Gorse and Hawthorn

The wild Gorse is one of the most commonly found plants here in Connemara. We are fortunate enough to have a wall of it in our own back garden. The first few blossoms usually appear in February but they arrived soon after Christmas this year, presumably due to the mild weather. These yellow flowers are always a welcome sight after a long colourless Winter. At the moment the gorse is in full bloom everywhere and it is a sight to behold.
Here is a photo I took of a gorse lined road in Ardbear, just outside Clifden.

 

Gorse in Flower 1

 

 

The gorse stems are thorny and evergreen but the flowers smell like coconut, sweet and summery.
Here’s another picture, a little closer up.

 

Gorse in Flower 2

 

 

And just a mention for the Hawthorn – I stopped the car on the way back in to town to photograph this lovely old tree. I love its knarly branches and moss covered trunk.

 

Photo of a Hawthorn tree

Sketches in paint 2

These sketches are all based on the same scene, along the coast just outside the village of Claddaghduff, which is about seven or eight miles from Clifden.
In the vein of loose painting, I completed them very quickly (if they can be called complete). One is on a colored paper and the other two are on a heavy acrylic paper.

 

Painting: Claddaghduff landscape 1

 

 

Painting: Claddaghduff landscape 2

 

 

Painting: Claddaghduff landscape 3

 

 

I enjoy working on a colored ground or paper and it is not quite the same thing as paper that I have colored myself, although I probably need to work on this. Psychologically, one feels more free straight away and I think this usually shows. It has something to do with the daunting hold a blank white sheet of paper has on the mind – it scares us a little. This really should not be the case for someone like myself who has been putting paint on paper since childhood but I do think that it is so.
The other point about these colored papers is that they are very light and not really designed for heavy applications of paint. They tend to buckle especially if larger in size than about A5. This does not bother me especially but may be off putting for a potential buyer/owner of the piece. What is your opinion?

Telegraph poles

Telegraph poles line the road ways here and are as much a part of the landscape as the scraggy Connemara sheep. There are large areas of protected land on which there is little evidence of any human interference save for the ubiquitous telegraph poles. The harsh winds in Winter bend the poles so that one in five ( or so it seems ) breaks the line and leans over drunkenly. The first two photographs show this and below them a painting of mine.

 

Photo 1 of telegraph poles

 

 

Photo 2 of telegraph poles

 

 

Painting of telegraph poles

 

 

The telegraph poles and wires bring something to the landscape for me and more often than not I choose to include them in my work. They are after all a lifeline for the communities here. Of course, most people also have mobile phones nowadays but the uneven topography of the land and small population means that there are still pockets of land with no signal and so the telegraph wires are much needed for communication.
I use charcoal over acrylic paint to illustrate the poles and wires and I love the way these lines follow the line of the road and can bring life to a painting.