Poetess on a Curved Road
oil on panel, 40 x 50 cm, 2015
What are you working on in your studio right now?
I cleared my studio and got new surfaces in January and since then I'm slowly developing the surfaces with layers of marks. I have many ideas I want to work on in the future. I have always wanted to paint more nocturnal scenes and over the Winter I spent a lot of time walking the streets of a few small towns in Ireland, taking photographs. So I hope to create a few nocturnal paintings in the near future.
Can you describe your working routine?
I can only paint in daylight. Once dusk arrives I clean my brushes and leave. There is no such thing as a waste of time in the studio. Every single mark I make is relevant even if it is painted over, and helps to energise the painting later on.
Every time I make a painting there is an intense feeling of finality, I give it everything I have like it's the last painting I'll ever make or it's the last exhibition I'll ever have. So I become depleted several times throughout the year and need to stop painting. I use this time to gather source material for further work and compose paintings in my mind. When the creative energy is high I am in 'outpouring mode' and I paint a lot. After an intense period of painting and I am exhausted, I am in 'intake mode'. Between the two modes I am constantly working. Like being asleep and being awake, they are both equally important.
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
I have a small, quiet studio space with a bright window just off O'Connell Street in Dublin, seconds away from everything. It takes me a long time to get used to a space, the space has to be blessed with work created there. Then it becomes a sacred space, as private as your own bedroom. I love the moment when I close the door of my studio away from the noise of the city and sink into the silent world of creativity. I love simply being there, it's where I truly feel myself. I always feel a slight ache of longing whenever I have to leave my studio and I take one long last glance into the room before I lock the door.
Work in progress. Painting a landscape over a portrait
Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
Since I was a child I like to sit or stand in nature, after a while things start to happen, like a story unraveling before your eyes. I go into a meditative state. I try to capture the atmosphere of a place where I once stood, so the viewer is now standing in my place.
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
Last year I began to push myself into making larger works and stop making very small works. It is my natural inclination to make small, personal works. I love the intimacy of being able to hold the painting in my hands. I have found it very difficult to translate these intimate marks to a much larger surface. I have also enjoyed making very small works as a warm up to larger works. The surfaces I am currently working on are much larger than what I am comfortable working on.
Work in progress
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
It depends on what I am trying to achieve with each painting. Certain ideas demand more experimentation. I like to sand surfaces back, add texture such as beeswax and sand, or pour paint onto the surface while working on the floor.
I love painting over my paintings, all that history is there in the surface.
work in progress
What does the future hold for this work?
I have been invited to have a solo exhibition in England and in Denmark but I haven't committed to anything yet and feel I prefer to keep this year free. I can only make work just for the sake of it. I believe the quality and strength of work will invite the right venue for it.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
More information can be found on my website
Cardinal, oil on panel, 25 x 35 cm, 2014