December 14

Today is wrap-up day in the studio. Finished the last few works on paper and push-pinned them to the wall. Even resolved my gift for Padraig so feeling somewhat complete. Wanted to take a final walk to Bunatrahir Bay so when I saw a clearing in the sky, I headed out for my final 2k walk.

This is what I love about Ireland. You feel like you live in a Snow Globe ( without the snow). The atmosphere envelops you - all encompassing yet intimate at the same time. Aim Shir (weather) never lets you down. You can witness amazing clouds with blue skies......



and then ½ kilometer later, you see this below. What a grand finale I had when I got to the ocean!


At the end of the day, Ainslie and Austin returned from Sligo to help me take down the work. I felt like summer camp was over.


Then we headed to Healys to have our last Guinness, give Podraig his painting and to toast artist, Helen Blake (heading back to Wicklow,) friend Anthea ( staying in Ballycastle from Scotland - now heading to Connemara) and artist, John Eckel, who will stay through middle of January. I had bought some birthday candles and realized I couldn’t bring them on the plane.( wonder why?) So, we put one in a cupcake for our going away party.


I was a little nervous about giving the painting to Padraig, since he had asked for a "pretty" picture. HA. I don't strive for "pretty" pictures. His girlfriend, Geraldine showed up for the occasion. I had chosen my favorite place – Bunatrahir Bay – as the subject. I guess it was the luck of the Irish for when they opened it, they told me that Geraldine's family owned the property on the other side of the cliff. It has been in their family for many years. Her mother is Mrs. Conner, the nice woman I had met on the road on my birthday. And Mrs. Conner is also the sister of Phil who owns Healys.


At that moment, everything came full circle for me. The amazing land, the lovely people, and me with a paintbrush.




December 13

 I can see this horse, Beauty, out my back kitchen window every mornig. It's nice when she is close enough to the road so I can speak to her. She always raises her head when you call her name. Her owner died a few years ago and his wife can't bring herself to sell her. And such a small word- the wife has family in Ocean Pines, Maryland.


My task today was to finish my "complete work" list and paint for Padraig. I had planned to get out on the beach with paints - in his honor- but rain kept me inside the studio. Tried working from photographs, but it just doesn't feel right for me. What the camera captures is not what the eye sees. I need to feel the "fullness" of the experience for myself. Made a few attempts but flat, flat flat!

Did spend some time in the library at the Center. Such a wonderful room, full of art  books for research. And a great place to go for end of the day emailing and quiet time.



Headed home, rather than Healys to start cleaning and packing. Don't think I have shown a picture of the inside of my cottage. Here you go! Sorta post- Little House on the Prairie. Tomorrow will be my last day in Ballycastle.










December 12

Started the morning with a walk to the Bay. Being inside all yesterday, I needed to smell the salt air. Made a list of what images need to be completed: Four large works, three more drawings and 8  small works on paper. ( Hodges Taylor in me is showing. Got to have the walls with the same amount of work for balance.) Cold and rainy but got to the Bay and back with a few drawings. Hands freezing!

Upon my return, I surveyed my smaller work and decided to take on four different subjects for the large work, a few familiar, a few unexplored. Still in process for sure.


Decided to take a break and play with some images of fields around town. William Crozier (my Irish painter hero) had done some works on paper of a similiar subject. Here is one that served as inspiration.


My attempts have a long way to go but fun playing with the shapes. This grassy area is across from the graveyard, with a view of trees on Main Street. Rooks live there and are always chatting with each other. ( sometimes it sounds more like arguing!)



Around 7PM, Ainslie sent a text that they were at the front door. I cleaned up and met them at Healy's Pub. When I got to the front door, owner Mary, working on a cigarette said "Padraig said to ring him up when you arrive." My first thought was "Me?" and my second thought was "someone thinks I am here every night?"

Padraig is a super nice guy that I have enjoyed chatting with on occasion. We joked around soon after I arrived that he will paint a picture for me and I will paint a "pretty" one for him. Weeks go by and on my birthday, he bought me a Guinness and we took pictures of each other.

SO, last night sitting at the bar, in walks Padraig with a wrapped present for me.  I was blown away. 


 I said to him.  "I will see you Thursday night- with my painting". Forget CALMING, my mind is now back in TRAFFIC!

December 11

As you approach small towns, there is usually a posted sign stating  "Traffic Calming." It is now the Monday before I leave and I am starting to feel like the sign.... swirling for days  and now settling in to pack up.  The walls in the studio are almost covered. Time to me to deal with "bits and bobs" as the Irish say.

As Ainslie and Austin headed to Connemara to hike at the National Park, I went to the studio to survey the final week. After working on more clouds, I found four large sheets of paper that I had shipped here from Cork Art Supplies. OOPS. Guess I need to think a little bigger these last few days! I certainly prefer to be outside painting but sorta nice to huddle in the studio this final week.

Here are a few more clouds from the studio porch, with the space heater on full blast.


While I was painting clouds, Ainslie and Austin were also looking at the sky. Snow covered the roads as they traveled to Connemara. She sent me the picture below. We didn't see a snowflake in Ballycastle.