There are some subjects I seem to paint again and again. I have been a frequent visitor to the Burren in Co Clare in Ireland visiting friends of many years standing. The area is all limestone with huge areas of paving, making a landscape that is often otherworldly and bleak, but also very beautiful. I have painted this landscape many times and have found it extremely difficult to capture to my satisfaction. The many cracks in the rock called “grikes” give the ground surface a riven shattered look. Each of the fissures though carries a rich and varied population of plants that run from gentians to orchids. In winter the colours are mainly muted but with glints of rich reds.
Here’s one of the first times I caught something of the character, painted as I recall on a bitterly cold December day. The large rocks are called
erratics and are left behind by the melting of the glaciers that carried them to their current resting place.
Here is another view of the same rocks done at a similar time, the road running through the stony landscape became a composition I have painted
in many different moods. It is at it’s best early or late in the day with the low winter sun raking the light over the limestone paving.
Here’s the same empty road painted very late on an extremely cold day. The light is often fantastic just after the sun has set, the only problem
being that you have only moments before the light goes over completely and it becomes too dark to see your palette.
The previous painting and the one after this were all painted on consecutive days. Which shows just how much the mood could change.
The sunlight here was beautiful and the air crystal clear, but those lakes are iced over and my car reported -4 centigrade and my feet agreed.
The ice had melted over night and refrozen to become so slippery that no traffic could get down the road. I slipped and slithered on foot and
painted this sitting in the middle of the road. It is amazing how when you are concentrating hard on painting you stay relatively warm.
I am sure if I just sat in the road doing nothing in particular with the thermometer at four below I would have been frozen stiff.
Yet another lonely road, the theme of this post really. This is the road to Ruan, a very ancient causeway across a bog. Men have been passing along this way for
thousands of years. A very wet day, I had only a few moments to catch the way the line of light on the horizon brought the scene to life.
Quite a few years ago we had a rare snowy day on the Burren, I took quite a few photos that were nice enough but nothing to base a painting on
but this came from one I had hopelessly out of focus and under exposed. I found it while sorting through old files and brightened it in
photoshop, somehow it had something that fitted well with my memory of the day. I’ve linked the image above to a larger version.