An Illustrated Journey Through Ireland – Philadelphia Solo Art Show

“I wanted real adventure to happen to myself. But real adventures, I reflected,
do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad.
                                                                                       An Encounter, Dubliners

James Joyce
Irish novelist, short story writer, and poet



Ireland is famous for two colors, green and black. Green because year long, the hills are covered in thick green grass, and everything is so vibrant. Black because of its Guinness, which is in every pub around, and there are a lot of pubs. I read that there is one pub for every 4 people in Ireland. I’m not sure if that is true but there certainly are a lot of them.  It truly is a beautiful country, from its rugged coast lines and rolling mountain ranges. There is always something to look at here.

So when my wife decided to go back to her job in Ireland, I was thrilled at the chance to move there with our daughter and experience the culture first hand. So we packed up from Philadelphia and moved into a small village called Leighlinbridge. The population of Leighlinbridge is 914 people, compared to 1.56 million in Philadelphia itself. That is quite a change for us. Perfect for raising a small toddler and getting back to nature, and even better for working on my art.

Even though Leighlinbridge is a small village, some pretty famous people have come from it. One of my favorites is John Tyndall. His house is the size of a shoebox, but he went on to become a famous mountaineer and scientist. It was inspiring knowing that I was walking the same paths as such a man.

I am a huge fan of en plein sketching or the urban sketching movement. En plein sketches are drawings done on location. They are usually rough and done on the fly, trying to capture the heart of the moment, but not all the details. I wanted to do this, but step it up. I had done a show of en plein sketch’s from Asia three years ago. This time I wanted to concentrate on doing completely finished pieces but all drawn on location. Living in Ireland meant that I could take the time to do this. Each one of these pieces incorporates many hours over many days; on rock ledges, sandy beaches, or in stinging nettles. Some of the pieces were finished over a period of a few months.

I chose pen and ink as my medium because I really enjoy the look and feel of it. Plus, a few good pens are easy to carry with you where every you go.

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If you are in the Philadelphia area stop by the Gold Standard Cafe and take a look at my show. The show will be there to the beginning of September, 2018.

An Illustrated Journey Through Ireland

6 responses to “An Illustrated Journey Through Ireland – Philadelphia Solo Art Show

  1. Hi Michael, it has been a while and I’m glad to be able to visit your site again and to see your art continue. I have loved your city sketches for a long time, and I think I recall only scenes from Philadelphia. These of Ireland are lovely, and what a different atmosphere!

    And hey, I will be traveling to Ireland for the first time in April, with my 21-year-old Tara. I will have to scour your posts for tips of what to see during our short trip. This post is dated August, so I must assume you’ve been busy adjusting to your new life. I hope it’s filled with adventure!

  2. Pingback: Inktober 2019 – My Ireland | michaelbencik·

  3. Pingback: Inktober 2019 – My Ireland | michaelbencik·

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