Today sees me writing to tell you about a challenge I have undertaken on Instagram.
Those of you who already follow me on Instagram will have seen quite a few references to #Aprilforartists #Aprilchallenge and #Pheobeganderart, appear in my postings over the last number of weeks. These tags directly relate to this challenge and currently day 16 is asking me about my largest challenge to date: My Most Courageous Moment !? EEK!
Firstly the fact that I have managed to do this for 16 consecutive days is, to my mind, quite impressive. Social media is a joy and a chore in equal measure, and having decided to be more mindful in how I use it, this challenge is the first prompted, and group organised activity, of this type that I have participated in.
The prompts that come from Phoebe Gander an Australian based artist who works primarily with fluid acrylic pours, have been at times random, frustrating, and enlightening. If you had to think about your career to date, could you talk to your peers or audience about your main inspiration? The tools you use how you started? Perhaps you’d care to share how you sell? could you talk about your vulnerable moments? your favourite work so far, or share the inner workings of your spontaneous or planned markings in sketchbooks? would you dare show your works in progress before you've decided yourself that they are ready to be viewed?????
Well that, my friends is what this challenge is causing me to do!
It sounds as if I'm complaining I am not, Phoebe Gander and her challenge are causing me to address plenty of things within my creative outlets that serve me and perhaps those that do not…. additionally it is giving me regular content for my Instagram page, and Pinterest account, and on top of that I share these posts to Facebook, and here I am writing about it on my blog….like I said social media can be a joy and a curse, but also a way to reach like-minded people, supporters and much-needed customers….
So for now, amongst other life and studio challenges I am grateful for this one...it is just forcing me to keep lines of communication open, were without these prompts I might not be so prolific in my social media use, especially now the children are on Easter holidays.
So with that in mind, I should sign off.
You're most welcome to visit and follow me on my Instagram here, and to pin my posts on my Pinterest account here, to see the answers I have given to these prompts and as always I welcome questions about my process, about my practice, and about my art... so feel free at any time and happy Easter to you all. I've just realised there is another upcoming challenge that applies to us all ....chocolate!!
Bye for now.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of being on the other side of a teaching table for once...I attended a lithography class with visiting artist Deidre Hierlihy from Ontario Canada at the Barracks Store in the wonderful Enniskillen Castle....its an amazing venue but I will come back to that in a minute!
So Deidre is visiting the Fermanagh/Omagh region on residency and I did mention her recently in a previous blog (see here) as I meet Deidre at the HAMBLY & HAMBLY showing of the successful, annual "1ft sq" exhibition, in which I was showing some of my wax & pigment monotypes from my #shapeoflifeseries that had travelled from the STRULE ARTS CENTRE in Omagh to the Hambly gallery in Enniskillen.
At the Hambly showing Deidre did a talk with slides about her work to date as part of a presentation by the local council and arts office by way of introduction into their (and their partners) ARTSLAND initiative focussing on inclusion.
Having seen Deidres wonderful printmaking skills first hand I was chomping at the bit when I saw the outreach programme of events for her visit included a number of print workshops, and especially her Lithography masterclass.
I arrived at the gorgeous castle site bang on ten o'clock for class, there was a small group of 6 of us, and Deidre herself, working from a large fit for purpose space within the inner courtyard know as the Barracks Store. After a brief introduction into the process, the materials involved and the small table top press Deidre proceeded to demo the print making process and before we knew where we were, we were away .... now traditionally litho is a stone printing process, laborious, masterful and precise...for the purposes of the class and with the onset of modern materials and greener practices we worked on polyester plates with oil based etching inks using soap, vegetable oil and coffee grounds as our cleaning agents ....the only chemical in use was citric acid and/or Gum Arabic for our water bath...good huh!
