recent paintings and news

recent paintings and news

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

a way-Ireland wrap up

I have been back from my Ireland residency for a few weeks now-in body at least. What a magical setting to stir the imagination! I can’t seem to articulate all that the experience has left in my being, but I won’t hurry the unfolding either. Time spent living and working at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre has deeply affected me on many levels and will continue to do so.

Brave heart(study) mixed media on mylar, 20x 34in, 2012

I have met colourful characters, spinning myth and truth woven and worn by families that have lived on the land for generations. As well, stories shared by fellow artists, musicians, composers and playwrights at Annaghmakkerrig deeply enriched my own spirit. The noise of life can really muffle our sensibilities and when it is removed the soul speaks about what is truly relevant. 

As far as  making art, I did delve into new work and it was great to have the much needed time to do research. I am still processing and distilling all that I have learned but was surprised at how engrossed I became with Ireland’s political and religious history and how deeply intertwined they are. Because of my interest in agriculture  I started reading about the great famine -or ‘Black 47’ as it was more aptly named. 

Black 47, study, oil/wax on canvas, 8x10in

Admittedly I did not know much about it so was appalled and horrified when I learned that-in a very general nutshell- thousands of poor rural families were dying in their homes while food grown from Irish soil was being shipped to England for profit. The study above was in response to words by  Liam ó Comáin that very much resonated with me: 
It was not what they called it
For the latter is born from nature
And therefore not man made.

This was man made-
In fact an attempt by non natives
To end a race via genocide.

Thousands upon thousands dead
Thousands upon thousands forced
Into exile across the globe.

And for what- four green fields
Whose produce was exported
As men, women, and children starved.

Of course the potato was blighted
But corn and other produce left our
Shores while inhumanity was confirmed. 

Liam ó Comáin

The Troubles

Annaghmakkerrig is only a few miles from  Northern Ireland and this close proximity kindled  my on-going fascination with Ireland’s political history. One evening I was privy to engage in a lengthy conversation with someone who had participated in the IRA during ‘the Toubles’ and it was fascinating to learn, first hand, about growing up during  such a dangerous time of turmoil and political unrest.

The Troubles, mixed media on mylar, 24x30in, 2012

And on a more optimistic and wondrous note I have developed a keen interest in the symbols of  the Megalithic Passage Tombs at Loughrew and Newgrange, built by Neolithic farming communities about 5000 years ago!

 The passage tombs have clear astronomical alignments such as the Winter Solstice Sunrise at Newgrange and the Equinox Sunrise at Loughcrew. 

 I will continue to investigate…as well I have become fascinated with Irelands’  protective and protected faery forts and the magical and mysterious power of the hawthorn tree.

So all in all I feel that I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. It was to be a time of transition, to find my way-perhaps a new way and  I will continue to learn about Ireland-the people, the land, the myth, the song.

Thank you to all that followed this daily journey on my other blog and a heartfelt thank you to those who took the time to leave comments.

Now that I am back home, I have been taking advantage of this gorgeous weather to get out and do some plein air work. I wondered if I would be inspired to keep on with it after my trip and happy to report that it is in my blood- I will always go out into this beautiful land and paint.

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat
may the road rise to meet you

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