changeable weather

New large piece on linen 120x210cm

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Landmarks series

I have just finished these 3

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On the ‘drying wall’ in my studio
The stark light patches are both disrupting and essential ingredients in my studio life! I have an ambiguous love affair with skylights

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Landmark 1 / the path
120 x 80cm

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Details from Landmark 1/ the path

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Landmark 2 / shadows
60cm sq

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Details from Landmark 2/ shadows

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Landmark 3 / lightshaft
80cm sq

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Details from Landmark 3 / lightshaft

Notes:
1.In November 2014 I visited Ceide Fields – a neolithic site in North Mayo where they have discovered 52 miles of stone boundary walls from a farming settlement over 5000 years old. 
2. This year I am lucky enough to be heading to San Francisco and New York to visit some major art galleries exibiting the works of the American Abstract Expressionists and I am particularly looking forward to seeing some of Richard Diebenkorn’s paintings in ‘the flesh’

I have come to realise  recently how much it helps me to know something about the history or interests of an artist in order to more fully appreciate their work. That’s not to undermine in any way the importance of the solely visual impact. And I definitely don’t like the verbiage and arts peak that goes into many ‘artists statements’. I’m searching for a middle ground and would welcome comments

one or three or seven

This is a blog about painting (when isn’t it ha!), but its also a question or ponder on numbers. I am enamoured of one and three and seven for some reason. One is the whole, the circle, complete, closed, sun and moon. Three is balance, triangle, ancient symbol of spirit and unity, the trinity, starry, sharp, fulcrum, stable. Seven is mystical, magical, lucky, superstitious, dwarves, seventh son of seventh son, witches and wizardry. And all are prime numbers.
And how does this relate to painting? Only in a coincidental way:

I have been making a triptych (3 canvases that form one piece, I think, more later)
The paintings starting point was the view of the mountains on the road home from Letterkenny a few days ago. It was raining and the mountains were swathed in low cloud. Only really Muckish visible.

So I primed my 3 canvases, starting with a dark blue/purple that would eventually be revealed by solvent dribbles and scratches through the upper layers. Then a blue/turquoise. First photo:

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The next day I added some green and a yellowish grey. This was printed over the top, by applying with a squeegee to grease proof paper on a rough textured surface, the pressing the mottled paint onto the canvas and smoothing over. Then some mark-making and ‘revealing’ with solvent to show the dark blue from underneath:

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Meanwhile I was also working on a few small paper pieces, using the same colours and processes as I went along, and trying out some mark making too. The marks in these 2 are suggesting Muckish half covered in cloud. Incidentally these 2 are already sold!

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The next day I felt that the works lacked depth somehow, and also I didnt like how the colour ‘blocks’ formed an unattractive lumpy ‘horizon line’ accross the 3 canvases. Maybe they aren’t one work but 3. So I separated them slightly. Then added some new colours, ochre and a darker grey, and rolled over the whole effect, making it more homogenous in the process

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Ok, so back to the question of one or three or seven. As I separated the 3 canvases, I was thinking about 3 sisters, myself and my 2 older sisters in my 3 child family, and the ‘3 sisters’ of the 3 canvases, separate as well as connected. Then I remembered that the range of mountains on the road home from Letterkenny has 7 peaks, known affectionately as the Seven Sisters. They are Errigal, Machocht, one whose name I dont know, the 3 Aghlas and Muckish at the end. We can see Errigal and the Aghlas from our house.

So, these are either one work or three connected works, inspired by and featuring the seven sisters

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and they might not be finished yet

mid winter pause for painting

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29th of December and another batch of family visitors head homewards. Husband and 2nd daughter, 2nd daughters puppy, Holly collie, and our 2 dogs head off to walk to the top of snowy Errigal, leaving me to grasp the moment in my studio

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a detail of texture

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and my shoes!