A veil of silence permeates through the house – no sounds of I-phones, I-pads, headphones or telephones, radio nor TV ; just me and the occasional creak and gurgle echoes throughout the house as the shrill winds outside knock on every window and bang on every door, looking for entry.
Christmas has passed along with the ringing in of 2012. Parties attended, old friends reunited, waistlines expanded, all now absorbed in one big fading but happy memory.
And so it is Monday morning! My family are housed where they are destined to be – work, college or school. And then, there’s me here in my studio, filled with these passing thoughts; one hundred paintings in my head and several hundred reference photos begging to be explored.
How exciting and daunting all at the same time! Here goes!
Tired of listening to all this talk of recession and budget restraints:
Here is what I have been doing:
The above are a selection of some of the miniature paintings I have been working on, all inspired from regular walks through the Dublin and Wicklow mountain ranges, which are in easy reach of where I live.
They are all oil paintings on canvas and range in price from €75 – €100 which I think makes buying original art affordable!
Having just returned from a truly amazing trip to Cambodia and Vietnam, I would like to invite you to share with me some of the magic that we encountered along the way.
We arrived In Siem Reap, Cambodia which is the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire. We then travelled a five-hour journey by road to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. Along the way, we saw countless paddy fields, water buffalo, cows and houses built on stilts to protect the homes in the rainy season.
Phnom Penh is said to be undergoing a modern renaissance and it was a stark contrast to the quiet country life we encountered along the road. Steeped in charm, beauty and a rich culture of ancient Khmer history, its people smile with a gentleness that appears unbowed by the wars, genocide and poverty that has besieged their country.
This is my first painting reflecting my travels.
It is so commonplace to see the street traders selling their wares, hoping to catch your eye, hoping to engage – a sale, a dollar!
In Phnom Penh, we came upon many food markets. These were a feast for my eyes with a humming energy ever-present. The colours, the textures, the smells of fish, fruit and fowl all mingled together to create a pungent aroma. Chickens squawked, frogs leapt and fish squirmed while underfed cats came to see what offerings could be had.
All kinds of food was on offer with fruits I’d never seen nor heard of before. My imagination was rather more stretched when I saw such things as spiders being served as a delicacy. Tourists gathered round and dared each other to taste the culinary delights. I played my role through “observation” only!
The palm tree is very interesting because of how useful it is. Every part of the tree has a purpose, even the roots of the tree play their part. In this photograph, the girl is cooking the sap from the palm tree and stirring it until it crystallizes. It is then wrapped in palm leaves and sold for cooking purposes. This is a high quality 100% natural food product.
We also tasted some palm sugar wine and needless to say, it was delicious.
Check back soon to see my next posting on Asian charm and my next painting.
Hannah strolls the beach with Muffy. The evening light casts long shadows and reflections while a pink and purple hue invades the landscape. The world is at her feet, full of hopes, dreams and possibilities!
My inspiration for this painting happened when earlier in the year we visited Spanish Point.
Spanish Point is located on the west coast of county Clare Ireland. It takes it’s name from the unfortunate Spanish who died in 1588, when many ships of the Spanish Armada were wrecked during stormy weather. It is more renowned today as being one of the best surfing sites on the west coast of Ireland.
The People’s Art will take place once again this weekend from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st August around St. Stephens Green, Dublin.
This exhibition is organised by Dublin City Council, the Office of Public Works (OPW) and a voluntary group of organisers. This is a super event and really adds to the ambiance of the city, so why not drop by, see some wonderful paintings and maybe purchase a truly unique gift for a special occasion or that someone special.
The dates for this years exhibitions are:
6th – 8th May 2011
24th – 26th June 2011
19th – 21st August 2011
23rd – 25th September 2011
I will be located on the north side ( opposite Dawson Street ) and I hope you can make it.
On a sunny Sunday morning in May, I embarked on my journey from Dublin to Dingle, Co. Kerry. A week of painting outdoors, or otherwise known as En Plein Air. The car was laden down with field easels, oil paints, turps, linseed oil, stretched canvas of all shapes and sizes, clothes to paint in, clothes for warm weather, clothes for cold weather, raingear and the list goes on…. I arrived in Dingle a couple of hours later and was greeted by a number of other like-minded artists who had also packed the so-called ‘kitchen sink’ in preparation for our week of painting.
Dingle (Irish: An Daingean / Daingean Uí Chúis, meaning “Ó Cúis’ fort”) is the only town on the Dingle Peninsula, and sits on the Atlanticcoast. It is also the place where the Academy Award winning Ryan’s Daughter was filmed back in the ‘70’s. The town was developed as a port following the Norman invasion of Ireland and has a population of just over 1900. The western end of the peninsula is a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area). This is the most western part of Ireland, and the village of Dún Chaoin is often jokingly referred to as “the next parish to America”. It has stunning scenery and the Blasket Islands lie off the west coast of the peninsula. It was the perfect place for landscape and seascape painting.
We travelled high and low, through the narrow roads of Conor Pass, on to Inch Strand, Slea Head, Ballyferriter and sometimes we just had to curb our enthusiasm and wait until the traffic cleared:
We set out one day and arrived at a place called Duineen with a magnificent mountain range and a river system sometimes referred to as the Three Sisters. We started the day with the sun shining as the waves danced and glimmered against the rocks. Seconds later, dark skies and hailstones, came from God knows where. The waves kicked up a storm and sprayed us with a cool mist while we tried in vain to protect the paintings and the easels from blowing away….
Another glorious day, the sun beat down on us and I imagined myself in far off sunny climes. All the superfluous layers of clothing were abandoned as we squinted away from the glare of the sun and topped up our delicate features regularly with sun cream.
Next day, we decided to go inland and pulled off to the side of the road. Came upon this amazing place called Kilmalkedar, an early medieval ecclesiastical site with a church dating back to the 12th century. This was a fine example of Irish Romanesque architecture when Ireland was trying to bring itself more into line with the rest of Europe. There was a sundial, a large cross and an ogham stone (Celtic alphabet). Inside the church was a 6th century stone carved with the letters DNI representing Domini. Many tourist buses came and went while we painted, but I found it charming when the school children arrived and all spoke fluent Irish as their Múinteoir (teacher) educated them on the enormous historical value of the site.
The days went by quickly. Dedicated painting throughout the day, then lots of chat and laughter as we exchanged our stories and discussed the day’s events over a nice meal. Friendships blossomed and many beautiful paintings were created in oils, acrylics and watercolours, each and every one unique. I look back now with fond memories of my plein air painting experience in Dingle.
Finally, saving the best till last, I had the absolute pleasure of attending Tchaikovsky’s first ballet, Swan Lake, with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra held in the wonderful surroundings of The Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin. The formation of The Russian State Ballet in 1979 brought stars from the famous Bolshoi, Kirov and Stanislavski ensembles together to bring Soviet ballet to the rest of the world. Odette/Odile was performed by Anna Scherbakova whose command of the stage and lightness of foot resembled a butterfly set free in a field of wild flowers, one more sweet and alluring than the next.
Swan Lake, is considered to be the greatest classical ballet of all time. Its romance and beauty has mesmerised audiences for more than 100 years. For me, it was a truly captivating experience.
With all of this in mind, I thought I would show you the paintings that I have worked on which are in keeping with this wonderful world of mystique and charm – the life of a dancer!