Thursday, 26 July 2012

Rain, Sun, Cats & Cows...

It seems like I've been away from blogland for ages. I haven't blogged since we got back from our holidays with no excuses other than I couldn't face going through the 100s of photos I took hoping to find the odd good one!

Anyway, first things first, I've been working on the latest rainy window painting which is based on the photo S took here.  It's taken me much longer than I initially thought as each little rain drop has its own little reflection which is just a tiny bit different from the one before.  I knew it was time to stop for the day when each little rain drop suddenly started looking like Elvis's head circa 1975!!

Here's a sneaky peek of what I've done so far - still have a long way to go but I'm quite pleased with how it's coming along.

Pretty Industrial - WIP - Sneaky peek of the part of it.
I'm linking up to Paint Party Friday - it's been a couple of weeks since I've been partying and I've missed visiting folk so I'll be round as many as I can this weekend!

Okay, for those of you just here for the art, you can probably go now.  However, if you fancy a wee Irish travel tale, then pull up a seat and read on! (I promise it's not my usual epic tale!)

So we headed off to Donegal on Saturday 7 July with clothes for every eventuality. The rain poured down and my optimistically packed flip flops and pretty summer tops remained buried at the back of the caravan wardrobe as I once again donned my rain coat and welly boots to brave the elements and walk the dogs along the fantastic beaches. 

The view from the caravan the first 5 days!

Sleepy Hollow

We went back to the same campsite where we stayed at  Easter last year when we'd had a very unusual but nevertheless fabulous heatwave for the entire week. This time, instead of getting up early to make the most of the weather, we'd wake up to the thrumming of rain of the caravan roof and just go back to sleep. Even the dogs had no interest in getting up. More than happy to lie sleeping till after 10am. We never sleep that late but lounging around,reading books and watching David Attenborough wildlife documentaries (we forgot our stash of movies and raided my mum's 'free with the Sunday paper' dvd collection instead!)seemed like a perfectly relaxing way to pass the time while the rain bounced off the windows. We were on holiday in Sleepy Hollow after all!

Sea Urchins

We were baffled that first evening to find hundreds of sea urchins washed up along the shoreline but we happened to hear a local radio report a couple of days later advising of a red bloom of toxic algae floating off the Donegal coast killing marine life, which would explain it.

One of many sea urchins

Many sea urchins
Credit S: Another sea urchin
Cutest Kitten

There was a new addition to the campsite this year, an adorable little kitten that one of the owners had found wandering all alone nearby. She'll be the best socialised cat in Ireland by the time she's an adult as pretty much every one who came and went had to pick her up for a cuddle or two! I used to sneak out to play with her when the dogs were lying knackered after a long run on the beach!

Credit S: The cutest kitten
Credit S: The inspiration for my last doodimal!
Cows on a beach

On Wednesday the weather finally improved and we even had an outbreak of sun in between the showers. We visited a different beach to the one we usually went to and were more than a little surprised to see a herd of cows lying down at the far end. We met a local lady who said they were there quite often and that as long as they were lying down it was ok but if they stood up we'd best not get too close as they'd chased her down the beach once and she ended up running into the water to get away from them!  Well, we didn't want to take the chance what with two very yappy wee dogs to get the cows all irked so we gave them a wide berth. We were on the same beach again on Friday when they all started strolling towards us over the sand dunes-really quite a bizarre sight - and, as they stared at us impassively yet with a slightly threatening bovine undertone, we sidled off up the beach as quickly as we could, willing Brodie not to clock them and start her incessant barking.

Making their way down one by one
Credit S: Cows on a beach! Seriously.
Sunburn and sand

The start of the week..
The end of the week!
Thursday and Friday were lovely. Blue skies and plenty of warm sunshine albeit cooled slightly by the gale force wind (you can't have everything) We walked along various beaches and sand dunes again and I even seized the day and took my boots off so I could feel the sand between my toes like folk in countries with normal summers get to do as a matter of course.  We even managed to unearth our sunbeds and spent a couple of hours relaxing on the little grassy corner beside our caravan. Of course, curses to my fair Irish skin, I got sunburnt in the shape of my tee-shirt neckline because I hadn't been optimistic enough to pack sun cream!

