I went for a walk along our new cycle path just outside Clifden at the week end. It flanks the beautiful Gowlaun lake and curls around the rock faced road on the other side as it meanders in to town. It was evening and a little overcast so the light was low and a strong breeze carried cumulus cloud steadily across the sky. In between the puffy white mass, the sky was a startling blue which was reflected in the water with the last of the evening sun.

Large banks of reeds with purple crimson heads swished in the breeze – there is no sweeter sound and I hear it again when I look at this next picture below.


Reeds at Lough Fadda, Clifden





Here’s a close up of the reeds. I looked for it when I got home and was disappointed to find that it’s name is the Common Reed – a sadly underwhelming title for such a beautiful plant..


Close up of the Common Reed




and some more reflections.. this bank of reeds made a lovely arc that swept across this part of the lake from where I stood. The reflection of the sky overhead is more colourful and descriptive than the sky itself from this angle.


Reflections in Derrylea lake





This last photograph was taken just before I left. The evening was closing in and the landscape is almost in silhouette against the water and these gilt edged clouds. Magic.


Evening closes in at Derrylea lake

Sky and Sea

The main interest in this little seascape is the sky. It started out like this (below).

I used lots of red at the base of the painting in an attempt to give the final sea colour a richness and depth. I’ve applied the paint quite thickly on the top part of the piece. I waited until this layer was completely dry before I worked on it again.


First stage of Seascape





This is the next stage below.

I’ve given the cloud shapes more definition and divided them in to dark and light areas. I then used some charcoal to mark out the rocks in the foreground and lots of blue and white paint to describe the sea. I’m happy enough not to do too much more with it at this stage and I wait for this layer to dry.


Second stage of seascape by Deborah Watkins





This is how the finished seascape looks below.

I’ve used charcoal to heighten the contrast in the clouds and give the illusion of rain falling. I enjoy using charcoal with paint like this although they are not traditional partners – what do you think?


Finished seascape by Deborah Watkins

White Sand Blue Sky

I spent an afternoon at Aillebrack beach last week. This area is just south of Clifden and it boasts a string of beautiful beaches, many of which are unoccupied even at this time of year. It was one of those unexpected sunny days after a bout of wet weather and so I seized the moment with my daughters and headed for the sea. This was what awaited us..


Aillebrack beach





and looking out to sea..


The sea at Aillebrack beach





We were pleased to have the beach to ourselves, save for some seagulls who decided to join us when we produced our picnic. Here’s a picture of them swooping down to the shore.


Seagulls at Aillebrack beach





This one seems to be gauging the weight of this piece of bread!


Seagull at Aillebrack beach





We are so lucky to have these beaches on our doorstep, I believe that they must be among the most beautiful in the world. These last few pictures are of the clouds which made dramatic rippled patterns across the clear blue of the sky. I hope to be able to use some of what I’ve seen here in my paintings soon..


Aillebrack beach





Skies at Aillebrack beach





Skies at Aillebrack beach