A Selection of Large Oil Paintings from recent collections.
These contemporary landscapes are made in approximately 50 layers of oils. Studio viewings available by appointment. Please email: cora@coramurphy.com for details.

  • 'In West Clare' (We are Eternal)

    In my life, I have only toured through Clare twice – once on a teaching assignment at the wonderful Burren School of Art, it was high Spring and wild flowers were a wonder as was the Nivea blue sea. We were blessed with great weather and lovely dips after class. My second visit was during a terrifically stormy season (July!). Puttering around the County Clare coastline after an absence of many years was restorative in all the right ways. We were awash with elements. Incessant rain kept us grounded – but even so, the beauty of the place was undeniable. Sometimes in places like that, on days like that - the ones that take your breath away – I wonder at how I might have missed it – been rained off etc and never known its colour, shapes and texture in that season. The storm added starkness to the landscape, giving more grist to the black of the Burren and a cobalt green to the tide turning on a cliff. And so much frothy white in the sea. I can recall the colours of both excursions with ease. The scenes are still in my senses, I think those moments – the magic ones – are like tattoos on our minds. Eternal in that moment, as are we. Oil On Canvas: 100cm x 80cm In Slip Frame Ready To Hang
  • ‘Tis (All before us)'

    Oil on Canvas,

    180cm x 120cm

    ‘Tis – the west of Ireland abbreviation of ‘it is’ is a term I love to hear. The softness of it fills me with affection.

    ‘Tis was also the title of Frank McCourt’s second memoir. Following on from his best-selling ‘Angela’s Ashes’which portrayed the bleakness of Ireland in the earlier half of the last century.

    While we still enjoy significant rain fall, Ireland of today is vibrant. In spite of challenges economic and social, we are as a people – I feel, forward looking. And our landscape is abundant – it holds and inspires us all.

    ‘Tis’– this painting, is about looking forward. It was made in many, many layers and gave its own set of challenges.  When composing a painting, I am not looking for likeness but sensation – the feeling of coming home or being home. Place is important but not in a  geo map specific way. I am creating sense of place.

    Just as happiness is never  truly a thing but more a feeling. I am endeavouring to evoke that feeling when you round the Irish coastline and the views, as Seamus Heaney so beautifully set the scene in his poem Postscript  “.. catch the heart off guard and blow it open”.

  • A Turn For Grace

    9,650.00

    A Turn For Grace

    I read a headline many years ago titled ‘A stage for the performance of heaven’. The article* discussed how the Calder Valley had been poet Ted Hughes ‘tuning fork’.  I loved the notion of inspiration as a wide open plain. It seemed boundless, yet active.     I have the article pinned above my desk – it feels like a talisman, a reminder to stay in my lane, plough on and stretch out into infinite possibilities.    It seems the sea is both my ‘stage’ and ‘tuning fork’.  it is the place I draw inspiration and it is a deep well. Making this painting was long and challenging. Made in fifty-plus layers of heavy oils, it was my largest sea painting to date, and the process, while (comma) often filled with joy, was at times tumultuous.   Hughes referred to Scout Rock (the view from his childhood home) as ‘"my spiritual midwife at the time, and my godfather ever since".  It is the perfect summation of my relations with the sea – a place of possibility and renewal. I am guided by it. This painting being a case in point. When the going got tough, a little too challenging, a gap seemed to appear in a wave and guide me on to grace. Oil On Canvas: 152cm x 152cm In Slip Frame Ready To Hang
    
