Mayo, Day Fifteen

Since the weather’s changeable my walk-abouts are short-lived. The misty rain breaks now and then, comes back harder, fades off to some sunshine.

From Kat’s Castle walkabout. Photo by Kat

With all those changes in light, in mood, you can see a thousand shades of green, muted shifts in the blue/gray tone of the water. How vivid the splashes of color from the flowers.

Kat texts that the fabric shop she drove out to hit the spot. 

In Galway. Photo by Kat

Time for lunch for the rest of us, and we get a generous booth in the handsome bar. I watch the bartender mixing chocolate martinis—not my sort of drink, but fun to watch, and so pretty.

Griffin arrives with Daddy, and he’s had a solid nap, is ready to see what’s what. He likes watching the bartender, too, but wants a bit of a walk. And there’s a table nearby with kids, so he needs to say hello.

Daily dose of Griffin. Photo by his Nana

We order him a little dish of avocado, always a favorite, and a small bowl of chicken soup, which he very much likes. I get a salad and share some of my goat cheese which also meets his approval.

It’s a cozy lunch, a fire in the hearth, a cheerful, hungry boy.

Kat should be back any time as we girls have a special treat lined up.

Aisling, who follows the blog, and runs a Paint Club here, saw that we often book these paint nights and have fun with them. She generously offered to gift us a session. Kat and I jumped right on that!

On Sunday, at the event, she and Kat chose a scene, worked out some details. I see the scene we’re to paint with admiration, and personal amusement. This beauty of this piece of Ashford—the stone tower, the walls, the sky, the river, the trees—is absolutely lovely—and I’m completely positive is so far out of my less than meager skills the gap can’t be measured.

Aisling, however, assures me I’ll do fine, and she’s good at what she does.

I’ve no doubt she is, but I also know I can’t draw a straight line.

But I’m game. Kat, I know, will create something beautiful—and I’ll have fun.

The castle’s provided us a room as the weather’s on and off rain. Aisling’s already worked up a painting for us to follow—beautiful! And will do another along with us, taking us step by step.

We start with sky. Okay, I can do sky (don’t know about clouds that won’t look like Griffin painted them). We have colors on our palettes, brushes, wipes, and she demonstrates how and what to mix.

She shows me a technique with a sponge for the clouds, and they come out pretty good. Not Kat level, but well above-average Nora.

Then there’s the river, and how to form it so the colors blend, so there are highlights, the illusion of ripples.

The tower—the grays and browns, touches of yellow mixed. And Aisling concedes I can’t draw a straight line and helps me there. Highlights again, it’s fascinating.

Kat’s slower as she’s doing some fine details. I honestly didn’t believe I could paint a stone tower that didn’t look like a blob, but Aisling IS good at what she does, and guides me through.

Artist’s hands.

There’s the wall, the road, and how form them so they don’t look like those blobs. Trees, bushes, touches of color, more dimension.

Kat doesn’t get to the greenery as she’s perfecting the rest. She has her own supplies at home, and will finish it there—or here with the supplies she brought with her.

Kat’s WIP reveal.

I look at what she’s done, and am just blown away. 

But I’m pretty impressed with my own bad self! 

Nora’s finish work reveal.

I won’t be quitting my day job, but I may approach our next paint night with a little more ambition.

We are very happy girls, all three of us. It must be rewarding to coach someone through creativity this way. And let me say, it’s just lots of fun. 

No matter how pitiful your skills, you’ll not only enjoy the experience, but very likely surprise yourself. Because I did both, I’m giving Aisling a plug here in the blog. Go to and book yourself a treat. Better yet get some pals and make it a party.

Thank you, Aisling! Every time I look at my Ashford painting, I’ll think of you and a really enjoyable afternoon.

I can’t wait to see Kat’s when it’s finished because it’s going to be amazing.

Look familiar? From Kat’s walkabout.

From there, it’s straight to The Dungeon for dinner. BW and Jason are suitably wowed by our paintings.

We walk back to our wing a different way after dinner. Letting Griffin climbs stairs (a current favorite thing). He laughs and laughs as he climbs, comes to play in Nana’s room for a bit then off to bed.

Small boy, big staircase. Photo by Nora

Sometime during the night I woke to what I thought was singing, something high and sweet in the distance. I drifted off again to it, woke again later to the same sound.

And realized it was the wind singing at the windows.

It’s a blustery, rainy day—and still the gray of it is so soft, almost tender out the windows while I workout. The big tree I see is shivering and swaying, and little splotches of brightness over the river tease—will I, or won’t I?

Now the wind’s whistling rather than singing that sweet song. 

Griffin’s come for his morning visit. He’s got another tooth coming in, and had a rough night. But he’s happy this morning. Then seriously pissed off because neither his daddy nor I will let him have the fire in the hearth.

He settles for a climb up the short stairs leading to our bedroom, and his mood goes bright again.

He’s off to nap—and I expect his tired parents will do the same. BW’s settled in with a book. I may set up to work an hour or two, or grab a book to read myself.

