In the bustling village of Borris, County Carlow….

Hello Peeps! Well I’ve been off the radar for a few weeks now. Every year I say that “This time I’ll be organised for Christmas”. Well, this year for a change I wasn’t too bad. Paintings take time to produce and although the paintings and drawings with a sporting theme are my favourite, landscapes are popular this time of year. So, sometimes the action scenes need to take a back seat while the mountains and rivers take precedence.

Being a trader in the Borris Food and Craft Market every Friday morning is an enjoyable experience. Things never get too mundane for every once in a while we up sticks and go “On tour”. This time we travel just a few hundred metres down the road and are set up inside the majestic Main gates of the beautiful Borris House.

Little Cottage Christmas Market
Little Cottage Christmas Market

This is called “Little Cottage Christmas Market” and we are just opposite the renowned Stephouse Hotel. What a fabulous setting. We are displaying our goods and wares under canvas this time. Frozen toes we may have but the lure of Julie Murphy’s home made mince pies, Melanie’s, Elinor’s and Trish’s sweet and savouries coupled with a generous cup of Kamil’s mulled wine would melt any Snowman, sorry Olaf! Despite the plummeting temperatures as the day wears on, the atmosphere is warmed by Christmas lights and candles.

The Christmas lights and candles create a festive atmosphere
The Christmas lights and candles create a festive atmosphere

Not only are my lovely (I know self-praise is no praise) paintings on sale here, but an array of lovely homemade gifts.

A selection of my paintings for sale at little Cottage Christmas Market
A selection of my paintings for sale at little Cottage Christmas Market

We have Handpainted silk scarves, Handcrafted silver jewellery, Handknitted & crocheted hats and gloves, Homemade Soaps & greeting cards and much more. So, just when you think you can’t take anymore from this busy little village, The Carlow Farmers Hunt will host their Point to Point races in grounds of Borris House from 11.30am tomorrow morning (Sunday 14th December). So, when wondering what to do with your winnings from the races tomorrow, take a wander down to the Main Gates of Borris House & feast your eyes on potential Christmas presents for all your family and friends.

hmmmm tasty treats for all to eat!
hmmmm tasty treats for all to eat!
Hey who switched off the Sun?
Hey who switched off the Sun?

Thanks for reading folks and I hope we see you tomorrow!

Rachel

Drawn back to drawing

I’ve been quite busy with landscape painting and craved a different subject to reinvigorate my creative juices. I have to admit I reached a minor crisis point in my new blogging career, I got a touch of that ailment writers’ block. So, when I started a completely new drawing, the grey cells re-ignited and the floodgates opened.

Yes, you see I’ve come to realise that drawing is the key word for me, its what I really get lost in. It takes me back to rainy days as a child kneeling on a chair, while propped at the dining room table, markers and paper strewn all over the place. It went totally against the grain if a sibling or pal didn’t put the lids back on or scribbled a bit too hard splaying the nib and turning it into a miniature broomstick. Dried out and only fit for the bin. I did manage to rescue a few by soaking the nib in a bowl of vinegar to my Mam’s dismay. I had heard somewhere that by doing this, it apparently restored a bit of moisture and life back in the marker. I suppose the only downside was tang of the vinegar circulating the dining room minus the steaming hot bag of chips from Marcari’s Chipper.

The life cycle of a child's marker
No markers were harmed during the creation of this drawing

When I think of those rainy days as a child, I get the lovely sense of being enveloped in security and happiness. Pottering away with pencils, markers and paper, I couldn’t have been happier. My Mam often tells me about my little drawings I did as a child, they were always a full of detail. A picture of a bedroom would have the slippers stashed under the bed, the light switch on the wall, the teddy bear on the pillow. Drawing is not so much a skill of the hand but the eye. Its how you see things. When you think of those amazing foot and mouth artists, how they produce master pieces without the use of a left or right hand. It lies in the skill of “seeing”. A book I would recommend for anyone interested in drawing or painting is called “Drawing on the right side of the brain” by Betty Edwards. It enhances an artists creative skills and more importantly teaches the person “to see” using both sides of the brain. When people say “sure I can’t even draw a straight line”, there is no truth in this for everyone has the ability to draw but some need to learn the skill of seeing and observing.

I want to thank Brian O’Farrell of Carlow Farmers’ Hunt for his kind permission to recreate his stunning photograph for my latest drawing. What captured my attention was the elongated shadows of the morning sun, running parallel with the country lane.

Carlow Farmers Hunt rides through Scort Lane.
Carlow Farmers Hunt rides through Scort Lane, Borris by Rachel O’Hara

The hounds, as a group may look like clones of each other, but on closer inspection that couldn’t be further from the truth. They not only have different markings but they have different facial or should I say snout expressions! I started this large picture measuring 30cm x 40cm on good quality drawing paper. I sketched it up using a 3H pencil and then began my favourite bit the “colouring in”. Using my Faber-Castell Polychromo coloured pencils, they are a pleasure to behold! Sometimes drawing large areas with the coloured pencils can be daunting but patience is the key to building a good picture. Sometimes, you need to walk away and when you come back you may see it differently, with fresher eyes. It takes many hours and resurrected CDs to complete a drawing like this but I never feel the time go by such is my enjoyment. I hope you like the finished piece. Thanks for reading, Rachel.

I display my work in Borris Food and Craft Market every Friday morning 9.30 to 1.30pm in Borris Town Hall and if you would like to view my work my facebook page and Etsy shop are  also called Drawn to sport. Indeed if you would like to contact me about a piece or commission by phone my number is +353 (0) 87 6397210.

The final furlong, Borris Point to Point – Acrylic on canvas 30cm x 80cm

The final furlong

I really enjoyed painting this scene, I love horse racing, it is always such a colourful, exciting sport and that’s what I try to portray here. I used a panoramic canvas,  to show how stretched out the field was. I went to the Carlow Farmer’s Point to Point which is held in the grounds of the beautiful Borris House, near the stunning Blackstairs Mountains (seeing is believing!)

Borris House in the evening Summer sun
Borris House in the evening Summer sun

Despite the freezing cold day, I gathered plenty of inspiration from those brave jockeys and horses of course. The thundering hooves and speed of the field galloping, is an awesome sight and sound to behold. The powerful thoroughbred is like a machine but it is beautiful and alive and I hope “The Final Furlong” demonstrates this.The final furlong (close up of)A close up of the leading horse from “The Final Furlong” painting.

If you would like to purchase this painting, “The Final Furlong”, it is now available on my Etsy shop.