All Roads Lead to Rome: First stop, Ireland (July 28-Aug 7, 2013)

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With this little Irish guy greeting you, how can you NOT read this post?

The latest travel adventure took me through three countries and seven painting locations. If I documented the entire trip in one blog post, you would need days to read it. So, instead, I am going to spend the next seven days posting one little adventure from each of the seven locations. Think of it as the Cliffs Notes version, or a mini-series or some sort. Follow this link to an article in the October / November issue of Plein air Magazine, "Chasing the Light Across Countries," by Steve Doherty.

If you want to 'skip ahead,' here is a link to 20 of the dozens of paintings produced along the way.

Before I really begin, I need to preface by saying that not everything in these posts will, necessarily, be about painting. Some of what I intend to share is more human and personal. I hope that is okay. You see, I am 51 years old, and until this trip, had never traveled abroad on my own. I had never figured out train schedules or subway routes without my husband. I had never been to France or had to seek medical help in a foreign country.

I am getting ahead of myself here, so let's get to today's post: Ireland.

Just an average scene along the route.

Quick Draw in Enniscorthy

On July 27, I boarded the plane from Nashville, through Atlanta to Dublin; an easy part of my journey, as I am very familiar with the Dublin airport and how to catch the Wexford bus, etc. This was my third year to attend Art in the Open in Wexford Ireland. (My blog post from the first trip in 2011tells much about the event, culture, and history of the area.) 

One of the best things about this event is that it is truly an 'open,' meaning anyone can be part of it. That also means that about 200 painters came this year... amazing. The organizers do a great job! Just working out the logistics of hiring buses to transport painters to each daily painting location could be a nightmare. They also handle all of the other stuff related to a plein air festival such as registration, stamping canvases (every day no less), arranging workshops and other 'fringe' events, accepting the work and hanging the exhibit, and literally packing the opening with art lovers. 

Tony Robinson and his wife Trish run Spectrum Art and Framing, and are always helping someone out with something they desperately need... with a smile and maybe even a pint at the end. This year, for instance, my bank card got swallowed up by the ATM machine late on a Saturday night prior to a bank holiday on Monday. That meant it would be Tuesday before I could speak to anyone at the bank. Trish called the bank manager at home at about midnight on Saturday to alert him to the problem. On Tuesday morning I walked into the bank and he handed me my card. Now that, my friends, is service!

Antti Rautiola, Rainer Simon, Leon Holmes, Phil Hofler, and Neil O'Keefe

Jane Meyler and Karen Scannell

I have made many friends at AITO. Some of them have traveled to the U.S. several times since, and others are making plans. Jane Meyler and Louise Treacy, for instance, who have attended the last two Plein air Conventions, have become truly great friends. Haidee-Jo Summers from England also traveled to the U.S. last May to take part in one of my favorite festivals in Florida. (More about Haidee-Jo in the next post).

In addition to dozens of Irish friends, I always look forward to seeing Leon Holmes from Australia, Antti Rautiola from Finland, and Rosa Olivero from Spain. 

Just a few of the 200 painters at Hook Head.

This year drew 22 American painters as well – Joe Paquet, Ned Mueller, and Valerie Craig to name a few, Marc Dalessio, (who is from many places all at once), and Billo O'Donnell. AITO has given me the opportunity to meet artists from Germany, England, Holland, Russia, and France, and to paint alongside them in historic towns, fishing villages, and on castle grounds in southeastern Ireland. 

Tony Robinson and Ned Mueller with the band.

As part of my participation, I gave two, half-day demonstrations, and a lecture on art business.

Demonstration and lecture at Hook Head (photo by Paul Freeney)

Demonstration

Art marketing lecture at White's Hotel

Locations for 2013 included Carne Beach, Ballymore, Ballyhack, Bunclody, Hook Head, Enniscorthy, and of course, beautiful Wexford.

Bunclody

Ballyhack

Every year I imagine that I will never be back there. After all, I'm really feeling a bit greedy to have experienced all of this three times already. Still, fingers crossed that I will get to go again.

"Sorted," 8x16, plein air demonstration, Hook Head.

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