I always forget how beautiful and wild Connemara is. The west coasts of the British Isles are different from its east coasts, the east being protected by the lowering bulk of Europe. The West of Ireland and Scotland are exposed to the wild Atlantic which chews great lumps out of the land creating a mad squiggle of a satisfyingly crinkly coastline on the map. Down on the ground the lines resolve into textures, echoed everywhere. In the great paws of headlands and peninsulas that churn and tear at the foaming sea;the bony spines of the layered, faded frill of the high horizon;the cloud shadows undulating across the muscular backs of the mountains, inlaid with vertical streaks of silver that are the streams that carve their flanks;the bumpy walls that bisect the threadbare heather, like the thinning rough worn linen on the backs of those who wrestled with the land and the sea for a sparse living.
It is in the rocks sprawled on the beaches, their barnacled surfaces rough and dry like strong, hard worked hands, their sandy colour dipped in pinks and purples and fringed with thick, curled, black wrack. It is in the ripples in the rock pools, the crumpled green heaps of the offshore islands and on the wind pawed water in remote bays, turquoise over the white sand grainy with tiny fragments of tropical shells.
That the wind is echoed at once in the sky and the land and the water may be part of the magic of this texture as it brings together the solid and ephemeral in one cobweb clearing symphony.
You can see how it has always inspired artists like my friend Laura whose work I think captures this crumpledness so well especially in her coloured relief work, but also in her dreamy sea inspired pieces..check her out at www.lauracullartist.com. Next week I’ll be posting some of my own sketches.
Next Week:Connemara Sketch Pad