Saturday, July 23, 2011
When I graduated from Art College I was exploring the spiritual nature of reality through abstraction and making objects that created and projected light. I studied Mondrian, Rothko, and Kandinsky. As my own spiritual practice deepened I became less interested in trying to respond to the spiritual in an abstract way. I found my inspiration in the landscape and the streets around me.
I am aware that everything is temporary in a relative sense and it has now become important to me to find the essence of these places.....
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
There are very strange ancient feelings around this site I often go to sketch and paint in and around the ruins I get the same feeling at some other old monasteries
Athassel Abbey situated a short distance south of Golden, built in the 12th Century, was the most impressive achievement of the Augustinians. One of the country's most extensive monasteries, its courts cover nearly four acres.
Following the death of Strongbow, Henry II wished to pursue a more peaceful policy in his governance of Ireland. In 1176 he sent his kinsman, William de Burgho, to govern in his name, and he charged him with replacing the harsh diplomacy of the sword with the serenity of religion. The Priory at Athassel was quickly established by William, and the years that followed saw the Abbey flourish into a centre of great spiritual and political importance.
The Abbey was twice burned, first in 1329 by Brian, King of Thomond, and again in 1581, by John Fitzgerald of Desmond. Following the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th Century the property was granted to Thomas, Earl of Ormond. The buildings were subsequently neglected and fell into ruin, The nave of the Abbey is today used as a cemetery, and among the many bodies laid to rest in the chapel is that of William de Burgho, the man who established Athassel over 800 years ago.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Everything seems so flat without strong directional sunlight. I'm at the fountain in the grounds of the monastery at Mount Mellary. I came out early to take some photos and create some thumbnails in the mountains.The monastery is a very special peaceful place. I always stop by when I'm working in the Knockmealdown Mountains.
I have been reaching into the landscape finding endless surfaces each one beneath the last I have been using glazing techniques to respond to this idea and explore the layers always trying for the next surface.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Early this morning I packed sandwich camera tripod sketchbooks and watercolours and drove into the Knockmealdown Mountains.Spent some time at the Vee and took some more reference photos From that vantage point you can see across the valley and the other mountain ranges including Slievenamon the Galtee mountains and the Comeragh's. I am working on a series of landscape images at the moment some quite large. I am moving quite freely between smaller watercolours on paper an larger Oil and Acrylic works on panels and canvas. This return to large landscape after two years working on small images specifically for Limited Editions is very refreshing. The process of creating small block work can become mechanical if one stays at it too long even though some good work emerged.
I have always found that when dealing with landscape that I work in layers especially using acrylic and oils. I start with soft underpainting using earth tints and using stronger colours as the painting progresses, finally using oil glazes to complete the work
The satisfaction for me is how each element connects and how I feel in rhythm with the process . As I look for balance in the work it ceases to be a particular place and even though it is a representational image certain abstract elements appear.
I have long since ceased trying to force anything as I am now sure that the most important part of the creative process for me is to allow the image to emerge and to acknowledge that all is connected.
For me Painting has become an investigation into the nature of reality.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I have been painting on location in the mountains the Galtees, Slievenamon, Comeragh's and Knockmealdown. Doing small watercolour sketchs and very loose drawings. Collecting visual information on the landscape to create some large scale work later in the studio.I still think this is the most valuable way of reaching inside the subject matter and I find that I can deal with rapid light change by concentrating on tonal values and recording colour changes with small thumbnails
Monday, September 28, 2009
For the last three weeks I have been working on images of Clonmel that people have asked about or commissioned. I have always tried to stay away from drawing the old reliable scenes that have been worked over a thousand times but in all fairness when somebody say's How can you have a Clonmel Collection without the West Gate or the Main Guard? There is no answer to that. As the Print collection expands I have received many requests from people for these areas to be included. The present West Gate was built by a Merchant called Joyce in the 1830's
The present building stands on the site of the original West Gate and formed part of the defences of the town.