Into June

I drove out towards Moyard with my camera this week in search of some seasonal colour – the luminous green of new growth and some pinks and purples from the bog flowers. I did not find what I expected – yes there is new growth but it does not seem as striking to me as in other years and the bog flowers are certainly not in abundance yet. Perhaps it is still too early and there is no doubt that we have had very little sunshine so far this year. Continue reading

Life drawing Residency in Roundstone

Some friendly faces at the gallery

James Hanley (RHA), Carey Clarke (RHA), Gavin Lavelle and Una Sealy (RHA) outside the Lavelle Art Gallery, Clifden 

 

We’ve had some interesting visitors to the gallery recently – old friends and acquaintances that we don’t get the opportunity to meet often enough. Pictured with Gavin outside the Lavelle Art Gallery are RHA ( Royal Hibernian Academy ) artists James Hanley, Carey Clarke ( former president of the RHA ) and Una Sealy. They were part of a group of fifteen artists that were here for a life drawing residency, organised by mutual friend and RUA painter Rosie McGurranContinue reading

April Sunshine

The gallery in the sun

Clifden came alive this Easter and although the rush has subsided, there is still a good energy about town as visitors continue to arrive and the sun continues to shine. People started arriving on Good Friday and by Saturday, the town was full. There was a fantastic energy on every street – people sipping coffee out of doors, restaurants busy with their new bills of fare, shoppers bustling in and out of doorways and not a free parking space in sight.  Continue reading

Ink Dark Sea

I have been working on two small seascapes over the last number of days. The surface is a heavyweight paper, prepared with gesso and mounted on canvas board. They each measure 15.5 cm x 10.5 cm. There is something satisfying about working on paper, its texture is fine and chalky compared to canvas and the surface holds the colour very well.

I approached these two paintings differently in that I finished them in one sitting, alternating between the two. I worked with the material in a more deliberate way, playing with the fluidity of the paint – sometimes thick, sometimes very thin. I allowed the inks to react with the paint, moving the imagery around until I arrived at something close to the effect I was looking for. This method reminds me of working with clay – creating a vessel on the wheel and then distorting it, trying to capture the fluidity of the material while it is wet. In these paintings, I tried to capture the energy and movement of the sea but also it’s darkness and it’s danger. I’ve called the first ( pictured again below ) ‘Ink Dark Sea.’

 

Ink Dark Sea

 

 

 

The second painting is titled ‘ Steel Blue Swell.’ I’ve indicated a hint of land in the distance but I did not worry too much about a horizon line.

The use of red and a hint of gold breaks the dominance of the blue.

 

Steel Blue Swell by Deborah Watkins

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Clifden - St. Parick's Day 2015 by Aerial Eye

Cover photo by ‘Aerial Eye

 

We woke to sunshine and blue skies in Clifden today, the 17th March, a notoriously unpredictable day on the weather front. In the last five years, we have had a couple of warm, dry St. Patrick’s day celebrations and at least two wet cold ones. 2013 was so wet, the parade had to be cancelled outright – I remember this particularly as my parents travelled from Dublin especially to see our girls in the parade. We had to make do with a low – key performance in our kitchen instead!  Continue reading

March Steel

It’s the first week of March and temperatures have dipped again with no real sign of spring in Connemara just yet. This week saw our first real snowfall with spectacular drifts on the mountains and a heavy smattering of white along the valleys and roads. We’ve been hearing about the icy weather around the country for a while but our proximity to the coast has kept us just above freezing point.  Continue reading

Photo Shoot

Gavin Lavelle and Deborah Watkins outside the Lavelle Art Gallery

Here are our photographs as promised and this time taken by the professional – Aoife Herriott who lives and works in Connemara. Aoife came out to the gallery this week to shoot the outside of the shop ( and us ) and to take some photos of the interior. Continue reading

Open for Christmas

New work at the Lavelle Art Gallery

The Lavelle Art Gallery is open for Christmas after several weeks of renovations! We have extended our ground floor space so that our visitors can now view work upstairs. Where before you were greeted by a door just inside the gallery ( often covered in promotional material and cards ) we now have an open staircase leading to a landing space and a newly refurbished room. Continue reading

December Cliffs

It has been too long since my last post and too long since I have had some time to paint. For the last month or so, my time has been completely taken up with the final stages of our gallery project, which has seen the restoration of an upstairs room in our gallery building here in Clifden. The truth is I have been doing a lot of painting in the last couple of weeks, but it has been of the interior decorating variety, involving skirting boards and architraves, new walls and old floor boards. The trouble with an old building such as ours is that when you start to clean/restore one section, the neighbouring wall or floor looks shockingly bad by comparison so you just have to keep going! Finally, finally, finally, it has come to an end and the results are worth more than the effort – I will post some photos of our new space here soon.

Today, I got back to some seascapes I started in October. This one was based on some photos I took of the cliffs at Inishturk, taken from the water – the chain you see in the foreground is from our boat. They are not very good photos in themselves but there was enough information there for me to make this painting. I am especially interested in the direction of the rock but also the inky blackness of the water as I remember it and the way the land clings onto and over the rock.

 

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I began this painting with the texture or skeleton of the image, using some textured paste. I’ve simplified the details for dramatic effect. This was allowed to dry overnight before any colour was applied.

 

Initial work on Cliff painting

 

 

 

 

I applied a layer of colour to this straight afterwards ( but forgot to take a photo ) and the rest of the piece was worked today ( below )

 

Cliff by Deborah Watkins

 

 

 

 

I’m going to leave this to dry and return to it with a fresh eye. I think that certain elements work here but that others seem clumsy – the red and green in the middle ground for example seem a little harsh compared with the softer tones in the rest of the piece. What do you think?

 

Post Script

This morning I returned to the painting which is now completely dry to find the colours much subdued, as is often the case – below and cover image above. I’ll leave it now for a few days before deciding what to do next and move on to the next piece.

 

cliff 2

Renovations – Progress!

New tiles for the fireplace

It occurs to me that I may be the only person on the planet who is seriously interested in what I am about to impart – the sad fact is that my life has been more or less taken over with the gallery renovation since it began earlier this summer. The exciting news is that we are making progress! The walls are now plastered and almost ready to paint, just a few more days for drying. The old carpet has been removed and I believe that the new flooring is going down as I type. At last we can get a feel for what this room will look like. Well, I’m getting a feel for it in any case 😉 Continue reading