A wonderful summer at Killeenaran is over. All Irish people will tell you that although the weather is often lousy in Ireland, when it's fine, it's paradise. I have been lucky enough to sketch this paradise all summer, but now it's autumn, the hedgerows are heavy with blackberries and the roads are quieter as children are back at school.
This is the view from the road at the top of Brandy Bay looking out towards the Atlantic Ocean. I have been asked to paint this many times but this sketch was just a little indulgence when I was supposed to be going for a long cycle yesterday to get fit (there's always tomorrow). The reflection of the house caught my eye and I stopped to sketch, but of course the tide went about its other business and soon all I had was damp sand and what I had seen in my mind before the water ebbed away.
The bay is very busy at low tide. The seaweed-covered rocks and grey, soggy sand are populated by seabirds of many types: sandpipers, oystercatchers, seagulls in many guises, egrets, herons, swans...and they like to make their presence felt in their sweet little cries. It's where you'll see flocks of birds on their way south - perhaps they think it will be quicker from the coast.
Turn your head just a little to the right and you'll see this house and the edge of the bay:
All this might look very bucolic and not very urban, but this is my urban environment, where I and many others work and live. This road is like something out of a Thomas Hardy novel: you will meet wayfarers along it all day long, from the top of Brandy Bay to the very end where the road meets the sea at Killeenaran pier. There are a lot of people taking the air, to be sure, but many are working hard, like the oyster farmers in trucks and tractors who collect oysters, mussels and clams at low tide to be sent all over the world, the fishermen who sell (and often give) their catch to locals and restaurants, the artist and naturalist who publishes writings on the flora and fauna of the area, and other artists like myself and the young woman who records underwater sounds at high tide for an installation. In the summer, a lot of the people you'll pass are on bicycles, in swimsuits, off for a swim at high tide.
Next Sunday is a special day, when villagers will swim the mile of sea from Eddy Island back to the pier. I was thinking of joining in, but the husband pointed out that I haven't been training (should have cycled more I guess). There'll be a barbecue and live musicians playing traditional Irish music on the pier, followed by a raffle, and I'll be sketching the day live, with the resulting watercolour sketch a prize in the raffle. No pressure.
Then the following week I will be covering the Clarinbridge Oyster Festival, when the native oysters may once again be harvested after their summer rest. It will be a few days of intense activity, with lots of music and glamour, and a beautiful young thing will be crowned the Oyster Pearl...watch this space.
Between these and other projects I have planned I'll be busy until it's once again too cold to sketch outdoors.
More of my work here.