    
  • Begin To Hope

    8,750.00
    Oil on canvas 180cm x 120cm In slip frame ready to hang These larger paintings have been stirring inside me for the past few years. It has been a pleasure to see them finally come to fruition in the studio. I am forever saying my work is ‘holding on and letting go’ . There may be more robust, verbose words for my process but the practice of turning up, letting go of all my notions and hang ups and holding on for inspiration, flow and the good stuff (that feels to my mind like fire)  is essentially how I find and harness inspiration. Begin to Hope feels like a line I am making by walking, beyond the fertile void, it is of itself spilling out into the world at large        
  • Oil on canvas 40" x 30" (i.e. 102cm x 76cm) Ready to hang in slip frame The sea adjoining Ciarraí can often catch colours of the tropics - turquoise and fizzy greens that don't quite match our inky skies. I have been greatly infleunced by Sorolla this past year - visiting his studio in Madrid and seeing his shows in London and Dublin. I wonder how he might have painted our sea - with all the drama but not so much sun, I imagine the Spaniard may have had much to say in paint.
  • Dark Sky Island

    2,250.00
    Oil on canvas (SOLD) 94cm x 69cm In slip frame, ready to hang. €2250.00 Inspired by the imagined longings of historical inhabitants of Spike Island. The tranquility and beauty of their setting, with the far shore still in site, must have been jarring to say the least.  A constant taunt for liberty denied and life going on at pace just beyond them. For all the beauty of our surroundings, having peace in our hearts and minds is the prize.    
  • Flume

    ‘Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working’ so said Picasso. I agree – turning up is everything, yet inspiration turns up in many places. Often the oddest of places. For me, Ideas often solidify when walking or in the shower, And always, always in music.  The title for this painting ‘Flume’ came to me organically. While I was painting, the world rolled around my mind – it seemed a hybrid somehow of Flow or Float and Moon. On inspection the definition was of ‘an artificial channel conveying water’ or ‘ a winding tubular water slide or chute at a swimming pool’. Both definitions gave ballast to the sensations of rolling water and a light, playfulness at the edge of a body of water. Beyond the shallows, I remembered the Peter Gabriel song ‘Flume’– it petered up from the recesses of memory.  The lyrics,  “I move in water, shore to shore, Nothing's more.  Only love is all maroon,  Lapping lakes like leary loons’ affirmed the sensations I am trying to capture – the feeling of being ‘all in’ when in water (or life, or love!). Being entirely in your body,  in your own nature but also weightless – feeling in flow, sort of floating. That particular pleasurable illumination - the lightness of being. Oil On Canvas: 125cm x 112cm In Slip Frame Ready To Hang  
  • Fools Rush In

    4,450.00
    Oil on canvas 112cm x 112cm In slip frame, ready to hang. €4,450.00 Spike Island was once a remote monastery, a fortress and the world’s largest prison! 'The Idea of an Island' collection attempts to present the contrast of what is potentially an idyll and a place of pain and suffering. The palette in these paintings is itself a contrast –  a mix from cheery pinks to a spectrum of blacks. ‘Fools Rush In’ was made during the Covid isolation and draws on the idyll of the sea – it’s spectacular beauty which can be so comforting – but also it’s inherent power and danger. One of the first things I did post-lockdown was to swim in the sea – it was freezing but full of freedom! ‘Fools Rush In’  I hope illustrates life’s contrasts – how nothing is ever completely lost or indeed perfect – but made up of a series of magnificent moments. The present happening over and over again.  
  • 'From Valentia' (Above us only Sky)

