more from ireland
I've been here at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre
a week, and I'm settled in, as they say. As I write this I'm in the cheerful sitting room of my cottage, looking out at the drizzle (which comes and goes throughout each day, interspersed with periods of sun as well as more serious rain) and across at the renovated stone cattle barn that serves as studio spaces,only steps away from my door. Everything here is beautifully kept up, comfortable and well suited to a rhythm of work and relaxation. I've met some of the other residents, and have spent time each day walking and having dinner with my friend Janice Mason Steeves
, who is staying in another of the self-catering cottages (they are more like apartments, really--pictured above.)
My studio is spacious, well lit, and is starting to fill up with paintings--my work has been going really well. Below is a photo of several large paintings that are in process or nearly done and some smaller ones underway. I have been inspired by the ancient stone monuments of Newgrange and Loughcrew, as well as by some medieval texts I saw at the National Museum in Dublin.
I'm so grateful to be here for three weeks, and I've been able to spend at least part of every day painting since arriving at the Centre--for me the ideal way to process all the stimulation of a new country and the culture and history I've been exposed to. And here at the Guthrie Center the creative atmosphere is very strong--everyone I've met is intent upon their work, whether painting, writing, or composing music.
I did take one day off last week to visit Newgrange
with Janice and another painter here. This is believed to be the oldest surviving building in the world, built 5000 years ago, part of a complex of other structures located in the bend of the Boyne River. It was astonishing to be able to go inside this ancient structure, view the carvings and marvel at the construction, which involved huge stones weighing up to 10 tons fitted together without mortar to form the domed interior. Although the inside tour is carefully regulated (and no photos allowed) and is a bit crowded, it was nevertheless a moving experience. We had more time viewing the exterior, which has been reconstructed from materials found at the site, though it is not known how accurately done. It's beautiful though, and there are a number of carved stones around the base of the huge mound. (The entrance, below, with carved stone.)
This is only a brief, condensed version of my time here so far...my friend Jan is blogging
also about our shared stay, so if you are interested in another view, check out her site. Internet is very sketchy here at Tyrone Guthrie, so I am hurrying to post this while the connection is good!