• Summertime…And The Sketching Is Soothing August 18, 2020Róisín CuréSummertime...And The Sketching Is Soothing

    Saturday 15th August I’m restless. I want to make the most of my free Saturday. It’s warm, but not so sunny. I want to go into town to sketch the Potter’s Market, which will be in Galway City for just one weekend. I hop in the car with my son Paddy (18) but have not managed to get further than a mile when I realise I have forgotten my sketchbook. This throws me and I realise I am adrift, with no purpose. Paddy understands. “Come on Mum,” he says, “go back and get it and we’ll go into town, have the craic ...

  • The Lockdown Is Over (For Now) August 11, 2020Róisín Curé

    Tuesday 21st July I dropped my children, Paddy (18) and Liv (16) to the sailing club to start their new jobs as sailing instructors. It was a grey day but I had been sketching in a 5km radius, or less, for many months, and wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth. The arrangement of the boats was serendipitous, as I doubt the pleasing composition was deliberate. I showed the sketch to my husband Marcel when I got home. “Look at the state of it,” he said. “It’s a mess. But a boatyard like that is exactly the way I ...

  • Glorious Colour and Beautiful Line June 28, 2020Róisín Curé

    Friday 26th June “For every old sock, there’s an old shoe.” I stop by a French bakery on the outskirts of Galway City, wait in a socially-distant queue and buy all the pastries I can reasonably buy without looking like I haven’t eaten for a month. I am celebrating: twenty-one years ago, in a tiny country church in the Wicklow Mountains, I married Marcel. It was a rather fast courtship, but it felt like a long one: when you both know you’ve found The One on your fourth date, especially after spending the previous ten years panicking that everyone will always ...

  • Still Messing About In Boats June 25, 2020Róisín Curé

    Sunday 21st June There’s a place I have sketched many times. It is called Killeenaran Quay. It has colourful boats and a wall with a bridge, and sea and seaweed, and loads of sky that is usually a celestial canvas of something dramatic and beautiful. When I arrived last Sunday I dropped down over the sea wall onto the beach, found a corner in the muddy sand with the view that I wanted and got going. I looped Reuben the terrier’s lead under the leg of my stool, as he was minded to explore and has no road sense, and sensed ...

  • The Grass Is Greener… June 18, 2020Róisín Curé

    Thursday 18th June Paddy (18) wants to visit Galway City. He hasn’t been in town for three months, whereas we used to go once every couple of weeks. “I just want to go in and get a quiche from the Gourmet Tart Company,” he says in such a wistful voice that I cannot refuse, and so I have promised to drive him and his sister Liv (15) into Galway today. We will park, get a quiche from the shop near the car park and come home again. In the morning, Paddy is eager. “What time are we going?” he asks. I ...

  • Singing Through The Storm June 15, 2020Róisín Curé

    Monday 15th June It is hot today. We have been spoiled with amazing weather lately, but then some wretched wind came in from the Arctic and we got cold again. Now the good weather has returned. I suggest to Liv (15) that we head off for a snorkel. She’s game, so just after lunch we find ourselves all alone at Mulroog shore, and the tide is looking deep enough to swim. I have bought snorkelling gear in Lidl last week- two sets so we can go out together – and while my husband Marcel, an ex-diver with well over a ...

  • Elderflower Loveliness June 13, 2020Róisín Curé

    It’s elderflower season in Galway. years ago I used to make elderflower cordial, but I have passed the baton on to my younger daughter Olivia (15), who is as domestically-goddess as I ever was, with the great benefit that she is extremely tidy and organised too, something I never managed. But she loves all the things that make a house a home: baking sweet treats, making lavender sachets to put under pillows, wild-flower-arranging…and now making elderflower cordial. I invited her to come to a nearby green path to pick the flowers, and her brother Paddy (18) came too. We ...

  • Clams and Mussels, Alive Alive Oh! June 11, 2020Róisín Curé

    My brother Malachy paid us a visit. He bought clams and mussels from the guys down the road. They harvest them down at the shore where I sat on wet sand and sketched the other day, and bring them back to a little shed, where they are filtered (clams) and de-bearded (mussels) and flown all over the world. We can walk or cycle to the shed and buy shellfish that’s barely left the sea, whenever we like. Malachy walked there, got what he wanted and made delicious dinner, with Liv (15) as sous-chef. Malachy is a true gourmet and has ...

  • Last Day of Lockdown, Day 79 June 9, 2020Róisín Curé

    I am sewing a lot of pencil cases at the moment. They are gifts for the generous artists who contributed their work to my new book, Urban Sketcher’s Handbook – Drawing Expressive People, because I wanted to say thank you to them. For all I know they all already have loads of pencil cases, and barely have room for them as it is, but the fabric is covered with drawings of appropriately expressive people (my sketches from the barbershop with my son Paddy since he first started going at about 13) and I’m hoping they have room for one more ...

  • Still Locked Down, Day 73 June 4, 2020Róisín CuréStill Locked Down, Day 73

    It couldn’t last forever. The beautiful harmony we had enjoyed as a family for three whole months of being cooped up together cracked, and after a dinner that had taken me hours to cook one of my kids was rude to me. I am used to it with another of the kids, but not this one. A combination of the love and time I had put into the dinner (I even made sourdough rolls for the homemade burgers), the plentiful wine I had had over dinner and the rudeness of another of my kids earlier in the day was enough ...

  • Still Loosely Locked Down – Day 72 June 1, 2020Róisín CuréStill Loosely Locked Down - Day 72

    Locked down, still? Yes. We can go no further than 5km from our homes, unless it’s for shopping or essential work. That hasn’t stopped much of Ireland from piling into their cars and travelling across the country for the long weekend. The roads are clogged with D-reg cars, meaning holidaymakers and hundreds of kilometres travelled. It is frustrating. Red Hot Anomalies Here are the red hot pokers that are growing in my garden. I didn’t include the weeds, the overgrown grass that hasn’t been cut for a year and the railway sleepers that were bought at great expense via a road trip ...

  • Sunshine in Lockdown, Day 69 May 29, 2020Róisín Curé

    Thursday 28th May Summer seems to have arrived in Galway. Everything is green and lush and it’s much too hot for anyone in their right mind to go for a walk from about 11.00am (only because we’re not used to it, it’s probably chilly by some people’s standards). My girl Liv (15) lies on the lawn and we listen to Stromae banging out the tunes, a kind of Belgian and Rwandan blend that we love. I find that drawing with a skinny nib (Platinum carbon pen) and brown ink gives me the confidence to scribble away with lines until I find ...

  • Zoom: Join the Party! May 26, 2020Róisín Curé

    Tuesday 26th May I emerge from my studio late this afternoon into a tranquil garden scene. The sun is still warm, even though it is time to start cooking dinner. I have just spent two hours teaching a group of utterly charming children via Zoom, and I need a little rest. I settle back on the sun lounger that I bought a couple of years ago but have never really sat on, text my husband that a beer would be nice, and a few minutes later I am holding a glass of cold lager. The can looks so pretty with its ...

