I’m Here! CillRialaig Artists Retreat

And this is my fabulous view!

It’s incredibly remote, wild, wet and windy. But I am cosy in my cottage studio with a roaring fire in the stove and mugs of tea constantly on the go.

There are lovely friendly artists staying in the other cottages, so far I’ve made two new friends.

I will post some images of work in progress once I get properly started. Lots of painting ideas and maybe a few poems to write too.

Old Goose

So excited to be heading down to CillRialaig (County Kerry retreat centre) again tomorrow! A long train journey, and an overnight in Killarney on the way

Old Goose

Standing at the open window

Of the train rushing through new terrain

Listening to the rhythmic pounding

Of the wheels on the shiny rails

~

Yes, I will, I do, I can

I see, I make, with love

Yes, I choose, I go, I try

To fly. I make a leap

~

Choosing the forward momentum

Denying the steel bars

In that cold and hungry

Prison cell of fear

~

No, to halting fearful saying

You’ve had your fill. It’s too late

No, to thinking it can’t work out

You’re too old, just be still

~

Even the old goose still makes

The journey South

She doesn’t wait

To grace your Christmas plate

~~~

An Island in the West

‘At the Peak’ a large painting of mine now in a private collection

Surrounded by the lull

Of the lapping amniotic salty sea

~

On a calm day blue green

Serene as a lullaby

~

In a storm she crashes

And collapses the beach defences

~

Triangle mountain transcends

The violent fickle pull of the tide

He manifests new pathways

~

Pierces the clouds of self abnegation

And affirms my right

To the light of creation

~

Home of the sun god Lugh

Sharp granite peak of enlightenment

Pointer to the stars

~~~

Weather

This is the Atlantic! Well just the small tidal strip between Cruit Island and Kincasslagh (County Donegal)
A very brief walk down by the shore with the dogs yesterday before getting caught in a horizontal hail storm
Unusually high tide up into the fenced field down by the shore (if you can’t get through it you have to go round it!) Always thankful for my waterproof boots (wellies), good coat, hat and gloves in Donegal !

Happy New Year 🕉

Getting there

Me at CillRialaig in August 2020
Cottage 5 CillRiallaig studio area
Picnic bench overlooking the sea

I’m booked into the wonderful artist retreat (cottage 5 again woohoo) at CillRialaig in County Kerry for 8th January for two weeks. It will take me two days getting there on public transport, and I need to ship most of my materials in advance. I wish I found the planning stage easier, but once I’m there I’ll be there

Getting there

does the swallow

prepare for

her long flight

the night before

is the bear

aware of tomorrow

as she wakes

my brain leaps

in consternation

with calculations

of timetables

connections

arrivals departures

online booking apps

websites for overnights

advance preparations

ephemera

of getting there

from here

but once there

I’ll be there

with all of me

being simply

human

I can only

hope so

St Stephen’s Day

Watching the sky from our ‘sun room’ where we overwinter our geraniums. Nursing a sore back.

sudden gusts

of black dust

motes of

starlings

or small

songbirds

burst forth

from spidery

sycamore skeletons

waving bony

branch fingers

across the

gentle soft

grey sky

with luminous

liminal spaces

watched from

inside a

hazy cloud

of codeine

and caffeine

by bright globes

of whitest

geraniums

startling

against

these winter

hibernating

greens

Fingers Crossed

This is me at Hambly and Hambly gallery with my painting ‘Fermanagh Days’

This is my submission piece for the John Richardson French Residency Award 2021

The decision of the judges will be announced this evening.

I am so thrilled to be on the shortlist of 40 finalists for the award of a 10 day residency in France in April 2022

I wish all the shortlisted artists the very best of luck 🍀 There are 3 places available, and the winning artists will be hosted by Ciara and Nick Hambly and mentored by the Aosdana artist Eamon Colman

I’ll let you know 🤞🍀

PS. Not me! Congratulations to painters Katarzyna Gajewska and Gary Robinson 🙌

And Musician Clara Marie

Aspiration (draft)

Like the kite my sight
Is sharp and on the air
With flair I soar
And shift and twist to show
My colours caught by
The golden glow from far below

And like the otter in cold water
I roll and glide
Down slippery lime green slimy slide
Between two elements
With natural ease
No one else to need to please

And the haunting oyster catcher’s call
That fills the wide blue sky
From wall to wall with tuneless song
Where I belong
Between the sea and pebbled beach and sky
A painted brushstroked flock
Behind, within me, my ear and hand and eye

https://www.facebook.com/liz.doyle.96

Old stick backs

These old chairs handed down

‘Old stick backs’

