Sketching the walls on the Aran Islands last weekend was an Inisheer joy, though I think drawing stones can sometimes seem harder than actually building with them. Our group comprised of Canadians Brits Austrians Americans and Irish enthusiasts (about ten people in all) tacked most of the lichen encrusted sites on the island including the 15 century tower house and an old sunken church.
Much time each morning and afternoon was spent wrestling with line tone texture and perspective, (and all the other shades of artistic expression available to the imagination) intent on extracting the essence of this tiny island's timeless panorama of fantastical stonework, all majestically battered by harsh sun wind and sea. Eventually our attempts to get our individual 'islands' of watercolour paper to appear alive with a semblance of limestony likeness of the island paid off.
Like doing stonework, time and persistence yielded some impressively expressive creations.
We, the struggling artists didn't struggle too much in terms of food and snacks either. There were copious tea breaks in the shelter of the walls we were drawing, and biscuits eaten hastily nestled together out of the wind and rain, and yummy lunches of cheese and ham sandwiches to fortify the body and give everyone fresh resolve to get our heads around the walls, around the fields, and sea all the way around everything, we were trying to draw.
Our competent volunteer sketch class 'leaders' were a talented couple from Dublin Jessica Peel-Yates and James Francis Moore (resident artists on the island this summer) who helped draw out our individual talents. As our three day drawing adventure drew to a close, we were all encouraged by the results, and resolved to definitely finish some of the rough sketches we had started on the island and maybe try to continue drawing and painting when we got home or perhaps even draw Inish'more' the next time we returned to the islands.
Thanks again to Patrick McAfee for coming up with this not too sketchy of an idea and basically organizing this ruggedly creative adjunct to the festival of stone this year on Inisheer - Feile na gCloch
Check out the blog that Jessica and James have at