Thursday, March 15, 2007

Snow on the Galty Mountains, March 2, 2006

This is the first photo I took during my trip to Ireland last year: the Galty Mountains as seen from Anglesboro, Kilmallock, County Limerick on Thursday, March 2, 2006. It had snowed the day before, up to five inches in some places, although in the areas I was visiting it was only on the mountaintops.

There are things that you notice in Ireland once you get past the "Wow, I'm in Ireland!" stage. One of them is the massive deforestation: much of Ireland looks like a green quilt of fields, meadows and pastures divided up by hedgerows and stone walls. Another is the color. It really is a very green place because the year-round climate is moist with temperatures generally above freezing, and the grass never enters a state of dormancy.

There are other things you notice, like the smell. Depending on where you are you may be assailed by charcoal or peat smoke, burning diesel, or the aromas of cows and/or sheep. There are regions where the air is fresh and clean, but usually these are far from any farms or residences.

Here is my first attempt to paint this scene:

Galty Mountains from Anglesboro, Kilmallock (1), painted 3/15/07

I was unhappy with this painting for several reasons. The sky is just an unnatural shade of blue, and doesn't lighten properly as it nears the horizon. The sky dominates the picture, when I wanted the mountains to dominate. The wall in the foreground is too bright, and I hate the tree on the right, which appears to be growing out of the column in the wall. Still, the hedgerows are pretty nice, and the mountain does look pretty good, small though it may be.

My second version of this painting:

Galty Mountains from Anglesboro, Kilmallock (2), painted 3/15/07

Here I have changed the color of the sky to a more realistic shade of blue, increased the size of the mountains, and darkened the wall. I'm also much happier with the tree on the right-hand side, and I've removed the column. But now I can't shake the feeling that we're looking at Mt. Fuji!

(Fun note: I wanted to paint the top of the wall Viridian Green, but I couldn't get the cap off that tube of paint. I tried and tried, but it wouldn't budge. I twisted harder and harder, and realized I was twisting the entire tube like taffy. A little more force and I would have ruptured the tube, splattering Viridian Green all over myself, my kitchen, and my painting. Ignoring all of my instincts, I gave up and put the tube down.)

So. Looking at these paintings, plus the one I posted yesterday, I have to say they're not bad for the first time I've picked up paints in a few years.


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I like the sky of the second picture and the landscape of the first best.

No bad?! There are pretty good if you ask me (which you didn't but I'm going to give you my opinion anyway).

Have a great weekend!

rimalicious said...

You are so talented!

hedera said...

You think you're looking at Mt. Fuji because the mountain you painted, in both efforts, is just slightly more pointed on top than the one in the photo. The one in the photo is more rounded; it's the kind of "mountain" we get here in the California coast range, where the dirt slumps until it reaches equilibrium in a nice, smooth, round pile; and then the grass grows. If you try again, make the hilltop more of a smooth arc.

Your comment about deforestation reminds me of the trip we took to Scotland in 1996. We noticed the same thing there (in the Aberdeen area). They had trees, but there were no natural groves of trees: they were planted in neatly squared rows and were all the same age or looked to be. I don't know about Ireland, but I think Scotland finally cut down the last natural forest for firewood in the 15th century or so. Since then if they want trees they have to farm them.

Betz said...

Do you know to me...I can't believe that it is just one year since your trip to Ireland.
Maybe so much has gone on with us all since then that I think it can;'t be just ONE year?
I miss you every day at work, and I am glad we are keeping in touch.

Todd HellsKitchen said...

Hey... I'm impressed!

Anonymous said...

hi there .i,m living in australia with the last 22 years . i come from anglesboro.that photo is taken outside my mum and dads house .the red toyota is theres.