I won't go through the entire process here however there are great reference videos on youtube (as always) that will give you an idea of our process check HERE and look up printmaking with a Pronto Plate - its a brand of polyester plate, there are various plates, and brands of plates on the market for this process, so do check around the other references showing the process and of course if you are really interested do please look up Stone Litho - fabulous to watch and I imagine immensely satisfying to the print maker, there is a terrific intro video HERE .
We worked for several hours, I started with a very simple image, I was concerned with learning and understanding the process and not bothered in class about creating a perfect print...anyway my first attempt on newsprint was very telling! Not enough inking, my second was a mess, too much ink and not a damp enough surface...even the application of the link for Litho is different then my usual back and forth with a roller...you roll with pressure to ink and lightly roll in reverse to pick up any excess! Toothpaste was my white out when my inexperience left a finger print on the plate or the ink stained and left a blemish due to the lack of repelling surface water...but eventually I created a plate where the ink application was fairly even and I had learnt so much in the process of trying to get there!
An additional element to the day was an introduction to the use of chine colle to our litho print. This is the application of coloured or patterned papers (washi papers in this instance) adhered with the use of wheat paste to our inked printing plate, and put through the printing press to add colour to our final image. Again so many lessons learnt...the idea is to paste the coloured paper and lay it on your already inked plate with the paste side facing up...when run through the press the paper will adhere to your printing paper and the ink with print on top of this coloured paper as it adheres to the printing paper ....well that's the theory....but again inexperience showed, too much paste, forgot to work in reverse, colours used too dark to correctly see the ink overprinted on the papers.....but eventually we got there.
Whilst others were happy to create second prints after we broke for lunch, I was interested in the degreasing and additions I could add to this one same plate. I was also interested in pushing the image on a de-greased plate - would the faded original marks made (after degreasing) re-ink as shadows? What if I freshly drew over them in a gradated way, heat set and bathed and inked them again? Could I offset my print plate and ghost print onto the same paper print to create multiples of the image drawn....to what effect?? Needless to say others went home with a collection of prints they might not be ashamed to show off, not me, I left with a lot of mucky very averagely drawn prints but with a large and far reaching understanding of how this process works, its initial limitations (to my mind) as well and its extensive uses and possible adaptability in terms of my own interests and current practice.
How could I not have enjoyed the day, My many thanks must be extended to Deidre for her extensive knowledge and unwavering answering of my far too numerous questions. Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Enniskillen Castle...Go Visit if you haven't already , its a wonderful sight and with a great coffee shop, visitor centre, 3 museums, a gallery and numerous displays on offer right by the water on the River Erne and with free onsite parking it's well worth the visit.
This class has encouraged me to sign up for others, a day like this refills the well..I'll keep you posted.
I know it's hard to believe it's the middle of April already and so much has happened not least I had some postcards in the Incognito sale for Jack and Jill, at the fabulous Solomon gallery in Dublin.
It is for such a wonderful cause, Jonathan Irwin and his family started the charity to honour baby Jack Irwin and to provide much needed assistance in helping the families of children with neurological difficulties. Sponsored by William Fry Solicitors, this is the third year incognito has run at the glorious Solomon Gallery , the sale in Dublin is now over however it is due to run in Cork shortly.
The irony for me is, as somebody who worked in William Frys on a six-month contract as a law Clerk with the fabulous Debbie, in the very early days of my administration career, this is a full circle acknowledgement of my career change & life cycle. Good huh! Now if you are familiar with my work, especially my print series #shapeoflife you may well easily spot my contributions...if you get to t.ake home one of mine DO let me know, its always fun to find where the work ends up and .. enjoy!
All funds from the sales of these artworks go directly to the Jack and Jill foundation so I would encourage you to watch out for the sale due to start shortly in the Lavit Gallery Cork....follow the link x N.
Exhibition VenuesLAVIT GALLERY, CORK – 17-18 May
Sale starts on 17 May, 10am – 7pm | 18 May, 10am – 4pm
(Preview – 16th of May, 10am – 5pm)
oLast week I had a change to normal procedure as I was invited to guest host a live art event that happens on the last Wednesday of every month, here in Monaghan Town at the beautiful and historic Markethouse Venue on Park Street. Scroll Down to see more photos from the night.
