My interest in art began, as far as memory can tell, with my exposure to two weighty tomes on my father’s bookshelf. They were The History of World Sculpture and The Picture History of Painting. I still have them with me even after all these years. Everything from how painting began to the triumph of light that was the Renaissance was in those pages and I wanted my life to have a greater share in what I had found there.
While pursuing a degree in Design I enrolled in some painting and drawing courses but found that there was little or nothing there for the student whose interests were for mysterious themes, beauty and the truth and primacy of nature.
I had no wish to quest after an “originality” that was little more than a 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 not only my predecessors but also the best of what our own contemporary masters have to offer.
After having graduated, I travelled to Italy and taught English in Florence hoping to earn enough to enroll in one of the art schools there only to find myself doing the next best thing once that proved untenable; drawing from live models as well as discussing and taking notes on the methods and techniques used at the prestigious Angel Academy whenever possible. I wandered the antique streets of that wonderful city every day, drawing from the public statuary and visiting its museums where I copied 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 after a year or so 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. I was also fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to attend the Academy of Realist Art in Toronto for the summer and so learn and improve upon much of what my own self teaching could not supply.
To date, my work has been exhibited in numerous galleries around the world. Additionally, I have completed a number of private commissions including a number of commemorative portraits for the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland. I have also had the good fortune of working with a number of small press publishers and authors producing both cover art and illustrations.
Presently, I live just outside the city of Seville in a small out of the way town where two Roman Imperators were born. From my window, the remains of their antique city can be seen in the distance.
Painting is a humbling experience. I have learnt that it is only by 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 down my brushes with any kind of satisfaction.
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; it is the result of a kind of peak experience, divested from the short-sighted preoccupations of immediate physical and emotional concerns which looks more deeply into the timelessness of things. It has the potential to bring us home.
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