Derval graduated from Limerick School of Art and Design 1996 and throughout the years she has been based in several different locations around Co. Clare and Limerick city. She is now permanently based in Co. Wicklow where she paints full time in her art studio, Glen of the Downs.
After her first solo exhibition in Limerick 2007 titled ‘Urban Trail’, which explored her city surroundings where she lived for a number of years, Derval moved back near her home in east Co. Clare to a more familiar rural setting. Soon after the move she took up a short residency in Cill Rialaig artist retreat in Co. Kerry. It was around a time in her personal life where a lot of significant changes had been taking place. Experiencing the wonderfully isolated surroundings of the retreat away from everyone and thing, it evoked the passion she has for the surrounding landscape where she began to explore her response to it in her painting.
Her passion for nature and exploring forests and the open landscape has significantly grown in the past number of years. Being a mother from a young age, she prioritized her time to her son since graduating from college. Today she devotes her time to painting and art.
Derval has exhibited in several solo and group shows which include Signal Arts Centre in Bray, Ranalagh Arts in Dublin, The Schoolhouse For Art in Enniskerry, Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, Gallery 75 in Limerick, Tipperary Institute in Co. Tipperary and Frame Gallery in Limerick amongst more.
Making art is an integral part of who I am, it allows me to achieve a sense of belonging in the world. I am passionate about art and nature and I try to be outdoors as often as I can. The light and colour in the landscape are very much what concern me. My paintings are a result of how I react and respond to light and colour in my surroundings of forestry’s and the open landscape.
I have reached a place in my work where I have stopped thinking so much about how the painting or narrative emerges. In the past thinking too much about the progress of the painting and planning it to a certain point restricted it somehow. Instead I am pushing abstraction and breaking away from the recognizable giving freedom to expression across the canvas without too much pre-thought.
I start a new painting beginning with colour washes and from there as the layers build the composition begins to form. At that point the painting guides me and prompts an incorporation of gestures in shape and mark making, for instance the taking up or putting down of paint. On the final layers of the painting I use coldwax mixed with oils to enhance the surface to bring up the light and colour.