Ireland, Part 2: Embrace the Weather

The weather in Ireland is notoriously changeable– sunny skies turn overcast and give way to misty rain within an hour’s time, and may just as quickly change back to clear blue, only to fill with rain again by day’s end. Unless, of course, it’s steadily raining, in which case, it will likely rain all day. This makes sketching in Ireland a bit of a challenge, but it also adds drama to already dramatic landscapes.

The sketch of Dunmore Head on the Dingle Peninsula is one of my favorites. I had seen this view in travel guides (in sun, of course), and its sheer cliffs, crashing surf, grazing sheep along the trail, and circling gannets made hiking here a grand experience. A break in the soaking fog gave me just enough time to put pen to paper.

We also had a stunningly beautiful morning in which to explore tide pools at White Strand beach just west of Cahersiveen Town on the Ring of Kerry. We saw all of these creatures (and more) but I didn’t paint them until later that day, indoors, when it was raining.

Tips and Techniques– If you are planning to sketch while traveling, jump in when something strikes you. Don’t wait for a better view or clearer skies. Don’t second guess whether the subject is worth it. Everything you put in your journal, no matter how small or seemingly mundane, adds something to the whole. I had a few moments of hesitation and regret the lost opportunities. Conversely, I’m glad I included small wildflowers and cups of tea and coffee, as these details would soon be lost if not recorded.

43 Comments on “Ireland, Part 2: Embrace the Weather

  1. I am new to your blog and absolutely love your artwork! Thanks for sharing your Ireland trip! Your work is beautiful!

  2. So, so nice Jean!! Really inspiring!! Thank you for sharing. Best regards from Patagonia Argentina!!

  3. These sketches are absolutely stunning! I love all of them, but you sure captured the rock out cropping! I especially love the Daniel O’Connell quote, a new one for my quote collection😊

  4. Just love reading/seeing your journey in Ireland. So helpful and inspiring to others like my who might want to “try” to do something like it. Getting to you level may take a few tries!

    • It takes many tries, Mary, but little by little and over time, you get where you want to be. And then you discover that there’s always new levels to aspire to. But mainly, there is satisfaction in the process and in taking time to notice, to slow down, to look more closely, and to record a bit of what strikes you. Glad you are enjoying these posts!

    • Thanks! And glad you like the cups– that was a fun thing to do and a good excuse to get my journal out, even in unlikely places. Had I to do over, I probably should have recorded all the bake goods I ate, too.

      • I loved those tea cups, too! They reminded me of Sara Midda’s journal from Provence and show the value of painting a collection tiny things be they cups of tea, woven fabric, olives or even cottages!

      • I agree. Sketching tiny things ensures that you can get them done with out fuss. I decided on tea before going, which helped me focus. I could see flower pots, breakfasts, things bought, …lots of possibilities!

    • Glad to bring back memories of your travels. I enjoy seeing photos and sketches from other people who have been to places I have visited in the past. It’s interesting to see things through someone else’s lens.

  5. Inspiring, uplifting, and so enjoyable to see your sketches of Ireland. I love the Daniel O’Connell quote in conjunction with your quick sketches of the wildflowers. I envy your grasp of perspective in small sketches — you have a wonderful way of transporting your viewer to right where you were!

    • Thanks Rosanne! What a nice compliment! I’m glad you like the O’Connell quote too. It’s always a privilege to have special places like that, where your spirit is refreshed. And if you were transported to Ireland for a few moments– all the better!

  6. I didn’t know – but after seeing this, I also want to visit Dunmore Head! Wonderful pages, all of them!
    And about the weather; sounds very much like the conditions I live under here in Norway 😉

    • Sigrun- I friend of mine is in Norway and I just saw some photos that made me think the same thing about your weather. Good to know, as Norway is on my list of places I’d like to visit. You would definitely like Dunmore Head. I was lucky that the mist lifted long enough for us to hike out there and for me to sketch.

  7. Maybe it was on Facebook but I commented on one of your recent Ireland posts about your beautiful lettering and Celtic knots…and you told me about the tutorials on youtube. Holy Smokes! They are wonderful and I can’t stop!! Thanks for much for being so willing to share your amazing talent and the secret of the Celtic knots. One of the comments with one of the tutorials says something like “I feel like I’m just discovered the secret of the hidden candy!” And that’s exactly how I feel!

    Thank you, Kat


    • I was obsessive with them for the week preceding our trip and I have scraps of Celtic knots all over my desk. In the end, I didn’t do as much with them as I thought, but I’m glad to have unlocked so of their secrets. Enjoy!!

      • I love your beautiful art journaling, lettering and the Celtic Knots, please fill me in about the tutorials… would love to try my hand at this.

      • Your sketches are beautiful, so is your lettering and the Celtic knots. Please fill me in about the tutorials I would love to give the them a try.

  8. Such beautiful sketches – I particularly love the one of Dunmore Head.

    I used to live in Northern Ireland and I remember that constantly changing weather only too well!

    • Thanks Sarah- It took me a couple of days to get the hang of the fact that the weather was ever changing, but once I understood that, it could better appreciate it. Plus, it was rare to get a really soaking rain, so we could still be out and about as planned, even in the wet mist. I didn’t make it to No Ireland…perhaps a next trip.

  9. I am having so much fun living vicariously through your lovely work! Keep ’em coming!

  10. I learned a similar lesson about seizing the open spots in the weather when I moved here from the east coast – things change much more quickly here. If I want get out, well, gotta run when it stops raining! 🙂 I love the drinks pages – brilliant idea to record all of those! And the moon jellyfish is really fine work. I’ve seen them out here and I can’t imagine how I’d ever paint one (not that I’ve been painting, but you know what I mean). You dove in and rendered that little moon jelly and its surrounding water so well.

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