Ireland’s Treasures: Blue Ceramics, Succulents and Killiney Beach Stones

Ceramic Series 2

Still Life with Blue Ceramics, Succulent, and Killiney Beach Stones from Ireland, by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Blue ceramics are a thing in Ireland. Ireland’s garden centres sell deep-blue glazed pottery, both large and small. Together with cacti, succulent plants and Killiney’s beach stones, they make lovely miniature rock or Zen gardens.

Killiney beach, located near Ireland’s capital, Dublin, has a cobble stone beach. This beach is a delight for stone collectors. Killiney beach has some of the oldest rocks in Ireland: large boulders of Leinster granite and limestone are strewn all over. Small pebbles of a distinctive micro-granite from Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde can also be found. No wonder that I bring back home a good few of these stones and show these beautifully decorative pebbles in my still lifes.

There is something special about combining blue ceramics, that represent the bluish ethereal colours of Ireland’s coastal areas, with the dull but decorative grey stones, and the slow growing succulents and cacti. The stones are very old, the cacti and succulents grow slowly and the blue pottery looks ageless, no matter. These miniature little Zen or rock gardens look fresh and they hold your gaze for a while.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

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Framed in white washed wood

It has been a pleasure making this series. It involved sauntering on Killiney Beach and bringing home awesome pebbles. Plus going to garden centers for buying blue pottery and succulent plants. I now have a few very pretty pots in my window sill and the succulents are doing very well. They are really my kind of plants because they allow me to forget them for a while without becoming cranky. And because I feel guilty for neglecting them, I buy deluxe cactus food which is probably nonsense because cacti and succulent flourish best in poor soil anyway. In fact, my cacti and succulents are doing so well, that they produce a lot of offspring. Which urges me to buy more deeply indigo glazed pots and collecting stones for building lovely miniature Zen or rock gardens.

Paula

The art prints are for sale in my Etsy shop, individually and as a series. At Etsy

Some of you like to see how I work. Work in progress photos are good fun.

 

My desk with a drawing in progress and the stilllife in front of me

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Peony Time

Pioenroos print met pioenroos

A real Peony, a printed Peony and notice the one on the Korean flower vase.

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Peony and Tulip art prints of pencil drawings by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Beach treasures

Beach treasures. Before you think Paula has painting pebbles, I didn’t. That awesome white stone with that intricate wine red pattern, that is dried seaweed. Nature is a great artist.

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On a desk with 3 art prints by Paula Kuitenbrouwer.

Dog Sketch

And my darling daughter drew this cute dog. I framed it straight away. My daughter’s shop is at Etsy too, click here to say hello by giving her perhaps a whole lot of hearts?

Love,

Paula

My Etsy & my Art Shop.

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Lotus Plant Drawings: Botanical and Symbolic

Two Lotus Prints

Lotus Plant’ & ‘Lotus Pond with Tortoise’

by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

In preparation for the upcoming birthday of the Buddha, I have drawn two different views of a lotus plant. Much venerated in Buddhism, the lotus is one of the ‘Eight Auspicious Symbols’. It is also a delight to draw, as the textured leaves and petals of the plant encourage the kind of finely-detailed observation and drawing work that give richness and texture to an image.

For my first drawing, ‘Lotus Plant’, I researched and focused on all the interconnecting parts of the plant. Most drawings and paintings of the lotus concentrate on the flower itself; the next part, the stem, is submerged and thus often merely hinted at. And the roots, although many of us will be familiar with them as edible parts of the plant, are rarely depicted in art, since they grow deep in the muddy bed of the pond.

For a Buddhist, this concept of living in three mediums – mud, water, air – signifies a progression. The soul journeys from the muddiness of materialism, through the water-world in which we live and experience our daily, day-to-day lives, and thence beyond, to enlightenment in the ethereal world of light and air. That these parts are all connected, roots to stem, stem to flower, is reflected in my drawing.

My ‘Lotus Pond with Tortoise’ shows the flowering plant, partly in water, and blooming just at the surface. A tortoise, resting on a rock, looks up at the lotus. Such a bright and beautiful flower is an inspiration to all who see it, tortoise as much as human.

In Asian culture, tortoises are sacred. The longevity and tenacity that they symbolize seemed to me to be a wonderful way to celebrate what the birthday of the Buddha means. We need to live long and work hard to reach enlightenment. And if the ageing process is enlightenment in slow motion, as John C. Robinson describes in his book ‘The Three Secrets of Ageing’, then my combining of the symbols of enlightenment with those of longevity expresses this process.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Lotus (Botanical) at Etsy

Lotus with Tortoise at Etsy

 

 

Fall Harvest Dangling Display with Berries, Eucalyptus, Birch, Chestnut & Brambles

I’ve drawn ‘Harvest Dangling Display’ after I collected the first autumn leaves and fruits in our garden and nearby park. Left to right: Berries, Eucalyptus, Birch, Chestnut, and Brambles are dangling on a piece of driftwood that I found bobbing in an Atlantic Ocean tidal pool at the east coast of Ireland. It has this bleached grey colour and texture that I find very pretty.

Prints come with a Hahnemühle Certificate of Authenticity & Hologram System that is designed to protect the security and genuineness of this limited edition and reproductions on Hahnemühle paper. Printed details are amazingly clear.

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Details:

 

Print is available at Etsy and at Paula’s Art Shop

Paula

Sketching

Sketch Succulent Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Succulent Sketch, click on photo to enlarge, Paula Kuitenbrouwer

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Oak leaves, Paula Kuitenbrouwer. Click on photo to enlarge.

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Grass, Paula Kuitenbrouwer.

Is there anything more joyful than a new sketchbook ? ❤

Paula

Swallowtail Butterfly, Broad Chaser Dragonfly, and a Zebra Cactus

Butterfly, Dragonfly, Cactus

A Swallowtail butterfly & Broad Chaser Dragonfly with a Zebra cactus

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The Scarce Swallowtail, Iphiclides podalirius, is despite its name (scarce) quite common in Italy, where I saw many of them.

I have seen the The Broad Chaser Dragonfly, Libellula depressa, in the Netherlands. In the male the abdomen develop a blue colour that, like that of a lightning bug, seems both transparent and iridescent, and even shine a bit. On the photo of my drawing, you won’t be able to see that much, but to get this special colour, I’ve used metallic blue by Derwent. It makes this special part of this dragonfly stand out.

A Zebra cactus, Haworthia attenuata, is a succulent with a shape similar to that of aloe plant. They have clusters of thick, pointed green leaves with bumpy white lines in stripes around each leaf. Zebra plants are small, growing less than 6 inches tall. For us it is a house plant, thought in warmer climates it can grows outdoors.

Paula