Lost in the woods at Tintern Abbey - oil on canvas 16 x 12 inches

My Trip to Art in the Open – 2016 Ireland

Last month I attended a plein air painting event in the sunny south east of Ireland – Co. Wexford.

Art in the Open

This is Ireland’s International Plein Air Painting Festival that took place from 24th July – 1st August 2016. It’s an annual event and attracted over 170 artists from all corners of the world.  Superb work was created by some of the best plein air artists ever.

  Painting heaven for the  Plein Air Painter

There’s lots to see and do :

Masterclass workshops

Quick-draw competition

Life drawing sessions

Gala dinner and Awards

Barbeque with Live Music

and lots of good craic among like-minded friends!


The  paint-out locations included:

Wexford town

Ballymore Demesne

Inistioge Village

Tintern Abbey and Colclough Walled Garden

Passage East

Curracloe Beach & Ravenwood

Heritage Centre


So come and take a look at some of the work that I did on my visit:

Tintern Abbey and Colclough Walled gardens was really like a chocolate box for painting – so many scenes that were just gorgeous.  I chose this scene looking over a bridge into the woodland.

Lost in the woods at Tintern Abbey - oil on canvas 16 x 12 inches
Lost in the woods at Tintern Abbey – oil on canvas 16 x 12 inches

At Passage East, I completed two paintings.  It was such a lovely day, I just did not want it to end and although feeling tired, I managed to “whip” up a second painting by literally turning my easel around and looking in the opposite direction with a view of Hook Head Lighthouse in the distance.

Passage East to Arthurstown - Oil on canvas 16 x 12 inches
Passage East to Arthurstown – Oil on canvas 16 x 12 inches
Passage East to Hook Lighthouse - Oil on Canvas 12 x 12 inches
Passage East to Hook Lighthouse – Oil on Canvas 12 x 12 inches

Curracloe Beach, a beautiful beach that stretches for miles with golden sand was literally a very wet experience.  The rain and mist covered the beach throughout the entire day. Some of the more weathered plein air painters came better prepared for such conditions – me – it was all  just a touch too much!  And so I returned “paintingless”

Then of course we had the quick draw in Wexford town – that was fun!  Just two hours to complete a painting of one of the street shop-fronts. Under pressure and entirely out of my comfort zone, I took on the task of painting the lovely Carraig Donn Fashion & Gift shop.  Silly me, brought a big canvas – mental note – next time 10 x 8″ more than sufficient or complete a pen and ink drawing.  Still, Carraig Donn were pleased with my efforts and gave me a lovely gift which I will always treasure – thank you Carraig Donn!

Carraig Donn

Finally, the show was over.  One last attempt was made at the Heritage Park before heading for home.  Sadly, the rain continued and so I persisted and made an attempt at this boardwalk.  To say the boardwalk was challenging is an under statement! It broke my heart!

Why,  you ask!

It was too wide, then it was too narrow, the perspective seemed a little “off” and it plainly refused to – sit down!  PERSISTENCE!!!!   I re-arranged and painted in the barrels in front of the boardwalk – they  actually stood about 1 foot away from the scene as did the bush on the right.Heritage Park - Oil on Canvas

I do hope you like my “creative thinking” in trying to overcome the frustration  of getting this painting to work.  The rain continued and at times dripped down on top of me and down my painting – just as well I was using Oils!

So, such is the life of a plein air painter – all weather – all conditions – and not for the faint hearted!  But I hear tell, there is no such thing as bad weather, there is just bad clothing!

Plein Air painting tends to make you loosen up.  The objective is to capture the essence of the scene quickly as the  light is continuously changing.

Art in the Open celebrates its 10th Anniversary next year

aio 2017

If you enjoyed reading about my plein air adventure, please like and share.

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