I’ll tell you all about how that went in a minute but first want to tell you about the group, the Monaghan Arts Network.
Back in 2014 I was invited to a discussion along with a number of people from the local creative community to explore the possibility of an Arts event or happening of some type, as there was a tiny pocket of money from the Monaghan Community Forum available through PeaceIII, if it could be so utilised. As you can imagine the ideas were plentiful and varied, it was however universally decided that a "showcase live event" for existing, emerging and professional creative’s, would provide the broadest opportunity for the existing community across the board. It was to be run by volunteers with minimal costs and its mission was to promote the breath of talent in the county across all genres and help establish and build a sustainable arts audience within the county.
The tiny pot of funding would see us through a couple of months if we did one event a month and that was to be the end of it.
Little did we know that the town and the county was so extensively filled with talent on such a broad scale…the events have been running every month now for 5 years, by volunteers and self funded by audience donations (each month the event is free to encompass all aspects of the community – donations are accepted in lieu of any official ticket cost) and occasionally business sponsored refreshments, and every month the Monaghan Arts Officer makes available the Arts Office in the Markethouse Building, a flurry of activity sees the upper floor converted from gallery space to theatre, along with professional sound and lighting rigs and our very own professional sound engineer.
Each event sees between 4 and 5 acts of all artistic disciplines perform, test new material, give talks, do readings, dance, sing, paint and entertain an average audience of 60plus people of all ages.
For the first two years of the Monaghan Arts Network I was the founding secretary of the group, I stepped on to the stage on two separate occasions over the years to showcase my own work around the time of my solo exhibitions and additionally on occasion I also hosted the event. A couple of years in and as I was getting busier in my own practice and as alongside of that my health was suffering, alas I stepped down from the committee.
This past Wednesday night the 27th of March 2019 was the official 5th birthday of the network. Founding member, ex Chair and Monaghan Community Forum Officer at the time of inception, Dara MacGabhann, gave the audience a brief outline of the networks achievements, not only in the running of the network events themselves, but in all the additional projects that have coincided over the years including the independent production of a showcase cd called “Splitting the stones” featuring musical artists who performed for the network. A wonderful jam packed book of visual arts from showcase participants entitled “Gifts of the Mind” (in which I feature). Two plays written, produced and performed by members of the committee and friends of the network, as part of the 1916 commemoration program for the county and numerous concerts, pop up events, outdoor activities and fundraising for the local community.
I was delighted to be invited back to guest host this special 5th birthday gig and happy to cheer them on when the current successful committee cut their celebration cake during the interval.
I had the pleasure of welcoming the audience last Wednesday and announcing the line up of acts for the night, alongside of Daras great celebration presentation on behalf of the network, we were to enjoy the musical talents of wonderful songstress Amelia McCormack, Visual Artist Eimhin Farrell and the ever brilliant and rockin Bronagh McCabe.
I was delighted to play my part over the years with the development of the Monaghan Arts Network, it has developed into a stalwart cultural calling for the up and coming, and the up and came within our community and with a 5 month waiting list to perform I can only see it go from strength to strength.
If you wish to become a member of the Monaghan Arts Network committee message them directly through their fb page linked below, perhaps you're a Monaghan based creative who wishes to showcase to a local audience…again use the link below.
I enjoyed the chance to catch back up with all the gang, to throw my tuppence worth in again and to enjoy the immense talent on offer on the night as always - thanks for having me folks, see you at the next one where I shall be sitting at the back glass in hand.
Hey if you got this far, thanks for reading ...care for more? For a once a month update from the studio and life of Niamh O'Connor...subscribe below:
Thanks. xx N.