    I have, for many year, loved to paint on Bolus Head, so much so that I neglected Valentia island for far too long. A break away to Bray Head on a bracing day, or otherwise, is always worth the climb and was fine food for the stew of this painters pot. The view to the Skelligs is spectacular. It seems to me the weather sometimes falls away into the sea. As if it sort of changes its mind half way across from the mainland, somehow getting distracted on its way, the elements causing light to land in the sea. The colours changing in accordance with light and heat, filling the spectrum. From the viewing point it makes for a great stage show, mist, fog and clouds all in the mix of atmospheric textures giving a heavenly vibe. There is so much sky, God can’t be far away Oil On Canvas: 180cm x 120cm In Slip Frame Ready To Hang    
  • Oil on Canvas 61cm x 46cm In slip frame ready to hang This painting might appear a bit maverick in this collection but, as with them all, was painted in response to a time and place. In this case. The time being a VERY hot day in my studio. It began life as a demo (for my Abstracting the Landscape Online painting course) but as the layers progressed I realised it was harking back to a recent landscape I had visited. ‘Heatwave’ was painted at the tail end of the collection and the beginning of my next body of work, so it literally is the shape of things to come.  
  • Oil on canvas 56cm x 51cm In slip frame ready to hang My mind gets a bit blown when I think about how the opposite end of the shoreline I am standing in, is washing someone else’s feet on the other side of the world. It is entirely mind-blowing but also enormously reassuring – as if to affirm that everything that lives is connected. The cyclical nature of tides, sun rise – sun set, seasons and the rhythms of our own biology all pre-date time itself and point to an innate knowingness and our  ability to be harmonious – in sync – or at the very least community minded!.    
  • Oil on canvas 120cm x 120cm In slip frame, ready to hang.   At a young(-er!) and (more!) impressionable age, I read May Sarton's A Journal of a Solitude. I remember being floored by the line 'Hope, but for what?'. The lack of hope or vision or joie de vivre struck me as utterly sad and terrifying too. I have known the feelings of being rudderless and at times been terribly lost. I think that is part of the human experience. Many of us anticipated the recent Covid quiet period with dread - it smacked of 'the end is nigh' and yet on the other side of it,  many of us feel renewed and are facing forwards with some hope. And we are certain what we are hoping for. On the other side of solitude, I think the things  we are hoping and hopeful for are not 'things' - there is a communion in that too. It reminds me of the words of another great writer, Mary Oliver:

    'Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

    The world offers itself to your imagination

    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -

    over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

     
  • Lands Edge

    3,950.00
    Oil on canvas 140cm x 74cm In slip frame ready to hang This painting typifies much of the push and pull at play in my work and could equally be called ‘Holding On & Letting Go’. It was painted over the course of a year in many layers – this painting and I had something of a long loose dance before we capitulated towards each other.  Lands Edge is to my mind about standing your ground – staying within the magic limitlessness of imagination – and not getting sucked into the nonsensical void.  Out beyond the churning chaos there is magic. You don’t always have to see it – but you must always believe in it, for as Roald Dahl said ‘only those who believe in magic will find it’.      
  • Mexican Odyssey

    4,950.00
    Mixed media 120cm x 100cm  
  • Nocturne

    9,250.00

    Nocturne

    Inspired by time fishing with my father on the Mayo Lakes, Nocturne is evocative of days ending and that very special light particular to the low sun on the lakes. I am a fair weather fisher but time on the lake with my Dad is nothing short of glorious. It is time out of time. Even though senses are accelerated with the cut and thrust of the boat traversing the waves, sideways rain and all the slip-slop sounds of water, reels and bird life – time feels somehow suspended. The experience is utterly elemental and yet really, very restful but stimulating.  Beyond the shoreline, out on that horizon there is a promise of magic and reward. Great days - time well spent – the best currency – before the waves roll us back to shore and home. Oil On Canvas: 150cm x 150cm In Slip Frame Ready To Hang  
     
  • Oil on canvas 124cm x 112cm In slip frame, ready to hang. SOLD You have to keep your wits about you in the sea. Sinking or swimming are ultimate options. As  a very recent - and occasional - sea swimmer, I love the immediacy of immersion. It's impossible to feel wishy washy about the sensations. 0.5 seconds after immersion you are fully alive - senses accelerated, at absoute optimum. Although I am in possession of a rambly mind - and prone to projecting forwards or harking backwards, I am a fan of being in in the moment. Sea swimming helps me be 'all in' and be fully alive one moment at a time.  
  • On Silver Strand

