A weekend in colour
This week I started an online course in colour mixing for watercolour and acrylic painting, so during this weekend I plan to spend as much time as possible learning colour theory.
I worked on the course in the evenings and have already used up a few pages of a new sketchbook, including the pages I have posted here.
I feel that one of the most important things I have learned so far, regardless of the type of paint used (Watercolour or Acrylic) is that I am getting to know them very well, how to mix the basic colours included in a sets of paints and what the results look like. Not all colours act the same even when used without mixing them, some colours produce very smooth results others produce a very grainy texture, some colours don’t seem to go into the paper or canvas very deeply others act more like a dye and the moment they touch a painting surface they stain and fix themselves in very quickly and most likely permanently.
The use of colours
When I first stated painting some years back, I would spend a large amount of time trying to match every single colour in a landscape I was painting, however I feel that since these days I have learnt that doing this is not only exhausting it also does not always produce a good painting. Colours can be used much more effectively when limited and balanced so that they are used to compliment each other. When colour is used to highlight areas in a painting or to soften other areas they can make some parts of a painting stand out and others while still included, fall into the background of the finished work.
It’s all these areas and more that I want to study and regain complete understanding again of both in practice and theory, I can then move onto producing colour sketches and full paintings again.
In order to produces all the colours you want to include in a painting you actually only need three , The primary colours (RED,YELLOW and BLUE), what does counts here however is the type of red, yellow or blue you start with in the first place as this will allow you to produces very different final results.
So this weekend I plan to uses as much paper as possible and produce a colour notebook that I can use during the year to help me when producing any paintings I start working on.
If I get time I will post on my progress but if not, I will on Monday post some results and my thoughts on what I worked on.
Since I returned to Ireland from a holiday in Germany during November, I have found myself turning to my drawing and painting much more again. This is only natural I feel during the winter months , so far this November and December we have had nearly 200mm of rain here in county Kilkenny, (amazing when you think that this is more than double the about for the entire summer) so its been hard to carry and use a camera as much as in a normal winter.
To help me get inspired and make a start I always find myself looking at my most admired classic painters like John Constable.
To me Constable is one of the most misinterpreted classic artist, mainly due to the fact that today his art work has become Synonymous of twee landscapes used on box’s of chocolates and for jigsaw puzzles. Yet when he was starting his carrier as a painter very few people would take on landscape painting and expect to make a living of any kind. Most of the artists of his day would paint classical works reflecting upon mythical stores or portrait works as commissions for the super-wealthy of his day.
The idea that an artist as good as John Constable was, would spend his time painting open landscapes, farms or rivers made little sense to any of his tutors or his peers, many disowned him for doing so. It is this fact that pulls me so much toward his work, he was one of the first of his kind and cutting edge!, sketching and then painting from life, mostly outside in the surroundings he was painting.
The simple truth is that he was and still is very cutting edge when it come to his abilities to capture people in the landscape, if it were not for the fact he did so and produced so much work, little memory would remain of the places and people he captured.
The Stour 27 September 1810
The Stour is one of the first of his painting I ever looked at and I still love this painting very much today, I love the loose use of the oil paint and brush work, the limited palette of colours but above all the atmosphere he has captured.
Its also painted in the format I love the most, at 23×23 a Square format. Its not easy to compose an image in a square! but I feel that the results can produces a great painting or photo with great concentration on the subjects you want to capture the most.
Painted Between 1808 and 1816 – the year of his marriage to Maria Bicknell – Constable spent most of his summers at East Bergholt, sketching in the fields and the surrounding countryside. From 1810 he began to paint images of the River Stour, and the activities associated with it, particularly in the area near his father’s mill at Flatford. Indeed, the bulk of his subjects during the first half of his career are images of Suffolk. Many of these are rapidly executed, evocative sketches, painted entirely, or substantially in the open air – often depicting transient atmospheric effects.
Constable painted this view outdoors in the vicinity of Flatford Lock at sunset. He cut his canvas to fit into the paint box he carried, and pinned it to the opened lid while painting.
