Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Walks and Sketching

 I am getting back into the habit of taking a sketchbook with me everywhere I go. I used to do this when I was younger, having sketchbooks of a ridiculous number of sizes and for every possible occasion! A few months ago when I was specifically looking for early "cityscape" sketches for the painting I was working on, I came across quite a few sketchbooks that were half empty. I decided it was an awful waste of paper if I just left them, so decided I would simply turn the sketchbooks upside down and start from the now "first" page -- and make sure I put in current dates so that any new sketches would not be confused in my artistic timeline!

As I have mentioned before, I went on a little jaunt to the Waterford area after Easter. On the way there I stopped in Carlow to visit the art centre there and have lunch. Prior to that, however, I was on a mission to find the Browne's Hill Dolmen which I had looked for unsuccessfully about 20 years ago. Now it is well signposted, no trouble at all finding. I took my sketchbook with me to see what I think is the most amazing and best example of a dolmen that I have seen.


As the weather has become less and less wintry, I have had the inclination to go on more regular walks and enjoy "shinrinyoku". This is a Japanese word I learned last year which literally means "forest bathing" but translates as "a walk in the woods for enjoyment". Though not the woods, the avenue leading to Powerscourt Estate, a big house and gardens not far from us, is very scenic and lined with stately trees. We went on a family sketching day there in April.


For some actual shinrinyoku, there are the easily accessible, and very close to us, woods on the side of Bray Head. This is an April 19th sketch of a very knotty and ivy covered tree that I liked. I enjoy doing sketches using watercolour pencils, bringing along a small plastic container of water with me, just dipping the pencils in water as I wish.


On the bank holiday Monday just past, the bluebells were out in full force in these woods.


Again, a sketch using watercolour pencils on a very pleasant day.