Painting – Landscape near Oughterard

This landscape is based on a place near Oughterard, County Galway not far from the Bog I painted recently. It is also a bog but unworked for some time and now covered in a layer of grasses and heathers. Here’s a photo I took of the area and below that the painting as it began – a rough sketch in charcoal.


Landscape photo



Oughterard painting, stage 1



This is the next stage – I blocked in some areas of colour loosely with a wide brush. I decided to use green and pale pink which is what I see/remember when I squint my eyes. I’m also thinking about this combination of colour as I saw it while taking photographs of some wild flowers near my home ( see ‘Wild Fuchsia and Nature’s Colours‘ ).


Oughterard painting, stage 2



This is the next stage (below). I took this photo just after I added the green ink to the pink acrylic paint and it has bubbled as it has made contact with the paper! I want to add depth to the landscape here but also retain these broad strokes of pink as much as possible. I am trying to suggest the taller grasses with the pink and green mixture at the base of the painting but without doing it too literally.


Oughterard painting, stage 3



This is the piece as I have left it (below). I added more paint to the mountain and lake in the background. I also gave the painting some more contrast with brown ink and just a little more red.


Oughterard painting, stage 4

Conamara Bog Week Exhibition

I visited an art exhibition in the National Park in Letterfrack this week as part of the annual Bog week celebrations that are held here. This year, four artists were invited to contribute to a show with the theme of the Boglands in mind. The artists in question are all living locally so just as the exhibition champions the Bog week festival, it also recognises and salutes some of the artists who live and work in this area.

This year Bog week celebrates the work of Laura Cull, Gemma Coyne, Jay Murphy and Bernie Dignam.


Sea Week Exhibition Poster



Bernie Dignam is a textile artist and printmaker whose tapestries and woven batik and silk hangings resonate a long tradition and colourfully portray the subject.

Jay Murphy presents a variety of work for this show which includes some large paintings of old boats in mixed media as well as some small square landscapes on board in rich pastel hues.

Gemma Coyne has produced a series of photographs as well as a video installation. Her photography captures her placement of wood and felted objects in the natural landscape. All of these artists have paid homage to the theme in a sympathetic and creative way through their work but I have singled out the paintings of Laura Cull here as they resonated with me especially.

Here is an example of one of Laura’s paintings below.


Painting by Laura Cull 1



I love the sinuous lines and delicate colours of these. They are so strongly evocative of the Bog but in a light and ethereal way. They make me think of precious remains – perhaps those uncovered bog bodies or some ancient fabric belonging to an old chieftan.


Painting by Laura Cull 2



Here are two more paintings below – similar textures but this time with vivid greens and browns.


Painting by Laura Cull 3



Painting by Laura Cull 4



These green paintings seem tangible and organic – perhaps some piece of ground observed under a microscope. They connect well with the blue shadowy paintings and bring diversity and depth to the collection of works on show. I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition and it continues over the holiday week end until June 4th. Go see if you can!

Oughterard Bog Painting II

This morning I tinkered with the piece I posted earlier this week, nothing too dramatic but I felt that the water needed some work and the area on the top right of the painting needed to be dampened down a bit.


Version 2 of Oughterard bog painting



This is another piece based on the bog near Oughterard. It began as a sketch in charcoal (below). I struggled with this one as you will see and I think this is because it isn’t immediately recognisable as a landscape.


2nd bog painting, stage 1



I added some broad sweeps of colour after this. The viewpoint is closer to the ground, so the horizon line has been replaced by green growth at the top of the piece. I quite like it at this stage (below), just those three colours and the strong lines.


2nd bog painting, stage 2



The brown shape has become diluted as the painting has progressed (below) and I am hoping at this point to recover it to some degree before I finish. However, looking back here I am thinking once again that I might have left it at this stage. I like the movement at the centre of the piece and that pinkish colour which is lost later.


2nd bog painting, stage 3



This is the next stage (below). I am less happy with it now and leave it to dry overnight.


2nd bog painting, stage 4



Here is the final painting (below). I have used lots of brown ink to create more contrast and I have tried to put the shapes back as they were – the downward and outward flow of the water and the long flank of cut bog. I have subdued the green area at the top and added more paint to make the surface richer. I’ve left it here and am reasonably happy to call it finished. I am wondering now how it reads to someone else – let me know what you think, I’d love to have your comments.


2nd bog painting, finished

Bog Cotton

I noticed a few strands of bog cotton while taking pictures out on the Bog Road. It usually appears later, around June so these were just a few sparse stands. Later it can be seen in gorgeous delicate swathes between the bog heathers.


Photo 1 of Bog Cotton



This is the single headed variety of bog cotton which likes damp ground but not ground which is completely water logged. There is a many headed form which grows in pools of water and draws up water through it’s stem. This variety uses its leaves which are long and rolled in to needles, to conserve water.


Photo 2 of Bog Cotton



I love it’s hairy delicateness and the way it swishes in the breeze. It holds a promise of Summer which is welcome as May has been unusually cold and wet so far..


Photo 3 of Bog Cotton

Bog Pool

Here is another photograph taken from the Bog Road, between Clifden and Roundstone. The road itself is like a ribbon of tarmac that bumps over the surface of the Bog ( top right of photograph ).
I’ve used the pool in the front of this picture as the inspiration for the painting below.


Photo of a Bog Pool



This piece is similar to one I finished recently but I’ve made the water a stronger feature in this one – I am going to do several more paintings about this area because there is much to work on. I’ve used straight lines to delineate the pool in the foreground where the cut earth has been flooded. I love this play between the uniform lines or human marks left by the bog cutting and the wildness of the place which ultimately takes over.


Painting of Bog Pool



I worked this in one sitting while paint and ink were wet. I really enjoy the way that these two materials interact with each other and I feel that they lend themselves well to this subject.