Thursday, October 27, 2011

McCaul Catches Sounds of Silence in his Art

I was featured recently in an essay on art by Professor Jan Erik Rekdal of the University of Oslo.

The essay, entitled
"To Trust The Sky" was part of the Word of Art essay competition which was organised earlier in the year by the Millrace Gallery in Blackrock, Dublin. Here is the essay in full, courtesy of the Millrace Gallery...

To trust the sky- Jan Erik Rekdal

Foreign art is especially important as it provides you with more windows to look into a place where you do not belong - in this case a place called Ireland and √Čire.

There is one thing in Ireland there is more of than grass and that is light. As to light, Ireland is a land of plenty also in 2011! When I first visited Ireland (1969), I hitch-hiked to Achill. I was waiting once for a new lift on the roadside in Killibeg a little baile consisting of a post-office and a handful of houses. Two idle men sat on the wall an earshot away and when I praised the remarkably high sky and the lovely shades of green, grey and blue (for which the Irish language has the word glas covering them all), they sneered at me mumbling that you can’t live on light and sky!

Also many Irish painters struggle with the plentiness of light and sky. Since I started to give serious attention to Irish art, I have been trying to find out where in Ireland the artists come from, to see how this relates to her or his use of light. An artist from Fermanagh (Gerard McGourty f.ex.) has a different sky to one from Down. By sky I do not mean that you necessarily find sky in their pictures – but you do find light. You see the dimness of Fermanagh with its tinge of longing (for the sea) the way it is expressed in Gerard McGourty’ s art (not unrelated to that of Jack B. Yeats from a county close by) and the fertile almost gory green light of Down recalling the desolate atmosphere of ancient battlefields – a green you observe in Daniel O’Neill’s pictures. Dubliners tend to turn their light down considerably like Eithne Jordan who used the light of late afternoon has lately wandered into city-nights and their repressed obsession with light. It may rather be the longing for light lurking in cobble-stones and city-boys which underlies the paintings of another Dubliner, Gerard Byrne, making his colours so translucent that a light-muncher of a Norwegian like me, could want to eat his flowers .

Belfast-artists used to leave their rusty town for the western sky and light, but very few has indulged so unbashfully in the western sky as Paul Henry once did (although I noticed recently paintings by a young Dubliner, David Coyne, giving in to sky on the railings of Marrion square with refreshing results). The one who actually dares to do so today is Padraig McCaul and even to walk if not in Henry’s footsteps, close by them – painting as he does predominately from Achill. But McCaul has a twist that is his own: the community he depicts seems abandoned. Achill was a predominantly Irish-speaking island now with hardly any Irish left. For me McCaul catches sounds of silence in his art. His Achill houses have no windows and hardly any doors. They turn their back on you in pictures that make you wonder, reflect and sense.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Paintings for the London Affordable Art Fair

I dropped in some new paintings to the Doorway Gallery today for the upcoming Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead, London. The gallery will be exhibiting at the fair for the first time and are heading over next week.

The Affordable Art Fair is runs from the 27th to 30th October.

"Clare Cottage", (30 x 30 cms) is one of the new paintings and is based on sketches I made over the summer when I was down around Doolin. A simple cottage with a red roof looking out over the Atlantic, with the cliffs (of Moher?) disappearing to the left.

"Hungry Hill", (50 x 50 cms) is another from the series of paintings I made of Hungry Hill in West Cork. I started this painting at the painting demonstration I gave for the Nutgrove Arts Festival in september. I love this old farmhouse with it's extension tacked on to the gable end.

Both paintings are now available through the Doorway Gallery. If you would like invitations to the Affordable Art Fair please contact Denise or Deirdre at the gallery

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Snow on Achill - New Christmas Card now Available

It's probably a little too early to be mentioning christmas but with the sudden drop in temperature this morning I'm not so sure anymore!

A good friend of mine suggested I make up some christmas cards (thanks Deirdre!) but I have to say I wasn't overly receptive to the idea at the start. What image would I put on them? I don't make christmassy paintings!

But then I came across some amazing photographs of Achill, taken last year by Sean Cannon when the island was blanketed in snow, more like the Swiss Alps than the West of Ireland. Sean is a long standing resident of Achill and is uniquely positioned to capture the ever changing beauty of Achill Island. It was one of Sean's images that inspired me to make this painting - Snow on Achill - 40 x 40 cms.

And from this painting I have produced a christmas card. The cards (and the painting) will be available at my upcoming shows at the Whites Hotel, Wexford and the Art Fair 2011 at the RDS in Dublin. The cards are also available to buy online from my website.

They are 150 x 150mm on 300 gm silk paper, with the message "Happy Christmas/Nollaig Shona" on the inside. They are sold in packs of 5 for €9.95.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Paintings of Doolin and Dooagh

I have just uploaded some new images to my website of paintings that I will be showing in Whites Hotel in Wexford and at the RDS Art Fair in Dublin in the next few of weeks. Including this one, "On the Doolin Road" - 50x50 cms.

This was painted following a trip to Lahinch earlier in the year. I drove down the coast road via Kinvara, past Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher. Beautiful scenery!

The next painting - "A StillDay, Achill" - 80x80 cms is based on sketches I made at one of my favourite spots on Achill Island, across the road from Gielty's pub in Dooagh!

A week to go now before set up begins for Wexford. I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Atlantic Tides, Achill - New Painting Unveiled

Here is a new painting that started out as a demonstration piece at one this summer's workshops on Achill Island. (And here's me setting up on the day)

"Atlantic Tides, Achill" (50x40 cms) will be on show as part of my autumn exhibitions in Whites of Wexford and the RDS.

The original demonstration version of the painting (below) featured on the blog a little while ago, so it's nice to be able put the two together to show the transition from "plein air" draft to the studio finished painting.

I had a 1 day painting workshop in my Delgany studio last week which I really enjoyed and we even got lucky with the weather - 24 degrees!
So we spent most of the day painting outside in the courtyard. I'm hoping for more of the same for my next 1 day workshop which I'll be running on November 12th (saturday).

I hope to have my spring/summer workshop dates for 2012 confirmed and up on my website by the end of this month. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Autumn Exhibitions - London, Wexford, Dublin

Autumn's here and I'm busy in the studio trying to finish a new collection of paintings for some big upcoming shows. I have to admit I'm an incredibly messy worker but I've convinced myself that it helps release the creative juices :) Which is just as well given the number of new paintings I've had to produce for the autumn shows.

First up is the Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead, London, where I will be exhibiting as part of the Doorway Gallery's stand. I'm really excited to be taking part as it will be my first time exhibiting in London and I plan to have 10 new pieces ready for the show.

Unfortunately I won't be able to get over to the show myself as I will be in Wexford at the time exhibiting at the Opera FRINGE festival. This will be my third year exhibiting at Whites Hotel and I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone again. I will be there from October 21st to 31st and will be showing my "Autumn Collection" of original oil paintings as well as my full collection of prints and art cards.

And then it's on to Dublin for Art Fair 2011 at the RDS which runs from November 4th to 6th. I'll be in my usual spot just to the left of the main door.

I will be adding all of the new work to my website over the next week or so. I will also be sending out e-invites to the RDS Art Fair once I receive them.