    2,950.00
    Oil on canvas 90cm x 90cm In slip frame, ready to hang. €2950.00 Silver Strand on Sherkin Island has a dreamy quality - it is a time and place. And it is time out of time. 'Holding On & Letting Go' is a theme that flows through my work. Inspiration is a feeling - sometimes fleeting - and sensations like how I felt at sunrise on Silver Strand are often like water in my hands. I hope this painting goes some way to capturing all of that.    
  • This large piece captures my 'love at first sight' impressions of the Kerry Bogs. It was painted in-situ in the middle of the bog at Emloughmore. I painted it in a tee-shirt on a bright January day – my birthday – it was my first BIG painting and truly felt like a gift. Mixed media on canvas 148cm X 104cm
  • On The Way Home

    2,240.00
    Oil on canvas 90cm x 60cm In slip frame ready to hang I’m not good at remembering road no’s or indeed mountains names so I fondly refer to the mountains midway between my parents home and mine as  – The In-betweeners!    This painting was completed on a Monday morning following a lovely weekend at my folks. I had been a little ‘stuck’ with the painting but when driving home, across the country from my parents’  house the evening before, the answer was literally staring me in the face. A golden orb, the most glorious sunset guided me home.  It’s more literal than my usual work but I liked it, so I’ve left it!    
  • Oil on Canvas, 120cm x 100cm in slip frame. €3950.00
  • Oil on canvas 90cm x 60cm In slip frame ready to hang I’m honestly not sure if this is a sun-rise or sunset  - and surely one becomes another on this magical orb of ours. I took the title from ‘Sail On’ the gorgeous song by Interference. I listened to it a lot recently around the time of Maurice Desmond’s death. Maurice was a wonderful Cork painter, a true contemporary landscape painter. He was one of the first artists I met when I came to Cork. He was entirely himself and always lovely, kind and encouraging to me. His legacy is long, his work speaks for itself. I think he might live forever. I will never forget him    
  • Stranded

    2,250.00
    Oil on canvas 90cm x 60cm In slip frame, ready to hang. €2250.00
     
  • Swansong

    My Dad Mick has fished the Mayo Lakes – Lough Mask & Lough Carra every May in tandem with the emergence of the May Fly. Some years more prolifically than others but it is always a place of joy for him. By proxy, genes or otherwise, his joy has become mine and I love to join him on these expeditions which then seep into my own work.  Before Covid we celebrated his 50th year fishing in his home from home, Partry – the lovely village nestled between both lakes. We had a hooley -  a wonderful celebration of time well spent amongst great lifelong friends.  Then nothing! The Covid pause put paid to that particular pleasure and we had to wait it out for years. My Dad had back surgery and was slower on his pins but his lovely essence and energy was buoyed by fast horses and slow golf.  It was glorious to finally return to Lough Mask. I doubted my Dad would be robust enough for long lake days. It was an illumination to see the vitality of place, people and nature infuse him. It energized him entirely. He was ginger-ish boarding the boat the first day but jumping off by the end of the week, exuberant!  Doing what you love really, truly is a lifeforce and nature is magic Oil On Canvas: 160cm x 160cm In Slip Frame Ready To Hang  
  • Oil on Canvas 120cm X 100cm SOLD  
  • The Fertile Void

    1,495.00
    Oil on canvas 60cm x 60cm In slip frame ready to hangI had the most enchanting conversation with someone recently about the strength of stillness and the power of darkness. In long Summer days, darkness (metaphorical and physical) feels less compelling, but my friend spoke of how germination requires  darkness in order to cast deep roots  into firm soil. The silent shoreline of this painting seemed to me a place to pause and enjoy the inherent (restorative) stillness we all have capacity for – when we shelve all the shizzle. I love to think there is a fertile void in all of us.    
  • The Precipice

    8,350.00
    Oil on canvas 5ft x 5ft (152cm x 152cm) In slip frame, ready to hang.    

