One more travel post- from my day in Dublin

What a wonderful day I had exploring Dublin today! I was delighted by the great hanging baskets of flowers EVERYWHERE.

I spent happy hours in the National Gallery being introduced to Irish painters I'd never heard of, but who left me excited and inspired. I also sat in on a lecture on Harry Clarke's illustrations of Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales. National Gallery-

Dublin is a cosmopolitan city- the tour buses had narrative recordings in any of 10 languages, the National Gallery's brochures were in at least eight. It was packed with people, even on a Sunday. I got all the way to the door of the Trinity College Library where the Book of Kells is displayed, and because of the crowd, decided I'd learn about it online so that I could get on to the National Gallery. I also visited the Hugh Lane (Dublin municipal) Art Gallery. Wonderful!

One of the many statues in the city-

Noisy, bustling and very different from the rural and small-town Ireland I'd visited all week-

My view from the top of the double-decker bus-
I had dinner tonight outside at a sweet restaurant call The Farm, that serves all healthy, locally grown foods. My waiter, Marian, and I got along like a house afire and I've promised to paint him sometime from the photos I took of him.
It was a perfect 68 degree day and only began to lightly mist as I was waiting for my ride back to the hotel. I've got a 5:30 a.m. wake up call, so I'd better get some sleep, as it's almost 1 a.m. now.
As wonderful as this trip has been, I'm ready to get back to family and friends in Texas.
Sweet dreams, Ya'll!

Travel to Dublin

Last night all the artists, Robert Liberace and his family, and Limepark's John and Melanie Ward went to dinner in Ballycastle for one last hoorah. It was good getting to know a couple of the other artists better. I hope I'll cross paths with some of them again someday.
This morning before John drove me to my bus stop, I took a short walk the other direction on the road Limepark is on. Everywhere I looked was beautiful.

I took three buses from Limepark in Northern Ireland to Dublin. I'm impressed with how big and clean and on-schedule the buses were on the way up and back.
Bus station in Ballymena. I don't remember any hanging baskets of flowers at any Greyhound station I ever saw, do you?
Shooting photos from the bus window, I came across two men in kilts.

I'm in Dublin now and will spend tomorrow (Sunday) sightseeing, then will fly back to San Antonio Monday morning. I want to visit the National Gallery for the paintings, Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, walk around the Temple Bar district, and Stephen's Green. Morgan wants a red T-shirt from Ireland, so I'll be keeping a lookout for that.
I really liked having you keep me company on my visit to Ireland. So many of you have sent emails in response to my posts- Thank you! I hope you forgive me for not replying- just know they meant a lot!
I'll be returning to sending my art newsletters every 2-4 weeks again, but you can always check in on what I'm painting by visiting my blog- If you want to get an email letting you know when I'm planning to paint online, enter your email address in the top subscription on my blog's sidebar. I'd love to have you there.
Hugs from Dublin,

Winding down

(Please don't copy or use my images, ok? Thanks!)

We visited this small coastal village called Cushendall yesterday afternoon. I had a glass of Guiness with some of the other artists at a little pub there.

Cushendall boats.

After the great sea bass dinner at the Central Bar Restaurant in Ballycastle. The other smiling faces are Jane Scobey and Annie Compton.

Traditional Irish music at O'Connor's Pub in Ballycastle. I got a couple of little movies of this. I'll try to post them later.

This is Duncan, our model Wednesday and Thursday mornings. I learned a LOT painting this- first a grisaille painting underneath, then oiling the next day and applying color. It felt similar to applying pastels, in a way- scumbling color in.

This was on a twilight walk I took Wednesday evening near Limepark.

Cute, no?
Limepark on the way "home." No sidewalks, and often no shoulder on the roads, means that one hops into a hedge when cars pass by. Very exciting!

It's time for lunch and we're being served Irish lamb stew and always there's been a wonderful dessert. I'll check in again perhaps once more when I'm in Dublin. I take a bus down tomorrow and spend Saturday and Sunday night there, then fly home Monday morning. I know FOR SURE I'll come back to Ireland. It's been magical and beautiful and good for my soul.

I'll be painting online today!

I think I've got it figured out enough to do some drawing online today. In an hour and a half, actually. Noon Texas time, 6 p.m. Ireland time. I hope you'll come by!

I've got to ask: is this heather? It was growing among the rocks on the road down to Giant's Causeway and I figured one of you might know. I was walking alone at the time and tried to ask a couple behind me, but they only spoke German. It sure was what my mind has always conjured when heather was mentioned in novels.

So many people told me, "Don't miss seeing Giant's Causeway!" I'm so glad I got to see it...
This was on the walk down to the sea-

This was on the other side of the path down-
These are the hexagonal shaped columnar stones that make up the Giant's Causeway-

Me on the way back up-
We got back to Limepark and all did some plein air painting. This is the walkway around the corner from the studio, down toward the meeting room. The artist is Kevin.
After the plein air work, several of us were taken to see the "Dark Hedges."
They're like no other hedges I've ever seen! Tall, tall trees that line a narrow road and create the most mysterious space. They've been there hundreds of years, I'm told.

I was invited to join the artists from another cottage last night for dinner and wine and much silliness and lofty conversation. I want to take all these folks back home with me to San Antonio!

This morning we had a three-hour session doing a brown-toned portrait. This is a bad photo of mine. I'll try to get a better photo soon. We're going to do color glazing tomorrow over it. I've never done that and hope it'll go well.
Please come to the broadcast and say hello!

