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

~~~

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

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

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 🍀❄️