The landscape around the Stour Valley and Dedham Vale had been admired by poets and artists before Constable (Tate 1991, pp. 53–54), but he made the area particularly his own by painting it over and over again. Constable wrote in later years: ‘I associate my “careless boyhood” to all that lies on the banks of the Stour. They made me a painter (& I am gratefull)‘ (Beckett VI, p. 78).
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803 – 1882
And I behold once more
My old familiar haunts; here the blue river,
The same blue wonder that my infant eye
Admired, sage doubting whence the traveller came,—
Whence brought his sunny bubbles ere he washed
The fragrant flag-roots in my father’s fields,
And where thereafter in the world he went.
Look, here he is, unaltered, save that now
He hath broke his banks and flooded all the vales
With his redundant waves.
Here is the rock where, yet a simple child,
I caught with bended pin my earliest fish,
Much triumphing, —and these the fields
Over whose flowers I chased the butterfly,
A blooming hunter of a fairy fine.
And hark! where overhead the ancient crows
Hold their sour conversation in the sky:—
These are the same, but I am not the same,
But wiser than I was, and wise enough
Not to regret the changes, tho’ they cost
Me many a sigh. Oh, call not Nature dumb;
These trees and stones are audible to me,
These idle flowers, that tremble in the wind,
I understand their faery syllables,
And all their sad significance. The wind,
That rustles down the well-known forest road—
It hath a sound more eloquent than speech.
The stream, the trees, the grass, the sighing wind,
All of them utter sounds of ’monishment
And grave parental love.
They are not of our race, they seem to say,
And yet have knowledge of our moral race,
And somewhat of majestic sympathy,
Something of pity for the puny clay,
That holds and boasts the immeasurable mind.
I feel as I were welcome to these trees
After long months of weary wandering,
Acknowledged by their hospitable boughs;
They know me as their son, for side by side,
They were coeval with my ancestors,
Adorned with them my country’s primitive times,
And soon may give my dust their funeral shade.
I have spent many years now living in the Irish countryside , so I just loved being in Berlin! the train system is just amazing, you never have to wait more than ten minutes before the next train arrives 🙂 , you can get a weekly ticket and train hop all day.
The Berlin Stadtbahn was the most fun as it sits above the city streets and offers amazing views ….
History and details
The Berlin Stadtbahn (“city railway”) is a major railway thoroughfare in the German capital Berlin, which runs through Berlin from east to west. It connects the eastern district of Friedrichshain with Charlottenburg in the west via 11 intermediate stations including Hauptbahnhof. The Berlin Stadtbahn is often also defined as the slightly longer route between Ostkreuz and Westkreuz, although this is not technically correct.
Yesterday I posted some images relating to the fantastic Jewish memorial in Berlin, I did not want to add any words to these images because I just wanted to and hoped that these images would share a feeling that I had walking and standing among the stones of this amazing public sculpture.
Today’s post is a little different, while In Berlin I came across the story of Sophie scholl and the body of Students of which she was a big part, called the “white rose“, Sophies’ story needs words, is all about words!. Words they, and she,this group used, words full of truth! yet by the simple act of using these words so many of these students including Sophie lost there lives!
If you want to try and understand what life was like under the Nazi dictatorship of the 1930’s and 1940’s, in Germany then you would be hard pushed to find any better example than the life story of Sophie scholl and the white rose movement, This was a group of German students who like many felt extremely disturbed and deeply saddened by the events they found happening around them and they simply wanted to express this feeling.
For the act of using their minds and voices to express what was a natural reaction, they lost their own lives. Sophie Scholl is one of the most famous of these student she was executed on 22 February 1943 (aged 21). She is just one individual among millions who lost their lives during the horrors, but I feel her story adds pure clarity to the events that she could not and would not tolerate unfolding around her!
How many of us today would be so brave?
“Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible crimes – crimes that infinity outdistance every human measure – reach the light of day”
It is an absolute tragedy and as Sophie herself said inhuman CRIME that someone who could and should have spent a lifetime adding to the world around herself, contributing to man kind! was killed by men who only held bitterness and discrimination of all kinds in their hearts.
I feel that by knowing more about human people like Sophie scholl, I understand the history of the Nazi’s much better, these men and women who formed their ranks embodied the very heart and soul of evil and bitterness, heartless discrimination of all kinds and not just racist discrimination but ones based of what they felt was a social right to be better than other humans based on nothing!