Credit S: Reuben practising his levitation skills!
Credit S: Reuben giving us a wink and a smile!
Credit S: Not to be left out, Brodie practices her handstands.
S spent a lot of time taking photographs. I spent a lot of time seeing the perfect shot in my mind's eye and getting frustrated with my camera's inability to capture said shot (or rather my inability to use my camera properly) Inevitably, my batteries and/or my patience would run out long before S had finished being David Bailey. Therefore, for the most part, as always, the best photos on this post will have been taken by S.

Credit S
Credit S
Credit S
Anyway, that was this summer's caravan trip. The weather mightn't have been as good as we'd hoped but it was definitely the most relaxing, lazy week we've had in a long while! 


  1. Your painting of the rain drops is amazing! What an undertaking, such patience you must have. And I really enjoyed hearing about your trip and seeing the gorgeous pictures (whoever took them!). I've never been to Ireland, what beautiful scenery. And cows on a beach - that's a first for me too...

  2. Beautiful painting; what an interesting starting point. And the cows on the beach are oddly fascinating.

  3. Love the photos and tales of Ireland, especially the cows in the beach! Sea cows indeed! Love the WIP, too. Valerie

  4. What a magical place it looks! The beach is amazing and a herd of cows, that's a new one on me! Your dogs look like they could play all day, and as for the kitten, I would have found it hard to not pick it up and smuggle it back home! You must have the patience of a saint with raindrops, they really are so lifelike!! xx

  5. The raindrops are amazing!! Love them so much. What a great idea.

    Also enjoyed your beautiful photos - especially the cute kitten :)

  6. I love those raindrops! :) Truly awesome! And fantastic photos as well. Thanks for sharing your trips with us. :)

  7. Wow! What a stunning place! The photo's are amazing! Are you going to paint a pointy kitten??
    And the rainy window is looking already SO good!
    I tried to take a photograph for you the other evening when we had spectacular rain on our windows - but every one I took was out of focus! I couldn't find a way of getting just the droplets! :0)

  8. I was unclear on the meaning of "wee" when coupled with Irish; now I know.

    Love the WIP.

  9. So many great stories and wonderful photographs here! I love how your reflection painting is coming. Sad to hear about the sea urchins but it did make wonderful photos. I'm off on my own 'caravan' trip this week in the US. Thanks for the great inspiration and Happy PPF!

  10. I will be back to read your post in just a few and to look at all the photos. Just popped in to say thx for stopping by my PPF.I promise to be back. I've got some tomato chutney that I'm working on in the kitchen. bbl.

  11. Beautiful progress on your painting- it makes me a little dizzy to even contemplate doing all those individual droplets! But you've doing an amazing job with it!
    And gorgeous trip- loved that sunset shot!
    Happy PPF,

  12. Painting and Photos are excellent and your 'holiday' sounds very inviting ~ I loved Ireland ~ so beautiful ~ it is Donegal Ireland ? ~~ thanks, namaste, (A Creative Harbor)

  13. Beautiful work on the drops on the window. You have taken such gorgeous photos that I will expect to see beach scenes paintings on your blog soon. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your super vacation. The cows on the beach photos were shocking. I wonder why they would be there. Surely the water is salty so they aren't down there to drink. If you learn why, let us all know.

  14. I'm back and so enjoyed your trip. First your painting is looking awesome. It looks very industrial. Those cows on the beach, wow to that. I guess they are territorial and just want people to know they are the bosses of this territory. tee hee. Very interesting. Those sea urchins are weird looking. I don't think I ever seen one. Thanks for introducing me to them.Glad you had a wonderful time on your trip. How cool. Love those pix that "s" took, especially the sunset. Awesome. Thanks for sharing and Happy weekend and PPF to you.

