Making My Way Through Galway

Last month, I bought a €6 pack of oil pastels on my way back home from class. I was itching to start drawing again after abandoning it at the start of college. With my newfound free time and proximity to stunning scenery, I decided that there was no better place than my new home in Galway to start making art again. 

What started out as a mindless hobby in the first couple of weeks has quickly morphed into an obsessive pastime. I take pictures of anything and everything with the intent of drawing it later. My iPhone camera can’t capture the full beauty of Galway, but for what my camera lacks, my drawings (almost) compensate. At the very least, they’re a representation of how I see the city and a way for me to capture the novelty of my life in Ireland without feeling the pressure to frame my thoughts eloquently in writing. I only have 8 colors in my pack of pastels, but I’ve learned that I can do a lot with so little. 

This was the first drawing I did, when Galway was sunnier and the trees were lush. As is readily apparent, the oil pastels don’t grant me a lot of leeway to include the details. They’re impressionist pieces, okay? I haven’t seen that black cat since I took that picture, but I have seen many other cats and kittens in the neighborhood (my favorite part about being here). I now have a bag of treats in all of my jacket pockets so that I’m always prepared for an encounter with my feline neighbors. 

On the left is a drawing of a sweet couple that was sitting next to my mom and I at Kai, my favorite restaurant in Galway. Their outfits were perfectly coordinated and I couldn’t help but capture their aesthetic harmony. My mom and I copied everything they ordered. It was abundantly clear that they knew what they were doing, and they did not miss. I thought of my own grandparents and shed some very real tears while my mom and I ate a delicious berry pavlova in silence (I told you they didn’t miss).

On the right is a sketch from one of my visits to Dublin in early October. I find it heartwarming when I see people sharing umbrellas. It’s a small act of love that shines through the gloom and always makes my day just a little bit better.

As I slowly refine my oil pastel skills, I’m also taking a pottery class. Galway has quickly become a home of hobbies. I am now 6 weeks into the course and I have 3 bowls/huge mugs/goblets that will be added to our house’s collection of deformed dishware. The same week that I started my pottery class, I hosted a collaging party with my classmates. In Atlanta, my friends and I used to host a collage party every month, so this was my way of bringing a little piece of home to Ireland. By the end of the party, I had a new collaging family.

Fast forward to last week, on my birthday, when I drew this man and his dog playing fetch. I spent an hour on a bench overlooking Grattan Beach, struggling to delineate between the sky and the sand using two chunky navy and black pastels. Later that night, I went to a Halloween Drag Ball at the Róisín with some wonderful friends whom I’ve been lucky enough to meet. I had the best time, and I am so grateful to have such lovely people to celebrate with after only being here for a short time. Tens all around.

P.S. Happy Scorpio Season to me and Ali and Alex, because 75% of our house is full of broody Scorpios (sorry Sam). Enter at your own risk.

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