  • Life In A Pandemic, Day 67 May 25, 2020Róisín Curé

    Saturday 23rd May I work on Saturdays until quite late, too late to start cooking dinner. So my husband Marcel cooks on Saturday. I thought it would be nice to capture him in action in the kitchen, and I was put in mind of Parisian urban sketcher Mat Let’s USk Talks Challenge: “Observe and Sketch a Story of Love”. This is my story of love. Marcel made sweet and sour pork spare ribs, stir-fried vegetables and noodles. Mushrooms and carrots lay chopped up on the counter, waiting to be cooked. Then they were cooked and put in a ceramic dish; you ...

  • Loosely Locked Down, Day 64 May 19, 2020Róisín CuréLoosely Locked Down, Day 64

    Monday 18th May At long last my face masks are available for sale. Forgive me, I know masks are a symbol of this awful time, but I wanted them to be completely perfect. Black elastic with a navy, red, yellow and white patterned fabric? Are you crazy? Only navy elastic will do! That took a while to arrive. And because the fabric has my sketches on it, of my trips to the barbershop with my son Paddy, the masks have labels with my name on them. The fabric itself is organic cotton and very soft. There is a wire in the ...

  • Loosely Locked Down (Day 62) May 16, 2020Róisín CuréLoosely Locked Down (Day 62)

    Saturday 16th May Today in my Zoom class I show some great students the benefits of a limited palette. I really enjoy spending time with them, albeit through a fibre optic cable connection. It is great to be with other adults after all this time – especially adults who like sketching and all things art, and it feels like a privilege to share the things I have picked up along the way to such a nice bunch, who make me feel very appreciated. Friday 15th May I go into Marcel’s office. I am thinking of all the baking that has been going ...

  • Loosely Locked Down: Day 60 May 14, 2020Róisín CuréLoosely Locked Down: Day 60

    I say “loosely” locked down, because we can travel 5km from our home now, and by next Monday certain shops will be open. I might be able to buy a vital piece of plumbing paraphernalia, which would mean I would be able to commission my en-suite bathroom (all the white ceramic bits – the sink, loo, bidet and shower – were bought years ago). However, I will miss the creative ways husband Marcel berates son Paddy for excessive bathroom occupancy. My favourite was when Marcel said something particularly outrageous: when Paddy came out he went back to his room saying, ...

  • Living in Lockdown: Eugene Delacroix And Our Sketching Heritage May 12, 2020Róisín Curé

    Every week, the Urban Sketching organisation hosts an hour of talks with some favourite sketchers from around the world. This Sunday gone was the turn of Mário Linhares and Hugo Costa, bot from Portugal. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for Hugo’s talk, but I will catch up with it on You Tube. Mário spoke to Rob Sketcherman about some of the “urban” sketchers who have gone before us. He concentrated on Eugene Delacroix, who visited Morocco in 1832 for a sketching and writing expedition. Delacroix made many very famous oil paintings. They are grand, and planned, and lofty and important, but to ...

  • Lounging In Lockdown…Book Is Done (Day 55) May 8, 2020Róisín CuréLounging In Lockdown...Book Is Done (Day 55)

    I am Lounging In Lockdown, because I handed in my latest book for publication the other day. Yes, I know I have mentioned this before now but I am going to milk it for a while longer! My dear husband Marcel came home with a bottle of Blanc de Blancs. “My mother loved this,” he said. We drank it from the crystal glasses we have that are the same as the ones we gave her for Christmas a couple of years ago. Then I supposed I would have to paint it all…I was a bit daunted by the glasses, but ...

  • Living in Lockdown: Clown Family (Day 54) May 7, 2020Róisín CuréLiving in Lockdown: Clown Family (Day 54)

    Wednesday 6th May I give my zoom class to a group of engaged and dedicated students. It is a taster class and I have nearly 30 participants. The only drawback is that there are too many people to get to know properly. The subject that we draw is a sketch of a pot plant in my home. We look at observation, layering and making colour pop in watercolour, and I am astounded at the level of the art the students produce. I am looking forward very much to Saturday’s class, which will be a small group. We will look at ways ...

  • My Second-Ever Book! Urban Sketchers Handbook: “Drawing Expressive People” May 6, 2020Róisín Curé

    I am exceedingly excited to tell you that my new book is available for pre-order from Amazon. It’s one of the next books in the Urban Sketchers Handbook series, and it’s called Drawing Expressive People. I have always loved drawing people, ever since I was tiny and was a slave to Asterix and Obelix and Tintin. All I ever wanted was to capture that je ne sais quoi, the beauty that it is to capture a human being in art. Over the years my figures have become progressively less wonky and more recognisable. There’s only one reason for that: I am ...

  • Living In Lockdown Day 52: Long, Long Ago… May 5, 2020Róisín Curé

    Sunday 3rd May A hundred and fifteen years ago, the last person to live in Tyrone House packed up and left. Actually, that’s not quite true: the caretaker stayed there for another few years, and was carried out in his bed when Republicans set the house on fire. I’ve heard many stories about the unpopularity of the occupants of the house over the century and a half that it was lived in, how they treated the locals poorly, and how its use as an infirmary for the Black and Tans was the last straw. Today, the ruined stone shell looms on ...

  • Living In Lockdown – Sketching At Home (Day 52) May 4, 2020Róisín Curé

    Sunday 3rd May Lockdown trends I have done: sourdough (can’t open the jar anymore because the lid is now glued on with starter); baking (my daughter does it all now); yoga (every day I do ten or twenty minutes and I hope this is one craze I won’t drop); zoom classes (fun!); made masks (they are all going to be made on my own designed fabric from now on); cut everyone’s hair (and my own); made banana bread (didn’t turn out); drunk far more than normal (mmmm); and of course, drawn my own little world. Lockdown trends I have not done: had ...

  • Living In Lockdown…Sketch With Me On Zoom! May 3, 2020Róisín Curé

    Saturday 2nd May Plants Sketching your houseplants of not as hard as it might seem. I am going to show you how I did mine. You start by looking for a plant you think would make a suitable contender. You want one with some broad leaves, or you’ll get frustrated when things get fiddly. Then you take your pen and get going…in my new zoom class I will show you exactly what tools I used, how I identified my subject and arranged my composition, and how I started. I will show you how keen observation is your friend – and once you ...