There is no-one better than anyone else, there is no position based on wealth, location of birth or physical standing that puts anyone higher in life than anyone else !! PERIOD!
I would like to declare myself a member of the “white rose” ! as I know if I lived Back then at 21 I would have wanted to join!
Sophie Scholl – an ANGLE in the darkness !!
One of the most moving things about a visit to Berlin is just how many public locations have been dedicated to the unavoidable history of Germany. Memorials to the victims of the first and second world wars along with the cold war are located all around the city and they are free to visit and open to all.
Germany is not hiding from its past or running away from it, they welcome both inquiry and then knowledge!
It is a true credit to newer generations that they have made sure that so many victims of what was only a selective group of German people, are remembered into the future in this way.
The Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims is located just across the road from the Reichstag building, the German government buildings. It is peaceful place erected in 2012. When you enter the garden you are greeted by musical tones playing from the trees around you, this experience allows you time to stop and remember so many souls that were removed from life , rejected as people not wanted, not perfect and killed for just being from a different social background,location or belief.
The establishment of a permanent memorial to Sinti and Roma victims of the Nazi regime was a long-standing demand of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma and the German Sinti Alliance. In 1992 the Federal Government agreed to build a monument but the memorial faced years of delay and disputes over its design and location.
The city of Berlin initially wanted to place it in the less prominent district of Marzahn, where hundreds of Roma and Sinti were held in terrible conditions from 1936. In 2001 it was agreed to site it in the Tiergarten close to other Holocaust memorials but work did not officially commence until 19 December 2008, the commemoration day for victims of the Porajmos. The memorial was completed at a cost of 2.8 million euros and unveiled by Angela Merkel on 24 October 2012.
Berlin From the divided to the city of freedom
When you visit Berlin you simply cannot escape from German and European history and the History of the Berlin wall is still a part of Berlin just as much as so any of the events that go into shaping this great European city.
This November 2019, the Berlin Wall is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its fall. On the occasion a large number of events took place in Berlin dealing with topics such as reunification, the construction of the Berlin Wall, the division of the world during the Cold War, the overcoming of the Wall by the Peaceful Revolution of 1989.
I travelled to Berlin last week and spend a week in the city during many of these events.
These are just some of the pictures I took that show the Berlin wall today as it is conserved for the many generations in Berlin and the world to visit in the future.
Events dealing with the history of division, the struggle for freedom and the process of reunification took place not only in the run-up to and around November but from the start of 2018.
Why should I be the first to fall
Of all the leaves on this old tree?
Though sadly soon I know that all
Will lose their hold and follow me.
While my birth-brothers bravely blow,
Why should I be first to go?
Why should I be the last to cling
Of all the leaves on this bleak bough?
I’ve fluttered since the fire of Spring
And I am worn and withered now.
I would escape the Winter gale
And sleep soft-silvered by a snail.
When swoop the legions of the snow
To pitch their tents in roaring weather
We fallen leaves will lie below
And rot rejoicingly together;
And from our rich and dark decay
Will laugh our brothers of the May.
Robert William Service
poet William Blake
#11 on top 500 poets
The Angel – Poem by William Blake
I dreamt a dream! What can it mean?
And that I was a maiden Queen
Guarded by an Angel mild:
Witless woe was ne’er beguiled!
And I wept both night and day,
And he wiped my tears away;
And I wept both day and night,
And hid from him my heart’s delight.
So he took his wings, and fled;
Then the morn blushed rosy red.
I dried my tears, and armed my fears
With ten-thousand shields and spears.
Soon my Angel came again;
I was armed, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head.
Patrick Henry Pearse (also known as Pádraig or Pádraic Pearse; Irish: Pádraig Anraí Mac Piarais; An Piarsach) was born in Dublin on the 10th of November 1879 and he died in Kilmainham Gaol(Jail), county Dublin on the 3rd of May 1916. He was primarily an Irish teacher but was also a great barrister, poet, writer and original Irish nationalist. He was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916. Following his execution along with fifteen others, Pearse came to be seen by many as the embodiment of the rebellion.
