March 17, 2011

Blarney Castle Painting and Irish Potato Candy Recipe

I've been working on this watercolor of Blarney Castle for a really long time. I finally vowed to finish it before St. Patrick's Day.

I don't really know anyone who really likes to use watercolor as their favorite medium. My favorite medium is pencil, so watercolor is as different as you can get in terms of control. Pencil does exactly what you want it to, watercolor does what it wants.

I'm not sure that the painting is 100% finished right now, but it's finished enough that I would only have to put 15 or 20 minutes of finishing touches on. I am considering slightly more detail on the bush and maybe some clouds in the sky.

I always paint and draw on the floor, I don't know why, I do have as easel, I've just never used it. Fortunately, my easel doesn't go to waste  as my sister uses it a lot. You can see some of her drawings here.

I only use a few supplies which is great if you like to paint "in the field." I have never painted on location, although I would like to try sometime. I dislike when people watch me paint or draw.

I use cheap paints (the $5.00 for the whole set kind) because I have found that the expensive paints have added ingredients which helps the paint dry faster on the paper. I am told that you can buy "stuff" to make the expensive paint not dry so fast but it seems like a waste of money when the really cheap paint works well.

I once had to take a watercolor class for college and I hated every minute of it. The teacher made us buy expensive paint ($5.00 a tube and we needed about 7 tubes.) Then he made us "experiment" constantly. If I was going to experiment, as a student, I wish I wasn't using $35.00 worth of paint and $60.00 worth of paper.

I do still have a lot of expensive paints left over and I keep telling myself that when I get really good at using watercolor, then I'll use those paints. I am told that they will not fade as much as cheap paints. I'll have to do a "fade check" to see.

Below I have a St. Patrick's Day Recipe for Irish Potatoes. These are American coconut candies. The candies are rolled into balls to imitate little potatoes and then rolled in cinnamon to look like dirt on the potatoes. If you like coconut, you will probably love them.

Irish Potatoes

- 4 Cups Powdered Sugar
-2 1/2 Cups Flaked Coconut
- 4 ounces Cream Cheese (1/2 an 8 ounce package)
- 1/4 Cup Butter
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Cinnamon or Cocoa Powder


Cream the Butter and Cream Cheese together in a medium sized bowl. Once smooth, add the Powdered Sugar and Vanilla Extract. Add Coconut, you may have to use your hands to blend it together. Pour the Cocoa or Cinnamon onto a small plate. Make 1 inch balls of the "dough" and roll them in the Cocoa or Cinnamon.

You can eat these right away but they are best slightly cold and keep for a few weeks refrigerated. If you are going to refrigerate them, put each individual candy into a tiny fluted liner, available at craft stores.  

Andy and I always make Irish potatoes (covered in cinnamon) and Chocolate Blarney Stones (rolled in cocoa powder.) We make the Blarney Stones more rectangular in shape, similar to the actual Blarney Stone. Making two batches uses up one whole package of cream cheese and adds variety. Many people like the cocoa covered ones much better than the cinnamon, but the cinnamon is traditional.


  1. I love your painting. I went to Ireland back in 84 and I *loved* Blarney Castle. Did you kiss the stone?

  2. Holy cow! I'm blown away by your watercolor. You really are amazing.

  3. You do seem to still have a lot of control over the watercolor. It's almost counter-intuitive. Watercolors are normally free and flowing. This is just such a different style.

  4. I love your painting. I love watercolour, I just wish when I paint it didn't blend together. :(

  5. Thanks so much, everyone. My internet has been down.

  6. Oh, goodness, your painting is gorgeous! I wish I could paint landscapes and castles, I guess it comes with determination and practice!

    Actually, watercolor is in my top three favorite mediums. I once painted a 3 ft by 2 ft tree for a couple's wedding ketubah (never again :P)

  7. I have to say, watercolor is my favorite medium! Though it is what I started with, so that might make me partial! ;P :) Lol!

    Really neat painting, I love the subject matter. Hmmm..*is thinking about her paints, "they've been getting rather dusty up on their shelf"*

  8. Sophia and B.K, You should show us some of your work!

    I am determined to try to paint at a reenactment. Have either of you tried that, yet? I do need tips and help because I have never tried painting on location.

  9. I've also been wanting to paint at a re-enactment! The thing for me though is I'm not sure what would be (or not be) "correct". :S And, I'm at a loss of where to find info on it.
    I can kinda guess at some things (no plastic palettes, etc.), and I've been think that (especially out at a fort in kansas) they might have improvised, so maybe use a few saucers for my paints.

    I do have a few photos of my painting on an old blog of mine, Though they're all rather old.

  10. I was thinking the same thing, a white ceramic plate would be enough for me to use. My paintbrushes are natural wood so they should be fine. Paint came in metal tubes by that time unfortunately they all have plastic lids now. They did have pan paint too but today they come in plastic pans. I've seen really nice period sets.

    Some nice antique sets:

  11. Ypu paint. so do I but mostly birds. My family all draws and paints. Thanks for follwoing.


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