  • Living In Lockdown – Onwards and Upwards May 2, 2020Róisín CuréLiving In Lockdown - Onwards and Upwards

    Saturday 25th April Paddy cooks dinner. Tonight he is doing oven fried chicken. We are experiencing a tumultuous time at home, and it is lovely to be looked after by Paddy. He looks at us all tucking into the meal he has made. “It’s such a lovely feeling to know people are relying on you,” he says. I paint some of the plants Marcel has filled the house with. I cannot walk very far without being swiped in the face by a palm frond. And I am frustrated that I cannot capture the plants the way I want to. Any day ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 43 April 25, 2020Róisín CuréLiving In Lockdown, Day 43

    Friday 24th April Midday, coffee break No more Living In Lockdown blogs! I will go on posting sketches, because I love to sketch and there’s a wealth of gorgeous things to record and share with you, but there’s going to be a lot less chat. Instead I will offer one or two Zoom classes every week, based on the sketches I come up with. Each one will address one different sketching topic. For example, I would love to show you how I approach depicting strong sunlight, as in the sketch of my husband Marcel, above. I will discuss ways to get the MOST ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 42 April 24, 2020Róisín CuréLiving In Lockdown, Day 42

    Thursday 23rd April 4.00pm I haven’t given up on trying to capture dandelions in watercolour. The race is on, because light grey spheres of the fluffy clocks are beginning to encroach upon the beds of sunny yellow heads; I don’t have long. I’m still struggling, and I may have to change tack. A fortnight ago the beech tree was a mass of pointy russet buds poised to strike. Now the order to “fire with abandon” has been given, and the tree has gone from a branchy, twiggy thing to a bright, light green flouncy thing, covered in shiny, fresh green leaves. You can ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 41 April 23, 2020Róisín CuréLiving In Lockdown, Day 41

    Wednesday 22nd April 12.30pm We all sit outside and have elevenses (time is meaningless these days). My husband Marcel and I and our son Paddy (18) have coffee, and Liv (15) has tea. Honor (20) hasn’t yet made an appearance. Coffee break is sacred in our house. The coffee has frothy milk in it, it is made of freshly ground beans and it often comes with something nice to nibble on the side. No one (me, basically) is allowed talk about politics or jobs that need to be done around the house during coffee break, although this rule isn’t always adhered to. ...

  • Living in Lockdown, Day 40 April 22, 2020Róisín CuréLiving in Lockdown, Day 40

    Tuesday 22nd April 5.00pm This is Drumacoo Abbey, about a mile from my house. To get there you walk along a country road, past the glowering ruins of Tyrone House, the road twisting and turning like a river, with grassy fields on either side, each a cascade of dandelions and daisies. The colours are bright, fresh green of the grass, intense yellow of dandelions, white of daisies and grey of the dry stone walls of limestone – with more bright white of their lichens. All the colours are saturated. The old part of Drumacoo Abbey dates back to 1250: that’s the bit ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 39 April 21, 2020Róisín CuréLiving In Lockdown, Day 39

    Monday 20th April 8.00am I’m up earlier than everyone in my house. I am an early bird. My husband Marcel reckons when I say this I am paying myself a big compliment. But I love early morning these days (not that 8.00am is early). Birds are in full throat and I have the house to myself. This morning the sun is streaming in through the dining room window and the bottle of fizzy drink that Marcel got for the kids is casting a pretty reflection on the table. Paddy (18) calls it “pop” because it makes us laugh. I draw everything quite ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 38 April 20, 2020Róisín CuréLiving In Lockdown, Day 38

    Sunday 19th April 5.00pm I do a live talk with Urban Sketchers on Instagram Live. Rob Sketcherman is a charming and loquacious host. We talk about what it’s like trying to keep inspired to sketch when you’re stuck at home…I tell Rob about finding the beauty in the everyday. I tell him that it’s been a really precious time for me and my family. I never want to give the impression that life is perfect, because while we are navigating this Lockdown well and are all getting along, it hasn’t always been that way. It just happens that we are doing well ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 37 April 19, 2020Róisín CuréLiving In Lockdown, Day 37

    Saturday 18th April 5.00pm The apple trees outside are heavy with blossom. I know how fleeting it is, so I head out with Reuben the terrier to sketch. We have about 15 apple trees and their main accomplishment is twofold: 1. to feed the huge rooks that are a nuisance around here, and 2. to make us feel guilty that those beautiful apples go mostly to the rooks. Oh, there’s a third – they make it impossible to mow the lawn around them, which becomes a year-round reproach. Twice, or perhaps thrice, they gave us delicious cider and our supermarket bill plummeted. ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 36 April 18, 2020Róisín CuréLiving In Lockdown, Day 36

    Friday 17th April 4.00pm (BST) midnight (HKT), 8.00am (PDT) It’s late afternoon for me, midnight in Hong Kong and eight in the morning in Seattle. I am to do a sound check with Rob Sketcherman (Hong Kong), Rita Sabler (Seattle) and others to make sure all is good for our Urban Sketchers Live talk tomorrow. Rob, Rita and the other tech-savvy people are all calm and competent. I am instructed to make a “fake” instagram account to do the test. I call it “Fake News” but I change it afterwards, as I feel it will look like I’m a bot. Santi Sallés ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 35 April 17, 2020Róisín CuréLiving In Lockdown, Day 35

    Thursday 16th April 8.00am I am always downstairs first in the morning. It’s just me and a quiet house, and my own privately indulgent “good morning” to the fluffy terrier Reuben. He is a nomad and sleeps anywhere, and is usually upside down on the sofa in the morning with four paws in the air. That looks very comfortable. Today’s position does not: he is perched on the hard arm of a sofa, his bum hanging over the void. I think he looks a tiny bit sad, and I give him Easter Sunday’s lamb bone which is still in the fridge. If ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 34 April 16, 2020Róisín Curé

    Wednesday 15th April 9.30am A scene from two angles: I am asked to send a photo of myself to the Urban Sketchers organisation to illustrate a live talk I will be doing on Sunday. Rita Sabler is the Education Director, and she wants something that is representative of where I am often to be found sketching, and what I sketch. Readers of this blog will know that I sketch a lot of bread, and I sketch at this table (you’ll recognise the grain). I don’t normally hold Reuben when I sketch – he does wriggle at times – but he is in ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 33 April 15, 2020Róisín Curé

    Tuesday 14th April 1.00pm I walk around the block: door to door, it’s a couple of miles and definitely more than two kilometres from my home, but not as the crow flies, which is how I justify it. The walk is heaven from start to finish. The first bit is open fields full of skittish, beautiful horses, and a hill that rises to the ruins of Tyrone House. Then there are lots of bendy bits and more fields of wildflowers. Then there are trees and a turlough full of irises and moorhens, and a swan or two. Then more bendy bits, more ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 32 April 14, 2020Róisín Curé

    Easter Monday, 13th April 11.00am I feel obliged to paint the amaryllis blossom that has made its dramatic reappearance. That’s not the same as feeling compelled to paint it, and I have told myself for years to know and respect the difference. You feel obliged to paint the Eiffel Tower, but you feel compelled to paint the beautiful girl in striped top with a sweet little dog sitting nearby. It’s hard to ignore these intensely red flowers, though, and I have a go. No sooner am I painting them than I am reminded how much I don’t like painting amaryllis. I have ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 31 April 12, 2020Róisín Curé

