Yesterday we were taken to a working farm, home of the Donovan family for 300 years, in Ballymore. In the rolling hills of north Wexford, it overlooks the patchwork valley to Slieveboy (Yellow Mountain). On the grounds there is a 150 year old church and graveyard, a holy well and the site of a Norman castle. It was the site of a rebel camp during the rebellion of 1798 during which there were members of the family on both sides of the conflict. Thank you, Wikipedia.
I taught my first 3 hour workshop there Tuesday morning, and spent the rest of the afternoon capturing the light on a tractor.
Today we climbed onto our huge comfortable tourist bus again and were driven to Ballyhack, a plein-air painter's dream -- when the weather is accommodating. Ballyhack is a small fishing village located in the southwest of County Wexford, on the eastern shore of the Waterford Harbour.
Many artists, huddled under umbrellas, gathered around the morning demonstrato as he painted the colorful boats at dock. As soon as the rest of us set up our easels to paint (I say us figuratively; my easel is in my suitcase in Atlanta -- so I am usually either sitting on the ground or finding some wall to prop my paraphernalia on), the drizzle became a constant downpour. Within the hour I was standing in my sandals (because that's all I have with me) in 3 inches of water trying desperately to protect my pastel painting, which eventually turned into a sloshy watercolor. Even using a brush I borrowed from a neighboring artist didn't help. The morning was a total waste of time for me. I found out later that it was for most of the others too.
A noon-time break at a little pub with other soaking artists, the biggest scone I've ever seen, a cup of hot coffee and I was rejuvenated and ready to teach my second 3 hour workshop. I had to be instructed, by the way, on how to eat a scone properly. I just picked the huge thing up and took a bite. No, I was quickly informed, it needed to be sliced in half, slathered with Irish butter and jelly, and made into a sandwich.
I was not going to teach my workshop in the rain, no matter how un-plein-airish it would look. I climbed the hill to a 15th century Norman castle, actually a large tower house, according to the literature, thought to have been built around 1450 by the Knights Hospitallers of St. Johnston, one of the two great military orders founded at the beginning of the 12th century at the time of the Crusades. We set ourselves up in a ground floor room, commandeered Conner, the young and the cooperative guide who worked there, and had him pose for us for several hours.
Still no luggage. I've had my momentary temper tantrum, which of course accomplishes nothing, and an irate phone conversation with USAirways after 3 very civil conversations. I'm past being embarrassed. And I just went shopping. Thank you, USAirways.
You may wonder why it took me so long to go shopping... We are on a bus at 8:30 every morning and return home after most shops have closed in the evenings. Today I ran to the department store after hopping off the bus.
NOTE TO SELF: Don't order chicken quesadillas from an Irish hotel restaurant. What was I thinking?
And oops, CORRECTION: Julia Patterson, mentioned on my first day here, is from Arizona, not Colorado. Sorry, Julia. Check out her totally cool work: http://juliapattersonart.com