  15. Oh I favorite was Reuben. I love Reuben, he is so awesome. Give him a hug for him and tell him that he has a fan out this way.:)

  16. Your rain painting is brilliant. I love how you are really getting all those wonderful reflections in each drop. Your trip looked outstanding - the photos are grand. Happy PPF

  17. Oh my do you paint those raindrops like that? That's so amazing. LOVE your photos and story of your vacation. The photo of the kitten's face is stunning. I would have taken her home with me. Your little doggie is so very cute as well. Cows on the beach? I've never heard of that. In spite of the weather, sounds like you had a fabulous time.

  18. OKAY WOW!!! SO glad you directed us to the photo of the rain drops with their reflections...made your painting that much more exciting!!! Wow amazing work on the reflections in each drop. Your photography is absolutely AMAZINGLY wonderful in every way. WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

  19. PS I have seen a lot of beaches in my day and a lot of cows, however, I have never ever seen cows on a beach! That takes the cake for me today!

  20. LOL, Now I'm looking at each drop trying to find all the Elvises. Cows on a beach? That seems wrong. Ours used to love a little swim in the pond but they aren't exactly Beach Babes.

  21. gorgeous photos... and I love the newest rain painting before i forget... Reuben winking is my favourite photo, but have to say the sea urchins and the cows on the beach are spectacular as well... ooo and that first kitten one... so many wonderful things to look at... just gorgeous...xx

  22. The latest painting in your series is absolutely amazing! So much attention to the details in the reflection of the raindrops! I love it!

    Great photos, too! Your puppies are adorable! And I had never seen cows on a beach before! :)
    Happy PPF!!
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  23. What a trip! Your current piece of art is so detailed and a treat for the eyes! It is little paintings in the painting with those great water droplets!

  24. I think you're awesome soy sauce!

  25. i'm loving your rainy window series!

    and those photos are just stunning! the beach with the mountains in the background looks like heaven. and the cows on the beach were certainly a sight to see!!

    thanks for sharing!

  26. I love reading about your travels as much as I love reading about your painting adventures. Even the rain on the caravan roof sounds heavenly to me.
    The cows on the beach look seriously strange, like finding seals in a pasture. S's photos are gorgeous, and have got me longing to visit Donegal. At least you know you will always have gorgeous vacation photos, even if they aren't the ones you took. No one else in my family ever bothers to take a photo.

  27. I absolutely love the fact you're doing those raindrop paintings! drawing/painting glass, water, and other reflective surfaces are some of the most challenging, fun, and rewarding things to draw. Also love your travel pics! it's fun to see places we are not seeing, vicariously!

  28. Great post, Nicola. I loved the pictures both photographic and painted usual ... that's one of the reasons I chose you for a Liebster award. Check out my latest post :0)

  29. I seriously LOVE your paintings. And those are beautiful vacation photos :)

  30. Love the painting and can't wait to see what else you do with it :0) Great photos of your vacation too.

  31. Your painting is wonderful. Love the colors too. and your Dog is adorable. Love the paw in the air after the ball, just like our Annie. She loves catching her ball. In fact I think its glued in her mouth. Also loved the Cows on the Beach. Wonderful shots. Thanks for your comments on my blog post. HPPF.

  32. Your painting is amazing!!!! I'm fascinated by how you did it! And S's photo is also terrific.

    Thank you too for taking us on your holiday. The cows on the beach cracked me up.

  33. Love all those crystal raindrops. Very impressive especially since anything clear or reflective is always the hardest thing to pair realistically--at least it is for me.

    And wow kudos to S for these gorgeous landscape photos. Especially that last one.

    Also... that kitty! So darn adorable.

  34. Wow! Your painting of the raindrops is incredible. So much patience required. Stunning.

    And I loved your holiday photos, especially the captured sunsets, they made me gasp. Breathtaking.

  35. I love, love, love your photographs. Blessings!


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