    Easter Sunday, 12th April 9.00am Hot cross buns out of the oven. It’s the recipe I found on Twitter and I made them last night. Heat 300ml milk, stir in 75g caster sugar, and when the milk and sugar are hand-hot add 7g dried yeast and stir to dissolve. Mix 500g strong white flour with 1tsp salt, 2tsp ground cinnamon and zest of 1 orange. Melt 50g butter, beat a large egg and mix the two. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the milk and butter mixtures. At that point I put the lot in my bread machine on the ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 30 April 12, 2020Róisín Curé

    Saturday 11th April 8.00am Liv (15) is up earlier than usual. “What are you doing up so early?” I ask. “You’re giving me a haircut,” she says, “and I have a Taekwon Do class at midday, so we need to get on.” Soon she is sitting in front of the mirror, her hair is straightened and tied in two little bunches. Chop! SCREAM! One is gone. Chop! SCREAM! There goes the other. “I want to see the amputee!” she says, and looks at the 27cm-long sheaf of beautiful hair that will no longer make her too hot.We take out the two ponytails ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 29 April 11, 2020Róisín Curé

    Good Friday 10th April 10.00am I receive a call from my sister-in-law in the UK, Monique. Our mutual sister-in-law has lost her brother to covid. He lived in the UK. I have never met him but my husband remembers him from his childhood as a keen fisherman and full of exuberance. He did not leave behind a wife or children, and he was ill and getting worse. But it has brought the virus very close to home. 6.00pm Liv (15) and I go for a walk. Our intention is to paint. I have seen a primrose in a hedge I like the look of, ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 28 April 10, 2020Róisín Curé

    Thursday 9th April 3.00pm I head into the shed to look for petrol so I can mow the lawn. There’s a little bird flitting about in the shed. Its wings make the most darling beating sound as it flies across and back, clearly very bothered by my entry. I see, to my delight, that it is a little blue tit: it feels magical that I have spent the previous two days drawing and painting them with the kids I teach, only for one to show up in my very own shed. It comes to a halt on a pair of long-handled garden ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 27 April 9, 2020Róisín Curé

    Wednesday 8th April 8.00am There’s a plum tree in our garden. It has little white blossoms on it. In a few months it will be groaning with plums. I don’t what variety: I know they’re purple, and wasps like them, a lot. I stand up to sketch them in the early morning sunshine, and Reuben sits nearby. His nerves are in bits, because he has a weakness for birds, and they are giddy in the morning, and goad him. Geese fly just overhead, with the temerity to honk right above our lawn. A pheasant gloats in the undergrowth. Songbirds are everywhere and ...

  • Living in Lockdown, Day 26 April 8, 2020Róisín Curé

    Tuesday 7th April 8.00am I bring Paddy (18) a cup of tea in bed. This has happened every morning since the lockdown began, as he hasn’t been getting up for school. Like me, Paddy is an early riser, so the cup of tea is just the job to help him get up and at ’em in the morning. Lately, Reuben the terrier has taken to trotting up the stairs after me, to go in and say hello to Paddy. He is very polite: he sits nicely on the rug by Paddy’s bed waiting for a pat, and he does not jump ...

  • Living in Lockdown, Day 25 April 7, 2020Róisín Curé

    Monday 6th April 10.00am I am rather overcome by the beech tree buds of yesterday’s sketch, and I feel the need to sketch some more. There is something so delicate and perfect about the buds of trees and I can’t believe it has taken me this long to seek them out as subjects. The beech tree buds are long, pointed little spears, a rich reddish-brown. They deserve their own close-up, which leads me to look for more trees in bud. 3.00pm Behind my studio is a horse chestnut tree. In mid-afternoon I navigate my way across a huge pile of woody garden waste ...

  • Living In Lockdown, Day 24 April 6, 2020Róisín Curé

    Sunday 5th April 3.00pm I spend a blissful hour in the garden sketching a beech tree. It is strong, with a powerful trunk and wood that look solid as can be. When we bought the field that would become our garden, there was nothing on it but grass and one very put-upon looking tree at the front. The wind howled across the field, harsh and cruel. One miserable Sunday in January about fifteen years ago my husband Marcel drove the 200 miles to Future Forests in Cork with an empty van, and came back that evening with 500 saplings. They were of ...

  • Living in Lockdown, Day 23 April 5, 2020Róisín Curé

    Saturday 4th April 1.00pm The new Lockdown Blog is here! New name, new theme! I overhear my husband Marcel telling his mum Erika (91) that Ró is writing a Living in Lockdown blog. And he didn’t share this much cooler name with me before now because…? So I have a new name, and a new theme, which is Nature, suggested by my dear husband himself. Yes, that beautiful, everlasting, everchanging thing that is unstoppable, year upon year. In Ireland we endure a horrible winter. We can just about hack it until the end of January, and then we think “great, it’s all ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 22 April 4, 2020Róisín Curé

    Friday 3rd April 4pm Liv (15) comes to me in my studio with her embroidered piece of denim. We have a pact, that if she makes an entire face mask on her own from start to finish, she can get creative with clothing (either hacking up things she doesn’t like, or making things from scratch) and I will help her. This isn’t going to be that face mask. We agree that it’s far too pretty to risk rookie errors so I sew it up and Liv watches (sort of, I’m not the only one whose concentration has gone south). The finished product ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 21 April 3, 2020Róisín Curé

    Thursday 2nd April 5.49am Birdsong fills the air outside my window. It is passionate and comes right from little feathery hearts, and it is a glorious sound. When you’re up at that hour you really feel like you’re on top of your life. I decide it’s my cue to get up. What a wonderfully productive day I’ll have! 8.00am I wake a couple of hours later feeling as if I have let myself down. The birdsong has faded to a gentle serenade. I get up and go and start the usual complicated bread production. Dad is 85. His sourdough starter is going to arrive ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 20 April 2, 2020Róisín Curé

    Wednesday 1st April The days run into each other. They are full of online news, sewing, cooking, baking, writing, walking, sketching…and, luckily, picking up a small hairy white dog and giving him lots of hugs. He is roughly the size of a baby when they’re still very portable, so it’s the work of an instant to scoop him up and cuddle him. He doesn’t object and seems to like it. Today I make more masks. These ones are fancier than hitherto, and I remember I have more gorgeous fabric in scraps far too small to make anything else from them. ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 19 April 1, 2020Róisín Curé

    Tuesday 31st March 8.00am I start the day the usual way: getting bread together so that by the time everyone is hungry it might actually be ready. It takes ages. In normal times you can buy fast action dried yeast. The whole thing is easy – in fact, it’s pretty fast action. Out comes bread machine bucket. In goes 350ml water. In goes a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of sugar. On top goes 500g strong white flour. A heap of unmeasured dried yeast. Dough programme. Bang. Voila. Job done. 1hr 26 mins later turn it out, whack into 10 rolls, ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 18 March 31, 2020Róisín Curé