Today is Tuesday the 26th March, I have had the morning off, just me and the dog, to recharge the system after what can only be described as a very hectic weekend…right now I’m sitting in a little café here in Monaghan called Kingas, sipping coffee and typing whilst my youngest attends the local hall for a class…45 minutes to tell you what I’ve been up to….On Sunday I had the pleasure of teaching my “Encaustic with an Iron” introduction class to a group in Blessington, Co. Wicklow, if you follow my social media feed and particular my stories you may have seen this already.
The group called Cruthu are a west Wicklow arts group established in 2006, they base themselves in the astoundingly beautiful Russborough House courtyard where there are a small number of workshop spaces for arts and crafts workers…including Judy Heffernan with Jemglen Jewellery, Greg Long Visual Artist, Eamonn Heffernan bog oak sculptor and BeaJordanArts, amongst others.
The site is pure magic, set in a beautiful parkland and historic house with so many amenities provided, café, maze, house tours, icecream parlour, bird of prey centre, playground, 19th Century riding school, walled gardens and a wildlife habitiat to name but a few….no photos I had the time to take would do this amazing place justice….I had 20 minutes after the class to have a wee wonder about prior to the gates being shut at 6pm on this Sunday…no time to see half of what was on offer – needless to say if you find yourself touring this neck of the woods mark this spot on the map for a full days stop – its vast and simply gorgeous.
My group, and the reason I found myself at Russborough, comprised of ten participants of mixed abilities, some artists in their own rights, others not. we even had a candle maker I chatted wax with (we wax nerd-ed off on one another lol) I presented to the group a brief history of encaustic, introduced the tools, materials and equipment we would be working with for the day (all supplied by me)had a wee chat about health and safety and then we dove straight in ….starting as I do with basic colour application, in no time at all the ladies were producing botanical inspired colourful wax flowers, shaped and painted with their craft irons and they were off. The morning progressed with several versions of work created including an introduction into my 5 step landscape, we broke for lunch provided in the beautiful and cosy onsite café.
In the afternoon after a suitable amount of re-caffination, we had another walk through of the techniques applied in the morning session to re-inforce the learning. Then the participants had time to further develop their works and get creative…Iater I gave a demonstration on the creation of candle images using the iron (how could we not with a candle maker in the house) and everyone had a go before clearing up, mounting a number of works each and heading off for the evening.
We simply couldn’t believe how quickly those four hours had passed and with a little tech difficulty courtesy of my new sum-up machine finally a number of people even headed off with kits of their own to experiment and develop their skills – a delightful group to work with, I enjoyed the class immensely and would be very happy to visit with them again such was the enthusiasm for the session.
After packing up the car and preparing for the long drive home I had little time to explore the site for photographs as I mentioned before, however I do intend to revisit and really explore and when I get that chance I will share here x
Connected at the Copperhouse - an update
So last you heard from me I shared a wee process video ahead of my part in the group exhibition called Connected@thecopperhouse (through all social media channels follow #connected12 to see images and updates from the entire gambit of artists involved) the work was broad ranging, mixed media, advanced paper works, clay, encaustic, watercolour, graphic portraiture and photography and as mentioned before it was colourful, it was THANKFULLY a packed house AND it was fun….
I was ever so grateful to see a couple of familiar faces, family and friends pop in to lend their support. I landed a tidy commission I shall tell you more about another time but for now want to give a shout out to Mark at The Copperhouse Gallery for his support, Tara Prendergast from Biscuit for the support and to Monica Loughman for opening for us on the night. I especially want to thank the following artists for their comradeship and for the opportunity to show along side of ye all – a good bunch – cheers ladies x
Ana Dorado, Emma Higgins, Deborah Cogley, Karen Hickey, Isabelle Gaborit, Miriam Fitzgerald Juskova, Angela Emsen-West, Liga Valge, Rachel McDermott, Valerie Sweeney and Fran Halpin.
