Kilkenny landscape – A Charcoal and Pastels on Paper
This week I plan to continued building up my painting and drawing skills, I will continue selected from my landscape photographs and selecting ones that I wfeel will make good Mono drawings and paintings.
This evening I have just finished the above Charcoal and Pastel landscape, its drawn on A2 paper but framed for A3 dimensions. This is a good size from drawing as I feel I can work freely with this size, letting the charcoal move openly. It lets me stand up above by drawing board and move the Charcoal and Pastels with fully movement of my arms.
Just like with my last post I plan next to work the same landscape view in Acrylic paints working with cool grey tones to capture the feeling of a cold grey day, just like the day that I captured the original black and white image on.
The view from Ballycuddihy – charcoal and graphite on paper
In my last post I uploaded some photos taken in the hills at Ballycuddihy county Kilkenny, I want to use these images and others as the source for a series of both drawings and acrylic paintings.
So over the weekend I started with a charcoal and graphite drawing. I like very much using these two drawing materials as I like to strip an image down into its monochrome tonal values before returning to repeating the painting in acrylic or oil paint and bring in colour paints. I plan this time however to paint these landscape views using acrylic paint, using black and white only, keeping the finished work to a maximum of ten grey scale values.
Here I have used the charcoal in both willow stick and compressed block form to produce a series of tonal values, using a brush to soften the charcoal into different grey values and tonal grades.The fine details in the drawing are created using graphite.
I am happy with the finished results considering that the drawing was completed within four hours, I have learnt many things here and will repeat this technique many time so that I keep getting to know much more about using charcoal and pencil together.
Some background Culture of Holly
Holly – more specifically the European holly, Ilex aquifolium – is commonly referenced at Christmas time, and is often referred to by the name Christ’s thorn. In many Western Christian cultures, holly is a traditional Christmas decoration, used especially in wreaths and illustrations, for instance on Christmas cards. Since medieval times the plant has carried a Christian symbolism, as expressed in the well-known Christian Christmas carol “The Holly and the Ivy”, in which the holly represents Jesus and the ivy represents the Virgin Mary. Angie Mostellar discusses the Christian use of holly at Christmas, stating that:
Christians have identified a wealth of symbolism in its form. The sharpness of the leaves help to recall the crown of thorns worn by Jesus; the red berries serve as a reminder of the drops of blood that were shed for salvation; and the shape of the leaves, which resemble flames, can serve to reveal God’s burning love for His people. Combined with the fact that holly maintains its bright colors during the Christmas season, it naturally came to be associated with the Christian holiday.
In heraldry, holly is used to symbolize truth. The Norwegian municipality of Stord has a yellow twig of holly in its Coat-of-arms.
The Druids held that “leaves of holly offered protection against evil spirits” and thus “wore holly in their hair”.
In the Harry Potter novels, holly is used as the wood in Harry’s wand.
In some Traditions of Wicca, the Holly King is one of the faces of the Sun God. He is born at Midsummer and rules from Mabon to Ostara
One of the location that I love to take both my camera and sketch book is Kells Priory, county Kilkenny. Its an amazing location to capture in many forms and I am very lucky to live only a few miles away. I have posted here on my blog about it many time, you can used the search box to find these post if you wish.
The above is a Pencil on Paper drawing I worked on from about two weeks ago and below is a photo taken earlier in the summer when there was many more visitors around the site.
The last few one hour sketches I have worked on, I worked in pencil and ink but yesterday I went back to pencil only, using a B, 2B and 5B pencil. The location was a great little church and graveyard in the towns lands of Whitechurch on the south Kilkenny boarder.
I really loved working with ink but wanted to get back to pencil, although the direction I feel that my drawing is going in I am working with mainly line and shapes so there is little difference as yet. With pencil however I like the fact that I can get more tone using different grades of graphite.