    Monday 30th March 3.00pm I have put together a Lockdown Art Kit for my brother Mal. He is a very able sketcher (most people are but he’s really, really good at observation) and I am always trying to evangelise him to develop a regular sketching habit. Now that he cannot leave the house or do pretty much anything else, I sense weakness and I feel I will never get a better chance. He made the mistake of sending me a sketch of a penknife he did the other day and I am pouncing. I put a few things in a bag to ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 17 March 30, 2020Róisín Curé

    Sunday 30th March 2.00pm My daughter Liv (15) looks rather 19th-century and somewhat wan sitting in my rocking chair, and I sketch her as fast as I can. Looks are deceptive, however, and she is as fit and strong as an ox. 5.00pm I continue to prepare and upload files for my American publisher. I am including this picture here as a sort of artistic interlude. If you would like to draw directly in pen, without using a pencil first, but find its permanence makes your confidence desert you, there is a solution. If you draw with the skinny side of the nib of ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 16 March 29, 2020Róisín Curé

    Saturday 28th March Most of the Day I am organising, editing and sending images for my new book on drawing people to my publisher. My concentration is shot but I have promised to send everything by, well, yesterday. It is taking a long time to process the images. I hope people buy the book and find drawing expressive people much easier all of a sudden. I love the fact that many of the sketches in the book are of my family. Obviously I would love to be a kind of travelling people sketcher but I have a family to look after so ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 15 March 28, 2020Róisín Curé

    Friday 27th March 10.00am Paddy (18) hangs the washing on the line. It’s whites, and consists of sheets, towels and a few socks and pants. He says if we think he is going to hang underpants on the line, we are mad. Later, I see them fluttering dry and clean in the breeze and Liv (15) imitates how he did it. It is comical. If only Paddy could treat every surface as if it were underpants, he’d never be sick. I try to get on with work but the sun is tantalising. Paddy and Liv pass a rugby ball to each other ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 14 March 27, 2020Róisín Curé

    Thursday 26th March 3.00pm I am upstairs in my home, about to get ready to go out for a walk. Liv (15) and I coo over Reuben, the fluffy white terrier, who is gamboling around the bedrooms carefree and happy. We both find him adorable beyond belief, ever since the first time we saw him with little green paws where he had been trotting in freshly-mown grass. Liv and I discuss how cute Reuben would look in pyjamas. “Ohhhh!” we howl. “Those stripy ones with the long pointy hat!” says Liv, “you know, like the mayor in Whoville!” She looks up “mayor ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 13 March 26, 2020Róisín Curé

    Wednesday 25th March 7.00am I’ve had a disturbing dream. I am looking out of the window into the back garden. It’s dark out. Before my eyes, a shrub in the distance bursts into flames. It is sudden and violent, and the flames spread very quickly to the rest of the garden. I run to get everyone out of the house but I can’t seem to find them. I find them, and we go back to the window. Dawn has broken and the garden is just a black patch of scorched earth. I know what this means. The flames are the disease. The ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 12 March 25, 2020Róisín Curé

    Tuesday 24th March All day I’m sewing in my studio. I cut and iron and pleat. I’m stitching away when Paddy (18) comes down to my studio for help with his Spanish oral exam. He has the Leaving Cert coming up soon, or did have, anyway. “Mum, do you mind?” he says, when I whirr the sewing machine. He is trying to play a CD with a conversation in Spanish on it and he can’t hear above the machine. I leave it for a bit and explain how the imperative works in Spanish. We listen to the CD and I learn a ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 11 March 24, 2020Róisín Curé

    Takes longer than fast action yeast…especially if you sketch it first Monday 23rd March 9.00am I’m supposed to be on my way into the Natural History Museum on Merrion Square in Dublin to sketch with a bunch of lovely women. It would have been the last day of my workshop in Dublin. Never mind. It’s only postponed, and others are very sick. Still others have died in horrible discomfort or have lost their loved ones. Here I am in Galway with nothing more to worry about than whether my yeast will froth up well enough to make a nice dough. I have run ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 10 March 23, 2020Róisín Curé

    Sunday 22nd March 8.30am It’s Mother’s Day in Ireland and I’m in bed, but I have to get up soon because I’m meeting my friend for a walk in the Burren. Reuben scratches prettily at the door, and I ask my husband Marcel to get up and let him in, seeing as it’s Mothers’ Day. He refuses. “It’s not Wives’ Day,” he says. Liv (15) comes in and asks me how I like my egg. A few minutes later, in she comes bearing a tray with boiled egg and four pieces of toast, two more than I usually have. Reuben jumps onto ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 9 March 22, 2020Róisín Curé

    Saturday 21st March 10.00am I’m up at nine, ready to broadcast the Instagram Live video that I promised to the kids I teach, and anyone else who wants to tune in. I am very lucky to teach the nicest bunch of kids, and they make what I do (drawing very silly stuff) feel like a privilege. I am doing nothing to help in this crisis: I have one vulnerable little person in my home, so I have to be extra careful about going out and about. The one thing I can do is take people’s minds off the stupid plague that’s all ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 8 March 21, 2020Róisín Curé

    Friday 20th March 9.00am Liv (15) is up and ready. “I can’t wait to get out and do some gardening!” she says. I follow her out half an hour later. She is on a deck chair outside my studio window, shrouded in a blanket. The sun is shining but it only March and it’s “fresh”. She has my speaker beside her and the Rolling Stones is blaring out. Reuben the terrier is barking and growling at the grass: one of his tics is that he likes to get a stone, bring it to the lawn, drop it, then roll it along with ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 7 March 20, 2020Róisín Curé

    Thursday 19th March 10.30am I host a Zoom session with my husband Marcel, Paddy (18) and Liv (15). The idea is to find a way to continue teaching online. It is moderately successful: the video quality is excellent and I figure out how to switch between overhead camera to draw and paint for the participants, and front camera so I can smile at them and talk to them. The two teenagers are messing with each other, bandying around bawdy comments as usual and generally trying my patience. On the other hand they see ways to shortcuts that I wouldn’t have seen, so ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 6 March 19, 2020Róisín Curé

    Wednesday 18th March 10.00am The government is showing great leadership. Yes, the “lockdown”, such as it is, could have come a bit more quickly, but a good balance was struck between doing too little and doing too much. We have nearly 300 cases, and rising, of the Covid in Ireland. The pubs and most restaurants are closed now, so that leaves just services and shops, many of the latter of which have chosen to close. Like or loathe Leo Varadkar, our Taoiseach, he’s no fool and I am proud of my country’s calm and sensible reaction. One of the things the government ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 5 March 18, 2020Róisín Curé

