Joseph Dawson


I've been drawing and painting forever but my training as a painter only truely began during my time at university when I was working towards a degree in Design. I had managed to attend a few painting and drawing courses but the overall instruction available had little or nothing to offer the student whose insterests aligned with more traditional modes of painting.

I was dissatisfied. I had no wish to quest after an “originality” that ultimately ended in some sterile intellectual game. I wanted to know how to paint. I wanted the foundational training that gave such grace and relevance to the works of our predecessors.

After having graduated, I travelled to Italy and taught English in Florence, hoping to earn enough to enroll into one of the prestigious academies there, only to find myself doing the next best thing: drawing live from the model at the prestigious Angel Academy, roaming the streets and visiting museums, copying the works of old masters in the best of environments. Needless to say, it was pure magic for one who is self taught.

I returned to Ireland and immediately set about the task of maintaining the discipline I had developed during my time in Florence. I drew from Bargue plates and painted constantly which ultimately led to my having gained entry into one of Dublin’s Galleries. It was only a few years later when an opportunity to attend the Academy of Realist Art in Toronto under the directorship of Fernando Friatas presented itself. There I learned and improved upon much of what my own self teaching could not supply.

Presently, I am living in Spain with my son quietly and reclusively painting away.

My work has been exhibited in New York, Montreal, Sydney, Beijing and Dublin. I was also accorded the privilege of being commissioned to paint several presidential and commemorative portraits for the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland. Additionally, I have also completed a number of private commissions and my work can be counted among those paintings now held in many important collections.


Painting is a humbling experience.  I have come to learn that it is only through patience, thoughtfulness  and an understanding of the tools and materials involved that I could ever hope to achieve a completeness and quality of finish that would finally allow me to set aside my brushes with any kind of satisfaction.

As an advocate for a return to some of the more traditional values in painting, my work characterizes many of its salient qualities from the dynamic play of sudden light against the tenebrous effect of shadow and the careful observation of values throughout, to the laying in of semi transparent glazes and the more generous use of a robust impasto.


In search of the miraculous: Art tells us to look no further but rather, Look!

Painting is a way of seeing, an attempt to recall to mind the poetry of life, a poetry whose appreciation and recognition is, more often than not, hidden beneath a veneer of the habitual and the ordinary.

Art unveils in a manner appropriate to its mode of expression a facet of the common place heightened to the imminence and reality of experience renewed; a peak experience as Colin Wilson calls it, divested from the short sighted preoccupations of immediate physical and emotional concerns. It has the potential to bring us home.

I have a blog where I put down and expand upon my thoughts about art, artists, and my process.  I regularily update it with new sketches, drawings and other art related interests.

If you are interested in a more indepth look into what I am about, I invite you all to come and visit me there anytime.

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