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.
On 12th February, 2014 Ireland and Britain were hit by a storm, the last in a series which started in the previous December. That afternoon, the winds whipped up causing the worst gusts experienced in many years. I went down to the nearby strand, Garryvoe, and witnessed the highest waves I’d seen in years. The islands are barely peeping above the sea. For the painting, I darkened the sky a bit, to make the waves stand out more. The sun was shining from the right, highlighting parts of the sea.
Fifth painting of this subject. Had difficulty with the yellow parts, had to do a few layers to get the correct look. A lot of hard work.
Painted in one day in five and a half hours from life at the side of a road into my nearest town.
Painted this in the open air by the side of a road over two days. Spent 11 hours at it. Thickened the white areas that were closer to the viewer. Satisfied with the result.
I had painted direct sunlight a few times before but I wanted something more impressive and eye-catching. I like the composition of the sun and it’s rays balanced on the other side by the dark hawthorn and its branches. And the clouds and long grasses picking up on the light in between.