TWO NEW PAINTINGS

Restrictions are to be eased from today Tuesday 5th, in a phased way. This means most of us can get a bit more exercise and perhaps meet a few friends with appropriate social distancing. I, like most other people, have been spending time at home and close by.  I’m so looking forward to seeing a bit more of my local world. It will be a long time before our normal lifestyles can be restored.

Meantime I have been enjoying the nice weather in the garden, finding photo subjects in and around the garden and getting on with some paintings.

The paintings are coming along slowly. Oil paintings always take some time for me to complete because they usually take me several stages and involves drying time in between. It also requires me to not procrastinate too much.

These two oil paintings recently completed were inspired by the stormy views seen from Cosán na nEighe, a path over the cliffs from Clogher Beach, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, in the South West of Ireland.

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In the picture below are Inis Tiaracht on the left of the horizon, and Inis Tuaisceart (The Sleeping Giant) on the right. These are both Islands of the Blasket Islands group.

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Hopefully, more will be completed soon.

Thanks for taking a look. Stay well!

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c863-new-paintings-2018—2020

STILL PASSING TIME…

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I’m losing track of time, but since my last post on this topic the restrictions have tightened and I’m limited to staying around my house.  So, I am trying to find subjects in my garden and very close by. No more cliff or beach walks, and another three weeks minimum of this has recently been announced. 

A local covid-19 case was diagnosed recently, a mile or two from here, with a holiday home visitor contact, I believe. This was the first I know of on the peninsula. It illustrates the importance of staying put and not travelling to holiday homes, running the risk of bringing the virus with you. Most people are observing this advice, but some do not.

The good news is that our government has announced a reduction in transmission rate of the virus and it’s now down to one or less than one per infected case, which mean the restrictions are working. The total number of cases in Ireland is 13,271, with 486 deaths.

I’m trying to get on with some painting; I procrastinate a lot, but it’s hard when the weather is so nice – I prefer to be in the garden topping up my vitamin D and doing a few jobs outside, in this wild unruly space, where the birds are happy and unfortunately so too are the brambles, rushes, rampant yellow iris, montbretia and fast growing indestructive willow. I’m so glad the japanese knotweed hasn’t found its way down here yet, although it’s not too far away! Any ambitions I might have about growing pretty wildflowers are fairly swamped by the over aggressive growth of these highly invasive species, which refuse to be controlled, so far.

I have however managed to complete some paintings; here is one of them. It shows the Tiaracht Island, one of the Blasket Island group, viewed from Clogher on the Dingle Peninsula. It’s an oil painting on canvas, 70 x 50 cms.

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Sunsets still happen, of course, although they have different levels of beauty.  I’ve previously captured and posted several from outside my home. Here are some recents.

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Above is Sybil Head, and I like to remind people that this was a location of the Star Wars movie The Last Jedi. The set, a replica of the ancient stone beehives on Skellig Michael, was placed on top of this headland for the entire summer during that filming.

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Above and below you can see the Three Sisters, iconic images of the Dingle Peninsula. Here they are at sunset and in bright daylight.

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Below is a photo of the recent pink moon – not looking so pink here – just a tinge, perhaps. It was covered with clouds within seconds after this. I barely had time to grab this.  Atlantic clouds! It was clear over the rest of the country

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Like thousands of others at this time the birds are attracting my attention. There was a newcomer to the garden feeder recently; I’m still trying to discover whether he is a redpoll or a linnet.

I decided to have a  bit of fun recording myself playing some tunes with my flute along with the birdsong in the garden. The birds don’t always perform to order, and you have to take whatever type is active at the time, but there is usually some kind of peeping and chirruping. At first I tried sound files only, not wishing to video myself playing, but WordPress didn’t accept those files, so I had to start all over again using  video, which was difficult in terms of where to place the phone to get some kind of half pleasing image on it. The result shows an upside down image and the cold breeze did nothing for the tone or the tuning of my concert flute, but it was only for fun. I’d never have thought of doing it were it not for Covid-19. 

I tried a couple of bird related slow airs, here is The Lark in the Clear Air .

When you click on it the image it seem to right itself.  Don’t know why it won’t stay upright then! But the purpose of the exercise was really just to record the sound.

 

I consider myself lucky to have a peaceful environment and a good outdoor space in which to take some exercise and fresh air. It must be so hard for some people who have less comfortable surroundings in which to be confined, especially if they are trying to keep children entertained, or deal with stress and conflict –  even domestic violence.  I really feel for them, and especially those who are confined to apartments.  I’m not religious so I don’t pray, but I sincerely wish the best for everyone in these very unusual and (for some people) very difficult times. KEEP SAFE, all of you!