Hi there friends,
So those of you who follow me will know already that I am exhibiting at the gorgeous Copperhouse gallery in Dublin 8 along with 11 other award-winning & emerging artists and photographers. The breath of work at the show "Connected at the Copperhouse" is truly going to be outstanding and I do hope you can join us there from this thursday March 7th at 6pm.
Just recently I made a short timelapse video of some of my process working on some newer pieces which will have their first showing at this exhibition.
Three of these five new pieces will be shown in the copperhouse, they like much of my work started life as wax and pigment monotypes, produced using asemic markmaking on a hot matrix plate and my own mixes of pigmented wax based medium on fine Japanese kozo papers, this work was inspired by somewhat recent history namely the #metoo campaign and the #ChildishGambino song "this is america"...in this video I explain how I adhere to panel these delicate prints, despite changing my mind and removing them to reapply a layer of colour, the wax really strengthens the already wonderfully stong paper but it is still delicate and I wanted to share with you how I encapsulate the print in this gorgeous medium...I hope you enjoy a wee insight into my studio shenannigans and I hope to see you for the opening if you are free to join us. Remember ALL WELCOME.
as always xx N.
A short video from me today as I prepare some new pieces for exhibition in Dublin this March 7th at the Copperhouse Gallery. I love the Copperhouse I last exhibited with them for their succesful #nofixedabode with this piece #writingsonthewall.
This time I'm exhibiting as part of a collective called "Connected" a group of award winning and energing photographers and artists who became connected through a fb group supporting fellow creatives and run by Tara Pendergast. "Connected @The Copperhouse" is the culmination of our frienship and support.. we are showing a selection of works and we would love to see you there...join us do.
Here I am again wanting to tell you about yet another wonderful exhibition I am happy to have my work included in and a rather fun opening reception I was happy to attend.
I was very fortunate a few years ago to have an opportunity to apply to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council for entry into their annual 1ft sq show, its exactly as it says on the tin, all works exhibited must adhere to the rule of these dimensions and after that, what you produce and present for selection is up to you. In the earlier days of my work, this suited me very much as I preferred to work to a smaller scale. Excitingly my work was accepted for inclusion on my first application back in 2013 and I have submitted a new work (or several indeed) every year since with the same success. The absolute joy of my inclusion to this show is in the variety and span of art and artists I become exposed to through association. I have forged friendships, learned from and admired much of what I have come in contact with, and all under the eye of Arts Officer Di Henshaw.
This year there was a change in the usual procedure, the exhibition was still a submission call, however, the venue had changed. Originally this annual exhibition (now in its 11th year) was shown at the Higher Bridges Gallery in The Clinton Centre in Enniskillen Town but for various reasons, not least I am sure to the huge growth in numbers applying and its ongoing success (over 144 works on show this year) this year the exhibition was shown and opened at the wonderful Strule Arts Centre in the Centre of Omagh. The opening reception was held at Strule on 14th December last and was opened by the Chairman of the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Howard Thornton. The show ran through the Christmas period until the 12th January 2019. The images in the slideshow above are from that very night.
Just most recently, last Friday, in fact, I found myself traveling to Enniskillen yet again as the exhibition was on the move to the most gorgeous of surroundings the wonderful Hambly and Hambly Gallery at Dunbar House. The evening was to be kicked off with the usual mingling and viewing of works with a glass in hand although this time to the very pleasant accompaniment of invited Jazz pianist Jonathan Beattie.
Later we were officially welcomed to the show by Gallerist Ciara Hambly followed by an update as to the Arts Councils services in the region by Arts Service Manager Bryony May. Hambly and Hambly and the local arts council team organise regular arts gatherings and with the dates coinciding, visitors from the Artsland International Artist in Residence Programme; Nancy L Cook and Deidre Hierhily were in attendance to tell us a little about their works (Writer and Visual Artist respectively) and experiences on these particular residencies to date.
