Painting Powerscourt Estate Gardens- County Wicklow

By September 9, 2015Uncategorized

Outside Dublin you’ll find County Wicklow.  The counties in Ireland are much like the states in our country.  County Wicklow is known as the garden of Ireland.  After visiting Powerscourt Estate and it’s beautiful gardens, I can see exactly why it has this reputation.  Check out a few of the photos from around the estate and enjoy.

powerscourt estate

Powers court estate- Italianate Statuary


Powerscourt Estate- Ireland

Powerscourt Estate- Ireland


Lilies at Powerscourt Estate- Ireland

Lilies at Powerscourt Estate- Ireland


The grounds have water features, ponds, gorgeous trees, and there’s a restaurant on site.  Definitely worth the drive from Dublin.

Rebecca Zdybel

Rebecca Zdybel painting at Powerscourt Estate- Ireland




Here you’ll see my painting set-up down in the Japanese garden at Powerscourt- my 3 legged stool kept sinking into the boggy ground, but it was worth the awkward seating to spend some time in this beautiful setting!

watercolor painting by Rebecca Zdybel- initial sketch

Watercolor painting by Rebecca Zdybel- initial sketch.  This stage is light and airy and in some ways it was very pleasant, but it wasn’t conveying my FEELING about the place.  I wanted to give a sense of the lush textures all around me.  So I pressed on and used the technique I describe below.

Here’s my initial watercolor sketch of the garden scene.  I wanted to capture more darks, but I didn’t have time. Different situations pose different challenges. There are so many variables when painting on location.  In this case, the occasional mist falling from the sky slowed the drying time on the paint. Changing light meant paying close attention when the sun decided to shine, and remembering to get out the camera to record it while it was shining.  My sinking stool was also interesting to deal with (the perpective changed the deeper I sank, lol!). I’ve come to look at  painting outside (en plein air) like I look at camping: It’s the challenges you overcome that make for great stories.  My backside was ready to move on after over an hour in that little stool, so I finished painting back at the hotel.

Since there was so much GREEN, I decided to focus on portraying the textures in the garden.  Painting in watercolor can require negative painting or painting AROUND things to create shapes.  This can get tedious if you have a lot of small shapes.  To get around this, I used a technique of painting with masking fluid.  This is a form of rubber cement that acts as a “resist” to temporarily block the water and pigment from contact with the paper.  Applying this, I then layered more colors on the surface and developed some darker values.  I don’t often use masking fluid, because it creates it’s own set of problems.  But in order to paint more freely, I thought the masking fluid would allow me to protect the areas I wanted to preserve, form some smaller shapes, and then paint more freely and keep my colors interesting.  I enjoyed the process and if you’ve never tried it, I’d be happy to show you how when we paint together in class.

The Japanese Garden: watercolor painting by Rebecca Zdybel

watercolor painting by Rebecca Zdybel


Cheers Y’all!

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Author Rebecca Zdybel

Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor - Spread Light, Share Love, DO Art! Rebecca Z Artist (Rebecca Zdybel) is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC. She blogs and teaches locally and internationally. Sign up for her blog, classes, workshops, art travel tours, or see her work at

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