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.


From City Slicker to Country Bumpkin……

When we moved lock stock and barrel down to Borris, Carlow from Dublin, It was everything I imagined and more…I remember we weren’t even a week in situ when I decided to take the bull by the horns so to speak and cycle down to the local Mother and Toddler group in the village….My then 2 year old daughter Abbie was fairly content to be safely strapped into her seat on the back of Mammy’s mountain bike watching the fields fly by (Ohhh yeah, I don’t hang around!).

Mtbing girlies
Myself and Abbie on our maiden voyage to the village!

So instead of the usual traffic lights and jams the only obstacles to get in our way was our lovely neighbour Michael on foot herding his sheep and “yos” up our hill. Well, what a pleasure for me to have to pull over for this “traffic”……I think I got more of a thrill to see the herds of cattle and flocks of sheep passing our window everyday than my kids….In no time they were immersed in the country life..It was almost old school for them. Maybe it’s the pure Dub in me not used to seeing all the live stock and tractors going by. So when I heard the local farmers talking about these “Yos” I’m thinking to myself is there a New York influence around here, are they closet rappers?….I thought the Carlow people greeted you with a “Well?!”…..It took me a while (I won’t say how to long;)) to realise they were talking about the “Ewes” as in female sheep for any other City slickers out there.

But what really topped my excitement was when I got to see The Carlow’s Farmers’ Hunt trot down our road in all its glory. The magical sound of clip clopping from the horses’ hooves resonated from a miles away. I thought us cyclists were the true toughies, but respect to the hunters, jumping over high dry stone walls, through streams and rivers, up hills and over ditches. You fall, you get up, dust yourself down and back on the horse (or bike)…..whatever floats your boat…..

So I was delighted when I was commissioned to do a painting to be presented to the retiring Huntsman from the Carlow Farmer’s Hunt. Obviously, I nearly always need quality images to work from and when I was given a fabulous photo to work with I was delighted. The original image was photographed by David Ryan not only a talented wedding photographer but a man who has a great eye for the sports photography too. His website is davidryanphotography.ie or @davidryanphoto to you tweeters out there, well worth having a browse methinks.

The finished painting…..

I used acrylics for this painting and although some people find painting or drawing horses challenging I find it an enjoyable task. The horse is such an imposing animal. Its size and power can be quite intimidating to anyone on foot beside such an animal. But, beauty outweighs the beast. When I think of horses, I think of their speed and grace…in comparison the hounds seem giddy beside their master, waiting for their call. This photo made the perfect composition to paint the piece which was done on a canvas measuring approximately 75cm x 50cm in size.  I hope you enjoyed my latest blog post from a country bumpkin in the making! Rachel

So, if you have ever thought of getting that lovely image of yourself or that special someone transformed into an unique painting….please feel free to contact me…my email address is rachohara@gmail.com. I have also some paintings on my newly opened Etsy shop also called DrawntoSport and my facebook page is called,.. yes, you’ve guessed right Drawn to Sport. Finally my phone number is +353 (0) 87 6397210.