Working at Howes Strand, Kilbrittain

 

I’m just back from three days stay near Howes Strand, Kilbrittain. Howes Strand has always been one of my favourite places, dating back to when we would come on holiday and visit my Uncle Ted at Currarane. Ted died a few years ago and is much missed but his daughter Nina still has his cottage and cabin and generously let me stay so I could wander about and do some work.

Stormy seas at Howes Strand - not ideal out door painting on the beach weather

Stormy seas at Howes Strand - not ideal out door painting on the beach weather

On the first day I ventured onto the rocks with my paper firmly clipped to a board, paints and charcoal at the ready but there was a high wind and it was seriously cold so afer a couple of hours I retreated indoors. The next day was even colder but lots of walks and notes interspersed with indoor drawings resulted in some drawings I was pleased with.

catherine-weld-working-in-kitchen

It was a wonderfully peaceful stay, but now I’m glad to be back in the warm studio at home, and looking forward to a return visit in the summer.

Small drawings resulting from the visit.

Small drawings resulting from the visit.

Residency at Cill Riallaig, December 2016

 

I have just returned from a two week residency at Cill Rialaig in Kerry, a village of eight cottages built from the ruins of a 1790s pre-famine village on the cliff top overlooking the Atlantic. This was an opportunity to get away from everyday life in order to focus entirely my artistic practice (although my husband Tom and friend Wendy Dison were awarded residencies at the same time). It was a chance to work in the stunning landscape, responding to it directly whilst also internalising the sensations of sea, wind, rocks, the wild rugged cliffs and beautiful sandy beaches.

View from the village

View from the village

Working outside presents interesting challenges; I found it physically hard work, needed to be organised in order not to leave vital tools back at the studio, alert for sudden gusts of wind capsizing the easel, even on calm days, and prepared to answer questions from interested walkers politely – even when things were going badly!

Painting on the beach

Painting on the beach

Each artist has their own cottage which is a simple living space where the work takes priority. The large floor space encouraged experimentation and one day, frustrated by an over busy mind and dominant right hand, I made a lifesize figure drawing using marks created using only my feet, mouth, arms and hair. This forms part of an exploration of the internal sensations of the body through the use of experiemental and expressive marks, and whilst apparnetly very different to my landscape work, I find the disciplines often complement and inform each other.

Experimental drawing

Experimental drawing

It was a great privilege and very productive to spend this time at Cill Rialaig. For more information about the artist residencies and the nearby Cill Rialaig arts centre, visit: https://www.facebook.com/CillRialaigArtsCentre/