Wexford is a 3 hour drive from my hometown in the north of Ireland. It took me until mid-afternoon to arrive. By that stage there were dozens of artists set up and painting in the grounds of the first venue, a stately home. The weather was a bit overcast, so I decided to do a warm up quickie of a fellow painter. That was a good start to the week. I had a coffee, then did another 5 minute figure.
Next day we all went to Kilmore Quay. It's a tiny fishing village about 10 0r 12 miles south of Wexford town with a wonderfully varied harbour. It's a popular destination every year because of the sheer variety of subjects in such a small venue. I think I've painted here for... 9 years.
This year was the 10th year of AITO Wexford. Don't go here if you don't like boats. Almost everyone paints the boats. Trawlers, pleasure boats, dinghies, the life boats. Done them all. This one started as a half sheet and ended up about half that again. I think I kept the better half.
The next stop was Rosslare. Again a short drive from Wexford town. A traditional village with a long strand a ferry terminal and a fancy hotel where our family spent a week when I was about 4 year old. My only memory of that trip was jumping off a high sand dune and landing on a broken bottle. Okay, moving on...
As usual I traveled there the evening before and slept in my little camper-van. That meant that I could be up early and painting before the crowds arrived. In previous years I've painted these same subjects in oil. So this year I was seeing everything with a fresh eye, as it were, in watercolour. This was a very simple subject, made possible, by the glorious weather we had for most of the day. This one picked up a bronze prize at the end of event exhibition.
Almost every year there is a trip to Hook Lighthouse. I hope you can see why. This place is a treat. I love it. Again I was the first person on site and maybe that last to leave. I tend to have eyes only for the big icon when I first arrive at a location. But once the first sketch is finished I can go looking for more subtle subjects.
This seascape was entirely dismiss-able, but was my favourite painting of the day. One of those 'impossible to repeat' ones. But I know it will draw me back to the same spot to try it again next year. This one is a half sheet of Saunders Waterford 300 g/m2. Just about the only paper I've been using of late. It doesn't need stretching and so is quick to set up. At this minute it's framed and on my living room wall. A very good memory of a very good day in Hook.
This was the last day of the festival. There was to be a 'quick draw' in the afternoon. So I did a few sketches in the morning to get into the mood. The shop on the right is 'Spectrum Art Supplies'- a very good friend to AITO over the years. It was in a nice light in the morning. But I could see that it would be in shadow by the afternoon. Ah well, the practice paid off. I won a Sponsor's Price for the Quickdraw event and the sponsor bought the painting.
Thanks Wexford. See you again in 2018.