Interpretations of Ireland, How it Came to Be

Watercolor of cottages in Ireland Kristi Johnston

“Emyvale Duo” approx. 12″ x 10″ framed $195

I’m so excited! I traveled to Ireland in September and enjoyed a week of being shown around by a friend who has lived there all of his life and it was AMAZING!! Before I talk about the paintings I’ve made as a result, let me tell you how this all came about. It’s all a result of a childhood connection, Facebook, shared interests and the internet. Here’s what happened….

I met one of my  best friends when I was in second grade in a tiny town in upstate NY. Her name is Kathy and her parents were both from Ireland (sadly, they have both passed away). Kathy’s older sister is Mary and when we were children, I would see her briefly when I visited their home- like most older siblings, she didn’t have much to do with the little ones. The family moved back to Ireland when we were in elementary school, but Kathy came back for our high school years. Like best friendships everywhere, we picked up where we left off, as if no time had passed at all. Unfortunately we then lost touch after college. Then Facebook made the world smaller and finding people easy and I was able to find her through one of her cousins, who was also an old neighbor of mine growing up. Of course, once Kathy and I re-connected there was an opportunity for me to become connected to her sister Mary who had remained in Ireland and married an artist named Nelius. Thanks to the wonder of the internet, Nelius and I were able to enjoy seeing and commenting on each other’s artwork and sharing our professional and family lives. Over the ensuing years, thanks to similar interests and connections, a friendship developed.

When I mentioned casually one day that I would love to see and pint Ireland, Mary and Nelius are such kind and generous people that they invited me to visit and stay with them!! I took them up on that incredible offer (how could I not??!) and that is how I ended up spending a week being shown around by a native Irishman who happens to share my artistic aesthetic and therefore enjoys the same kind of views and scenes that I do! It was heavenly!

Now I’m back and so inspired by the beauty, peacefulness, and ruggedness of the Irish countryside that I have decided to create at least 24 watercolor paintings to share my interpretations of that land. I’m on my way towards that goal and will be sharing the images and their locations here on our Blog.

The one above right is from Emyvale, Co Monaghan. I actually took the photo while riding in the car. I snapped a photo of these cute little cottages on two occasions I liked them so much!  Here’s two more from Emyvale:

watercolor painting of a stone building with red and green doors and a pink hydrangea

“Red Door, Green Door”, approx. 7″ x 10″ framed $180

“Character of Age” approx 71/2″ x 10″ framed $180

You may guess by looking at these that I am captivated by texture and contrast. Ireland was full of these things- I felt like a kid in a candy store!

These two were done from photos taken after Nelius stopped the car and we were able to get out and walk all around. It happens that there were several views of this little area that I am inspired to paint, so you’ll see more from here!

 

“Bales”, Lough McNean, Blacklion Approx. 14″ x 11″ framed. $245

This one below is of the grounds of a lovely little restaurant called Ambledown in Glaslough.

“Ambledown Door” approx 9″ x 11″ $185 framed

 

 

To the right is a sweet scene that is to me the epitome of Ireland: many shades of lush green, gently rolling landscape with dots of sheep. This has the added attraction of hay bales and marsh grasses catching the warm afternoon light.

 

I have another nearly finished from my tour of Dublin, and another landscape coming hot on it’s heels, so stay tuned!

 

 

 

photo of plein air painting class at Beavertail Light, RI

Rediscovering Joy

Rediscovered Joy

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This summer I rediscovered how much I enjoy painting and teaching outdoors, or “en plein air”. I had the pleasure of holding three outdoor classes- two on the cape and one at Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown,RI which is pictured above. Everyone had a great time and were unfazed by the environmental challenges like wind, sun and humidity. Mild fall weather makes it the perfect time for painting outside. Now that I have been reminded how much fun it is, I will definitely be planning more outdoor painting classes! Contact me here if this sounds like fun and you’d like to be on the email list for future classes. There will also be many opportunities for plein air painting when we’re in Mexico in March 2016. Read more about that here!

Wishing you Light,

Kristi