Patrick Pearse’s Cottage at Ros Muc, county Galway in the heart of the Conamara Gaeltacht, ( an Irish speaking and strongly Irish cultural area) was used by Patrick Pearse (1879 – 1916), while he spent time teaching and marking students papers.
The cottage and its interior, although burned during the War of Independence, has been perfectly reconstructed and contains an exhibition and a number of momentous of Pearse’s life.
The cottage was Pearse’s summer residence between 1903 and 1915. It was also as a summer school for his pupils from St Enda’s in Dublin where he worked during the main Academic year.
The historic cottage, has been developed as a national monument and tourist attraction as part of the 1916 centenary commemorations; and is a key ‘discovery point’ on the Wild Atlantic Way route.
I was lucky enough to visit the cottage last week and enjoyed my time here very much, the staff helped greatly when it came to understanding the life of this great Irish man and his time spent here.
If your in county Galway, you just have to call in and spend some valuable time here !
Pearse’s Cottage (Teach an Phiarsaigh), County Galway, Gallery
This time last week during a weeks holiday to both counties Sligo and Mayo, in the norths west of Ireland, we hiked up Croagh Patrick or “The reek” as locals know of it. This mountain is one of Irelands Highest peeks and is most famous for being climbed by pilgrims on Reek Sunday every year, which is the last Sunday of each July. On this Sunday, thousands of pilgrims climb Croagh Patrick in honor of Saint Patrick who, according to tradition, fasted and prayed on the summit for forty days in the year 441.
It has been a personal aim to walk the peeks of a list of mountains in Ireland for a couple of years and “The Reek” is just one of these mountains to hike in the next couple of years.
The weather on the day was perfect and we started our walk about Midday having driven some 80km to the main car park used to start the hike. The start of the walk is good, being flat for a while and then only slowly rising in level, so you get a little time to warmup before the main slopes higher up the mountain side. Once you hike the first slopes the path levels off for a while until you come to the bottom of the main peek.
I really enjoyed this hike, its hard – no getting away from that fact but when you do finally get to the top the views are amazing, you can see most of county Mayo and well into county Sligo from here. there is a step that surrounds a small chapel that you can sit on to eat and have something to drink. We rested here for about 10 mins before walking around the top of the peek.
As you can see these images below are mostly taken at the top, when I finally go to open my bag and get my camera out. As I said you truly feel on top of the world here, this point is some 764 metres (2,507 ft) above sea level, not the highest mountain in the country by about 250 meters but here you start your walk at sea level so it could well be the highest distance you have to walk to get to the top…..
I will let these images do the rest of the talking for me other than to say , this is one of the most enjoyable walks of my life and I cannot wait to walk more Irish mountains in the months yo come ..
Croagh Patrick, County Mayo, A gallery
Those Images – Poem by William Butler Yeats
What if I bade you leave
The cavern of the mind?
There’s better exercise
In the sunlight and wind.
I never bade you go
To Moscow or to Rome.
Renounce that drudgery,
Call the Muses home.
Seek those images
That constitute the wild,
The lion and the virgin,
The harlot and the child.
Find in middle air
An eagle on the wing,
Recognise the five
That make the Muses sing.
William Butler Yeats
Bay Lough is the famous Corrie Lake in the side of Knockaunabulloga, part of the Knockmealdown Mountain range.
Bay Lough and its surrounds is a strong favourite with hill walkers and recreational walkers of all sorts. The walk to the lake from the car park is not too difficult and suitable for family outings. On any fine day you will see hundreds of walkers making the trip to the lake and walking to its furthest point (it is only possible to walk about half way around, the photo to your left is taken at the most distant point to which you can walk).
The name Bay Lough (or Baylough) is only tentatively connected to the lake. It is thought the name derives from an Anglicisation of the Irish word ‘bealach’ (pronounced ‘ba-lock’) which means ‘pass’ or ‘way’. Those mapping the area, who would have been English, no doubt presumed the word ‘bealach’ referred to the lough in the mountain. You’ll find this type of mistaken Anglicisation of place names all around Ireland for the same reason.
