Island

Small and Large Notebooks and Pencils

 

I’ve been asked to submit a couple of paintings for this year’s Sea week group exhibition. This annual event takes place in the nearby village of Letterfrack and is a celebration of the sea through music, word and the visual arts.

This year the theme is the Island. I’ve been thinking about how I see the islands ( in a literal way ) as a shape on the horizon line from the mainland, as a two dimensional shape on a map and sometimes as coloured images from space ( with the help of google earth ). I wanted to combine these ways of seeing so I took some photographs of the islands from the mainland and then looked at maps and other imagery (below).

 

photographs and map collected by Deborah Watkins

 

 

 

 

I love this map by Tim Robinson – every town land, hill, island, inlet, mound and tomb is here. Every scaled inch is marked and has a name. I am drawn to the familiar shape of Omey island which is connected to the mainland by a strand at low tide.

 

 

Photograph of map by Tim Robinson

 

 

 

 

I begin by sketching an outline of the island as a shape on the horizon and then I flatten the perspective so that the shape extends underneath as if viewed from above. I like the resulting image as it also looks like a shape that is under the water like an iceberg.

 

Outline of Island shape by Deborah Watkins

 

 

 

 

I used a broad brush to fill in colour – paint for the island shape and strand and blue inks for the water. The composition is similar to a painting I made called ‘Tinkers‘ after the novel of the same name. The choice of colour is similar and both allow the viewer to see water from different perspectives..

 

Second stage - Island painting by Deborah Watkins

 

 

 

 

This is the piece as I’ve left it below. I filled in some details as if we are now seeing part of the island from the above. I put in Lough Feichin ( wonderful name! ), the large lake in the middle of the island and Tra Rabhach above it as well as some of the other beaches. I used brown ink to darken the water in places, I enjoy the way the inks react with the paint, especially where it has been thickly applied. I’ll return to it in a couple of days and see if it needs anything more.

 

Finished Island Painting by Deborah Watkins

 

 

 

Looking at the painting now I think that choosing this removed perspective is appropriate for me as someone from the mainland. I love to visit the islands when I can but I know that there is something about the isolation and the restriction of movement that I would find difficult..