The Virtual Paintout for October is County Kerry, Ireland. I went to Ireland in 1975 and travelled around by public transport. We went around the ‘Ring of Kerry’ and stopped off for a night at Cahersiveen. A strange old-fashioned place in those days, unlike anywhere else we went in Ireland. Totally changed now, I’m sure. It looks more modern, walking around the Google maps street view with the little yellow man.
But I remember going to a bar that was the front ‘parlour’ of someone’s house. Did we eat there too? I don’t remember. It is too long ago. We stayed in a B&B that was also someone’s house. There were holy pictures everywhere and containers of holy water too.
Ten years later, when I was living in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald Saturday edition had a huge article about a scandal centred on Cahersiveen after the stabbed body of a baby found on a beach. It resulted in what seems to have been a witch hunt centred on an unmarried mother completely unrelated to the baby whose body was found. You can read about it here. It didn’t really surprise me that such a thing would happen there. Ireland has changed a lot since 1985.
A wet day, really wet. But not a problem because I had a plan. I wanted to go to the Archiginnasio. It was the main building of the University in Bologna, the oldest university in Europe, and it is right there in the Piazza Maggiore in Bologna. It is so hard to describe. It is just a multitude of crests and coats of arms (7000 of them) taking up every bit of wall space. And that is just on the ground floor (which is free).
Upstairs on payment of €3 you can go into the anatomy theatre, and into the Stabat Mater Hall, named after the first performance of the Stabat Mater by Rossini. It was the room for the law students. This two-headed eagle is one of the most important monuments, though I didn’t know that at the time. Whatever possessed me to draw something so complicated. I did it in pencil, because I was afraid of being thrown out into the rain.
I went to the anatomy theatre first. It is all wooden with carved statues. A place to sit, and sketcher-friendly, so I got out my magic pencil and sketched one of the statues.
Next, I went to the other room, and again asked permission to sketch. The lady was very welcoming and told me about other sketchers coming back again day after day. I though, ‘I will be doing that if this rain keeps up.’ But what a place! I have never seen anything like it.
Still raining, but not so hard. It was nearing lunchtime. I needed a good meal. Luckily Bologna has all these porticos to keep the rain off. I dodged to Via Zamboni, and walked all along there under the porticos.
Just a block away is the Greek restaurant that Broni and I liked so much on our previous visit. Salad! It can be difficult to get a good salad in Italy. At home I have it every day. But at To Steki you can be guaranteed Greek salad at least. I was tempted by the octopus that we had last time, but no, I had a marvellous octopus salad…a combination of the two things I wanted to eat.
The waitress asked if I wanted dessert. No! But then she said, it’s just that we have a freshly made galactobureko…… Oh, that makes it different. One of my favourite desserts. Comes right after ice kachang in my list of favourites.
Virtual Paintout for August was Fairbanks Alaska or points north, so I followed the roads north from Fairbanks. On the whole I found flat land and trees. Then I found this in the Prudhoe Bay area, with beautiful colours in the grass and reflective pools of water. Very difficult to get the scanned colours to be the same as the painting in this case.Watercolour on Fabriano Hot Press.
It’s cold here today, so it seemed an appropriate scene to be painting.
This month I finally got time to enter the Virtual Paintout again. I’ve had to miss a few months. The city this time is Rio de Janeiro, and it was an interesting city to look at. With Virtual Paintout, you use an image from Google Maps, street view.
This is my view.
Watercolour pencils on Fabriano Cold Press paper.
I went to Tenerife in 1973. I was on a ship that called into Santa Cruz de Tenerife and it was raining. In the afternoon we went on a bus tour over the mountains to Puerto de la Cruz. It was hot and sunny there. I remember as the road rose out of Santa Cruz seeing slums and poverty. It seems to have all changed. Spain, of course was a lot poorer generally in those days. However in my hunt for somewhere to draw, I found that Tenerife seems to be solid apartments or town houses. Probably holiday apartments, or occupied all year round by English people. This is 4 Calle de la Cruz de Almáciga (see it on Google Street View). It is along the coast road west of Puerto de la Cruz.
Watercolour pencil of Fabriano Cold Press.
This is the drawing for March for the Virtual Paintout – destination Stavanger Norway. I want to draw as many buildings as possible till I do them not only better but faster. This was first in pen and watercolour, then I decided that all these little blocks of colour would be quicker with watercolour pencils. That was OK till I wet the wcp, but then the Indiathrene Blue that was on the water was tooooo violet. So I used Prismacolour pencils (not watercolour) to put greens and turquoises over the blue.
Over Christmas I read the best book I’ve read in ages. It was We Are All Made of Glue by Marina Lewycka – she’s already famous for having written A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. I’ve read both now, – they’re both funny, but I think the ‘glue’ one is amazing. It really brightened up my Christmas. Christmas Day itself was a bit trying, so on Boxing Day it was bliss to have this wonderful book to read. On Monday night I went to hear the author speak – she’s here from England for the Adelaide Writers’ Festival. She was all you could hope for – she did three readings from the book and then took questions.
What’s the book about? We’ll, it’s about a younger woman and a very old woman. The younger woman’s husband has gone – she’s put his belongings out in the street in a skip and she finds the old woman delving among his possessions. Very shortly afterwards the old woman has a fall, ends up in hospital and names the younger woman as her next of kin. This is where it starts. It’s a very funny book, but with a serious back-story.
This is my effort for January for the Virtual Paintout. The venue this time is Corsica, and what a beautiful place it is. I had a hard time deciding and took the little yellow man for a long walk around Google Maps. The great thing about Virtual Paintout, is that if I ever go to some of these places I’ll have an idea of what is there. I haven’t been to Corsica – the nearest I came is when I flew from Rome to Palma de Majorca.
This drawing is in watercolour pencils on Fabriano Cold Press paper. It was only when the drawing was pretty much complete that I realised how the diagonals lead the eye through this drawing. Here’s what I am working from.
There are many many entries in this month’s challenge – some wonderful ones that I have to take the time to follow to their blogs and see more of the artist’ work.