 

 

 

 

 

ART AND ENGINEERING, AT FALKIRK

This is at Falkirk, Fife, in Scotland, continuing with my last year’s trip to that region.

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These magnificent structures are called Kelpies. In local Scottish mythology  Kelpies are aquatic spirits that can alter their appearance. They are said to haunt rivers and would often be seen in the shape of a horse.

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These amazing 30 meters high sculptures, composed of steel plates attached to underlying supporting structures, are situated at a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, in the Helix a Parkland Project connecting 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area. Lottery funding was granted for the sculptures.  They were designed by Scottish Sculptor Andy Scott and they are truly awsome!

The scale and complexity of this project required the  involvement of consultant and structural engineers and steelwork contractors to finally build these huge and perfectly formed heads, which can be seen from a wide surrounding area.

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Very nearby is the Falkirk Wheel, another wonderful invention and awe-inspiring engineering achievement which attracts hordes of visitors.  There is of course a visitors centre with a cafe and one can sit in comfort and watch the wheel working through the glass front of the building.

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The purpose of this wheel – the only one of its kind in the world, is to lift boats from one canal level to another.  It is a rotating boat lift connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal.  It reconnects the two canals for the first time since the 1930s (when several time consuming locks were involved) and opened in 2002.

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The design of the wheel was primarily by the Architect Tony Kettle, who worked with a team of others on the project.

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In this photo above, there are boats in both the top and bottom pans –  or gondolas – as they are called.

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The wheel raises and drops boats by 24 metres (79 ft). The gondolas, in which the boats are sitting, each contain as much water as an olympic swimming pool.

Below I have inserted two videos, one of Andy Scott talking about the Kelpies and the other is describing the working of the Falkirk wheel.

 

Thanks for visiting my post. I hope you enjoyed it.  Do visit my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c867-photos-of-scotland?

LACE AND FRILLS on Surf

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I will keep this post really simple after a frustrating weekend of making several attempts at a post that kept disappearing – or most of it. Something definitely wrong with WordPress this weekend.

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So after playing a few tunes in a pub session tonight I have resurrected a draft I started some time ago.

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It’s about  the inspiration provided to designers by the wonderful shapes and patterns of the ocean. I particularly remember the famous fashion designer Don O’Neill from Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry (now in New York) describing how he was so influenced by his experience of the images of the lovely beach of Ballyheigue on his doorstep.

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Can’t you just see the delicate lacy patterns on the waves washing to he shore. Also, with felt and fur edging.

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That’s all, I wonder if this one will save and publish OK.

Thanks for looking. Please come back.

BIG PAINTINGS

Atlantic Movement

Atlantic Movement

These are quite large paintings. Oil on canvas, 150 x 100 cms (60 x 40 inches approximately), inspired by the wonderful coastal imagery of the Dingle Peninsula, South West Ireland.

I think that large paintings are difficult to show sympathetically on a website. The larger the painting, the greater the reduction of the image. This has the effect of making the image look much more tightly painted than it is in reality. It’s always worth bearing that in mind when viewing paintings on the internet. These here can be viewed much larger if you click them, and you may still be able to open out the image and see the style of the brush-marks more clearly, and be able to evaluate the freedom of the style or the discipline that is employed.

I have been sitting on these for several months, in a manner of speaking. This is the first time I have shown them on my blog. They are on my website on this page:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c863-new-paintings-2018—2020

I needed to wait for at least 6 months before applying varnish. Many painters are not aware of the need to wait and may apply the varnish too soon. As yet most of these are not varnished, except the one I have sold (Blasket Islands).

The purpose of varnish is to protect the picture, but if it is applied too soon it fuses into the paint below, and cannot in the future be removed if desired. It might never need to be removed in the life of the picture, but it’s best to follow good practice, as the varnish yellows with age.

Some painters think it’s best to not use varnish at all, as it can create problems of its own. Large paintings in particular are difficult to varnish evenly. It’s not strictly necessary to varnish, and many painters use an oiling out technique to bring up the colours and create an even sheen on the picture. I sometimes do this myself. An oil painting, once completely dry will have a washable surface and as long as it is kept in a clean unpolluted environment there should be no real problems. Most people do not now smoke inside their homes, and this has removed the main polluting agent in one’s home.

Steamy Atlantic Spray

Steamy Atlantic Spray

 

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West Coast

 

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Blasket Islands

 

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View of Mainland from Great Blasket Island

I would be delighted to respond to any questions that anyone would have. Please enquire through my website.

