Beyond the Bleak

In response to poem ‘Celtic Warrior’ by Maria Noonan McDermott.

Once again I had a blast responding to this week’s Enlighten piece. This time it was the words in the poem, ‘Celtic Warrior’ by Maria Noonan McDermott and . My inspiration was from her words in specific here below.

‘..a landscape ever changing, filled with promise. Light filaments of gold…over the bleak lines of the horizon..’

I really empathised with those words and it’s what I am thriving to bring to my paintings all the time especially in the past few months. A landscape ever changing, a world that follows, the cinders that burn within, bring light and colour to my every day. Without light, there is no colour.. and that colour lies beyond the bleak, where we rise undefeated above the shadows.. 

‘Beyond the Bleak’ and detail of the work.

I am all about light and colour this past year with everything happening in the world of lock downs and for one, I am missing family especially my son who is living in Berlin. To keep my head above water and to keep positive, it is in my art where I find real solace and the spark that keeps the flame burning within. By creating an environment of bright pure ‘candy colour’, I look forward to being in my studio every day.

‘Beyond the Bleak’, Oil on Canvas, 40cm x 30cm

A Brief Fix

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a night sky of stars and today I planned to head out and try capture them seen as it was a beautifully clear day today, despite the rising winds. As I made a dash for it earlier tonight when they came out, a mist started and I saw the clouds were coming over the sky. I got up to Sugar Loaf very fast because it is only 5mins up the road from me by car. When I got out of the car the door almost blew off the hinges. I was determined to capture something though, even if it meant the shortest stargaze and photo captures ever.

I had to hold down my tripod as the wind almost took both it and myself up and away. It felt like I was in a scene from The Wizard of Oz where Dorthy’s house took off into the tornado’s funnel.

Anyhow, here are some captures to keep me going and the plough, and big peachy Mars can be seen and I think Orion showed up too. Until next time, I hope you enjoy them!

Urban Trail 2005-2007

Finally I get to update my site with an old series of work I did back between 2005 to 2007.

Bricks and Mortar, Oil on Canvas, 47cm x 35cm

A series titled ‘Urban Trail’ 2007 that I never got to photograph properly at the time. I have so many more but the old computer I had at the time broke down basically and I lost all the original photo files. I salvaged some of them here from an old article back in 2009 that I scanned in. I wish I kept some of the original paintings now. Its interesting how parts of older styles can sneak its way into current work. In all my series of work how ever different they may seem/or not, there is a strong connection between them all.

Reflect on O’Connell Street, Oil and mixed media on Board, 47cm c 35cm

More here on my painting section about this series Urban Trail

Blue Moon 20

From a few nights ago, our first blue moon since 1974, (the year I was born). I felt compelled to paint a painting and wonder about how things were for my birth mother back then when I was a tiny newborn.

Blue Moon 20, Oil on Canvas, 40cm x 40cm x 4cm

I found this unfinished piece of writing a few months ago that I wrote back in 2008. It was something that just came to me when I was in the studio working on a personal series of work at the time titled Chromosome 9. I added to it recently and My Ghost might put a bit of the words into perspective.. its still a work in progress though..

In Progress

Lake

Enlighten, a collaboration of artists in response to the poem, ‘What Peace Feels Like’ by Fidel Hogan Walsh

What Peace Feels Like by Fidel Hogan Walsh

My response to the poem was with a delicateness and empathy to the words written. The tranquil setting of soft mist rising from the lake and taking time out to just breathe and absorb the moment resonated with me. My sense and vision is that of overwhelment in the surroundings of nature as time stands still for just a moment letting go of troubles and fears, something I experience often when out walking in the mountains and forests.

Lake, Oil on Canvas, 60cm x 60cm

We are living in dark times right now but the words in the poem and empathy I feel for them, brings a lot of light into my heart. I hope to bring a sensation of light, peace and optimism with this painting, through the play of colour, light and dark tones in a balanced composition.

I hope you enjoy it.

My Comet

My NEOWISE, my diary, all of me..