    St. Patrick Tuesday 17th March 1.00pm It’s St. Patrick’s Day. It’s raining. With the best will in the world I just can’t muster enthusiasm to go out for a walk. I decide to do a fun drawing for kids to put up on my Instagram live broadcast. I draw a St. Patrick. My daughter Honor (20) appears in the comments. “Santa?” she asks. This puts me off my confident flow. I make him more St. Patricky, putting crosses wherever I can. “Where’s his snake?” she asks. I draw in the snake. Someone asks me if I am using a fude pen, I say ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 4 March 17, 2020Róisín Curé

    Monday 16th March 9.10am I sit down to breakfast. Paddy (18) already has the books out on the dining table. Liv (15) is his study buddy, and she is nowhere to be seen. I phone up to her bedroom but get nothing more than a grunt. Paddy takes the phone. “It’s ten past nine, you’re late for home-school, what’re ye at?” he says. I am impressed, but it’s not 100% fair because Paddy and I are Early Birds, and are highly awake and chatty in the morning. 4.00pm I notice that the dock leaves are growing again. In the light of the fact ...

  • The Lockdown Blog, Day 3 March 16, 2020Róisín Curé

    Hello folks! I will start by saying thank you for your effort in getting here: my links to this blog on the various social media are refusing to work. I suspect I have a problem with my website because I can’t even post my link to whatsapp! But I’ll get there, and my intention is to provide you with a little light relief, and some pretty sketches of my family, during the lockdown. Okay, we’re onto Day 3 of self-quarantine… Sunday 15th March 12.00pm My studio is lovely and warm. Liv (15) comes down to do some embroidery. She sits quietly and stitches while ...

  • The Lockdown Blog: Days 0, 1 and 2 March 15, 2020Róisín Curé

    Thursday 12th March 1.00pm The Irish government announces that all schools are to close from the next day, Friday, and will remain closed 13th-29th March. Later, my good pal Lorraine collects the kids from school with all their books, so that they can study at home. Lorraine and I go for a wild and windy walk at the seashore near my home with our dogs Reuben and Penny, and Paddy (18) and Liv (15) join us. I am judging you 6.00pm I draw a cartoon. I don’t know what the person on the right is going to say. Is she feeling stupid that ...

  • Texaco Art Competition – and Lent Starts Today February 26, 2020Róisín Curé

    Today was the last day the kids I teach could submit the paintings they had done for the Texaco Art Competition. This competition has been going for decades in Ireland: many Irish adults still bear the scars. When this year’s competition was announced back in January, a few people were talking about it on Twitter. “I was carrying mine to the post office,” said one woman, “when a gust of wind took my entry and blew it away, never to be seen again.” I told her I was most upset for her: she has had twenty-odd years to get over ...

  • Sorry For Your Loss February 11, 2020Róisín Curé

    They say we do funerals very well in Ireland. Well, my mum says it, because she’s Canadian, and maybe they don’t do funerals as well there. As I started class today, the mum who’d just dropped a few lads off beckoned me over. “Just to let you know, Peter and James’ dog was put to sleep today,” she said, “in case you’re wondering why they’re a little sad or distracted. Maybe funny mention it?” I said I wouldn’t, and went back inside. One of the brothers was skipping and jumping around. I told a sad story, about letting my youngest ...

  • Sorry For Your Loss February 11, 2020Róisín Curé

    They say we do funerals very well in Ireland. Well, my mum says it, because she’s Canadian, and maybe they don’t do funerals as well there. As I started class today, the mum who’d just dropped a few lads off beckoned me over. “Just to let you know, Peter and James’ dog was put to sleep today,” she said, “in case you’re wondering why they’re a little sad or distracted. Maybe don’t mention it?” I said I wouldn’t, and went back inside. One of the brothers was skipping and jumping around. I told a sad story, about letting my youngest ...

  • Capture Your Family In Sketches January 30, 2020Róisín Curé

    One of the most satisfying things I do as an urban sketcher is to capture my family in sketches. While I’m not one for putting into words the love I feel for those closest to me, it’s there on the page of my sketchbooks: every line I pull, every brush stroke I make, I do with love for my subject. I suspect you too would love to capture your family in sketches, but may not be confident enough, or not focused enough, to make an attempt. I am going to use this blog article to share with you some of ...

  • Sketching Is Getting Me Through January January 15, 2020Róisín Curé

    January is awful, weather-wise, and this year is no exception. However I’m cheering myself up with a good bit of sketching. Technicolor in Neachtain’s After a long gap, Urban Sketchers Galway met in Neachtain’s on Cross Street the weekend before last. It was just Mairéad and myself, but that counts! We had a lovely afternoon in Neachtain’s: we drew what we could see and Mairéad tried out her new pens. There was a couple sitting at the table we chose, and they graciously allowed us to share their table. They were in their fifties or sixties. The man was quiet ...

  • Getting Attention Will Make You A Better Artist January 12, 2020Róisín Curé

    I saw this TED Talk the other night, and I had a few thoughts that I’d like to share with you. Joseph G-L seems like a very nice person, and showing the vulnerability in the talk that he did was admirable, but while on the whole I agree with his fundamental point, we disagree in a certain respect. Watch it and see what you think… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VTsIju1dLI Joseph thinks that craving attention is a bad thing, that acting (or doing anything creative) just for the sake of getting attention can’t be, and is not, good for your mental health. And he’s right. But ...

  • Happy New Year! January 3, 2020Róisín Curé

    30th December 2019 My students are so full of enthusiasm for sketching in 2020 that it has inspired me in turn, so I am making sure my sketching kit is never far away. Here is my 15-year-old, Liv, playing a game to which she appears to be rather attached. I could have sworn I heard a jingly sound in the game, like jingle bells (o hideous soundtrack to ads in December!), but she says there isn’t one. She tells me that there are squeaks, squelches and groans, however, which are the sounds of zombies dying. I love drawing my kids ...

  • The Christmas Blog Post December 28, 2019Róisín Curé

    Christmas Eve It’s Christmas in Kilcolgan, in our little corner of windswept west of Ireland. On Christmas Eve my daughter Liv and I went up the road to the ruins of Tyrone House to stretch our legs; Reuben the terrier has only got little ones, but stretching they need nonetheless. It’s only five minutes’ walk away, through somewhat bleak but very beautiful countryside. Liv suggested we take our sketching stuff (excuse me while I sigh proudly) and we sat in the field next to the ruin, drawing, painting and generally having a great time, but getting colder by the ...

  • Festive Fun in Dublin City, and a Grudge Match December 22, 2019Róisín Curé

    A Christmas Shopping Safari One crisp, cold winter’s night a few weeks ago, in Dublin on a sketching trip, I came to the end of South Anne Street, entered Grafton Street and was confronted by a vision of festive loveliness that made me catch my breath. The Christmas lights had arrived, and the street looked beautiful. Sparkling yellow fairy lights swathed the space above our heads between the shops, the window of Brown Thomas sparkled and the atmosphere was magical. I decided I would take my 15-year-old daughter Liv to Dublin to share it with her: Galway is great, but Dublin ...