Monday morning, nearly Christmas
Sitting reading and drinking a first coffee by the stove
Just retrieved the hyacinths ‘forcing’, from the cupboard, in the yellow bowl
They always hold so much promise
At this, their etiolated stage
Like us, searching for the light
All the blue and yellow
Like a painting, perhaps I haven’t painted yet

💙💛

(Little painting above the door by Heidi Nguyen)

Tree

Undressed tree

I am quite tempted to leave this year’s tree in its ‘naked’ state, a symbol of Winter’s rest and retreat rather than an allusion to all that glitter and gluttony of our often over-done festival time

But I expect in a few hours I will relent and look for the tangle of wires and bulbs and the dusty box of baubles in the store room

A more indulgent bigger glittery one our first Christmas in this house – probably 10 years ago!

The swimmer

The Swimmer (r) in my studio at the start of 2021

As we wind down to the end of this year I am starting to review my works, and think about shows and placements for next year

These two in the image above were part of a large series of about 20 paintings, still ongoing, called ‘Who’s Watching’

It’s still possible that some of them might end up in Sag Harbor, Long Island, New York, as it was Mark of Mark Borghi Fine Art who encouraged me to make these large paintings, and had originally asked for them for his gallery for March this year, but with the ongoing difficulties with the Covid pandemic, that still hasn’t happened

They might go to Hambly&Hambly for a solo show in 2022, but again, I haven’t got dates for that either.

I have an art residency at CillRialaig in County Kerry starting on 8th January and another residency at Tyrone Guthrie in County Monaghan in June

View of the cottages at CillRialaig
Tyrone Guthrie (Annaghmakerrig) in County Monaghan

Hark!

Tide (c. 100x170cm)

My gallery, Hambly&Hambly in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, has a fabulous exhibition, HARK!

Celebrating the season with a beautiful selection of new works from me and of course many other brilliant artists from across the island of Ireland and further afield

To celebrate the season and to thank all my great followers, collectors and friends at Hambly&Hambly there is a very special offer available on these new works

Breathe (c. 110x160cm)

The offer is to buy one of these two big pieces shown above (‘Tide’ and ‘Breathe’) at a special reduced seasonal price, and receive TWO of these smaller works below FREE as a gift and a thank you from us to you 🎄

Clockwise from top left: ‘shoal’ ‘weir’ ‘flagella’ and ‘b-valve’ these are 10” and 12” square (c. 30 & 25cm)

Please contact Ciara Hambly at the gallery on

+44 7808 010327

Or email Ciara@hamblyandhambly.com

Storm Barra

Cosy stove

Power is out

Cell phone/ mobile will die soon!

So glad we have 3 stoves and plenty of firewood!

No pump though, so it’s only warm next to the fire! We have a solid fuel kitchen stove too, so we can cook on that – and a gas bottle and 2 rings as well. Luckier than most.

Wilkins the marmalade cat sharing the warmth 🧡

Stay safe and warm 🍀❄️

Perpendicular

These are ‘breastworks’ (uprights along the sea wall) and ‘groynes’ (at right angles )

This is a a new (first draft) poem:

‘Perpendicular ‘

For forty years the sea defences have protected

the front. At Borth and Ynyslas.

The old familiar way was shoring up

with strong timber upright breastworks

and jutting joists and great beamed groynes.

Bleached now by summer’s gold.

Old oak silvered and smoothed to salty sinews

Gravel and grit erosion pebble dashing

the frontages. Wrack draped and clasped

in rust. Scarred and scarified

by four decades force. Bearing up

against lifelong accretion. Pileup

of crashing drift and tide.

Perpendicular props. Familial forces

trying vainly to combine their strength

against dying under life’s attack.

Cold stone proposed along this ancient front

now sinking against an unquiet sea.

Forces of opposition with steely knives

and cranes and engineering.

Of a concrete will. Defying the tide like Canute.

Tempting Fate. Or perhaps too late

Bah humbug

An un-Christmassy draft poem!

Just thinking about how much overindulgence there is to come in this next month!

