sketching musicians

Music in the Parks

It’s been a busy week, so I’ve a bit of catching up to do. Starting with music in the parks. 

Slainte, an Irish word used as a salutation or a toast, or the name of this Celtic Rock band that was playing at lunchtime in Huntamer Park in Lacey last Wednesday. We sketchers planted ourselves around on the lawn, enjoying the scene, with lots of small children dancing in front of the musicians while parents and office workers relaxed in the shade.

As often happens, a member of the band joined us to see our (unfinished) sketches and get his picture taken with the happy artists!

Three evenings later I was back on the dock, this time with friend Janet who was visiting,  for another Summer Evening at the Port concert with the Beatles cover band, Magical Mystery Tour. It’s always a toss up. Should I start by sketching the audience or the performers? I wasn’t sure I could see the band well enough, so I started with the people in front of me.

But then how to fit the musicians in? When you dive right in with sketching the scene as it unfolds, you design as you go! And some pen lines are later ignored and abandoned, like the ghostly seated girl with the great shoes on the left. Every concert requires a different strategy, and with no time to plan before diving in. I guess that’s the thrill of it.

And then the sketch was suddenly aborted when we couldn’t resist joining the dancers, baby boomers that we are, Beatles fans forever! 


Ireland Sketches Part 3


Next day we headed to County Kerry where we would stay for five days.  It was a record-breaking hot day and I sought one of the shady spots in the picturesque town of Adare which was already occupied by a colorful leprechaun of a fellow whose Irish eyes were smiling as he sang round after round of that song while his money box filled up with coins from passers by. In between rounds he gave me some of his life story, as any true Irishman would.

And then there was the picture perfect and tasty appetizer that evening which screamed out to be sketched! The salmon in Ireland is abundant and inexpensive and the best! We ate it sometimes twice a day.


We settled into our rented house and I walked up the road for a view of an old stone cottage with the rounded mountains of the Ring of Kerry and the sea below.


The town of Kenmare was a cozy home base for us on this leg of the trip. I thought I’d tackle sketching buildings, my weakest area of expertise. But this day once again it was raining, which added to the challenge. But I have learned that Urban Sketchers are not to be deterred by a bit (or even a lot) of rain, so I put up my umbrella, sketchbook on lap and tried to tell the rainy day story.


That evening we staked out a table in the pub in front of the local musicians playing that night, a combination of traditional toe tapping and romantic ballad music, an informal but highly skilled evening of entertainment.


One of the biggest attractions of a tour of Ireland is a drive around the Ring of Kerry. In peak season the tour buses load up in the morning and drive counter-clockwise around the ring. The road is narrow and the drive hair-raising in a car, but at every round the scenery is jaw dropping. This was a quick stop along the way for a stretch and sketch in the drizzle.


There’s almost always a breakthrough of sun at some point in the day. We were out on the farthest most end of the drive.  The monks always seemed to situate their monasteries at the points of lavish natural beauty and this was no exception.


Next day we set off for the Killarney National Park, a hike and a visit to a grand manor house. The Tarc Waterfall was a daunting subject for a quick sketch.  I’ve learned that if i put a person in the foreground of a challenging subject I can relax a bit more. (Go figure!) So I put Marla there and proceeded to draw this coloring book page. Maybe I’ll color it in when I have time?


By the time we were done with the tour of Muckross House I was too pooped to try to sketch the intricacies of the 19th century manor house and the sun was out. So I took a nap in the soft grass of the garden and was comforted by drawing a subject near at hand.


It was late when we got back to Foley’s for dinner in Kenmare and once again we enjoyed the music.  A solo act, and I didn’t even get his name.

Stay tuned next for: the last days in Ireland.