Saturday, June 23, 2018

Donkeys and drawings


Yesterday we went out to the field and gave the donkeys some apple slices.


They were really very cute.


Naomi's getting along well with all the animals. She feeds the chickens and pets them. They're actually pretty affectionate.


We're all adjusted to the country pretty well. This is one half of our sleeping loft in the cottage. The sheep seem to bleat all night but as noises at night go it's extremely benign. There aren't even any tree frog noises here, which is odd for us. We lived in the Catskill Mountains in NY for years and I spent summers in Maine as a child and there were ALWAYS tree frogs making a racket. I have however been bit by, maybe a spider, and managed to find the stinging nettles the hard way.


We have been drawing everyday. This is from Mike's sketchbook. His goal is to fill the book, and he's doing quite well. This plant is in the walled garden.


This is by the Coach House Cafe.


The Castle from across the pond.


There are a lot of stone sculptures like these on the grounds. So when we saw one set up on a path like in the movie "Spirited Away", we both had to draw it...


Anyway this is my drawing of it.


And this is Mike's.



I have started my project as well, which, this time is not a sculpture.


I'm still drawing it, but it will be painted.


It's actually quite large and it's a story about the Castle with fantasy creatures worked in. It will be a bit like my children's book work. I'll also be sculpting the cover. The working title is "Haunted Halls".

Anyway back to drawing, have a fantastic week!!


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Life in the country, and visiting Carlow



So our first couple of days here have been interesting. Naomi learned to build a fire in the stove and filled the cottage with smoke, and had an unfortunate encounter with a mouse in her room. We also learned to work our gas stove in the kitchen with only a small fire/incident (oops!)


The sheep and chickens and geese  are all around us. Naomi had gotten some sardines to win over the barn cats and fed some to the chickens who now follow her everywhere. I once saw a chicken break into a full (and hilarious) run down the path when she spotted her.


We did start drawing right away. Mike and I are drawing the castle and grounds and I'm working on a book project at the residency.


The castle has been a challenging subject to draw, but my project is based around it so I'm trying to get the hang of it.

Yesterday Elizabeth Cope, the artist that runs this residency brought us into Carlow for supplies and to look around. We stopped at the ruin of a church on the way in.


The girls and I out front.


Chloe reading an ancient grave.


Naomi in a cubby.


Inside the church there was a tour, but Elizabeth dropped us off and was swinging back around to pick us up so we didn't really catch the tour this time.


After stopping at the pharmacy, the "petrol" station (I love when they say that.) and a gallery that had some of Elizabeth's work up (should have taken photos!) She dropped us at the Contemporary Art Museum in Carlow.



Like most museums they had some strange exhibits (such as the film of the obese, naked man scraping an ax along his arm), and some really interesting ones, like this one about bees...


It's an initiative to set up boxes for struggling bees to form hives in when they swarm.


This is a comic that explains it all.

Mike near the graveyard

Anyway today it's back to drawing and exploring, and sorting out my book project. Also the Coach house Cafe will be open (the one that was featured on Irish television). It's interesting that all the people we've met here at the castle are local reality TV start.

At this moment a group of 40 refugees are here touring the grounds and having tea in the castle, there are chickens at our door looking for Naomi and I think I'm off to draw and finally get started today!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The train to the countryside


This photo is from our kitchen window on our last night in Dublin.

Naomi with our luggage at Heuston Station in Dublin.
We set out in the morning in an extra large taxi cab to Heuston Train Station. It was my first experience looking out through the front windshield while driving on the right. I have to say it did make me anxious. Unfortunately when we bought our tickets it was only 11 am and our train to Bagenalstown was at 1:15pm....So lots of time to kill.


Our luggage became a great surface to set food on.


We listened to a mom and child pluck chopsticks on this public piano.


Feeding the pigeons became a big activity.


