‘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
'From Valencia' (Above us only Sky)
NocturneInspired 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
ThresholdOil 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.