Hi there Arty Friends,
I'm happy to tell you all I've been painting ... A LOT.... I started back at the paints prior to Christmas, splashing acrylics about in a bid to loosen up, to find some new flow to my work and to challenge myself to working in a different way but influenced by how I normally work with Encaustic.
Its been a revelation to be honest..layering hand made collage and monoprint over intuitive super expressive marks, playing with tones and hues and then moving into the more decisive and questioning part of the painting has really opened up some different conversations for me...I tried to further the challenge by reducing my palette, both in terms of paint and collage and with thanks to a very intensive (self imposed I might add) yet pleasurable week on an artists residency at the amazing Tyrone Guthrie Center I feel some real progress has been made.
Just as well says you as I prepare for two solo exhibitions in the Autumn/Winter season..but more on that later...
I have a few classes coming up shortly, another retreat weekend for the ICA at An Grianan and an encaustic print making demo at Creative Spark on behalf of AAEX, a gig Im very much looking forward to, as I get to share my techniques with my peers.
But my primary concern this month is exhibiting in Switzerland from the end of the month, a visit I hope to extend by visiting with my sister and her family, two birds one stone and Im hoping its going to be a great experience...its definitely a learning curve transporting large scale works abroad but Im hopeful with the advice we have been given all will be well..It is going to be a great show, 55 international female artists descending on the glamorous town of Gstaad facilitated by Swiss arts led group Artsfemin and supporting WFWI charity....showcasing work from across the globe and supporting one another and I am delighted to be joined representing Ireland by my friends and colleagues Miriam Fitzgerald Juskova and Fran Halpin...please wish us well and follow our social media feed for the daily updates.
For now I shall leave you a little video of my work in progress time at TGC and the terrific time I had in starting 15 paintings, some on paper , some canvas...more to be done ...Bye for now. xx N.
So late as it is, this is my first blog of 2020, and as such I want to start off by saying I hope this decade is the best yet for you all.
The end of 2019 was a little bumpy here as my poor mam was desperately unwell post knee surgery and contracted MRSA, it was a worry for sure...she has really been through the mill but is rallying well just with one or two continuing complications...it made us all very quickly access how lucky we really are..its a very true statement that your health is your wealth, as well I know.... thankfully with mum on the mend, kids back to school and hubbie to work I can return to the studio, Christmas was a quiet affair, we all had the awful bug in the run up to the big day so to say we enjoyed our quiet family Christmas at home is an understatement.
AAEX - INSTALLATIONS EXHIBITIONS. Nov 2019.
If you follow me on social media you will already know about my involvement in the wonderful AAEX Installations show prior to Christmas in Dundalk, Co. Louth.
AAEX or 'Art As Exchange' is a professional arts group of approx 30 like minded individuals bringing attention to North Louth and subsequently the entire North East region through their engaged public art. AAEX teamed up with curator Anne Mager from 'The Corridor' to explore alternative exhibition spaces in Dundalk, with the help of several supporting partners we secured a large vacant shop on Clanbrassil Street and satellite installations at The Demesne, the Longwalk Shopping Centre, the route from the Train Station through to Park Street and the County Museum. The exhibition ran from 15th Nov - 29th Nov and culminated in a wonderfully attended and lively engaging panel discussion hosted by AAEX, Anne Mager and Marcel Krueger 'Where is the art in Dundalk'
I was delighted to reconfigure my spirit bowls (Series: Ballast Full of Hope) and build a site specific display in a very dark anti-room off the main exhibition space in Clanbrassil Street for this event.
My installation entitled 'Abundance' comprised a collection of delicate hand cast pure wax bowls, vessels, arranged amidst black draping and reflected in mirrored glass, to express the infinite possibility in us all…Abundance. Was there to be found and yet one must seek it out….
This was a thrilling vibrant and enlightening group to work with, I am very excited for any future association with AAEX and honored to be among them…to find out more about the group and amazing line up of artists check them out on social media here, see the jam packed catalog here.
