‘Begin to Hope’  began at the edge of Covid – the right side (or so it felt at the time!). After years of ‘freeze’ and ‘stuck-ness’, change and a massive growth spurt is upon us. I am a fan of new beginnings, momentum and forward motion – and occasionally pulling the rug.

‘Begin to Hope’  brings together some constants in my work – the sea, the shoreline and the Mayo Lakes (with renewed invigoration following a lovely fishing trip with my Dad recently) and some new sensations around Summer and all the vitality that is inspiring me of late as I ‘Begin to Hope’.

I hope you love it!


  • After Nephin

    Oil on canvas 46cm x 36cm In slip frame ready to hang Memory plays a huge part in my work. Recalling time and place sensations in all its subjectivity is very much part of the push-pull and play of reconstructing memories. After Nephin was painted following my recent fishing trip with my Dad – it was a glorious time in a wonderful place. Unforgettable really. Yet when I come to paint it – I think mostly of sensations.  Weather rolling in, the boat setting off from the shore and rolling out across the lapping lake. The mountains are there -  and the moody sky  and water - but I think what I am trying to capture is that  precious time which feels like water in our hands.      
  • Begin To Hope

    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 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 board 30cm x 25cm In slip frame ready to hang Inspired by my recent solstice swim, It was the most beautiful evening on Garretstown strand. The sun cast the most glorious, long shadow but there were very few folks on the beach and scarcely anyone in the sea. Having the sea to myself was intensely pleasurable. Invigorating, it felt like washing off a season – I thought of Van Morrison’s ‘To be Born again’ – and understood the immersion to be a special baptism of sorts. I slept so well that night – dreaming I was cocooned in the arc of a wave.           
  • Island Home

    Oil on board 25cm x 20cm In slip frame ready to hang Over the years, I have always felt comfortable living on islands – which is no surprise given our Island home. Reading Tim Winton’s book of the same title brought home (ha!) to me the pure and tender qualities of island life. It frames our life and gives it context (on same and for context Winton’s Island home is Australia!) Most recently, I found myself on small islands in the middle of Lough Mask while fishing with my Dad. At ‘lunchtime’ we moor at one of the small islands  -  the sounds of the shore lapping, bird life, oars on water, reels spinning and yarns being spun by fishermen is a lovely backdrop to memories of that place and time. It is a place I feel very inspired by and at home.      
  • Oil on canvas 40cm x 40cm In slip frame ready to hang It seems a long time ago now, but there was a period when I lived overseas for 15 years. I feel so entrenched in Ireland now – like on a molecular level – I can scarcely fathom all that time apart. Kerry was absolutely fundamental in re-enchanting my connection with home. Feeling utterly ‘at home’ in Ireland has been possibly my greatest delight in life and stems from time spent in Kerry when I first returned. My first residencies were at Cill Rialaig in Ciarraí – I spent much of my first years back in Ireland painting there. It has underpinned my work as an artist and provided a spectacular canvas upon which my life and love of this land has unfolded. I have felt utterly guided every step of the way – there is MASSIVE magic there – a particular kind of Kerry Kismet.     
  • Lands Edge

    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’.      
  • Oil on canvas 40cm x 40cm In slip frame ready to hang I'm recently returned from a fishing trip with my Dad and our lovely friend John on Lough Mask. While I feel very at home in Partry – the very special village (populated by extra special people) where my Dad has visited annually for fishing for over 50 years. There is something about the stillness and perpetual motion of being in the boat, on the lake – a particular sensation of time and space that can only be explained as my home on the lake.     
  • On The Way Home

    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 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    
  • Sea Change

    Oil on canvas 40cm x 40cm In slip frame ready to hang This painting was made in a LOT of layers. It led me quite the merry dance, changing frequently like the tides. I always want my paintings to be restful but stimulating, but this one took some time to settle down and  land a safe harbour. It is very much a sum of its part so the title ‘Sea Change’ seemed most appropriate.      
  • Oil on board 25cm x 20cm In slip frame ready to hang Spinning out to the beach – straight from the studio – is one of my greatest pleasures. In under an hour I can be in the sea – it is nothing short of glorious. And there are two pristine beaches to choose from. This painting is a throwback to a lovely evening on the beach earlier this Summer and a lovely reminder of that sunny state of mind – regardless of the weather.    
  • The Fertile Void

    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.    
  • Oil on board 30cm x 25cm In slip frame ready to hang      
  • Oil on canvas 50cm x 40cm In slip frame ready to hang There is a softness to this painting that belies its layers. Oftentimes those paintings that seem most resolved, take the longest to make. It is not unlike life. I find, as most people do – when I am a bit stirred up or bothered by something a walk on the beach is the cure. The expanse of space, salt between my toes, the spray of salt water on my feet and the rhythmic breath of the tide puts whatever is bothering me into proportion. It's as if a type of tidal tenderness puts a balm on my tender places.    

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