An art review of Derval Freeman written by Aosdana member, artist Eamon Colman

My style of painting leans towards abstract expressionism and I am inspired by nature, life’s experience and often the events of the cosmos. Although my work is not necessarily about space and astronomy, I have always been interested in it from childhood years and it grew more during the start of the pandemic in 2020. Throughout the months, I felt as much a need to go out star gazing and photographing our night skies, as much as I did the need to go out on walks in nature. I also began to embrace colour in my work during the pandemic. I discovered a true passion and curiosity for colour which has taken my work through a significantly new direction that I am currently embarking upon.

My paintings almost always start with the drawing where I begin with a flow of abstract, expressive drawing in pencil and charcoal. As the drawings form they become figurative where gestures of line and shape naturally meet.  I layer upon the drawings with a mix of colour washes and oils mixed in cold wax, where the composition is built upon.  I am interested in how the under drawing dictates the layers of paint and my endeavors are to create a universal balance through the play of colour and light.

I never really think too much about what I want a painting to look like at the end but rather let it happen as naturally as possible. However, the solving of problems that are created as the work progresses become the goal. When a work becomes too much, I abandon it for a while and make smaller pieces which often inform the larger ones. Each different size of canvas, surface or medium I work with result in very different outcomes and as a painter I am driven by this.

Music is very much part of my painting too, it affects how I paint and I don’t think I have ever painted without it. I listen to all types and have many different playlists but ambient soundscapes are what I listen to most when I am painting. It allows me to keep my mind clear of outside thoughts and focus entirely what is happening on the canvas.

I am often told by people that my paintings look like they, the viewer, are looking down over something from an elevated perspective, like looking down on maps of sorts, which intrigues me because in many ways I often see the world from a ‘zoomed out’ effect and for me that puts a lot of things into perspective. I would hope my paintings keep the viewer engaged and draw the eye in on a journey throughout the canvas, of their own interpretation that empathies with some small part of themselves.