A closer look at painting, ‘Growth’ 100cm x 100cm, Oil, Mixed Media on Canvas
I use beeswax in a lot of my paintings and here I mixed it into a thick opacity with the oils. Also on the surface of this painting I incorporated the found little pieces of the forest floor including pine needles, twigs and some sand. The colours and thickness of foliage from a Summer turning into Autumn is probably my favorite time of year. These great long evenings allow me to spend more time getting lost, finding new trails and exploring new possibilities of how I can bring these experiences back to the studio.
This is a mask I was given as a gift almost 9 years ago. My good friend Ger who gave it to me said she would love to see what I could do with it and paint something of my own on it. I really loved it as it was, just a blank white smooth surface. It took about 9 years for me to finally get the urge to paint something on it and turn it into something with narrative. I wanted to paint a kind of self portrait for a while and so I thought this would best represent what I wanted to do.
When I finished it, I decided to wear it and see how it would photograph. It felt like a ‘becoming of’. Like the land we came from and back to the land we go.
For the title of the piece itself ‘Privilege Of Existence’ I had in mind my belief of how fickle and fragile our own existence is. The chance of ‘becoming’ is like a lotto in ways. Since childhood I always think of my own very existence and how being adopted makes me feel about that. Time itself is a place we survive for only an atom-size fraction, until the next cycle of generations rotate. It raises questions to me about how significant we really are, in nature and among the smallest of stars to the largest ones that we know of yet.
I painted this piece in oils and I used pieces of pine needles I found on the Djouce woods bed where I incorporated onto the mask surface before applying multiple layers of oils. I approach most of my painting in this way. I like to keep pieces I find along the way when I am out hiking and reviving then back into a kind of living state, in art and forever preserved.
Nothing but the sound of birds and the soft humid breeze here today. This was the top of one of the Wicklow mountains. Maulin, just above Crone woods. My eyes stretched so so far in all angles. I am working on a few pieces at the moment and this trip from the bottom where I parked the car to the hill top where I ended up, will be part of the paintings .
I stood at the brow of the waterfall over powerscourt that day, looking at Djouce Woods and taking it in within its own environment.
That was the ground down there that I picked up most of the pine needles which are incorporated into my recent paintings. With the Sugar Loaf in the distance beyond and my lungs filled with the fresh forest Spring air.. I feel luckiest. I feel free. I will re-live this when I paint it..