I feel the main things I learn during this drawing were, how much to actually include in the drawing from the view in front of me, how I feel I want to represent different organic items such a ivy and trees along with grass and weeds! I feel I got the size of the two grave stone over very well…
I feel happy with the finished sketch, feeling that overall I got across well using the medium the view that was in front of myself. The worked flowed very well with no need to stop during working yet I got a good sense of when to finally stop working and be happy that the drawing told the full story!
Knockroe Passage Tomb, County Kilkenny
Knockroe Passage tomb is located in a picturesque setting on the slopes above the Lingaun River and old slate quarries which were abandoned in the early 1900’s. The site dates to around 3,000 BC and has many similarities to the far more famous examples such as Newgrange and Knowth in the Brú na Bóinne complex in County Meath.
Originally Knockroe would have been a similar tomb to Newgrange, albeit on a smaller scale. It is likely that it too would have had an earthen mound surrounded by large kerbstones. However unlike Newgrange, Knockroe has two burial chambers, located at the eastern and western sides of the feature. These tombs are exposed, and had long ago lost their earthen cover. Many of the stones lining the passageways of these tombs at Knockroe are highly decorated with megalithic art such as spirals, hollowed ‘cup marks’, and zig-zags. You can still find them in their original locations, and when you see them it is impossible not to wonder about the possible meaning of the decorations – was it purely decorative or did it have a deeper symbolism, and what messages may be in that symbolism? You can also still see the quartz which possibly would have formed a wall around the entrance to the passageways.
Also like Newgrange, Knockroe is aligned with the Winter Solstice. Every year around the 21st December people gather at Knockroe to witness the sun setting in perfect alignment with the length of western tomb.
Knockroe is one of a group of tombs located in this region, all of which are aligned with the large
mound on the summit of Slievenamon in County Tipperary. Knockroe is one of those wonderful sites that you can’t help to keep thinking about long after your visit, without being encumbered with its earthen mound, Knockroe is like the stony skeleton of a Neolithic passage tomb.
The River – Poem by Kathleen Jessie Raine
In my first sleep
I came to the river
And looked down
Through the clear water –
Only in dream
Water so pure,
Laced and undulant
Lines of flow
On its rocky bed
Water of life
Streaming for ever.
A house was there
Beside the river
And I, arrived,
An expected guest
About to explore
Old gardens and libraries –
But the car was waiting
To drive me away.
One last look
Into that bright stream –
Trout there were
And clear on the bottom
Of the great crayfish
That crawls to the moon.
On its rocky bed
In whorls and ripples
There was the car
To drive me away.
We crossed the river
Of living water –
I might not stay,
But must return
By the road too short
To the waiting day.
In my second dream
Pure I was and free
By the rapid stream,
My crystal house the sky,
The pure crystalline sky.
Into the stream I flung
A bottle of clear glass
That twirled and tossed and spun
In the water’s race
Flashing the morning sun.
Down that swift river
I saw it borne away,
My empty crystal form,
Exultant saw it caught
Into the current’s spin,
The flashing water’s run.
Kathleen Jessie Raine
New site header August 2017, Landscape view from County Kilkenny towards Slievenamon mountain, county Tipperary
This view of the county Kilkenny and Tipperary boarder lands is one of my most loved locations in county Kilkenny, it offers some great walks and places to take in the wonderful view towards the mountain of Slievenamon, Tipperary, as you can see from this image. I was very pleased to with this image as I felt that it captured the local country-side at its best in the month of August …..
Ballybay Wind Farm, Tullaroan, County Kilkenny, is home to a new wind farm owned by Renewable energy company Gaelectric.
The Location is one of the most beautiful that county Kilkenny has to offer, hidden in the hills near GrangeGrag and the Tipperary Boarder, it offers views of the lower lands towards kilkenny city and the mountain of Slievenamon, county Tipperary.
I am never sure about the impact that wind farms have on our Landscape, being a photographer and in love with my local landscapes some would assume that people like myself would be set against them. However now that this new wind farm is almost complete and having visited a few time, I find a kind of beauty and fascination with it.
The day I filmed this video the weather offered some great light, the fast moving clouds changed the areas of sun light and shade very quickly and I loved the cows grazing in the field below the wind turbines.