  • Creativity – All Day To Do It December 6, 2019Róisín Curé

    “There are 35,000 people coming in and out of University College Dublin every day,” my colleague Michael Brennan told me the other evening. Michael is a book salesman, and is in charge of selling my book, An Urban Sketcher’s Galway. He came to Galway last week and after we visited a few bookshops to do some signing, he very kindly drove me to Dublin, as I would be calling in to UCD the next day. I get to go to Dublin to sketch a lot these days, and I was tying in some education. Michael was telling me I ...

  • Compostela Ilustrada! Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 8th-10th November 2019 November 13, 2019Róisín Curé

    I have just returned from the beautiful medieval city of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, where I attended the fabulous Compostela Ilustrada sketching event. (Warning: this may be an envy-inducing post, unless you cannot abide rain, in which case you will be very glad indeed that you did not attend.) The old part of the city is truly gorgeous. The colours are just as I have painted them in this sketch – beige-brown sandstone masonry walls, white plastered walls and dark green paintwork (“The mayor clearly owns a dark green paint factory” said Marcel, my husband). It took me a ...

  • At The Barbershop (Again) September 5, 2019Róisín Curé

    Back to the barbershop to sketch. One of the reasons I love to sketch there is that because I have done it so often I can try out new things. We all tend to revert to our natural way of making art, whether that’s recording every detail or just firing down one squiggly line, and I wanted to see if the familiarity of the scene would calm my urge to draw according to form: that’s what happened yesterday, but not because I wanted to… When Paddy and I arrived at The Legend Barbershop Ali, the proprietor, was just closing up. It ...

  • Some Flowers, And A Request For Advice August 24, 2019Róisín Curé

    I have wonderful friends who live nearby. We get together a lot – walking our dogs, swimming in the sea – and we eat together a lot too. Life is too short, as we all know, so my good friends and I make the most of the beautiful countryside where we live, and when there’s something to celebrate, we call each other. My youngest, Liv, wanted to have an Italian-themed dinner party with our friends, and I told her that if an occasion worthy of celebration came up, we’d do it. She had great plans for home-made pasta – her intention ...

  • The Future Of Creativity Is Safe August 18, 2019Róisín Curé

    I think of people driving through my village Ballinderreen on their way somewhere. Ballinderreen is not usually the destination, being a “blink and you’ll miss it” village, with little more than a crossroads, a pub, a fuel station and a small shop…on the outside. But take a left at the crossroads and you will come to a very plain pale yellow building that looks a bit like a miniature hangar. This is Ballinderreen Community Centre, and inside you’ll find all kinds of good stuff going on. Baby yoga. Festivals of food from all over the world. Céilí dancing. Socials. French, art ...

  • He’s Just Not That Interested In Me (I Need A Nice Stick) August 7, 2019Róisín Curé

    I was telling my girl Liv about my book sales. “Is it a bestseller?” she asked. She knows it is, but she also knows I like to say it over and over again. She’s kind. “Why yes,” I said in an animated, interview voice. “”Now that you happen to ask, it is.” The little terrier, whom she was cuddling on the sofa, jumped out of her arms and ran towards me. He sat on the carpet, fixing me with an intense gaze. “You’ve hyped him up,” said Olivia. “He wants to know more.” So I started telling Reuben my story. “It starts not in Galway, ...

  • Summer Days in Galway August 4, 2019Róisín Curé

    Nimmo’s. the River Corrib and Spanish Arch Back from Amsterdam last Sunday. Dublin Airport and a Citylink bus at 9.15pm. A Dublin cocky lad gets on the bus and asks the bus driver his name. Says he likes to know the name of his driver. Driver says his name is Butter And Cream. Cocky lad doesn’t miss a beat, says “thanks Butter-and-Cream” and sits down. In Galway by midnight, then over to my dear friend Lorraine for a midnight snack. The craic with Lorraine and her family is always mighty, regardless of the time of day or night, so we got ...

  • The 10th International Urban Sketching Symposium, Amsterdam, July 24th-27th 2019 August 2, 2019Róisín Curé

    The 10th International USk Symposium has just wrapped up. It took place in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. The 9th USk Symposium was held in Porto, Portugal, in July 2018. One of the organisers, Nelson Paciencia, stood up to say a few words about the experience during the introduction one morning. “The Symposium is not about the drawing,” he said. “It’s about the people!” Then he said it again for emphasis. Nelson’s words hit home with me. We all love sketching, but we love getting together more. Two nights ago we said goodbye to a sweltering Amsterdam. It was a bit warm for comfort in ...

  • A Week in Sweltering Amsterdam with My Family August 2, 2019Róisín Curé

    This year, I brought my family with me to the Urban Sketching Symposium. It provided a nice balance between work and relaxing. My family is unusual in that we occasionally have rows over stupid things, and the searing hot weather meant rows over stupid things were a little closer to the surface than normal, a little more likely to erupt. A calmer moment in lovely Haarlem. Marcel, Paddy and Liv arrived in Amsterdam Central Station on the Monday after my workshop in Haarlem wrapped up. My eldest had also arrived in Amsterdam that day, but she was doing her own thing with ...

  • A Watercolour Sketching Workshop in Haarlem, 19th-21st July 2019 July 31, 2019Róisín Curé

    I was in Porto, Portugal, last year when this year’s Urban Sketching Symposium location was announced. It would take place in Amsterdam. “You should consider staying in Haarlem,” said Anne Rose Oosterbaan, one of the many Dutch sketchers in Porto. “It’s very pretty, cheaper than Amsterdam – and only twenty minutes away by train.” That was the first time I heard of the original Haarlem, as opposed to its namesake in New York. The date of the 2019 Symposium would coincide with my younger daughter’s birthday: she would turn fifteen on 25th July, right in the middle of it. I ...

  • It’s All Go In Galway June 25, 2019Róisín Curé

    I’ve had quite the week. They come along like that every once in a while. Last Saturday week I met with members of Urban Sketchers Galway for a really lovely afternoon of sketching. We met on the steps of Galway City Museum on a beautiful sunny afternoon, and to our delight there was a Traveller Fair taking place on the plaza right in front of us. We had no idea it would be there and decided to go no further. Making a copper mug…from scratch. I bought two. The first thing that caught my eye was a table covered in tin mugs ...

  • Beautiful Blossoms, Beautiful Youth June 13, 2019Róisín Curé

    I was to draw a card for a relative. We have a beautiful orchid that lurks greenly in a corner, and then pounces into a dazzling white perfection once every couple of years. How to capture such a pure, such a white, such a delicate thing? With my clumsy hand? Nonetheless, it became my subject… …but it vied for position with some stunning yellow roses that my friend Cathy had kindly cut for me when I passed her house the other day. Roses are my favourite flower in the whole world. To bury my nose in them and to breathe in ...

