Thursday, December 31, 2015

Travel Sketches, County Donnegal, Ireland

View of farms and a fresh water lake on the trail to Tramore Strand, 09/19/2015, water color on Canson 140lb cold press, 7" h x 9" w, Michael Anderson, 2015.
The next to last day of our driving trip along the Wild Atlantic Way we reached the most northern point in our travels in Ireland but not by car. We hiked approximately 2 miles to the Tramore Strand, a beach that is only accessible by foot or on horseback through a national park.
Snapshot of the view from the picnic table.
The path emerges from a dense stand of pines where a wooden picnic table stands at the edge of a sandy marshland which is a national bird sanctuary. It was a perfect place to sketch and rest before the long walk. It was all the more striking because when arrived at the beach we were the only people there as far as the eye could see in either direction. We had reached the end of of our journey to look out on the Atlantic Ocean in a place of great natural beauty and total solitude.
The majestic Tramore Strand.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Travel Sketches, Dunfanaghy, County Donnegal, Ireland

Sheephaven Bay, low tide, 09/18/2015, 7" h  x  9"w, watercolor on Canson 140lb, cold press, 2015, Michael Anderson.
Our northernmost stop on the Wild Atlantic Way was the village of Dunfanaghy in County Donnegal. The center of this small town overlooks Sheephaven Bay. During low tide the stable near the Arnolds Hotel provides horses and riding tours along the strand of nearby beaches and country side. The rooms at the Arnolds have "sea views" but mainly face the hillside that shelters the bay.

Horse and Rider at Low Tide, Killahoey Strand,  09/19/2015, 7" h  x  9"w, watercolor on Canson 140lb, cold press, 2015, Michael Anderson.
Killahoey Strand, low tide.

Near Horn Head, 09/18/2015, 7" h  x  9"w, watercolor on Canson 140lb, cold press, 2015, Michael Anderson.
As the land moves out into the sea it gradually becomes steeper and more rocky. Beyond is Horn Head, an elevated point at the western edge of Europe that was used as a lookout during World War II to monitor foreign naval activity.  m

Horn Head

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Travel Sketches, Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland

The sea view from the Bervie, 09/16/2015, 7" h x  9" w, watercolor on Canson 140lb coldpress, Michael Anderson.
Traveling north along the Wild Atlantic Way in September my wife and I drove through several small picturesque villages including Glengarriff and Adare. Typically the buildings at the town centers are painted in bright colors and occupied by shops, b&b's and pubs. Some consider all the added color as garish gentrification meant to be attractive to tourists. A clear exception is the sparsely populated, stark yet beautiful village of Keel Achill in County Mayo located on Achill Island. A bridge connects the island to the mainland so access is easy but only about 2500 people live there. Sheep roam freely almost everywhere. Most of the buildings in the village are simply whitewashed or abandoned to weather in dull greys amid piles of rubble and lush greenery against a background of rocky cliffs that jut out into the Atlantic. We stayed overnight at the Bervie Guesthouse where the rooms have views of the sea and guests are served tea upon arrival.
The Bervie Guesthouse, 09/17/2015, 7" h x  9" w, watercolor on Canson 140lb coldpress, Michael Anderson. The exterior is trimmed with blue shutters, flowering plants and sea shells.
The Bervie is operated by Liz and John Barrett, life long residents of Achill Island. Liz is descended from a family of hoteliers. She is also a gourmet chef and prepares dinner every evening at the Bervie. Seafood and lamb dishes are specialties. She is a gracious hostess and epitomizes hospitality. m

Snapshot of a view of Keel Achill.
Into the mystic.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Travel Sketches, County Galway, Ireland

                          Renvyle House Hotel, Connemara, County Galway, watercolor on Canson 140lb cold press, 7" h x 9" w, 2015.  Michael Anderson
In September my wife and I traveled to Ireland. She planned our trip based on her own skilled research along with hotel recommendations from a longtime friend who was born in Belfast. Our itinerary began in Dublin but our goal was to drive across the country to westernmost points and follow the scenic route known as the Wild Atlantic Way to the north. One of our stops was at the Renvyle House, an historic hotel on a 150 acre estate in County Galway. The ivy-covered house was built in 1915 in the Arts & Crafts style and was once owned by Oliver St. John Gogarty, a poet and surgeon. The character, Buck Mulligan, in James Joyce's "Ulysees" is based on Gogarty. 
                         View of the Renvyle House grounds from the orchard, watercolor on Canson 140lb cold press, 7" h x 9" w, 2015. Michael Anderson
The property includes a stretch of rocky beach along the Atlantic, a fresh water lake and a small orchard with lovely views of the mountains beyond. I found a bench in the orchard and sketched the view. Seamus, a white horse that belongs to the estate for guests to ride, came up to the board fence that separates his field from the orchard and peered over to see what I was doing or rather to see if I had anything to eat.
Seamus wanted to taste my sketchbook.
He almost made a snack of my watercolors. The moment was one of the highlights of the trip. -Michael Anderson

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Virtual Sketchrawl - December 19 - This Saturday

It's that time of the month again...time to take part in the Urban Sketchers Midwest Virtual Sketchcrawl. Take part this coming Saturday. The monthly event starts at 11 am EST/10 am CST. Post your work to the Urban Sketchers Midwest group with the title Virtual Sketchcrawl or #virtualsketchcrawl.

Friday, December 11, 2015

An unexpected lesson!

The National Toy and Miniature Museum in Kansas City recently re-opened after a year-long renovation.  Our sketch group met there and spent the morning sketching.  We had to restrict ourselves to pencil only, like in most museums, and my first thought was how much I need color to do justice to all the new, bright displays!

But a funny thing happened as I drew:  I had to pay a lot closer attention to my line weights and shading in order to capture what I saw.  I had planned to add color later, but changed my mind and decided to leave the pencil work as is.  Once again, I found that everything is an opportunity to learn!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

at a middle school basketball game

Monday we attended another basketball at a local middle school where our friends' daughter attends. The opposing team played very aggressively, meaning Macy's team lost. But during the game, I drew this view from the vintage wooden bleachers. I love the old stone and wood!

I drew this with various gray & black inks on toned paper, mostly using pens with brush tips, then added a bit of buff titanium watercolor and white gouache later at home.

Saturday, December 5, 2015


Wilma and I were in Lawrence today for some fabric/fiber shopping. For Wilma, that is. That gave me time to get some sketching done. The old Granada stood out to me.  We've never been inside because the bands that play there are from another planet (spoken by an old fart). They do good work, though, promoting the music scene.
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