Life as a Wild Atlantic Way Artist.Having been born and reared on Achill Island Co. Mayo, I have always felt that the Wild Atlantic was and is part of my relationship with nature.My parents were true blue Achill for generations back, and the draw of the sea always called me back whenever I spent time away.

The Wild Atlantic features strongly in almost all of my paintings, I am constantly challenged to perfect it’s many colours and moods.If you have looked at my website you will know that I now live in Co.Clare andmy studio has a direct view to the famous Cliffs of Moher. I spend many hoursstudying the Wild Atlantic , walking the shores of Fanore, Doolin , and the Flaggy Shore, all of which are on my doorstep. I study the roll of the ocean, the turn of the waves, the way the colour changes due to the sky light, the time of year and weather.

I also study the rocks and the sand which are very influenced by the above which I have mentioned, everything changes in the Wild Atlantic and it’s surrounds, almost each time I visit. I also make sketches on site, I often paint on site weather permitting, and I photograph interesting material.Back in my studio at this point in my life I often paint from memory and visualisation. My brain being the computer photo file!! this is challenging and fun.

I would normally use a wash first on the canvas which would reflect the final outcome and when dry, I usually paint the sky first, I love painting skies , we have such dramatic skies in the West of Ireland. Then depending what colours or mood of the subject I have seen or chosen to paint, the rest of the painting follows. I use a layering method first using brushes roughly dabbing and dragging colour on the canvas , blocking in the various areas with the basic colours. I would proceed with an introduction of detail , and the final work would consist of highlighting areas of interest using a palette knife, having allowed different times of drying in between.

People often ask how long it takes to make a painting , sometimes I say jokingly, 10 hours and 30 years , but seriously I never count the amount of time it takes , usually it goes on for several days , as there are periods of drying and analysing the work until such time as I feel the work is finished.I am completely immersed in each painting while working, no matter how many paintings I have done previously or what the subject might be. Each painting is special and at the time of making it is the most important. I have often been asked if I become attached to my paintings, and yes sometimes I do, and hold onto some for a while. Cant really say why but it happens , I suppose I can get attached for one reason or another, maybe from a time of change in my life, or indeed from a time when I moved into a different sphere of painting.

I still have some of my very early work from the days when you ask yourself “Did I really do that”or “Will I be able to do that again, was it a freak moment?”

That is a small insight into life as a Wild Atlantic Way artist. I hope you have enjoyed reading through it, and if you have any questions I would be happy to hear from you.

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