I’ve been wanting to paint this view for the last five or six years. When I used to work on archaeological digs, one of the jobs was in advance of a motorway between Fermoy and Mitchelstown. On the commute trip, I would pass this place twice a day. It’s on the Dungourney to Castlelyons road, at a townland called Curraghdermot. An amazing view of two mountain ranges in Munster is on the horizon. On the left are the Galtees, straddling the border between Limerick and Tipperary. On the right are the Knockmealdowns that form part of the border between Waterford and Tipperary. So even though I’m standing in County Cork, three counties can be seen. The location is in front of a disused field entrance, next to a disused lay-by. At around 600 feet up, it’s on some of the highest ground in East Cork.
I painted it all outdoors from life. I had enough fine days to complete the painting, due to an unusually long, warm, spell of weather. It’s a landmark picture for me, as it shows I can do a detailed painting from life and not be reliant on photo references.
Painted from life. I parked my car in the garden car park and painted the view out the front passenger window. There was continuous fine weather in the first week of June that allowed me to do this.
This is the fourth painting of the same view, so I’ve all four seasons covered. Springs in previous years had harsh weather, so in 2011 with a pleasant April, my opportunity came.
In late December, 2009 a severe cold stretch of weather began that continued into early 2010. This painting records that time. Fortunately, because where I live is so close to the sea we were spared the worst of the snow and ice as can be seen from the fields, where muted greys and browns can be seen rather than a continuous blanket of white. This is my third painting in my series of painting the same view over four seasons.
I hadn’t painted for 6 months before I started this. I was determined to make a highly detailed painting as I was a little disappointed with the previous painting’s foreground. Based on a reference photo; the day I took it I wasn’t in the area, I was down by the prom walk in Garryvoe and noticed bales in the field on the higher ground. When I got there I found that they were in every field towards the sea. So I spent the next 6 months painting. The last 3 were spent on the foreground, doing those stubbles trying to depict the sunlight reflecting off of them. No compromise!