Bay Lough is located close to the hightest point of the pass in the Knockmealdown Mountains from Waterford to Tipperary and was along the regular roadway used for this journey. It is thought this path dates back to St. Declan, who travelled from Ardmore to Cashel along the route. You can still walk along St. Declan’s Way also known as Rian Bó Phadraig. It is popular with hikers who want to experience the historical heritage as well as the beauty of the area. The road from the car park to the lake, which can be continued past the lake and on to Mount Anglesby, was in fact the main road from Cappoquin and Lismore to Clogheen before the current road, going by the Vee, was constructed in the early nineteenth century. This old road is known locally as ‘the Soldiers Path’ and is now a forestry path. It is part of a number of spectacular walks around Bay Lough, see the Walks page for more information on these.
This area is a wonderful (and totally free) resource for locals and visitors alike. Should you wish to visit the lake it is most easily accessible from a car park on the Waterford side of the lake – this is the Loc8 Code for the lake –YZS-26-53G – just be aware that you can only drive as far as this Parking Area.
The lake has a strong historical significance both in South Tipperary and West Waterford. In local folklore it is famed as the lake to which Petticoat Loose was banished for all time, ordered to empty it with a thimble.
It is also widely held that the lake is ‘bottomless’ and that it is not possible to swim across it, despite its rather modest proportions.
“When I am gone, release me. Let me go.
I have so many things to see and do.
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears.
Be happy that we had so many beautiful years.
I gave to you my love. You can only guess
How much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you each have shown,
But now it’s time I traveled on alone.
So grieve a while for me, if grieve you must.
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It’s only for a while that we must part,
So bless the memories within your heart.
I won’t be far away, for life goes on.
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be near.
And if you listen with your heart,
You’ll hear all my love around you soft and clear.
And then, when you must come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and say welcome home…”
Capturing Ireland’s heatwave, July 10th 2018, The River Runs Dry, taken from a Poem by : Veronica Ellen
The River Runs Dry
The river runs dry from mouth to stream
No rain from the sky, and all the land screams-
For nourishment, to save the dying crop
But God has no mercy and all the crops rot.
The heat strikes the fury, arouses the flame, sets the fire
Burns down the struggling trees, wealth an unrealized by flame.
burning bushes, so often unseen.
Weakens our roots, and their spirit is broken
Will it never rain again? , so many are hoping.
In yesterdays post I talked a little about how film based photograph is now back a big way! with many of the film manufacturers having over the last few years seen a big jump in their sales figures. Many films that had disappeared from the photography market have now started to be produced again, Kodak are event about to re-introduce their world famous Ektachrome film, a high resolution positive film used at a commercial level of photography in the past.
It is now possible for the first time in many years to get online and purchase any type or speed of film, from Colour to Black and white, ISO 50 to ISO 3200
. This is a big opportunity for film loves to regain long lost skills, such as black and white film processing at home, setting up a dark room studio using chemical based film processing and printing. If this is not for you however, you can still opt for just purchasing the type of film you want to try out and once you have exposed your full roll, you can send it in the post to processors such as Lomography, who process any type of film for about the same price as it cost way back in the original film days.
One film I always love using was Ilfords XP2 Super, ISO 400, black and white film, Its a C41 processed film which is the same processing methods used with colour films. This film can be exposed at camera ISO setting between 50 to 800 as described in the instructions that come in the box, ISO 400 is the optimum setting but if the film is exposed at setting that overexpose the film, the film grain visible on the final prints will be much reduced. If you do play around with your ISO setting, you have to remember that with film you have to specify to your development lab that you did so and tell them what ISO Setting you exposed the roll of film at, also unlike digital for each of the 24 or 36 exposures on your roll of film you have to stay with the same ISO setting all the way through the roll.
ILFORD XP2 Super PDF
Like all rolls of film, XP2 Super has its own grain look and texture, you can see from the image below that the grain is very visible in the more well lighted areas on the frame. Its not unpleasant and adds lots of character to the image, this is an ISO 400 film after all and as such perfect for use indoors.
Ilford XP2 Super – Sample images, scanned using a Minolta Dimage Elite film scanner
One reason I love shooting Landscape images with square format prints and images in mind for the final results is that your images get closer to your subjects, you loose lots of details in the frame that you mostly do not need.
These images are taken at Lake Windermere in the Lake District and I feel that their square format helps in capturing this great place in a truly focused and closer way.