Here is an experience ‘in your environment’ of my latest painting, ‘Diary of NEOWISE’

(I hope)

Diary of NEOWISE

‘Diary of NEOWISE’, Oil on Canvas, 120cm x 100cm 4cm

This is a new painting I just finished yesterday. I may have mentioned in a past post somewhere here on my blog or on my social media that I like to title work around cosmic events at a given time. I think that is where my previous painting ‘The solar Wind of Comet SAWN’ came from. Although they are not specifically about the events per se, sometimes I they can inform a work every now and again.

Detail Close

From the studio

From the studio

I began this new painting back in July 2020 and I titled it ‘Diary of NEOWISE’ for the obvious reason was that comet NEOWISE began soaring our atmosphere around then and I felt inspired to start a new painting around it. The comet was one of the brightest in the Northern Hemisphere since Comet Hale-Bopp 1997 and it had two tails. The first a blue-turquoise and a second, a red separation which developed in July. So my colours stem from that and as the painting built up, I began to play with more and more colour.

From the studio

From the studio

Here are 2 short videos I made of the work in the early stages of making.

Studio time lapse session

My Ghost

My ghost.. a photographic expression from a few years ago of my exploration into my existence and therefore my son’s. This is a very personal thing to me.. finding my own mother when I was 19 and pregnant with my son.. finding my own mother was just a need at the time..
I found her and to my shock, she was severely visually impaired and in a wheelchair..
For the short moments we spoke on the phone, I tried to get to know her but she seemed to cry silently most of the time.. that was hard to experience on many levels..
but I could hear somehow.. I was 19..
I smiled on the phone in some strange unfamiliar empathy..
I knew her sadness though..somehow I just did..
what is a mother?
A protector..

Debris

My recent painting, titled ‘Debris’

Oil on Canvas, 30cm x 40cm x 4cm

Debris

Detail close ups of painting

Westival 2020

I am really happy my painting, ‘Communication’ has been selected for Westival 2020 launching October 21st and will run for 3 weeks. Due to current times, the show has been moved to the virtual world and can be seen on the link above or on their website https://westival.ie/

This years exhibition was an open call to artists in response to this quote by T.S. Eliot:

“We shall not cease from exploration

 And the end of all our exploring

   Will be to arrive where we started

      And know the place for the first time.”

T. S. Eliot  Four Quartets- 1955.

Communication, Detail Close up pt 1

Here are 2 short videos on the detail and close ups of my painting. There is nothing quite the same as seeing and studying a work of art in the flesh. To be able to experiencing it in a shared physical environment seems to be a rare thing this year 2020. My hope in making these video close ups on my paintings, is that they bring the viewer that small bit closer to them, even into their own homes or wherever they may be when watching them.

Communication, Detail Close up pt 2

Working Title – Neowise

Pieces of ‘Neowise’ coming together. Early stages ✨🙂

Here are some pieces of my current painting in progress. I was inspired to make a large scale painting back in the summer this year around comet NEOWISE which was soaring our skies at the time. I left it to breathe for the past few months as I psyched myself up to continue. I do this sometimes when I want to capture an idea and expression to work on later..

These past few weeks I have been looking up a lot more at night skies and capturing the stars and milky way with my camera. I even got to see the rings of Saturn and those stripy stormy belts of Jupiter AND it’s moons, And Andromeda galaxy.. That wasn’t with my camera, but with a small astronomy/star gazer group, Galactic Ireland that I ventured out with recently up in the Sugar Loaf here in Wicklow.

So today was one of those days where everything seemed to align and I am fearless and feeling energetic with this painting.. excited!

Making ‘The Solar Wind of Comet SWAN

I finally got my time lapse video finished of how my recent painting, ‘The Solar Wind of Comet SWAN’ came about. It began with the abstract expressive drawings and washes and the as I went on I began to refine the work. It is a diptych of 2 panels on deep edge extra fine canvas, sized 50cm x 100cm x 4 cm each. This work is currently available through Hambly & Hambly Gallery at Dunbar House, Enniskillen, in their exhibition, ‘Imagine Together – Artists Unlocked’.

I hope you enjoy watching the making of this painting as much as I loved painting it!

The Solar Wind of Comet SWAN 2020

Fire in the Sky

I took my camera out again the other night with eager eyes full of hunger, indulging upon our night skies. I was so overwhelmed yet again by the magical light show of wonder as I explored it with such incomprehension. It is because of these moments, which I have experienced throughout my life from as early as my childhood, that I view the world and life’s way from a zoomed out kind of perspective.