For now, here is a wee video compilation of the event I made and a look at several of the amazing installations that made this such a vital and versatile arts event.
I will check in here again very shortly with a little news about what the first quarter of this year has in store for me...stay tuned and stay well, until then. x N.
New work this week as I'm shifting things up and its all because of the treatment of this new Monotype!
I've recently been wanting to change things up in the studio a little, and had a wee experiment where I adhered an encaustic monotype to a canvas!
Fittingly I called it, 'Leap of faith'...see above.... it worked out beautifully!
As I usually and primarily work on board this was a simple yet new direction for me and is opening up a plethora of possibility, not least in easier access to canvas but also in changing out how I might incorporate my encaustic monotypes into collage based mixed media works.
With that in mind I purchased a large canvas, well large for me... At 75cm by 100cm. I started to cannibalize my monotypes and adhere them to this canvas with gel medium, as the canvas was already primed I then proceeded to get busy with my favourite asemic mark making approach before laying in colour and quickly I realised I need to knock it back a bit!
To my mind the delicate tones used in my monotype sections was fast becoming overpowered by the use of paint medium... so diluted gesso to the rescue, I used the gesso as a paint medium, rubbing it over and scraping it back from the painted pigmented sections, and it gave it a wonderful softness that successfully knocked the strength of those pigments right back for me.
I finished the piece with more mark making and the use of oil sticks and oil pastel and have decided to call it 'Longitude and Latitude'. (See the finished piece below).
This may well have been inspired by all the recent trips we've had as a family to our Irish coastline, visiting both the beautiful wilds of glorious Donegal and the astounding rugged peninsula of west Cork in recent weeks, or my husband's ongoing obsession with outdoor swimming... But either way it has the tranquil quality of water and is a very restful non objective abstract, full of subtle energies and gentle calm.
I most recently invested in a wonderful app called #artrooms, which has at last given me the opportunity to show in-room images of my works without (thank jaysus) having to be a tech wizard or have a PhD in the wild wooly ways of the internet!!!.... a marvelous tool not just for the stunning room options that work so well with my contemporary works but also because it gives me a chance to show you what the pieces look like framed with several different options to suit each taste or interior...I'm loving it!
Check it out... http://artroomapp.com
Recently I took up the challenge of going live on social media, if you saw that you know I promised a number of book recommendations, here are my first 5...feel free to tell me what you have read or are reading that should be on my "book purchase" list.
Hi there Friends,
It's been a very busy few months here between my usual run of classes and workshops, including my 101 masterclass in encaustic at my home studio. A tailor made package for 2 people where I introduce participants to the joy of encaustic painting on panel, including, medium and paint making, incising, accretion techniques and transfer...a great fun day out with lots of materials to play with..I have two weekend dates still available prior to the Christmas period, so drop me a line if its a day of exploration and experimentation you think you might enjoy.
Its also been a busy time for exhibitions as I showed a number of works from my "hidden...Out Loud" series at Hambly and Hambly at Dunbar house in Enniskillen as part of their summer solstice celebrations during their event happening as part of the amazing Fermanagh Live festival.
L'art Pour L'art, was a magical happening event as an opening reception for the exhibiting artists with the most spectacular music provided by Maeshine a Bangor based duo, namely Inge and Anna who fuse Folk with cetic, world and new age genres...soulful stuff and a terrific showing of available works from yours truly and many others.
I am delighted to be facilitating this upcoming workshop in the Johnston Library, Farnham Street Cavan. As part of The Tyrone Guthrie collection exhibition. The advertisement reads: Join visual artist Niamh O'Connor for a twist on the traditional ' Trace Monotype', rather then inked plates and rollers discover the experimental approach of creating soft line drawings using heated palettes, wax saturated papers and pencil. This printerly drawing process requires you bring your own reference images for inspiration, as you explore this contemporary approach to this most traditional artform.
There are very limited spaces so be sure to book sooner rather then later if interested...look forward to seeing you there. N.
Contemporary Visual Artist working in mixed media/encaustic based in the drumlins of Co.Monaghan. Ireland.