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c863-new-paintings-2018—2020

For those of you who might be in my area, I have a gallery, showing these large paintings and several smaller paintings. Here is the big paintings room. Directions on Google. I look forward to meeting you.104718 gallery big paintings

 

AERIAL PHOTOS 2

Leaving Dublin Airport early on a December morning, below.

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When travelling, I really love to pass the time taking photos out through the aircraft’s window.  For those who will only accept technical perfection, this is not for them. Scratched windows, sometimes with condensation and reflections do not give a perfect image, and often, depending on the position of the sun there will appear  a spotty effect on the images. But in general I’m happy with a pleasing image and to gain that I’m often happy to forfeit technical perfection.

Below are mountains in Europe, I guess the Alps.

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Spot the plane in the centre of the picture below.

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Arrival at Cyprus below, showing one of 108 dams and reservoirs in Cyprus.

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The following photos are views on the flight from Kolkata to Aizawl, Mizoram, via Imphal

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Thanks so much for viewing my photos. If you would like to see more aerial photos please take a look at my earlier post:

https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2019/03/26/aerial-photos/

Also, there are more photos on my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c22-aerial-images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLACK AND WHITE

Occasionally I enjoy creating black and white images. So here are some of them. All images from County Kerry, Ireland.

Above, Béal Bán, Ballyferriter. Below, Murioch Beach.

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Wine Strand, above and below.

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Feothanach Beach, on a rather stormy day.

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Boat wreck, Banna Beach, above and below.

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Kerry stone sheds, below.

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Béal Bán above and below.

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Murioch Beach, above.

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Seal, at Great Blasket Island

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Béal Bán above.

Thanks for looking. Many more photos of Kerry and other places can be seen on my website:

http://www.helene-brennan.com/c12-ireland

Enquiries welcome, and can be made via my website.

SYMPHONY ON SEA, ATLANTIC MOVEMENT

Several photos of surface effects of the powerful Atlantic Ocean, in the wake of Storm Hannah, Dingle Peninsula, Ireland.

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Thanks for viewing my post. Please visit my website for more photos of the seascapes of the Dingle Peninsula.

http://www.helene-brennan.com/c25–photos-of-dingle-peninsula

AERIAL PHOTOS

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I don’t use a drone but when I travel by air I love to take photos. I know the quality will not be perfect through a window covered in scratches, glare and fingerprints, but if you can get over that and accept it as part of the fun of it, and even part of the art in it, then the images can be really worthwhile, I feel.

Some images I capture are just clouds and light, and some are images of the mountains, lakes and seas below. Sometimes the cityscapes can be really pretty, especially at night.

Unfortunately, I often don’t know over which country I’m passing, so I can’t label all my pics as accurately as I would like. There was a time when the pilot used to inform passengers periodically of the countries or mountain ranges below, but I haven’t experienced that for many years.

So here’s a selection of my skyscapes. If anyone can give me more accurate names of the places shown I would be delighted, thank you.

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A golden morning, leaving Dublin, with the sunlight casting a golden glow on the  engine and wing tip, above.

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The photos above were over southern Europe Greece and Turkey. I think all the next ones were over Cyprus.

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Aerial

Approaching Paphos, Cyprus, above.

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Approaching Larnaca, Cyprus

Thanks for looking.

On my website I have a category on aerial images. Please check it out. Here is the link.

http://www.helene-brennan.com/c22-aerial-images

PAPHOS ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK

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Cyprus is an archaeologist’s paradise. Layer upon layer of historical architectural ruins lie all over the place, and especially here in the Archaeological Park in Paphos. History has not always been kind to earlier civilisations, with foreign invasions and earthquakes destroying many wonderful buildings and works of art.

Some of the ruins here are as old as 2000 years or more, and some date to medieval times.

Here are several photos of these ruins, which include four roman palaces (with some well preserved mosaic floors), castles and amphitheatres.

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Thanks for viewing my photos. Please visit my Cyprus Category on my website:

http://www.helene-brennan.com/c857-cyprus

Also see my other posts on Cyprus here

CYPRUS, IN THE TROODOS MOUNTAINS

WINTER IN PAPHOS, CYPRUS

TIME AND TIDE – and Flaking Paint (old boat at Latchi)

THE MAGIC OF LIGHT (Zygi Harbour, Cyprus)

STAVROVOUNI (Cyprus)

STAVROVOUNI 2 (CYPRUS)

APPROACHING CYPRUS

TOMBS OF THE KINGS, PAPHOS, CYPRUS