Three paintings today

We had sunshine today. Ahhhh.

Thank you all for the great emails and comments! Even though I'm with some very nice people, it's wonderful to hear from friends.

Today I hit the ground running. The first painting of the day was of a fellow named Christopher McCaughan. I'm guessing Chris is in his late 50's and he entertained us royally. He sang us Irish songs as well as some from Elvis, Merle Haggard, Donavan and Dylan. He recited poetry, expounded on politics and told stories. Rob came by twice, a minute each, during the portrait with advice on my painting. I wasn't thrilled with the lighting we had for the portrait- a skylight and a white wall behind his head, but I did my best. I'll try to post a photo of the portrait when I get a better one.
Chris McCaughlin
Robert Liberace
After the morning session, we had a lunch of shepherd's pie. Mmmm. And then I had slivers of two dessert pies- apple and rhubarb- with real fresh cream to pour over them. Gracious.

Then off we went to paint at the beach. We got separated from the main group somehow but some of us settled around the marina in Ballycastle and I tried to paint my first boat. I was in a perfect place with warm air, cool breezes, nice shade, good company and the occasional visit from curious passers-by. You will not be seeing that painting, however. It stinks to high heaven. Bad boat. Bad, bad boat. Here's a picture of how cute it could have been.

Right as we were winding down the temperature dropped, so we scurried into a little cafe, had hot tea and swapped stories.

We returned to Limepark, I had a video call with my folks via instant messenger (love that), and then hurried to the studio to paint an 18 year old boy named Patrick. Finally- a fairly successful, quick painting. I'd been so thoroughly humbled by the boat experience, I really needed Patrick.

Tomorrow I think we're going sketching at Giant's Causeway. Right now I've got the cottage to myself and enjoying my music on the iPod player. It's almost midnight. It's been a good day. I'll write again soon!

First three days...

I'm really here! Let me see if I can bring you up to date...

I couldn't find my camera when I was on the train from Newark Airport to New York City to visit my friends Heather and Mary Ann on my layover there- PANIC! I was sure I had forgotten to pack it. I have since found it in a zippered compartment of a suitcase, but at the time, I was sure it was lying on my bed at home. So after a most luxurious Italian lunch at Becco's, my friends took me to B&H Cameras in Manhattan and I bought a new Panasonic Lumix and have been loving it. I got back to Newark Airport in the nick of time and found my gate had been changed to another wing of the terminal, so there was actual running involved. Stop laughing. I had good flights and arrived in Dublin at 7 a.m.
This nice bus driver was amazing in his driving skills. Narrow roads with a shear wall of vegetation often on the left (where I sat so I could snap photos) and the enormous bus didn't seem matched well, but he managed- all on the 'wrong' side of the road and from a seat on the right. He slapped his leg in time with all the songs on his radio station, sang under his breath a bit and laughed along with all the DJ's commentary. He got me to Belfast, and two other buses got me on to Ballycastle on the northernmost coast.

After a taxi ride to the bank to exchange Euros for Sterling, and a stop at a tea shop to pick up a quick sandwich, I got to my first guesthouse. Not all went well there, but it was in a beautiful place and I took a great walk to gather provisions after a four hour emergency nap.
The view from the patio of the guest house.
My room was inside and to the right.
I took a long walk and every turn had me wishing I was shopping for a home in this beautiful town.

The next morning, Joan and Harvey who were staying at the same guest house, gave me a ride to Limepark where I'll be staying the rest of the week. Joan's taking the workshop and Harvey's along to play golf. I met my cottage mates and one of them, Christine, asked if I wanted to go on a long drive to Donegal and beyond to the west coast. I leapt in the car and off we went. I had not returned the memory card to my camera, so was limited to what the internal memory would hold. It was difficult deciding what photos to delete to make room for others. I don't think I've ever been anywhere so beautiful as Northern and Northwestern Ireland. People tried to tell me, but you just have to see it.
Stunning views.
The highest cliffs in all Europe.
Perfect little farms and houses with the surrounding fields dotted with sheep and happy, clean, grazing cows. So different from Texas.
Foxglove growing wild and abundantly along the road.
Donegal Castle. Christine and I were offered the Senior price since it was almost closing time. My first entry to anything on a Senior ticket. The castle had been restored in many ways. It was amazing to be inside at the top looking out.
We got back after midnight and I hadn't had a chance to really see where I was, so today took photos of Limepark. This is the cottage I'm sharing with Christine, Mary and Judith.
The yellow door is the entry to the studio space where I got to paint today. The owner of Limepark Cottages, Melanie, offered to model for us this afternoon, so I got to paint for three hours even though it was a Sunday!
It was good getting to meet most of the other workshop participants, too. Tomorrow the workshop resumes for real. I'm eager to learn from Robert. I've heard lots from very happy artists about how wonderful he is.
Our cottage is called Poet's Corner. Guess I'll need to do some writing, huh?
After we painted this evening, Annie invited me to drive with her to Ballycastle for more provisions. This is the view above the town as we walked along the sidewalk. Can you believe it??
It's 1 a.m. and I need to get some sleep before the workshop tomorrow. The plan is to do some plein air landscape painting. Say a little prayer for me.
Thank you all for your sweet good wishes you've sent. Consider yourselves hugged! I'll write more tomorrow....