Both informative and entertaining, Deidre Hierhily discussed with us (accompanied by projections of her work) her interest in the linoprint making process and the importance of the graphic qualities this media brings that informs itself in her work. From Canada and currently working on a 4month residency at Aughakillyaude in Fermanagh, Deidre's works included marvelous images of Geese, landscapes which are 3 meters in size in some instances and a new body of work leading on from the Geese to the wonderful Magpie!!! Its monochromatic markings lending beautifully to Deidre's love of linoprint, she had wonderful examples of this work with colourful chin-colle hung for our consideration.
Next, we heard the poignant and beautiful readings of Nancy L. Cook. Nancy from the USA is currently on residency at the An Creagan centre in Omagh, working both on her personal writings and additionally engaged in an outreach program with a local national school,. My youngest son (aged 10) attended with me and had spent quite some time chatting with Nancy earlier in the evening and by the end of the night we both decided we loved her a little...for your pleasures please read some of Nancy's marvelous work which you will find on her website linked above.
As for my own work it was beautifully exhibited in one of the many quirky rooms, delightfully it doubles up as a wine cellar - this is an interesting, beautiful gallery with great works on offer - go see.
Below are pictures from the opening at Hambly and Hambly, the exhibition runs until 9th March 2019 opening Monday - Fri 10am- 4pm and Saturday 11am-3pm.
You may have seen on my social media feeds last week that I was very much looking forward to being in attendance with curator Dorothy Smith at the Droichead Arts Centre in Co.Louth for the talk and tour of the selected group show "Printworks".
I have mentioned before how good this show is, how phenomenal the work is, how wonderful the curation was, Dorothy's eye for pulling creative exploratory printmaking works together and turning it into a cohesive and impressive show has to be applauded.
The breadth of work and techniques simply have to be seen, works in stone litho, linocut, screenprint, woodcut, drypoint, etching, monotype, monoprint, even dimensional and mixed media exploratory printmaking, all selected from this North East region simply proves the depth of interest in printmaking is alive and well.
For details of the artists involved and other information concerning the show please visit website here
There is always something interesting (and quite special in fact) about meeting the artists involved in the creation of work at any good exhibition and to hear Dorothy speak about how she selected the works was very interesting.
To have members of the public there to put questions to the artists in attendance is also of the upmost importance, we artists have a tendency to live in a little bubble amongst ourselves, we understand or at least have familiarity with some of these techniques and the processes involved in the creation of these works, to hear the answers to the questions asked in a room with a mixed audience of this type was both informative interesting and entertaining at times, and it definitely enhances the viewers understanding, and dare I say it, the appreciation of the work on offer.
Of course as photographer for this blog I have no photos of myself with my own work but I will update this page if one becomes available through the gallery.
Earlier that morning still at the Droichead in Co Louth, I had been invited to teach and Encaustic monotype class to a group from Navan Youthreach as part of the outreach program connected to this exhibition. the small group of graphic design students along with their tutor joined me in the newly reopened print studio called "the yard" found to the rear of Barlow house.
This is an old studio space, two rooms in total with excellent lighting and a printing press the size of a double bed that I nearly swooned at... Not that I would get to use it that day. My process involves using heated pallets, a matrix plate, several mark making tools (both purchased and handmade or repurposed), personal protective clothing and a selection of waxes, some ready manufactuted and premixed others made by myself in bulk on my recent residency in Cill rialaig.
My first port of call on meeting the students was to discuss health and safety always important when working with heat and wax. I gave them a brief introduction to paper selection & the processes involved, along with the use of waxes and how a translucent opaque or metallic pigment suspended in wax may react differently on contact with the plate...I introduced and we discussed the differences between monotype and monoprint. Additive and reductive processes and trace monoprint with encaustic.
Each student was then given a demonstration on how to measure the temperature of their plate and control it, how to apply the medium to the matrix plate, the use of the mark making tools provided with emphasis on them using their intuition and creativity and allowing that to bring them where it may. And then they were off! It was a fun and successful class I do sincerely hope the Youthreach students from Navan enjoyed their day, I certainly did...there is something marvellous about watching people come to terms with the new medium and then start to explore it on their own. It is wonderful to see them come alive with possibility and additionally wonderful to see them leave with several works they are pround of.
