This is something I am working on at present.. I find it hard to ‘stop painting’ sometimes..it’s like my conscience is whispering to stop but I can’t. Physically, I feel compelled to work some of my paintings up and up until they are almost smothered.. that is where I ‘go’ when I surround myself with my subject..
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.
My inspirations for this painting derives from my many trips up into the open landscape of Wicklow National Park. Its vast sense of space and atmosphere with the constant moving and ever-changing skies and mists were part of what I wanted to express back in my studio. I have also incorporated actual pine needles and twigs I collected from the natural surroundings of the woods I walked through, before setting out to climb the hill behind, onward to Djouce summit, leaving the woods behind. These pieces are incorporated onto the actual surface of the painting captured like souvenirs, forever preserved. I approach all my paintings in this way.
‘Ledge’ will be on exhibit February 27th to March 12th at Signal Arts Centre, 1 Albert Avenue, Bray, Co. Wicklow, along with all my most recent paintings and photography.