  • Capturing the Summer June 10, 2019Róisín Curé

    It’s cold these days. Cold for June. For the first time in a long while, Irish people keep expecting a heatwave to arrive, like we’ve had in the last couple of years. And we’re unimpressed that it hasn’t happened yet: friends sit around and grouch about the cold. “We’re spoiled,” says my friend Lorraine, “this is actually what an Irish summer is supposed to be like.” She’s right. Ireland is not a hot country. It’s not that cold either – many enthusiastic patriots maintain it’s the perfect climate – but when it’s sunny, it’s gorgeous. So I try to capture it…somehow. My youngest, ...

  • Channelling Rembrandt June 9, 2019Róisín Curé

    You know how it is – you put a proposal in for something, it gets accepted, you’re all “Hurray!” – and then you have to fulfill what you said you’d do. That’s me with my workshop in USk Amsterdam this year. Luckily for me, not only did the proposal have to be planned down to the five minutes at the application stage, but the deadline for submission of handouts to be printed by USk is 15th June: that means the entire thing has to be fully prepared well in advance of the Symposium. The event is superbly organised and there ...

  • Sketching the Best Boys June 3, 2019Róisín Curé

    Sometimes sketchers visit other towns and look up the local sketchers. We meet for a drink or something to eat and do a bit of sketching together. Today Hélio Boto from Portugal visited Galway with his girlfriend Marlena, and it happened to coincide with a visit from Arizona sketcher Marylin French St. George. We were joined by Mairéad, a Galwegian, and we sketched together in my favourite pub, Tigh Neachtain. It was convivial, and a very nice way to welcome visitors to our town. My son went to the barbers the other day. A tiny lad of about three years old ...

  • Good Days in Galway May 31, 2019Róisín Curé

    Clapping in the Connemara Coast Hotel Last night I made a trip to Connemara in the company of Breandán and Colm from my Ciorcal Cómhra (Irish language conversation circle) in our village of Ballinderreen. It was Awards Night, when community groups from all over Co. Galway are nominated and recognised for their work. Our group had been nominated in the Promotion of the Irish Language category. We didn’t win. There were lots of categories and lots of community groups. I didn’t find out anything about other groups who didn’t win, but here are some of the winners: the group from Cois ...

  • Let It All Go May 29, 2019Róisín Curé

    Every Tuesday and Thursday I go to a small country town in Galway where my daughter does Taekwon-Do. There’s not a huge amount to do there. I can go to Lidl or Aldi, and usually do, but I have to watch those weekly specials. Now that it’s summer, there’s enough light in the evening to sketch, so there’s always something to do to amuse myself. Last night was one of those nights. I thought I’d go to the woods just outside the town and get some inspiration, as I was thinking it would be nice to make a collection of nature ...

  • The Hunt For Convenience Continues… May 27, 2019Róisín Curé

    or, Great Things Urban Sketching Kits Come in Small Packages Marcel makes Reuben stay still for a minute All urban sketchers love mini sketching kits. We crowd around the person with something ingenious and coo as if they’re showing off a newborn. Every now and then someone will say “I think I have the tiniest complete kit” and the other sketchers will rubberneck to see what it is. I think I have the tiniest complete kit. Not the tiniest, perhaps, but the smallest that works for me. It consists of the following: an Altoids tin (mine has a 3D-printed insert for my paints) ten half-pans a ...

  • Water & Waves In Watercolour… May 21, 2019Róisín Curé

    It’s May and it’s paradise here in Galway. It’s hard to find a place that is so totally unspoiled this close to action, but we manage it in this hidden part of Galway. So I don’t need much persuading to head down to the shore with my sketching stuff and an excited white fluffy terrier. I wanted to paint a thank-you card for the designer who worked on my new book. She’s called Alba and she works in Currach Press in Dublin: she took well over 150 of my sketches, which came in all shapes and sizes, and arranged them ...

  • Channelling Hogarth May 9, 2019Róisín Curé

    Last week I went to the south of Portugal. I was teaching a six-day watercolour sketching workshop: the idea was to share techniques that would demystify some of the more useful, and prettier, effects possible with paint when you’re out sketching in the big wide world. I was anxious leaving, and it’s my experience that sketching helps to calm me, because it takes my mind off stuff. I am one of those super-lazy people who only joins a queue at the very last second – unless I’m missing something, I’m not delaying anyone by staying sitting down until there is ...

  • Ain’t Nothing But A Husky Digger April 10, 2019Róisín Curé

    Last night was Taekwon-Do night in Gort for my youngest. I usually spend the evening in a combination of aimless driving and aimless wandering the aisles in Lidl or Aldi. This time my aimless driving was to find a nice place for Reuben the terrier to have a run off the lead. That done, there was just time for a bit of aimless wandering in Aldi and a quick sketch. In the car park of the Lady Gregory Hotel, I sketched what I could see through my windscreen. This included Reuben in my rear-view mirror, who likes to sit on ...

  • My Dad Says I’m A Hagfish April 7, 2019Róisín Curé

    My dobok Until yesterday, I couldn’t have sketched my dobok, the white uniform you wear when kicking around in a taekwon-do session. But I hurt my hamstring doing a flying high kick just over a week ago and after consulting Dr Google at length I self-diagnosed a Grade 2 tear that would take six weeks to heal. Six weeks before I returned to taekwon-do. Then I read that having injured your hamstring once, you’re very likely to do it again. I felt deflated and low. I felt that my newfound interest was over before it had begun. I unfollowed the taekwon-do ...

  • Help – I’ve Been Paintjacked! April 5, 2019Róisín Curé

    Before we left the house to go to town this morning, I picked up my orange bag that I carry all my sketching stuff in. “Are you bringing that?” asked my husband Marcel, as he does every time we go out together. He knows it means that sketching is a possibility. “Yes,” I said. “But I’m not sketching or anything. I’m not well and I would get cold.” (I’m still fighting the unpleasantness of a chest infection, and the pain of a torn hamstring.) Soon, we were in Tigh Neachtain’s in Galway City, having a coffee. We had called in to drop some ...

  • Ten Thousand Hours (Some Of Them In Barbershops) April 1, 2019Róisín Curé

    I was stuck indoors today: I have a chest infection and a broken, well, bum (see yesterday’s post about a flying high kick in Taekwon-Do that went wrong). Sometimes you have a workload such that you can’t get sick until it’s all done: that was the case with me recently. My family, with whom I share lots of germ vectors, have fallen like flies over the last few months, but throughout it all I remained standing. The threat of a lurgy hung over me like a sword of Damocles however, and I knew it was coming. (You’d swear I have ...