I have been painting on canvas and more recently aluminium composite panels for nearly twenty years and professionally for a decade. Realistic paintings depicting subject matter I have experienced directly or photographed are the mainstay of my art. In the past I used to religiously pursue a kind of photorealist style, sometimes I still do that, but I’ve tried to go a bit looser more recently, relying more on experience and memory.
I’ve lived in a beautiful part of the southern coast of Ireland almost all of my life which influences much of my painting. I live in a frontier landscape, less than 200 metres from Garryvoe beach, our house is just one field away. The beach, due to steady erosion of soft, low, clay cliffs, is advancing towards home a little bit every year. Living in a transient landscape because of this erosion is something that keeps me returning to it as subject matter.
I grew up on a tillage and sheep farm, my father was a farmer. The passing of the seasons and how the worked fields change with them is a recurring theme because of this early experience. My father was also an early, strong support to me having a go at art. He died when I was 15. About a year after his death, the once busy farmyard, now deserted, became the ground zero for practicing art. I did a few scenes around there, enjoyed doing them and art became a hobby for a number of years. Over the years since, there’s a poignancy when I paint some of the fields he once farmed, which casual viewers of such have no idea about.
I studied history and archaeology in university and for a few years practiced commercial archaeology, working on rescue digs in advance of motorway work around Ireland. All that stopped in late Spring 2008 with the economic downturn. With no future in archaeology and no desire to pursue advanced studies in it, I returned to painting, devoting myself to it and honing my practice over the following years.
I’ve had ten solo exhibitions so far, nine of which in the Grainstore in Ballymaloe, a multi-purpose venue four miles away. I always have them in August. It has given me the opportunity to sell quite a few paintings as well as meeting people from all over the world and getting feedback on my work. I act as art dealer and curator in setting up my exhibitions and taking sales whilst attending there, enjoying this DIY, hands-on approach.
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