identity. I am particularly drawn to the identity of landscape and why many of us make emotional or spiritual or physical connection with wild and inhospitable places whose beauty is often savage and transient.
My current work focuses on the landscapes of Iceland and Ireland, sustained sources of inspiration. For my ‘Iceland’ series I chose to work with glass for its versatility: its ability – like ice – to transmit and reflect light, its reaction to fire, and, like the landscape of Iceland, its strength and vulnerability. These properties make it the perfect medium to try to reflect the spirit of a landscape whose identity is shaped by ice and fire.
My glasswork is supported by photographs of Donegal, a landscape similar to that of Iceland. In these I have sought to capture the essence of a fractured and fragmented landscape where it sometimes seems that the identity and history of our ancestors can be read in the faces and fault lines of the rock formations.
Working with glass and photography has enabled me to explore how landscape, actual and remembered, shapes our sense of who we are and where we come from. Pamela Greene
On Saturday 12 Nov 2016 10am – 4pm, I shall be tutoring a life drawing workshop in the Island Arts Centre, Lisburn. Please contact the Island for details
This beautiful island of Ireland never fails to amaze me.
Yesterday I visited the ancient Ballynoe Stone Circle. Lying 2.5 miles south of Downpatrick, parts of this site date as far back as Neolithic times and the early bronze age (3000 -4000 BC)
This is the grassy vortex that leads from the main road through what seemed like middle earth to the site and back 5000 years!
The sun was shining, the air was crisp and clear and there was frost on the ground.
In the distance were the blue Mourne mountains.
The only noise was the drone of a distant tractor trimming hedges.
What do these stones mean who put them there and what did they do there?
Excavated in the 1930s the plaque at the entrance states that it’s still not fully understood when various parts were added and for what purpose – certainly partly used as a burial site – but I have ideas of my own! Just look at the shape of that stone and then compare it to Slieve Donard in the distance – could it be some sort of homage to the magnificent nature surrounding them? Of course this is just fancy on my part as Ireland was probably covered in forest at that stage and the mountains may not have been seen at all from Ballynoe!
A magical,timeless place, surrounded by beautiful countryside
-this is our heritage and it belongs to us all – 20 miles and a million light years from Belfast – I wonder if neolithic folks fought over flags!