The show printworks continue in the Droichead Arts Centre in Drogheda County Louth until march 2nd.
I hope you all got over Christmas and through January Unscathed??
Can you believe its February already! Yesterday was the start of the Chinese new year 5th Feb, the year of the pig....it is an auspicious year for many of us (thank jaysus cause the last few have been very bumpy indeed) and yesterday Google offered us this link, a mine of information all about it and what it means for us all going forward.
It also gives me the perfect excuse to pull my auld mucca (see what I did here) Baba Muc out of the picture file and relish in all his glory - I loved this pig, creating him was a feat of endurance as he is entirely covered in encaustic wax paint, his ruff, his crown and the stones at his feet are also encaustic and paper, His Crown is covered in Gold leaf and there are pearls sewn into his ruff and its finished with a gold leaf trim. if I hadn't had promised him to Pigsonparade.ie and Jackandjillchildrensfoundation.ie I would have kept him - I hope he brings his loving new owners a regular smile and a listening glossy waxy ear! (hes gracing the bottom of this post - give him a like).
January was a strange month wasn't it? It was a long one for many but funnily enough not long enough for me. Why you might ask? well, friends, I was been missing in action, away on a residency in stunning South Kerry. See Info Here
I was thrilled to attend the Cill Rialaig Project in Ballinaskelligs an award I received early last year, the dates were set and I was all excited and anxious about every aspect of it! Before I even considered going I had to make sure himself was on board, it was over two weeks of dealing with everything on his own, kids, schools, house, dog and a full-time stressful job with no respite ---Go! he said - angel x
And so I did, I was anxious about the drive, over 6 plus hours from door to door. Now if you know me and my story you will know that I suffer from episodic chronic fatigue syndrome...its a long complicated story but needless to say a drive of this magnitude is enough to raise the auld cortisol levels...I decided to break up the journey over two days, booked a b&b along the way and had myself a decent nights kip! The car was jammers, literally just enough space for me, myself and I. I brought way WAY too much stuff, too many clothes & shoes (I know don't ask) far too many materials and print papers and a ridiculous amount of reading materials, books and papers - don't do this folks, I was appointed my cottage and within hours of unpacking it looked as if Id lived there for ten years! Madness!!
I arrived in the fading light but even so the beauty was spectacilar...right on the Atlantic coast, the ever-changing light was simply majestic and the colour palette shifted from cinematic glory to full greys and shrouding mists in mere minutes...breathtaking stuff.
My renovated pre-famine thatched cottage accommodation was wonderful, a cosy loft bedroom from which I took many a morning photo, an open sitting room and studio space in the downstairs - the work/live balance worked beautifully for me. A kitchen and bathroom and that's it....the neighbours also on residency consisted of poets, painters, musicians and writers....a friendly bunch with varied and interesting stories to tell and a mutual understanding not to step over boundaries in terms of privacy and space to work. I took a gazillion photos, toured about, visited many a beautiful windy beach, made memories, friends and works of art. I also deeply fell in love with the place and the people and will be back for sure, not just to the residency but to the area....the stunning beauty of this island of ours is simply overwhelming and Kerry especially and as my mate Conor from Tralee says "We don't call it the Kingdom for nothing" too true Conor too true.
I honestly have so many more photos but for now this shall give you all a glimpse, I visited Valentia, Waterville, Portmagee, Kilgorlin, Caherrsiveen, Derrynane beach and every cove, corner and crook of Ballinaskelligs that I could find...It s a magical place it really is and although the village at Cill Rialaig is not officailly open to the public if you ever find yourself in that neck of the woods go explore the hills.
Contemporary Visual Artist working in mixed media/encaustic based in the durmlins of Co.Monaghan. Ireland.