Sketching Ireland #2

Hitting the Road on an Indian

 

indian-teardrop-w.jpgWell, here we (my wife & I) are in Dublin (vicariously, of course). We’re ready to hit the road and get out of the city. Now… since, this is a fantasy vacation, I’m going to imagine a set of wheels that I have always wanted to ride in a cross country adventure, an Indian Motorcycle. Before I get any hate mail from any Harley-Davidson lovers, let me say that I would love to ride a ‘Hog’. But it was a toss up between a Harley and an Indian. My wife was the one that flipped the coin and the Indian won out. Now, my road trip fantasy is not complete without a teardrop camper fully rigged with solar panels, compact air-conditioner, kitchen galley and state of the art satellite internet retractable dish (so, we can watch Netflix and Youtube. LOL). Keep in mind, that I’m also pretending to have loads of cash.

road-map-2.jpgSo, now we have to head out of Dublin based on the tour itinerary map that I chose to follow. From Dublin, we go inland and south on the M9 Highway to the city of Kilkenny. Along the highways out of the city, the sights that I can see were mostly business and industrial parks. I figured that the residence communities were far from the noises of heavy traffic. Anyway, for Irish highways, they seem typical to highways in my own country. They’re four lanes; 2 lanes going back to Dublin and 2 going south. After spending a longwhile on these highways using the Google Street View mode, I’m making a little change on the ground rules I set for myself on my first post. To keep me from going crazy, I’m allowing myself to kinda hover above the highways and roads… giving me birds eye view. By the time we got unto the M9, the environ changed more to country settings.

BALLYTORE

Hovering over the highway gave me an opportunity to see the interesting names of towns and villages left and right of M9; villages with names like Kilgowan, Kilcullen, Narraghmore, and Crookstown. Now, in Google Earth & Maps, if there was a notable attraction, a symbolic icon would be visible when you hover. One such marker picqued my curiousity in the village of Ballytore. The village itself was nice, clean but somewhat modern. If it wasn’t for the Google marker, I probably would head back to M9.

Using Street View mode, I drove down Ballitore Hill Road then turned unto a narrow track called Abbyfield Lane. The lane started out paved and ran behind some newly built white track houses and businesses. Then, we hit a dirt road and to my delight, on the right side of the lane, I saw an old rock wall fencing what I conclude is an overgrown field and a ruin of… what looked like the entry of an even older stone church. Passing that, a broken down abandoned stone house jutted out slightly unto the gravel lane. I almost wanted to stop and sketch it but thank goodness I didn’t. We duck our heads (vicariously, of course) due to low hanging foliage, turned a bend, and finally came upon the target structure that was marked on the map.

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It was the old Ballitore Mill. Though the structure was old, there was still a good roof on it with intact windows and a solid door. I believe it was still in operation (unconfirmed) and probably electrical. One time, the mill was driven by a water wheel. If you look at the right side of my sketch, it looks like a stream used to be dammed up behind the mill then flow down unto where the water wheel would have been. To add to my drawing, I included an old style millstone.

THE BURTOWN HOUSE, GREEN BARN and GARDENS

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For my next sketch subject, I found another attraction marker across the M9 not too far from Ballytore. It’s the Burtown House, The Green Barn and Gardens. The Burtown House is an early Georgian villa surrounded by beautiful gardens, parkland walks and farmland. It is said that, ‘A visit to Burtown is one of the most rewarding days out to be found anywhere in Ireland’. Visitors are encouraged to wander the extensive gardens as well as appreciating numerous modern sculptures dotting around around the parkland. After which they can enjoy a hearty lunch at The Green Barn.

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The Green Barn, located just inside the front gates of Burtown House, is both restaurant and art gallery. It is based on old style Scandinavian barns with a New England twist, combining high ceilings, rustic textures, individual table settings, and specially designed pottery, linen and cutlery. restaurant believes in serving honest, unfussy, unpretentious food, letting the organic produce be the strength in what you eat. Seasonal ingredients are used, combining seasonal ingredients, using flavours, textures, and colours, experimenting all the time, hence offering changing menu’s that reflect what is happening in the garden.

