Walking around the farm and surrounding countryside, I am struck by simple motifs for my paintings and drawings. Sunlight hitting a distant field, the scraggy outline of a hawthorn hedge, glowing light behind interlacing leaves or the solid majestic forms of great old beeches against the fading evening sky. I am inspired by the beauty of the everyday and the ordinary flatlands of my home county known as the “short grass”. Needless to say, when I travel further afield and see the land rising towards the sky I’m filled with awe and sometimes overwhelmed by the dramatic beauty of these wilder places. These landscapes on the western seaboard (Donegal, Galway, Clare and Kerry) offer a new palette, bigger skies and stark horizons.
I am constantly amazed by the wonders of our skies….the ever changing light and how it plays on the land. I start all my work outdoors and it evolves with the seasons.
Painting and Drawing
My first love in art is drawing – using a free, flowing, expressive line with pencils, watercolour pencils or charcoal. In my painting I am mainly concerned with line, form, structure, and the application of paint. By keeping the work fresh, spontaneous and uncontrived, I strive to capture the essence of a scene. My greatest challenge is to achieve my vision for a piece without overworking it – so a lot of the time I’ve discovered I just have to move on and start afresh.
I mostly use watercolours and mixed media, but I am also drawn to the strength of oils, the solidity of stone and the warmth of wood. I also have a great love for clay with its endless possibilities for a diversity of forms.
My sculpture tends to be quite architectural even in miniature form. Geology and megalithic stone formations are major influences. The geology of a landscape and how it was shaped by the movement of the earth and the elements fascinates me. I see all landscape as the most magnificent sculpture and the sky a master painting.
The marks left on the landscape by our ancestors expressing their connection with another world through stone, were the first monumental sculptures. I marvel at the determination, precision and both physical and spiritual strength it took to form these incredible structures.
Since my college years, I have been captivated by the hand built adobe architecture of the Middle East and Africa. Their strength and simplicity of form accentuated by superb overpainting, to me, are the most wondrous unsung sculptures.
“My art is a response to the tangible beauty of the earthly and how it relates to the myriad of heavenly forms above.”