Sunday, 31 July 2011

It was a right cliffhanger...

The cliffhanger

© Pointy Pix

This was another Twisty Town that was inspired by our trip to Kerry.  This may be the shortest post ever as I have nothing to add to that!! Just another 4 mini-canvasses to go and I'll have painted an entire Twisty World!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Paint Party Friday...Purrfectly confused!

Purrfect Bliss!
Well, this summer we've had approximately 7 sunny days (just not all consecutive or even in the same month!). It hasn't stopped the flowers from growing though (although that's more S's domain what with him being a tree surgeon/gardener!) 

These are two more in the Purrfect Nostalgia series. The first is based on a similar one I painted many years ago and which is framed on my parents' bedroom wall (I mentioned it here a while ago).  I drew the outline during our week in the Kerry and then painted it last week.

The second is actually one of the original ones from 1997 which I found lurking in a drawer when I had a long overdue clear out recently.  The colour had faded a lot over the years, but rather than throw it away I decided to give it a fresh lick of paint and recycle it!

Purrfect Petal.
Now, I'm not an expert when it comes to the names of all things arty - the techniques, the proper name for the paints or brushes or even the type of paper so forgive me for making up my own words as I try to describe it - the paper on the Purrfect Bliss painting is Winsor & Newton Cotman cold pressed/not (140lbs/300gsm) and, when I looked at it in the shop, seemed to be the most 'bumpy', for want of the correct term, but it was when I was re-painting the Purrfect Petal cat picture that I realised the paper I use now is very different to the paper I used back then which seems to lend itself much better to watercolour paint and is much more bumpy or textured - so much so that you can still see that texture when the painting is scanned.

If you look at these two paintings maybe you can see what I mean - the bizarre thing is that it is exactly the same weight and type of paper (albeit a different brand - Daler Rowney) so if anyone can explain to me why they look so different I'd be very grateful!

Anyway,  this is my 'bring your own' for this week's Paint Party Friday.  Don't forget to pop over to the blog that Kristin and Eva kindly keep facilitating, to see all the other art bloggers who participate each week.  

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Rosy Reflections...

Rosy Reflections
I did this Twisty Town before our trip to Kerry but actually  it wasn't unlike some of the scenery we saw while we were there (albeit not in shades of red!).  I thought I'd try something a wee bit different with this one, hence the lake with the house reflected.  Am not entirely sure if it worked or not but, sure, we have to keep experimenting.

I keep seeing other bloggers posting art for Summer of Colour which is a project run by Kristin from Twinkle Twinkle and always wanted to join in but haven't quite managed to and typically when I checked it out to see what the colour was for this week, I saw that I just missed the red week which finished on Sunday! It's purple this week, by the way but dang it, if I didn't already post my Purple Haze twisty town last week! If only I'd checked it out sooner I would've had the right colours by happy coincidence! There are only 3 weeks left of Summer of Colour so I may not get to join in with it now after all but I'll keep a better eye out for the next project!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Paint Party Friday...Inspired by Kerry...

I missed last week's Paint Party Friday for the first time since it started, due to us being in the Republic of Ireland and the extortionate data roaming charges that my mobile phone company charges (despite it being the same company both North and South of the border!!)

Anyway, we had a fantastic time (which you can read about and see photos of here, if you so desire!) and the stunning scenery and landscape in County Kerry inspired three more Twisty Town paintings which I drew the outlines of while we were away and then painted the colour onto during the last week.

This is the first of them.  Anyone who's seen all my Twisty Towns will know that normally there is a specific colour palette for each one.  This one however was inspired by all the gorgeous quaint little villages, with each shop front or house painted a different bright colour all set amongst the splendour of the lush Cork and Kerry countryside.  I don't actually have a name for it which is most unlike me as I am a fan of my cheesy pun-filled titles, so if anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Anyway, I'm sorry to have left Kerry behind but I am glad to be back to attend the Paint Party Friday (and I discovered that it seems to be my work computer which doesn't allow me to leave comments on blogs so no more trying to visit them all during work  at lunchtime *cough*). It'll just take me that bit longer to get round them all as there are so many more each week.

By the way - have you linked up to Artsee Blogger yet - if you pop over there now you can find out how Geri  and her husband have kindly set this new site up for people like us who get creative and then like to blog about it! Imagine - all of us under one roof!

Monday, 18 July 2011

As I was going over the Cork and Kerry Mountains...

Well, despite having been born and bred in Northern Ireland and having lived most of my life here, I can finally see why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle after spending a week down south in County Kerry!  It is definitely the most beautiful part of this island that I've been to so far.  So much of the scenery actually looks just like one of my twisty town paintings and I got a heap more inspiration for the mini canvasses I'm working on. 

