Posts Tagged ‘140603’

A Corking Good Opportunity… Part 2

Monday, September 1st, 2014

As I wrote last time, when the tour of Ireland we had signed up for was canceled only a month before our anticipated departure, our tentative plans appeared to be falling through. Greatly to our relief, we were able to find an alternative coach tour, which, though not as extensive as the original one, seemed like a suitable substitute. Like the original one, we would disembark from our cruise in Cobh, take a train to Cork, and after a night’s stay there, proceed to Dublin to join our tour group.

140603a Through Irish Mist,

The day we arrived in Cork, my camera’s viewing screen suddenly stopped working properly. Although the camera continued to record images (as confirmed when I tried to upload them to our computer), I couldn’t see either the preview or the confirmation image to verify the picture or its alignment. And in order to minimize both weight and bulk in our packing, I had decided against carrying my usual backup camera. So for the remainder of the trip, I would be shooting blind, hoping to obtain enough usable photos to satisfy my needs in the studio through the coming months.

As it turned out, I managed to get very few display-worthy photographs with the pray-and-shoot method, but because I was later able to edit and reconfigure with the help of Photoshop, and adjust compositions during the painting process, I did wind up with a usable supply of adaptable reference material. What blessed relief it was to realize that!

Our one “free day,” during which I had hoped to meet my Virtual Art Academy colleagues, was no longer on the schedule. Instead, we were left with only a few evening hours available for visiting. But one of my friends made a special effort to join me for dinner that evening, which I appreciated. The other was unable to coordinate with us.

Ireland was indeed picturesque and full of landscapes well worth painting. The cool, moist weather contributes to that beauty but not much to the comfort of painters working in the open air. And although mist and fog provide lovely atmospheric effects, as in “Through Irish Mist” (#140603), above, they can also obliterate one’s view of otherwise promising landscapes.

This was the case when we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher—a towering shoreline of sheer precipices overlooking the Atlantic ocean. The churning water was just warm enough in relation to the cooler air above it to create a fog so dense that, even from the path along the cliff top, we were unable to see beyond the very edge of the cliff and could get no perspective of the distance down to the ocean water we knew lay almost 1000 feet below. With the magic, once again, of Photoshop, I was able to pull out a ghost image from a photograph I had shot through the fog. This was enough to paint from.

The result, as you can see in “On the Cliffs of Moher” (#140607) below, is more of the atmospheric conditions of the trail along the top of the cliffs than of the cliffs themselves.

140607a On the Cliffs of Moher,

I’m glad we went to Ireland. I’ve gained a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the land as well as the resilience and resourcefulness of its people. And that’s what traveling is all about. If I can express even a fraction of that appreciation through my paintings, the trip will have been a success.