Rob Adams a Painter's Blog painter's progress

January 8, 2012

A Wet and Windy Yule

Filed under: Ireland,Painting,Wales,Watercolour — Rob Adams @ 6:03 pm

For many years I have visited old (and patient) friends at Christmas who live in an iron age roundhouse in the Burren in the far West of County Clare. The landscape is bleak and beautiful in the winter months but very hard to paint. Last year was all frosts and cold, but this one was all wind and rain. Either of these are possible to paint in but both at the same time are more or less impossible. The best I have managed for the most part is to paint a sketch from the car with the windscreen wipers going. The oils were all rained off half done, so this post is watercolours. Only a few got finished wholly on site, the humidity making drying a bit of a trial. On a couple I was driven to putting the car heater and fan on full blast in order to dry my initial washes. Those are the downsides, but the upside is that the dramatic storms brought some wonderful moments where cloud sun and landscape all contrived to put on a show. These fleeting subjects are almost impossible to paint plein air so photos are needed for reference, though I try to paint from them very soon after taking the picture, somehow unless the photo is very good the essence gets forgotten. The first few are from Wales where I stayed on my way over to Ireland. Some pictures can as usual be clicked for a larger image.



Watercolour, Wales, Newport, sea, painting, Rob Adams

 This is Newport Pembrokeshire which has a wonderful long beach with this rocky area ti the northern end. It was very windy with the light going over when I took the reference photo for this. I reduced my palette to only three colours for this to enhance the silvery mood, Ultramarine, Quinacridone Gold and Venetian red to darken the Ultramarine to grey. 14in by 11in.


Pembrokeshire, Wales, Watercolour, painting, Rob Adams

A small 7in by 5in sketch. This is Strumble Head near Fishguard. The lighthouse nearby looked fantastic but no chance of painting it as the wind was really wild. This was done from a sheltered bit down the cliff. At least the wind was doing a good job of drying for me. Looking at this compared to the oils in my last post I can’t help feeling that my watercolours are still a way ahead of my oils, in catching the mood of the sea at any rate.


Newport, Pembrokeshire, Wales, Rob Adams, watercolour, painting, plein air

Another small 7in by 5in, my small sketch book was the easiest to use as the wind was still a bit frisky! This is a view that I have painted many times but I never mind that, the light always brings a new mood. Only three colours again, Naples Yellow, Venetian Red and Ultramarine.


Pembrokeshire, wales, watercolour, painting, Plein air, Rob Adams

This is Cwm yr Eglwys on the North side of Dinas head. The south side of the head was blowing a gale but oddly here on the North it was still and I could sit and paint without holding on to everything for dear life. 7in by 5in again.


Pembrokeshire, Wales, watercolour, painting, plein air, Rob Adams

This is Ceibwr Bay, the wind was so fierce I had to paint from the car, which in turn had to be positioned in a precarious and probably illegal position. The light was superb raking over the cliffs from inland. In my middling sketch book which is 9in by 7in.


Nore, Inistioge, Kilkenny, Ireland, Watercolour, Painting, Rob Adams

A bridge over the river Nore near Inistioge in Kilkenny. After a night crossing I slept for a while in the car and this was my morning view. This area is criss crossed with beautiful rivers and very rich in subjects. I must make a longer visit sometime in the near future. From photo ref 14in by 11in.


Clara Castle, Kilkenny, watercolour, painting, Rob Adams, Ireland

I think this castle is called Foulksrath Castle, often when I take photos I have an idea which are possible paintings but in the event it is often other quick snaps that take the eye when going through them later. In Kilkenny I think, 14in by 11in.


Burren, County Clare, Ireland, watercolour, plein air, Rob Adams

A moment of dry allowed me to get out. These are so called erratic boulders in the Burren. I have painted these almost every visit for 20 odd years! 9in by 7in.


Dysert, Clare, Ireland, Watercolour, plein air, Rob Adams

Dysert O’Dea castle. Another brief remission in the rain allowed me to sit and paint this. It took nearly 2 hrs due to drying time. 9in by 7in.


Finvarra, Galway, Ireland, watercolour, Rob Adams, Painting

A causeway near Finvarra. I sketched this out from my car window then painted it in the warm and dry! 9in by 7in.


Galway, watercolour, painting, Rob Adams, ireland

Dramatic light in Galway City, I had to take shelter a few minutes after snapping the photo for this! 7in by 5in.


ireland, Clare, watercolour, Painting, Rob Adams

East Clare track. In the east the ground turns to clay and sandstone giving a different character to the landscape. Done from a photo on a very wet

afternoon! 14in by 11in.


Clare, Burren, watercolour, painting, Rob Adams

In contrast here is a road in the west on the limestone. Another wet day’s entertainment… 14in by 11in.


Sea storm, Black head, clare, watercolour, Rob Adams

This is Black Head on the edge of the Burren. No chance of plein air… I could barely stand up and my new hat, given for Christmas, was whisked off my head and blown out to sea! I would have liked to stay longer and taken more photos but it was just too uncomfortable. 14in by 11in.


Burren, Clare, Ireland, watercolour, Rob Adams

Another “out of the car window” job. Even so I had to do a fair bit afterwards. This a very typical road in the less rocky bits of the Burren. 9in by 7in.


East Clare, Lough Derg, watercolour, plein air, Rob Adams, ireland

This is Mountshannon on the shores of Lough Derg. Painted with the windscreen washers going to clear the constant drizzle 7in by 5in. That’s all for now there are a few oils in varying states of rainedoffness to come but despite the poor weather I am quite pleased at the results. It just goes to show there is no bad weather for painting and though unpleasant it brings moods that are worth attempting to capture.


  1. Fabulous collection. You’ve certainly captured the feel of those wild days in the West. Love them.

    Comment by Mick Carney — January 8, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

  2. A wonderful set Rob, pity about the hat.


    Comment by Yorky — January 8, 2012 @ 7:34 pm

  3. Glad I checked here to see the locations… loved the Burren on my one trip to Ireland. Could have stayed there all day taking pics, bummer we only had a 20 min stop on the tour. Love these paintings, you captured the unique mood of the place so well!

    Comment by C Knighton — January 9, 2012 @ 1:04 am

  4. Beautiful watercolours and, as you mention, the seascapes are full of atmosphere.

    Comment by Keith Tilley — January 14, 2012 @ 10:04 am

  5. I like the way you paint foamy water in watercolours. I am particularly impressed by the strength of your Strumble Head rocks. Your blog is beautiful and very enjoyable to read.

    Comment by will — December 28, 2012 @ 11:22 pm

  6. Hello

    The castle on the road is not Clara but Foulksrath Castle.


    Comment by paul Hopkins — October 13, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

  7. Thanks Paul I will amend! Rob

    Comment by Rob Adams — October 13, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

  8. I love the painting of Cwm Yr Eglwys. I used to holiday there as a child. Such happy memories. Is it for sale please?

    Comment by Melissa Jones — November 17, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

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