Painting on Achill Island

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

Someone has said that "watercolor is like life. Better get it right the first time because you don't get a second chance!" And it's so true. I love a good watercolour... but it's quite a challenge trying to paint a good one!

It seemed to me there was always something missing in my sketches. Rightly or wrongly, I came to the conclusion that it was colour. And so began what has been my love-hate relationship with watercolour. I love its translucency but hate the problems I have trying to work out what colour I'm mixing. No doubt I'm not the first colour blind person to have experienced the same 'catch 22'.

Having returned to Ireland in 1995 after eight years in Spain, I relished the idea of painting the beautiful west coast of Ireland. I still had vivid memories of visiting Achill Island when I was about 10 and of thinking, even then, that it was idyllic. I was delighted to find a week's watercolour painting course with Dánlann Yawl in his art centre in Dugort and duly signed up.

To be honest, I wasn't really happy with anything I painted that week, but it was a good learning experience in a really beautiful part of the world. A huge bonus was that it only rained a few times!

Some weeks later, I painted the clubhouse of the Down Cruising Club. Based in a moored former lightship, the Petrel, it makes for a rather unusual sight on the inland shore of Strangford Lough near Whiterock, Co Down. The lightship was built by the Dublin Dockyard Company in 1915 for the Commissioners of Irish Lights, acquired by the yacht club in 1968 and since registered as a National Historic Ship UK.

'Down Cruising Club HQ', watercolour

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