    “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

    - Anais Nin -

    When I visited Spike Island, I was struck by how stunningly beautiful it is, how wild and yet how much grows there. It feels otherworldly - a strange edgy energy is pervasive. I couldn't help thinking about all the pilgrims, monks and prisoners who have passed through. The island's small surface area and it's situation make it impossible to forget you are on an island. I wondered were those temporary residents taunted by the lapping tide from the far shore. Many must have contemplated making a swim for it! It would require courage to leave and maybe another courage to stay. I think all of us in this quiet time have contemplated change - our personal precipice. For me making these big paintings is a personal jumping off point. When painting, I jot down notes - often a series of words - random ramblings and gems. For this Precipice - I noted:

    Resilience - Connectedness - Home - Belonging

    I think all of us - pilgrims, prisoners and painters - maybe sing to the same tune.        
  • Oil & Cold Wax on Canvas 120cm x 100cm in slip frame ready to hang This painting was made in many, many layers. I started it in my early explorations of cold wax and returned to it - adding layers and experience  - over years. The crosshatching motion of the work over time gave depth and seemed to embody the experience of the painting. It isn't specifically about any place but is something of a journey-man painting - as it takes the essence of my experiences over several artists' residences across choppy lakes and along moody shorelines. Although the palette is dark it is ultimately an uplifting piece - signaling home in the midst of a torrent.  We are never forever, truly lost, we can always re calibrate, chart out course and navigate our way towards a sense of home.  
  • I made this piece over an Easter weekend in my studio. I wasn't entirely sure what I would paint but I had recently returned from a residency in Kerry and the view of the ancient famine village at dusk, with smoke billowing from the little chimneys haunted me and found its way into the work. The famine village is located at Cill Rialaig on Bolus Head, on the last road out of Ireland. The location has been central to much of my work here in Ireland. Residencies here provided an essential time and space to immerse myself in the landscape and it's history - so that I might respond to and develop a sort of language of the land. mixed media on canvas 148cm X 104cm
  • Oil on canvas 100cm x 70cm Ready to hang in slip frame This painting was inspired by a night walk along the shoreline. There is quite a bit of gold in this painting - a departure for me - that I think captures the otherworldliness of the sea at night-time.
  • Threshold

    Oil On Canvas: 150cm sq €9,250.00 In Slip Frame Ready To Hang

    ‘Threshold’ marked the beginning  of so much newness for me.

    After years (and years!) of treading water and often struggling to keep afloat, my painting practice and by association my life,  suddenly and almost imperceptibly hit a growth spurt.

    Making my largest paintings coincided with finally finding a building that would be my home and house my studio and showroom. Built pre-1900,  ‘Threshold’ was created as part of an exhibition to honour the space and all that had gone before and was yet to be.

    Poet and philosopher John O’Donoghue wrote beautifully of change and emergence. I loved his notion to ‘ bless the space between us’ as I felt it marked that special time between the past and the future.

    “The rhythm of emergence is a gradual slow beat always inching its way forward; change remains faithful to itself until the new unfolds in the full confidence of true arrival”

    I have realised life is never linear and change is as constant as the tide. Even in trying times, we must believe in perpetual motion.

    Forward is always a direction. Our evolution is illuminated by blessings and possibility, but you must believe in possibility (often things you can’t yet see, but can just about feel!).

     
  • 'Wonderland'

    Oil On Canvas: 160cm x 160cm In Slip Frame Ready To Hang To be full of future – dreams, plans, schemes and such – is a lovely, latent kind of energy. That’s how I felt when making this painting.  As a rookie artist I painted in a traditional context – working out in the landscape, making paintings in response to place. As my practice deepened, the response has become more intuitive. I’ve learned to trust myself and the work, and to understand (to paraphrase the late, great Mary Oliver) ‘My work is loving the world…, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished’.  Composition has taken on a more vital, vibrant quality – rather than thinking in terms of foreground, lines, proportions etc, making paintings now feels like composing music. It is beyond looking and seeing and involves a sort of deep cellular listening – to hear, but mostly feel the rhythm of nature.  My paintings are made with oils in many layers. Creating this big painting was a joy. Pregnant with possibility, it was in and of itself a wonderland. With every layer it seemed to unfold, evolve and reveal itself to me. Often painting feels like magic - a particular kind of alchemy. It fills me with wonder and a special energy – an illumination radiating from the inside out.
     

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