Sunday, September 24, 2017

Royal Hospital, Kilmainham

Do I like a challenge? I would normally say yes, but I'm not so sure now, after tackling this corner of the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham (home to IMMA). Last time I was there with Dublin Sketchers, I sketched a humble little shed - that was all I felt capable of. And I was really happy with how it worked out. That was in January of this year. It feels like a lifetime ago. It's been a busy year.

So, despite some serious proportional errors (ratio of chimney height to stained-glass window height, size of windows, to name just two), I am very proud of this sketch. I actually measured and did a basic pencil sketch to figure out the positioning of the various elements. And I really tried to understand the building, to put into practise all I have learned over the last few weeks and over the last year.

It was a beautiful afternoon, warm in the sun, cool in the shade. We're having a nice autumn so far - yes, we would have liked warmer temperatures, after a non-descript summer, but you don't always get what you wish for. At least we don't have hurricanes or monsoon rains in Ireland. And I found the perfect spot, a little out of the way (only one small group of Americans commented on my work, and that was only in the first half hour), with a good view of my subject. But I struggled with a few things: My favourite fountain pen ran out of ink (my own fault - I had another pen, though, but with a thicker nib). First page nerves too - it's never easy to start a new sketchbook, even if it's identical to my previous one (I'm sticking to watercolour-paper Moleskine - by the way, does anyone know what's the right pronunciation for Moleskine?). The main trouble I had was that my lower back started causing me major pain - it had been sore for a few days, but I thought I was better - hunching over my sketch for an hour and a half was not a good idea. So I added the colour indoor and finished the windows at home. And I applied one of those heat belts - it really helped. Now, 4 days later, I still struggle with my back - I've done yoga for lower back pain and yoga for sciatica (a great YouTube class), I've walked, I've applied heat, I've minded myself. And when I think I'm better, it hits me again, like this morning, when I was tying my shoe laces before heading out for our dog walk. So here I am, writing this with a hottie against my lower back, and another one under my left foot. But I'm refusing to let it stop me! I'll be out sketching again soon.

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