Of course we don’t know each other well yet, and still we plunge almost immediately into deep discussions of lives past and present sprinkled with hopes and dreams. Olive asks me what I’d most like to see while in Ireland, and blinks only almost imperceptibly when I name what must be the second largest tourist attraction in the country after the Blarney Stone, the Cliffs of Moher. In a stroke of luck there’s a bank holiday, those European Mondays off that surely have been created to boost the travel industry, and Olive agrees to accompany us if we’ll agree to a morning lie-in first. I’ll let you look that one up.
At the Irish crack of dawn (11 AM), we pile into the car and head for the ferry to cross the Shannon Estuary from County Kerry to County Clare, fingers tickling the rails and hair in gleeful windswept swirls…
(written days before I must leave…Lucky Laura is joined by the Intrepid Pam Goode for the month of June!)
It’s a great privilege when you can stay parked in a place long enough to feel it’s rhythms. And after 30 days in Ireland, I can say, lovely Listowel has a beat you can dance to.
With time, routines can happen. Within days of being here, our language shifts from phrases like, “the first time we ever…,” to “we always…” As in recalling “the first time we met the unofficial ambassador of all things Listowel, Damien Stack…” To, “I always holler at Damien when I see him outside his shop…I love the joke he tells about the man and the wife….”
From the very first time we saw Olive Stack as we stumbled into town a month ago….to now, fast friends, day tripping around Kerry, joking and planning our next adventure….
Mixed Media Encaustic on Cradled Panel
8″ x 8″
This tiny pair was among the collection of little old shoes I purchased on eBay! They’ve been sitting in the box in my studio since 2010 (a parcel from America)! Judging by the size they look like they would fit a 1 year old or there about! It’s fascinating how worn and tattered they are, I imagine they were passed down from every member of a large family…but will never know for sure! In order to prop them up, I had to stuff them with tissues, because of their delicate condition.
This is my final painting, on day 30, of 30 paintings in 30 days and what a challenge it was! It has been so rewarding, spending most of everyday in the studio. Starting the year as I mean to go on! Thank you for following the journey over the past 30 days. I will continue to post updates here, just not so frequently. Please do stay tuned! My website will be updated in the next few days (now that I have time) with lots of new and available work!
Mixed Media Encaustic on Cradled Panel
8″ x 8″
Today I continued to experiment with new techniques. The drawing from yesterday has become one of the many layers. These shoes are the same pair, from a painting in a previous post. They belonged to my Mother and Uncles as children, I was lucky enough to discover only one of each! The words coming through are lines from one of the songs that our Grandad sang, as he did his daily jobs during his 101 years! It’s an old Irish song about children gathering to sing at ‘The stone outside Dan Murphy’s Door’ in Ennis Co Clare!
Staying with the same theme, another study for the next mixed media piece. I had forgotten how much I love to just sit and draw. Maybe when I sign up for 30 in 30 again I’ll do a drawing a day for 30 days…think I could manage that! It’s hard to believe that the month is coming to an end, when there’s still so much more to do! So glad, I made the commitment to paint everyday. For the rest of the year, I look forward to carrying on the habits that have become so natural over the last few weeks. 2016 is my year in the studio!
‘A little Girls Shoes’
Graphite and Encaustic on Cradled Panel
I know this looks very similar to the image I posted yesterday! In fact it’s the same graphite drawing with a few more touches…and a whole lot more! Today I decided to experiment by encasing the drawing in encaustic medium on a cradled panel…all very exciting! It’s hard to see from the picture, but the subtle texture of the brush marks on and around the shoes adds a softness and tactile quality and the build up of layers seem to give even more age! I’m not sure if this is finished…I might come back to it in a few days. I can’t wait to continue with this technique and explore further ideas and possibilities…starting in the morning!
This is the first of the drawings for the Encaustic Mixed Media series. It’s a follow on from a couple of other ‘shoe’ paintings. The first came about when I was visiting a friend and noticed a little pair of old and well worn boys shoes on his mantelpiece! He explained that he had worn them as a child, as did all of his brothers. He had recently uncovered them in the family home. I asked if I could borrow the heirlooms and this is the painting that followed.
A year or so later I came across a pair of my own family heirlooms! I only found only one of each, a girls and a boys shoe, worn by my Mom and her brothers (and possibly cousins also)! I painted them on a wonky chair, another heirloom and they now sit on my mantelpiece!
I’m sure that the little black shoes from today’s drawing have an interesting story to tell, but unfortunately I know nothing about them or the girl who wore them. I bought them as a job lot on eBay! They came in a box with eight other little pairs of old and very old children’s shoes. Some are very well worn, but one pair is unused and still in the original box marked ‘Crib Shoes’. The logo on the box reads “A gift for an ideal baby”!!
This is a piece I’ve worked on over the last few days. Adding layers then melting some away! The blue stripe has been a recurring element in many of my recent paintings. A common thread that unifies the collection!
I’m looking forward to exploring further the medium of encaustic and already have ideas for the next series, combining drawings with wax! The possibilities seem endless! Also excited about having the first artist working predominantly in this medium as artist in residence at the gallery in March.
One of the challenges with working from life is that nothing stays the same! I sat in front of the daffodils this morning eager to finish what I started yesterday and of course it all looked very different! Yesterdays bud on the left was this morning in full flower and pushing its way in front to get to the light and this one had decided to raise its head! So I had to improvise! I think I’ll keep this little painting as a happy memory of another special milestone!
Spring is a little confused in Kerry this year! This daffodil opened in our garden yesterday, to mark a special day! I picked it this morning along with a few others and have worked on it all day, it’s unfinished, but I’ll get back to it tomorrow! Love the scent of daffodils in the studio! This is one of the same group of daffodils found in my mosaic backsplash. I associate them with my mother when they flower each year as she gave me the bulbs when I started my garden several years ago! Gardening has given me a better appreciation for every season and Spring is one of my favourites!