This tree is from a few years ago, ours isn’t up yet this year

New poem (draft) November 2021

Chocolates and toffees in bright tubs almost force fed
piled high in the aisles everywhere in the Northern hemisphere
in all of Christendom from October to January. So much gold
foil and bright lights. Too much for me, for my eyes
for my mind for my heart for my soul. For my teeth. For the Earth
a farce of false sweetness. Corruption and greed. How much stuff
do we need. Feed the hungry. Not addiction, excess weight
and Big Business. It keeps me awake at night, gives me heart
burn and palpitations. Nations aren’t ready to lay down their excesses
or redress the imbalances of their fathers and grandfathers. What of the mothers
and children and their children and grandchildren when the lands in the South
that grow sugar cane are desert and dead? When will they get it into their heads
We don’t want all their baubles and promises. Fudged fixes and smoke screens.
Christ would have been happy with dates

Good to be back

It’s so good to see you all again ‼️

What with lockdown and everything I’ve been missing you

Let me know in the comments what you’ve been up to for the last few months

And what are you looking forward to doing as lockdown gradually eases where you are?

Stay safe! 🍀 Looking forward to hearing your news!

TAG#4

Delighted to announce that my work is featured in the new issue of Painterstubes magazine

My painting ‘Peripheries’ is on the front and back covers

http://www.painterstubes.gallery

Here’s the painting hanging in a house in Westport, County Mayo

This installation is for an episode of an interior design show on Irish television. More news soon!

Water to spare

‘Water to spare’

~~~

A dog’s tail, an empty chair, an empty terracotta pot. Anticipation. Lush. Inside outside interaction. Who waters? Who sits? Who is the sleeping collie waiting for?

~

Yellow wall and red geraniums, green growth of many shades and shapes. Who chose the vibrant warm wall colour? A corner of a cane table with text heavy folded paper. A broadsheet. Who reads?

~

Can we guess the occupants’ race or creed or country? Could it be North America or Europe? It doesn’t seem parched enough for Africa or most of Asia or Australia. Water to spare for pretty household plants, a collie in the house not herding sheep or cattle. Time enough for reading the Times.

~

Just a glance at a small corner of a lucky life lifts and heals my heavy heart.

~~~

This is an ‘ekphrastic’ poem, ie a prose poem written in response to an image

I have been learning about different poetic forms from Alison Smith who runs the free Facebook group ‘Womens School of Metamorphosis, Radical change from inside out’

https://www.facebook.com/groups/wsmradicalchangeinsideout/?ref=share

Flora

Foot bruised by an accident of enthusiasm

I can sit on the salvaged Parker Knoll recliner

pondering in splendid regality.

Spider Queen surveying her domain

of seven growing decades

Through wide opened double doors

On the hottest day of herstory

~

Up close (and so personal)

A bee fusses the scented pelargonium

on Dad’s old hand built coffee table

Marquetry stained by decades

of over enthusiastic watering

A fly dies in the cobwebbed corner

~

Foreground of swaying

frothy alchemilla mollis

Mum’s favourite coloniser of stone patios

and steps, perfect foil for sweet

Pastel pink blowsy Summer Wedding

rose blooms, stark against darker shadow

Memories of those North facing gardens

~

Backdrop of top heavy sycamore crowns

Rustling with seed jewels

Harbouring raucous caws of picus picus

Five for silver or six for gold

Most likely seven for those family secrets

Never been told

~

In the midfield young rowans

reach adolescent feathered arms

Up to the light. Early years stunted

by the North wind

Now finding strong footholds

Deep in the Donegal granite.

~~~

Heatwave

Heatwave

~

a Sunday in July, midday in a heatwave

‘caravan beach’ fills with campers and tents

~

sultry as summer in the south of France

Donegal unused to this weather

~

pull down black blinds to the South

open all windows North

~

dogs pant on the slate floor in the hall

fill water bowls almost hourly

~

solar panels reach maximum

fill a bath for watering later

~

so glad of the breeze from the sea

lifting the heavy geranium heads

~

swifts on the red endangered list

guillemots declining steeply

~

neighbour’s wayward cat has returned

the Times warns of two thousand extra deaths

~~~

Becoming crone

hair shaggy and long, yellowish grey

mane of wild mare on the moor

~

sun brown spotted hands, neck crepey

tales of giant turtle’s travels

~

paddling feet flattened and broad

limpet lumps clamping the granite in clusters

~

eyes fading sky blue to cloud grey

rowan bark silvered bearing bright berries

~

mind wanders, meanders, drifts dreaming

spider spinning out silky concentric circles

~~~

Those of you who would like to see more of my writing, I have joined Substack:

https://lizdoyle.substack.com?r=fibbn&utm_medium=ios