With this video I just wanted to share the visual effects it is having and If anyone wants, I would love to get some opinions as to what others feel ?
Round Tower and Church
Located in county Kilkenny, Aghaviller Round Tower and Church are together one of the most interesting of Irish Historic sites. Based on the presence of the round tower, it is believed that the Agherviller monastic settlement was once a relatively high-status ecclesiastical foundation dating back to Early Christian times. The church and a holy well not far from the site have been dedicated to St Brennain. We don’t know who founded the monastery but it could have been St Brennain. The round tower is built on top of a square stone plinth, an unusual feature which is only found in one other place in Ireland –at nearby Kilree. Sadly, only the lower 9.6 metres of the round tower survived.
The original NE facing round-arched doorway is in its customary location about 4 metres above ground level, although a ground-level lintelled doorway has been added in more recent times. The sandstone tower was unfortunately in deep shade from the nearby dense woods on our late afternoon visit, but it is worth a return trip in morning light to photograph the stonework which is beautifully dressed to the curve inside and out. There is a southwest facing square-headed window at the second storey level.
The church dates to the 12th Century but was significantly modified in the 15th by the addition of a massive tower over the chancel that served as a residence. Only the foundation of the nave remains. An archaeological excavation revealed a gully filled with kiln material and a sizeable ditch/boundary running north–south with stone revetting on its eastern side. This ditch is believed to have surrounded a second or outer enclosure, a common feature of high-status monastic sites.
Flowering May-July. Tuberous perennial. Native.
Flowers usually white, pink or purple. (Ssp. coccinea has reddish flowers.)
Narrow, cylindrical flower-spike, lower bracts longer than flowers. Sides of lip strongly reflexed, weakly 3-lobed, 2 U-shaped loops enclosing dotted patches. Leaves erect, keeled, usually unspotted. (Ssp. cruenta, leaves spotted both sides) Hollow stem. Very variable, links to subspecies below. Identifications by Ian Denholm
Damp calcareous soils, meadows, fens, marshes, dune-slacks. Also slightly acidic bogs, damp heaths. Declining due to habitat loss.
Green Veined White Butterfly, feeding from a herb Robert flower, County Kilkenny
Cow slips, Ballykeeffe, County Kilkenny
I often find that when I am out walking, it is the most unexpected things That capture my attention and I just have to capture with my camera. I am never sure if anyone else would even find the same things the slightest bit interesting ?
This Morning there was a thick fog sitting on all our local fields, it had rained none stop for the three days before hand and the early morning sun was just about able to break through the mist. I was walking past the open gate of a field and noticed the sun reflecting into the muddy puddles created by the farmer tractor, I just had to capture its amazing light !!
Knockroe, county Kilkenny
Kilmartin, Argyll, Scotland
A link through time
These two mystical European locations stand two hundred and fifteen miles apart, Knockroe is in county Kilkenny republic of Ireland and the other, Kilmartin is in Argyll, Scotland, about 15 miles south of Oban.
The reason I displaying these images in the same post is simply to highlight something that only occurred to me when one year I happened to visit them only weeks apart. The fact is you could view these two sites individually and study them by themselves all you like, however you would be missing something very important!
The people’s who created these sites shared the same time period and clearly the same beliefs and culture. They lived in Europe both in Ireland and Scotland located in the Geographical British Isles; however some 5500 years ago they knew nothing of recent nations and nationalism , of national borders or even the concept of a European nation.
Both monuments are passage tombs, placed for their dead to be remembered, they both also contain elements for marking the passing of the year and its seasons, by measuring the movement of the sun and the moon.
The structures in these places along with the cultural function they served is identical, to me this shows that these people traveled the seas and not only shared goods and beliefs they in fact where the same peoples. They did not just get on with each other through trade they were each other as brother and sister, mother and father, family and friends.
When they knew nothing of modern boundaries and divisions, what else could they be?
These same people who traveled from one place to another in order to expand their options and abilities did not in any shape or form see themselves as English or Scottish or Irish they were family to each other and nothing more or less!