With the whistling wind and the rain, it looks like a day at home.


A #randomkatness two-fer

Tiny tree of life.
Wonder why she took this one?

21 thoughts on “Mayo, Day Fifteen”

  1. A great day once again! Thanks again for sharing your trip with us.

  2. Pen (electronic or not) and ink or paint and brush you are a gifted artist Ms Roberts. The photos are amazing and I can almost hear the wheels turning in your mind with the story you are creating.

  3. How amazing to create something so beautiful in a special place and take a bit home with you to always remind you of a wonderful afternoon. You will always have a piece of Ashford to revisit whenever you want.

  4. So impressed with your painting and the subject…have always refrained from those “paint night” things, thinking I could only create “lollypop trees” and stick people…maybe I’ll consider it (possibly at Inn Boonsboro) as yours is beautiful and you had similar qualms. You may follow instructions better than I do…love it that you learned some tricks and you have a special memento and memory to take home from your current visit to Ashford Castle !

  5. I am also blown away by Kat’s painting. Looking forward to seeing the finished product. But, yours is nothing to sneeze at. Both were excellent!

    That Griffin trip down those big stairs took some patience!

    Rain and wind make for a cosy time to read. And with a fire, lovely.

  6. My oh my, both paintings are wonderful, both of you are so artistic in everything you do (right down to the shoes you wore to your meeting/gathering the other day).

    I’m so enjoying your vacation.

  7. Art is in the blood. It’s magick like any other ?
    This time, and with the first stroke, Nora won the battle of paint-brush ?
    Autumn seems to arrive earlier “up there”. We still have so much Summer (to bear, in my opinion ? who can’t wait for Autumn – weather, smells…)

  8. Your paintings – yes, both of them – are lovely. They’ll make for a nice memory. Have a great curl-up-and-read day!

  9. Wow! Your painting turned out amazing!

    I am crafty but also can’t draw. I did a watercolor class while on vacation in Aruba. I was a bit nervous. The instructor was impressed with my talent. Ok! My painting of the sea and divi divi tree is framed and hanging up. Not an embarrassment! ?

    Would love to see the final product framed and hanging!

    Thank you for the daily dose of Griffin! ❤️

  10. Kudos to all of you for being patient with The Griffin…teething is not for the faint of heart! He is a champ!!!!

  11. Another awesome day spent with you all. Love your painting it is really good…can’t wait to see how Kat’s turns out….you two are awesome….but I’m with you on not quitting your day job…not because of your painting…but because I LOVE the one you have…MY FAVORITE AUTHOR..❤️❤️❤️

    Look forward to your next adventures….

  12. We have artists in our family but to my regret I can’t paint however all of my children have artistic ability. I can do crocheting as well as some other crafts so not totally without some talent. That picture you painted looks like a good place to put in a book. I love reading about your trip.

  13. I am so glad you had an amazing teacher to help you enjoy painting with terrific results. I had a art teacher like that and it changed my perspective in many ways. Thank you for a wonderful blog. Teeth never wait for better times, bless you all as that hurts everyone who loves him. Sounds like a good inside day and inside a castle couldn’t be better.

  14. Your painting turned out great, Nora. I am really enjoying your vacation. I love reading your daily blogs.

  15. Both of the paintings are great and nice reminders of your trip. My two sons are very artistic, but neither I or my husband are/were. In the background somewhere I guess. Griffin is such a good baby even with teething. A very good traveler.

  16. Wow! Wonderful paintings! I look forward to seeing Kat’s again after she adds in the trees and greenery. The pictures, as always, are gorgeous. The weather gives the castle a moodiness that is enchanting. I love Griffin’s bakery, and it appears to be for sale… Thank you for sharing another glorious day with you in Ireland.

  17. I’ve never been able to keep my hands clean while painting, I think it shows that you’re very much getting the hang of it. Love the colors and movement. Kat’s is going to be stunning. Maybe it’s time for you to have a studio to dabble in, you’re showing another artistic bent. That tiny string art Tree of Life made my eyes cross, perfection.

  18. Your painting is pretty good and better than anything I am capable of creating. Thanks for sharing everything with us. I enjoy seeing Ireland thru your eyes.

  19. When we met at RWA, you said we could be twins- same age, look alike,etc. ( except for my lack of writing talent). Now here’s 1 more thing we have in common- I can’t draw a straight line either. I even took a sketching course, but it was to no avail. However, as much as i respect Kat’s talents, I prefer your beautiful painting. The trees and flowers complete it.

    Re: Griffin’s love of steps, my greatgrand is 14 months old. She loves steps too, but going down was an issue. We just taught her to turn around, & crawl down. Then we all have to clap in appreciation.

  20. Pictures of the castle were great, both the photos and paintings. Puts me in mind of several stories I have read visualizing them. I can’t draw worth spit so I admire someone else’s. Your rainy cozy day sounds perfect. Thanks so much for sharing your time with us.

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