DINGLE PENINSULA PAINTINGS

Oil pastelsOIl pastels Ferriters cove 1 Oil pastels Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, in the South West of Ireland, is one of the earth’s most gorgeous places.  As with most parts of the country, it’s seen at its best when there is good sunlight, which enhances the characteristically beautiful and luxuriant colours of the land and sea. The range, intensity and vibrancy of blues and greens are particularly distinctive; added to this is the often luminous quality of the green fields, particularly in spring and summer. Summer brings other changes to the landscape as some meadows are cut and the greens turn to shades of beige, pink and pale browns. The hedges appear to expand and soften, indeed resulting in a softening effect on the entire landscape. The often seen dramatic weather – at any time of the year – also adds tremendously to the picture, when there is a juxtaposition of brilliant saturated sunlight, dark moving shadows, with heavy billowing clouds in several shades of blue and purple, white edged; their dark shadows moving across the hills, revealing fascinating contours and details that otherwise may not be noticed.

Being a peninsula, the sea (the Atlantic Ocean) is a dominating feature of the visual aspect of the area.  The sea colours, like everywhere of course, reflect the colours of the sky and clouds, but there is something about the blue that appears here on a clear day. A glorious deep blue – not dark but rich and satisfying. On other occasions, less frequently, there is a very special, rewarding shade of light blue – to be seen for only a short time of the day.  The effect is enhanced by the sun being in such a position that precludes visible shadows on the sea waves, so that the pale colour is not darkened by the shadows on the water. To observe this colour and soak it inside you is like having a deeply relaxing massage

But all weathers have something beautiful and special. The sea and the landscape have many different moods and seasons, ever changing, always compelling. I love painting and photographing these diverse moods, each mood being unique, never to be seen again. If you don’t catch it on the moment, you will never see it like that again. Described by many as a magical place – and why? Well in my view it’s not about magic in the sense of being outside of reality, but about the gloriously therapeutic effect of just being there, experiencing and observing. Being a person who is deeply responsive to visual encounters, this wonderful place is a source of profound joy.

There is so much more to be described; I hope at least to whet your appetite. More  on specific locations later. More paintings on my website: http://helene-brennan.com/c15-dingle-peninsula-paintings

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Clogher Beach

Clogher Beach, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland

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A really massive splash

Clogher Beach must be the most photographed beach in County Kerry, both by tourists and local residents. It is a beautiful beach, though relatively small, but the main attraction is that it probably has the biggest waves on the Dingle peninsula – not waves for surfers, but really massive, ferocious, turbulent and truly awesome waves.  Swimming is strictly prohibited on this beach, even on a calm day, lest you should be sucked away by a dangerous rip current. On a rough day, which is frequent enough, you can see a number of cars in the car park, their owners risking the salty, damaging (to the cars)) spray, for the pleasure of observing and marvelling at the sight of these big, splashy rollers.

There are certain problems around trying to get good photos here. When the sea is rough this usually means there is an equally powerful wind, and even the best tripods may be somewhat challenged, and it’s virtually impossible to stand still. Another problem may be that the spray is coating the lens, as you get carried away trying to get those fantastic shots. This is even more of an issue when there is a spring tide, combined with a strong off shore wind, when you would be lucky to even stand in the car park without getting completely drenched – a disaster for your camera!

I was very lucky one day recently, when I went out to photograph the snow on the mountains, but stopped off at Clogher Beach, to find some of the biggest waves I have ever seen there. It was surprising because it wasn’t windy, but apparently there was a huge storm surge coming in from the Atlantic. There was beautiful sunlight, which was an added bonus.

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Close Inspection will reveal two tiny figures on the headland on the right. This gives an idea of the size of these huge waves.

It really is a hugely exhilarating experience to just stand and observe this exciting spectacle – gigantic breakers, whooshing, rushing and crashing like thunder, often on top of each other, surging forward, sizzling and fizzing to the shore. Massive splashes rise up from the rocks, apparently resolute on climbing high over the clifftops.

I became completely absorbed in this contemplation, and every, now and again I pointed my camera to grab the shot of that extraordinarily colossal wave or particularly massive splash, often just missing the moment, which could be very fleeting.  Eventually, I took several photos, and some of them are shown here.

Also, More info on my website:  http://helene-brennan.com/c25-dingle-peninsula-photos

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The island seen from this beach is Inis Tuaisceart, also known as The Sleeping Giant or sometimes The Dead Man (Fear Marbh)

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