Ireland Visit 2015
Monday, August 17, 2015
This morning I visited the Connemara National Park. The park was very busy. I enjoyed the park’s visitors center which has a small exhibit that takes the viewer through a history of Connemara and the impact of humans in the area. I found it very interesting that after the last ice age in Ireland (10,000 years ago) a vast forest grew and covered the majority of the Connemara landscape. The forest was made up of oak and pine. John O’Donohue talks about this in “Walking On The Pastures Of Wonder“:
“. . . one of the frightening things about Connemara for a lot of people is how lunar and how bare it actually seems. One must not forget of course that it is mainly bog, and bog is the afterlife of a forest, of all the trees that were here. So even though we are looking down now on major emptiness and bare granite mountains, there was a time when this place was completely clustered and covered with forests and trees.“
I sought out some trails that went through some wooded areas to get some photographs of the beautiful trees and woodland plant life.
I am continuing my struggle in the attempt to convey the presence of this landscape in watercolor. Today I all but gave up trying –I read these words of O’Donohue today which has encourage me to keep up my effort:
“In a certain way, this landscape belongs to no one, but primarily to itself. . . Landscape has a huge, pre-human memory. It precedes everything that we know. I often think that you could talk almost of a ‘clay-ography’: the whole biography of the earth. Everything depends of course on whether you think landscape is dead matter or a living presence.
“I think there is life in these rocks and in these great mountains around about us, and because there is life, there is memory. The more your live among mountains like this, the more aware you become of the cadences of the place, and the subtlety of the place, its presence and personality.”
My own struggle may lie in trying to visually convey that memory. When I look at this landscape I feel the ancient quality about it so I’m striving to use subdued colors, create an aged texture and convey the fluid quality of the atmosphere here.
I will keep trying.