Sunday, August 8, 2010

Galway’s Back Streets

Galway is a sketcher’s paradise, and it gets even more interesting when you stray a few blocks away from the central tourist track.

At the corner of Eyre and Woodquay, the shops don’t cater as much to the visiting trade, and appearances aren’t kept up too carefully.

In places like this, the city displays the history of human ingenuity, as its exterior skin is retrofitted for new ways of living. You can trace how the old houses adjusted from coal to electricity, and how they strapped plumbing pipes on the outside.

The utility poles are made not from wood but from steel pipes of graduated thickness. They support automobile traffic signs, electric lights, Internet and television cables, and security cameras.

One lady, perhaps expecting a more postcard view, stopped and said, “It’s a lovely drawing, but I wouldn't think of making a picture of it.”

But for the next couple hours, three or four guys saw my wife and me painting, looked at the view, decided it was “artistic,” and took out their cameras to snap a photo.


Dorian said...

Gorgeous texture on the top left Jim!
Is this all colored pencils?

Dorian said...

(the water soluble ones?)
started playing with them! fun!!

James Gurney said...

Dorian, yes, it's a combination of regular watercolor (yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and ultra mainly) with water-soluble colored pencils in a 8x11 inch "folio" Moleskine watercolor book.

I've also tried using the water-soluble crayons or whatever they call them for things like rough textures. They're held together with gum arabic, so in a way it's like drawing directly with a cake of watercolor pigment.

David Teter said...

Oh boy I've heard comments like that... "that's a beautiful painting of an ugly subject.." and "oil barrels?, why would you want to paint oil barrels?". To which I replied "Why not?"... the look on her face then, was priceless.
Like you said the subject does not have to be a postcard pic (to be fascinating).
Love your composition featuring the least touristy object as the focus of the watercolor. You could have done the more obvious quaint house/village/street scene.

BROD WONG said...

That is so awesome. You have such control over water colors. Love the color palette you chose. Very well done. How long did it take you to do this James?

donalfall said...

The pub just to the left of your picture (McSwiggans) is where we hold our Galway 'Pub Scrawl' every second monday. Not tomorrow, sadly.

Anonymous said...

Paintings like this are why I really like your art. :) You really have a knack for making the incredibly mundane into something of beauty.

Sketching Artist said...

I enjoy drawing unusual or complex scenes like this. I feel like an investigator recording and making sense of the chaos.
I saw your work exhibited at The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach yesterday. Exquisite! Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to see your amazing body of work.

T Arthur Smith said...

Originally I was just going to ask how you fit so much detail into a sketch from life - with every little line and color on the telephone pole to the people walking in the distance, etc. Then I see you used watercolor pencils, which I guess explains it in part, but how do you get them to such a fine point? And then brush over them without ruining the detail? Please tell me this took at least two hours. Do you use a variety of brushes with this? Does the brand of pencils matter?

Mike Bear said...

I really quite like this one, James. Inspiring, I need to get outside and sketch!

James Gurney said...

T Arthur, Yes, the watercolor pencils help a lot with this kind of linear detail. I do them after blocking in the main masses in traditional watercolor.

Brod and Donal: The picture did take about 3 hours.

Dorian, yes, I used the pencils for that rough texture, good eye!

Donalfall, that's incredible that you've got a sketch group at McSwiggan's. You're right--that's the name, I just forgot to paint it on there.