The Green Barn’s interior spaces are rustic and contemporary, with an amazing view of the kitchen garden. Normally with different art exhibitions, large photos from the acclaimed Vanishing Ireland books, as well as sculptures from Zimbabwe and by Irish artists, with French and Dutch antiques. There is also an ever expanding array of interiors accessories, food products, books, prints and every changing objects de art.

For my sketch of the Green Barn, I chose the entrance mainly because the dog’s head is turned the same way as the logo’s fox is looking.

Funny though, for a tourist attraction, I did not see any roadside advertising billboards. Except from online, I wonder how motorists can even know about them.

For my next post, I’m temporarily going off the track (so to speak) and go east to the mountains. See ya all then.

[note: promotional contents of Burtown House, The Green Barn and Gardens are from various internet sites]
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Sketching Ireland #1

Starting Point – DublinIreland-Itinerary-Map-1100x1039.jpg

Summer in the Philippines starts after Holy Week. And this summer, I decided that I am going to IRELAND… known as the Emerald Isle… the land of the leprechauns, the shamrock, and good ol’ Saint Patrick. Oh okay, I exaggerate. I’m actually taking a vicarious tour of Ireland by Google Earth and I’ll be following a particular road trip map with the starting point at Dublin. My goal is to SKETCH from the Neck Up through Ireland.

Now, I’m putting some ground rules on myself. Since this tour is a road trip, I’ll only be exploring highways and roads that have Street View function. Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides me with interactive panoramic views. I thank the Lord for Google equipping thousands of dedicated people with specialized 360 degree cameras which they mounted on all sorts of vehicles and they roamed every highway, roads, streets, to even hiking trails all over the world. This blog is going to be both a Sketching Journal and Travel Emag.

Since this is my ‘vicarious’ vacation, I’m entering Dublin by ferry from England. Now, my plan is to start at Dublin, circumvent Ireland clockwise then end back again at Dublin. I don’t want to spend too much time there in beginning. I’ll do that on the return trip. So, as a start up, I’ll explore the center of the city at the St. Stephen’s Garden (aka St Stephen’s Green).

St Stephen’s Green is Dublin’s centre public park. At 22 acres (89,000 sqm), it is the largest of the parks in Dublin’s main Georgian garden squares. I roamed all around the park and chose 2 sketch subject.

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The first subject is the Fusiliers’ Arch monument which forms part of the Grafton Street entrance to the park. Erected in 1907, it was dedicated to the officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted men of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who fought and died in the Second Boer War (1899–1902). The main structure of the arch is granite, with the inscriptions carried out in limestone and a bronze adornment on the front of the arch. It was commissioned to commemorate the four battalions of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers that served in the Second Boer war. It lists the principal battles and locations at which the fusiliers fought: Hart’s Hill, Ladysmith, Talana, Colenso, Tugela Heights, and Laing’s Nek. The names of 222 dead are inscribed on the underside of the arch.

James-Joyce-bust-w.jpgThe second subject is a bust sculpture of a famed Dubliner, James Joyce. He was an Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, teacher, and literary critic. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer’s Odyssey are paralleled in a variety of literary styles, most famously stream of consciousness. He also wrote the Dubliners which is a collection of fifteen short stories, first published in 1914. They form a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century.

The stories were written when Irish nationalism was at its peak and a search for a national identity and purpose was raging; at a crossroads of history and culture, Ireland was jolted by converging ideas and influences. The stories centre on Joyce’s idea of an epiphany: a moment when a character experiences a life-changing self-understanding or illumination. Many of the characters in Dubliners later appear in minor roles in Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The initial stories in the collection are narrated by child protagonists. Subsequent stories deal with the lives and concerns of progressively older people. This aligns with Joyce’s tripartite division of the collection into childhood, adolescence and maturity. [provided by Wikipedia]

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Now, the park is adjacent to one of Dublin’s main shopping streets, Grafton Street. I thought it would be nice to sketch a busy street of shoppers. There is a shop called ‘Butlers Chocolate Café‘, Specialist chocolatier and coffee chain, serving handmade sweets, pastries and sandwiches. I hope somebody would go in and then write to me about it. Hot chocolate would be nice.

Well, in my next post, I’ll be leaving Dublin and going south on the M9 freeway.

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Sketching from the Neck Up #16

Wagons, Ho!

