Saturday, June 18, 2016

Painting the Irish Countryside

Three Harbor Views, Kinvara 6"x6" watercolors, Linda Knoll
I've just returned from a trip to the Southwest part of Ireland. Our group stayed in a little town called Lisdoonvarna, a small town know for it sulphur water and Matchmaking Festival. Our hostess at the Burren Painting Center arranged daily trips to points of interest and gave us lots of time to sketch and paint.

We ventured to several coastal towns, castles, and natural wonders in the part of Ireland called the Burren, a plateau of limestone rock jutting out of the ocean. The history, natural and cultural, was fascinating. There were rock walls everywhere, filled with fossils and flowers!

Rock walls cover Innisheer island.

Four days of the trip were occupied with a plein air watercolor workshop presented by Grahame Booth, a wonderful watercolor painter from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Below are a few of my favorite photos, and paintings I did while I was there. More paintings to come now that I'm back in the studio!

Cliffs of Mohr, on sample paper 5x7" watercolor

Cattle Crossing, 5x7" watercolor pencil

Irish Clouds, 6x8" watercolor

Lilac, 5x7" watercolor

Our tutor, Grahame Booth

After the holiday weekend at Kinvara

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Resolved to Create a Happy 2016!

2015 was a weird year. I felt unfocused about my art, and distracted by too many other things to really concentrate on anything specific.  I tried out a few new techniques: collage and watercolor combo, mono printing with a Gelli Plate; both fun and interesting. I did several collages with gelli printed textures and will be doing more this year.

Elizabeth in Purple, watercolor plus painted paper collage, 8x10"
Flamingoes in Flight, collage with acrylic printed papers, 8x10" 
I spent much of the summer just doodling in my journal, and finally decided to make a coloring book of nature themed doodles. Many of these were produced while caring for my mom, who passed away in September. She was a "birder" and I've been a little obsessed with "tree of life" images, so this page is dedicated to her.

Tree of Life, for my mom, ink 9x12"

Speaking of the tree of life, I also produced a group of wire tree sculptures based on that idea. The spiral ends are reminiscent of Gustav Klimt's tree of life painting. 

Copper Rainbow Tree of Life
My students inspired some other diversions, such as these ink blot trees.

But, I think I should probably get back to some watercoloring! I'm excited that my daughter and I are planning an art trip to Ireland in June, and there are endless inspirations from gardens to national parks to our own neighborhood. And I still have several picture book ideas floating around. Lots to do in 2016... wish me luck. Also, visit my Etsy store to order coloring books, custom wire trees, paintings and more to come.

Happy New Year to you!