We set off with the caravan in tow at 5.00am Saturday morning and finally arrived at our campsite for the week, Creveen Lodge, some 8 hours later.  I suspect the reason it took so long was the fact that once you come off the motorway past Cork the roads get smaller and smaller and more and more twisty.  That, coupled with the fact that our Sat Nav decided to take us a 'shorter' route over the mountain (single track roads) instead of the longer but slightly wider route we should have taken.  Seriously - the road was only just wide enough to get the caravan down - at one point we had to go over a small hump back bridge and it was touch and go! All I can say is we were really lucky we didn't meet anything coming the opposite way as there was no way we could've reversed or passed them by!

Actual road S navigated the caravan down!

The Sat Nav's shortcut!

The campsite was literally in the middle of nowhere - no such thing as 'nipping out to the shop for a bar of chocolate' - it was a 30 minute drive each way to the nearest village!  It was perfect for us - the dogs didn't have to stay on leads so had the run of the place and other than camper vans coming and going for a night or two, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. 

Home, sweet home for a week

View out the side windows

view out the front window

Sunset at Creveen Lodge Campsite

Day 1 - we toured right round the Ring of Beara which was the peninsula we were staying on.  This is half in County Kerry and half in County Cork and is the most beautiful, lush, rugged, spectacular place.  Even the hedgerows were a riot of colour and different, exotic looking plantlife - not the overgrown grass and weeds that we're used to up North!

The houses are amazing and the gardens so well kept - honestly I kept imagining it was some kind of Hollywood film set (like the Truman Show where it's all too good to be true) and any minute we'd come across the seedy back streets and dodgy areas hidden behind the picture perfect facade of multi-coloured cottages, quaint shop fronts and colourful gardens but we didn't see one area that wasn't simply gorgeous.  They must repaint their homes every 6 months or something!

S in Bantry Bay, Co. Cork 

Bantry Bay


Cute and quirky everywhere!

On the Ring of Beara


Ring of Beara

Love old cars - this was a beaut!

How I wish this was where we lived!


Day 2 - we headed to Killarney National Park and spent a wonderful few hours hiking right round a massive lake.  Although the sky was overcast to start - the sun did put in an appearance and I even acquired a light sun burn on my shoulders!

Killarney National Park 

Hot dogs!

Day 3 - today the sun was splitting the sky - it actually looked like summer and we drove right round the next peninsula - the Ring of Kerry.  This is more beachy than the Ring of Beara and is the more popular tourist destination out of the two (although I was glad we stayed on Beara). It was certainly busier but nowhere like we expected - I guess the recession has hit tourism too.  We discovered the most amazing beach and overlooking it was a house in the shape of a ship - fabulous!  A long day doing a lot of driving (well S did all the driving, I just pointed at stuff and sucked on boiled sweets!) but so glad we saw it all.

Would you believe this was Ireland?

Gratuitous cute dog photo!

Amazing boat shaped house!

Bridge to Valentia Island

Colourful houses everywhere!

Ring of Kerry

Ring of Kerry 

Day 4 - Another glorious day and we contemplated just sitting out on the sunbeds by the caravan for the day but decided it would be a waste of a day and inevitably I'd just end up red and covered in prickly heat!  Instead we drove to Kenmare - one of many picturesque villages in and around Kerry for some more supplies (coke for the spiced rum and more crisps!) and then we headed off to Gleninchaquin - a mahoosive area owned by a local family.  For a small fee you can do one of several walks depending on how energetic you were feeling - there was a 7 hour walk around the entire park!

We settled on the middle ground and did the waterfall walk which took just under 2 hours (a lot of it up hill, mind!) The waterfall wasn't very gushy (a technical term) due to the unusual lack of rain that week and was more of a trickle than a fall but the land itself was simply stunning and despite moaning about the vertical-ness (another technical term) of the initial climb, I was very glad we did it and loved the whole downhill part!


Gleninchaquin waterfall - more of a trickle the day we saw it!

At the top

View from the top

A family portrait - Brodie chose that exact moment for a pee!

Me doing 'jumble sale' chic!!

Day 5 & 6 - it was business as usual rainy Irish days for the last two days of our holiday which curtailed our walking plans a bit.  We did have waterproofs with us but just couldn't face the inevitable mud, and constant drizzle, not to mention how mucky the pups would've ended up so instead on Thursday we drove down the Healy Pass - possibly the most twisty road ever - and did a wee bit more sight seeing from the comfort of the inside of the car.  Friday we had a completely lazy  caravan day - apart from needing milk which as mentioned above involved a 30 minute each way drive to the nearest shop!

The Healy Pass (Actual Twisty Roads!) and the way to the nearest shop!

We didn't make it as far round as the Dingle Peninsula this time - would've been just too long a day in the car when we already had done so much driving so hopefully we'll get back down there another time.

Day 7 - We left County Kerry on Saturday morning for another epic drive back to County Down finally getting home about 6pm, back to the reality of Northern Ireland. It was a brilliant week, with the weather mostly playing ball (those of you lucky enough to live somewhere with actual seasons may never be able to comprehend the weather that we get here - no discernable seasons, just slightly warmer with rain and then colder with rain!) so to have 5 out of 7 dry days on an Irish camping holiday is no mean feat!


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