Derval graduated from Limerick School of Art and Design 1996 and she has been painting ever since. She was based in several different locations between Co. Clare and Limerick city and she is now permanently based in Glen of the Downs, Co. Wicklow.
Her first solo exhibition was in Limerick 2007, which was titled ‘Urban Trail’. It showed a collection of work based on her city surroundings while living there at the time. The same year she decided to move back to her home in Co. Clare to get back to the rural landscape she loved and missed while living in the city. She applied for and was accepted into taking up an art residency in Cill Rialaig artist retreat in Co. Kerry. Her experience in the isolated surroundings of the location sprung a passion for nature and landscape painting.
Derval has exhibited in many solo and group shows throughout the years, some of 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. She paints full time in her Wicklow home studio and continues to takes part in several solo and group shows whenever the opportunity arises.
Painting allows me to achieve a sense of belonging in the world. I have a great appreciation for nature and being out in the open landscape where I spend a great deal of time. My paintings are my response to my surroundings and I paint the landscape how I see it. I am constantly pushing abstraction and I paint freely through loose gestural movements and mark making. Colour, light and atmosphere are important to me and I try to push these elements organically throughout the process. I don’t think too much about the result or pre-determine how the painting will finish.
When I start a new painting I begin with washes of colour or sketch directly on the canvas. I build the composition around this as I work up the surface with several layers of paint and other mixed media. At a certain point the painting begins to guide me as it takes on its own identity.