My paintings are influenced by this and it has come as a surprise more than anything, as it was not intentional that I am in a certain way re-creating maps of my own footprint on this planet, both physically on my walks and in experiences life has thrown at me.

Like trees that defy gravity reaching up to the stars, they are not too dissimilar to us and whats out there. Enjoy the skies and look up more! They are the same skies all round our planet connecting us all in some small way. I never feel alone on a clear night sky.

The Seven Sisters

One more of our milky way taken from Sugar Loaf, looking out over the hill towards Greystones lights below. That looks like Pleiades consolation (I could be wrong) there hovering the milk way, looking like a ring of diamonds leading the way as her flowy dress floats in a cosmic drift below..

I am ecstatic

This second capture I had a bit of extra fun with. Thinking of one of my favorite movies I’ve watched over and over Fire in the Sky. I will take my camera out to the woods next and brave the solitary darkness.

Star Gazer

A glance at our Milky Way tonight. Its been a while since I took my camera to the stars. I am overwhelmed to say the least and reminded again.. at how small we really are. I am so inspired again too.
I saw the rings of Saturn tonight with Galactic Wicklow (check them here btw – https://www.facebook.com/Galactic-Wicklow-281251289188731/ ). I am so happy to have finally seen Saturn and its fine bangles and Jupiter and its stormy silenced belts.. No words.. none..

I joined the small group of wonderful people tonight on the Sugarloaf where the sky was just lit up with stars, satellites, star-clouds and clusters, nebula too..and then there was Andromeda.. All my childhood wonders came flushing back about our universe and it is still a wonder.. I could go on..

Can’t wait to get to my studio tomorrow

‘Torso’ Re-Visited 2019-2020

Re-working ‘Torso’ which began last year in early 2019, this is one of 3 paintings I have re-visited in the past few months. In this first video below I am sharing some of my thoughts on what I was up to before finishing the painting a couple of days ago.

The figure has emerged again which can be said for most of my recent work. I think it comes from the under drawing where I recall the curvatures that I see in the landscape a lot of the time. I don’t want to pin it down as being what the work is though because there are many things I think of when drawing. I try to be as non-objective and as free and expressive as I can at the drawing stages at the beginning of the work.

Studio Session, Sept 9th 2020,
Re-Working ‘Torso’

Torso,
Oil on Canvas,
70cm x 70cm x 4cm

Shared Space (Revisited)

My recent revisit to a work from 2019.

Shared Space (Revisited)
Oil on Canvas,
40cm x 40cm x 4cm
2019 – 2020

Revisiting this work from last year with new ideas and new found colour expression. You could say I just painted over it but its still there beneath and very much still alive to me.

White Space, Oil on Canvas, 40cm x 40cm x 4cm

‘Shared Space’, revisited and finally finished. It was one of those paintings where I thought was done.. However, for the past year almost and particularly recently, it kept catching my eye as it lay around the studio, being moved out of the way to make room for new works on the go. I was thinking with each glance that it needed something else, but I wasn’t quite sure what.

I went back to it over the past week or so and it somehow ended up here at this more colourful and brighter place. Its like the work now holds two paintings on its surface. The one beneath made the final layers of colour, marks and textures possible, I just went with its demands. It has become a better and more real ‘shared space’ to my mind and I hope its left enough of its former self to peep through.

White Space (Revisited) 2019-2020

Shared Space 2019 & (Revisited) 2020

Detail close ups

Lush : Part 1 and 2

Every so often I revisit a painting that resonates unresolved in the back of my mind. Here is ‘Lush’ forming a conclusion of sorts. Inspired by the warm summer sensations of a mid July and the colours that it brings. Tree stumps amongst an array of beauty and colour, where the foxglove dominates for a space in time till it deteriorates in a sort of empathy towards tee stumps.. and the rings of times are suddenly apparent.. Live the brightest moment until the stars re-align..

‘The Humidity of an August Starry Night’

‘The Humidity of an August Starry Night’,
Oil on Canvas,
30cm x 60cm x 4cm