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When I did this drawing of a very old covered wagon (minus the cover), I was reminded of an old TV western series called “Wagon Train” (1957-1965). Anybody remember that black & white series? Well, I was watching it back in the 1960s. Phew, I am old! I used to fantasize going on a wagon train fighting ‘renegade injuns’ and outlaws. What is funny is that in every episode, the lead characters, the gritty eyed John McIntire and Robert Fuller would drive a long train of covered wagons from Missouri to California. Imagine that! Every 48 minute episode, our trail blazing heroes would lead an intrepid group of pioneers through grassy plains, deserts, and then over the Rocky Mountains. In reality, a wagon drawn by either 2 horses or oxens filled with all their earthly belongings and supplies can travel about a mile per hour. Keep in mind that family members usually walked, not ride most of the time. So, a wagon train of about a hundred would take 5-8 months for them to traverse 5 states.

Believe it or not, I actually found a number of episodes in Youtube. Of course, my drawing is probably one of those wagons that didn’t make it to the west. Like I said before, I like drawing this kind of stuffs. The photo was a little pixelated but I played with it on Photoshop and brought the clarity up enough for me to sketch it out.

Well, as the wagon train leader would say to get going, “Wagons, ho!”

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Sketching from the Neck Up #15

Bled… Bled… Bled…

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Have you ever watched the animated movie, Hotel Transylvania, starring the voice of Adam Sadler as Dracula? Do you recall how humans would tease Dracula on how he talked? “I’m Count Dracula… Bled… Bled… Bled.” Well, okay… it’s actually ‘blah, blah, blah.’ But I really needed a lead off. You see, my next sketch subject is a very old church built on an island on Lake Bled. It’s a pristine lake in the Julian Alps of the Upper Carniolan region of northwestern Slovenia near the border of the Austrian Alps.

The Church of the Assumption of Maria has a 171 ft tower and leading up to it from the shoreline is a Baroque stairway dating from 1655 with 99 stone steps.

The Photoshop I always use is the old 7.0 version. The tools are not as fancy as newer versions but I make do. For this project, I played more around with the smudge tool especially when I worked on the reflection.

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Sketching from the Neck Up #14

Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso

(Eremo di Santa Caterina del Sasso)

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According to Wikipedia the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso is a Roman Catholic monastery located in the municipality of Leggiuno, in the Province of Varese and the region of Lombardy, Italy. It is perched on a rocky ridge on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore.

The monastery can be reached on foot by descending down a long winding stairway or by taking an elevator or by a number of ferry services or boats that dock at the pier.

The construction of the monastery dates from the 14th century, although the more recent frescos are from the 19th century. It consists of three buildings: the southern convent, the convent and the main church. In 1914 it was declared a national monument.

Check out the Google Earth or Google Map coordinates: 45.877411°N, 8.596887°E

http://www.santacaterinadelsasso.com

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Sketching from the Neck Up #13

More Tree Sketches and a Poem

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Here is the rest of the poem…

TREES by Joyce Kilmer [1886 – 1918]

I think that I shall never see…      A poem lovely as a tree. 

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A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast; 

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
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Sketching from the Neck Up #12

The Good Ol’ Oak Tree

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Joyce Kilmer penned in her poem, “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.” In my virtual tour of Google Earth, I was exploring the State of South Carolina just near Charleston when I came upon a grand father of an oak tree known as the Angel Oak. A massive oak that is estimated to be 400-500 years old. Wikipedia says that it stands 66.5 ft (20 m) tall, measures 28 ft (8.5 m) in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet (1,600 m2). Its longest branch distance is 187 ft in length.

I think way back in the early 70s, I have a vague recollection that my family (while cross-countrying) stopped over once to check it out. I was a kid then. The Angel Oak as I understand is a favorite subject of many artists. With their easyls propped under the heavy branches of the tree, they would sketch and paint away blissfully. I may not have the pleasure of actually be there to sketch my heart away but I do have a slew of pictures.

For my drawing, I really wanted to emphasize the age of this tree. I did the usual practice of outlining the the gnarled ol’ trunk and its many twisted branches. Then I applied Photoshop’s filter function which gave my drawing a basic charcoal look. But the results of the auto-render of the trunk and branches hardly showed any distinguishable features and I was not satisfied. So, I painstakingly erased only the auto-render of the trunk and branches. Then, I redid the trunk and branches using different Photoshop brushes and smudge tools.

I hope you like the results.

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