Thursday, 27 August 2020

The great advantage of a Retreat

At least once a year my friend Claire and I go away to a cottage for a few days to restore our batteries, by painting and drawing, knitting, and in Claire's case a bit of creative writing. We also listen to as many Audiobooks and Tedtalks as we can cram in. It sometimes seems extreme to have to go away to really get away, but it does remove us from local distractions, and allows us to concentrate on whatever project has been calling us the most. I recommend it! This year we went a mere 50 minutes from town, to the bottom of the Ards Peninsuala - who says we have to go FAR to find beauty and solitude?! The photo below shows our view, across Strangrod Lough to the snow-topped Mourne Mountains.
Below - walking on the shoreline when the tide was out. Freezing cold, but glorious.
Below - the distinctive white pillars and red gates, catching the winter sunlight.
Bleow - a little painting by Claire. Often we both do small paintings of the area we are staying in. It means we can have a relatively high output, which is refreshing and fun. It's good to cover a small canvas, then move on.
The photo above shows the same lovely LITTLE painting by Claire, next to two LARGE panels that I worked on while we were way. Last year we went to County Cavan,where I workd on a wedding present for my friends... This photo shows the prep study, with the finished artwork beneath.
I also finished a portrait commission..
..and a couple of little local landscapes, from the hedgerow near the cottage. Size around 6 inches x 4 inches, oil.
AND I finished my knitting! Hoorah!
And the year before we had a blisteringly hot week in County Waterford. Below - Minnie enjoying a boat trip...!
Above - the start of a little painting of Nendrum Monastic Site. below - a makeshift easel, using stacked up furntiure..
Below - the finished little painting. Oil on panel approx 8 in x 1 0 in
The best fun was driving through the lanes trying to locate the field of hay bales that we could see from our cottage. Below oil n Canvas approx 10in x 10 in
We found it eventually! Below - oil on canvas approx 14in x 10in
Working away from home means you have no other distractions, and setting aside the time, for either a specific project or the chance to go with the creative flow, gives personal space and a structure which is sometimes just what's needed to get back to your Self. For info on workshops, both in-studio and online, please email

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