Rob Adams a Painter's Blog painter's progress

July 16, 2010

Burren Roads

Filed under: Ireland,Painting,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Rob Adams @ 5:21 pm

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.

rock ireland burren

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.


Ireland rock burren

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.


Burren road rock winter

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.


burren ireland road painting

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.


Ice Burren Ireland Painting

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.


Burren painting

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.


Ireland Burren winter

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.


  1. These are good Rob. Very evocative of one of my favourite approaches to this corner of the Burren, and a tribute to the level of antifreeze in your veins.

    Comment by Colin — August 6, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

  2. Thankee Colin, I was surprised how many times I’d painted that bit… shows I’m too lazy to go far. Amazing how you can keep warm when your mind is too busy to notice.. or I have Yogic blood which would have a certain irony.

    Comment by admin — August 6, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

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