Finally it was time to board. We raced in one direction, wrong track. Then we raced in another to track 3 and the train was already half full. The Irish rail is confusing to say the least. Then we pushed all our luggage through looking for spots to stow it. An epic effort after hours of nothing to do. Finally we found seats and were off! An hour and twenty minutes later we were hustling our luggage off the train. The conductor stuck his head out and waited patiently for us!


When we arrived at the station Reuben from Shankill Castle was there waiting for us. Unfortunately the car was a bit too small for so many people and all the luggage so we waited a bit longer for his uncle to arrive with another vehicle.



This is Elizabeth Cope (well the back of her) she and her family own and run Shankill Castle. She's taking us on a tour of the grounds in this picture. She's also a very well known Irish painter, and her family is full of artists.


One of so many archways.


By the carriage house. This is the back near the Coach House cafe. They only just established the cafe in the last year and while they were building this business an Irish reality show followed them about with cameras. Since it aired last April, they've been getting busloads of Irish folk coming through.


This is a graveyard next to the pre-reformation church on the grounds.


The tour ended with tea in the Castle, a big group of people from Iowa were also there. The castle rents out airbnb space and they were just passing through.


        This is Mike this morning in our resident's cottage. Already today the construction up the road made a hole in their fence that all of Reuben's sheep slipped out of. He woke up to them wandering up the road. He collected them and then moved the sheep close to us in our cottage, which bumped out the chickens. So we had chickens knocking on our door. 

In the mean time both Mike and I have started doing some drawing. Mike is planning to fill another life drawing sketchbook and I'm sorting out some sketching for a painting project I have planned. This place is very inspiring! 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Jet lag and street art in Temple Bar

Our second day in Ireland was about us very slowly convalescing from the journey here.


         Mostly we stayed near the apartment in the Stillorgan area and searched for the local shops (a 15 minute walk away. Stillorgan's sort of a suburb of Dublin it turns out). This is the walkway in Linden Square, where we're staying.



Even though it's a bit out of the way, the grounds here are pretty lovely.


Also there's a cat. I'm pretty sure he lives here.


This early that morning. Naomi and I left to get groceries so we could start to feel normal and shake the jet lag. It was hitting us all very hard this time.


For some reason buying the ingredients to make crepes cheered everyone up.


Today we took the bus into the city center to meet up with Will St Leger a local street artist.


It was a 20 minute bus ride so I kept taking pictures, but these are the only two worth sharing. :)


We arrived early, so we hung out in Cafe Nero a bit.


Before long we were back out on the street and Will brought us around to see some street art.


This is a boob and a face and a mural was painted on top of the face. These faces were mounted by an artist all around the city. The same is true for the boobs (2 different artists). It was a bit of a game to spot them. Naomi was the best at it.


This was an incredible art piece called "The Flow" that was just installed in the last week or so.


This is from below. The ligt coming through the plastic pieces changed the whole environment.


Then it wraps around up this building.


A "Dia De los Muertos" skull peaking out from a building.


This is an amazing doorway, designed around a sink and pipes and faucets.


Everywhere there was street art in this part of Dublin. This is a fence in an alley.


        This painting of an astronaut was just completed 5 days ago. Will explained that while it was approved by the business owner, the city will eventually come and paint grey over the whole thing, because of city ordinances. It's such a shame.


This portrait of Kanye was painted by a member of a coalition of artists fighting those ordinances. It's painted in grey as part of the protest to their grey walls.


This is a sanctioned mural at the Bloom's Hotel. The entire building is wonderfully painted in honor of James Joyce's book "Ulysses". 


Naomi and a floating tree.


We went down this one alley that was full  portraits . Then we turned the corner and this street artist was painting...


She was really very nice and part of a woman's coalition of street artists in Dublin.


Unfortunately I didn't get any good shots of the work!


As we stepped around her work, you can see a friend is filming her on the left.


This is what is left of one of Will's murals (the blue and white pieces on the wall). As you can see even when an art piece has all the permissions, Ireland's weather does a number on the local street art. Fortunately Dublin's street artists are busy every day repainting and creating more!!


"People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians, or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it--people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh or Mozart."-Kurt Vonnegut

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