Cheating? – or simply being creative

oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Pearse's cottage in Ros Muc, Connemara
Ros Muc – it’s not really cheating, it captures the mood…

So I was caught cheating! Or so I’m told – but I beg to differ. Let me explain. Last week, I put up an image of Pearse’s Cottage in Ros Muc, a painting that I did over 20 years ago.  But strangely enough, the painting that you saw never really existed. (you can see the image here)

And this one above – that one never existed either. But do you like it? I remember a scene just like that in January this year. I was staying in Ros Muc on an artist’s residency and it was a cold, frosty morning. As the mist gradually lifted, I could just make out the cottage across the lake, such a peaceful, homely scene.

So here I was, at my computer, searching for an image that would tell my story. I suppose you heard about Photoshop? Well, down below is the original painting but I thought that I could improve it. (you probably know that artists are never really happy with their work, they think that it could always be improved). So now, which version do you prefer?

oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Pearse's Cottage in Ros Muc, Co. Galway
Teach an Phiarsaigh, Ros Muc,   C.1996

And anyway, what could be wrong with using computers to make art? Isn’t it just another tool, like a pencil or a paintbrush? I wasn’t happy with the way I’d painted the water in the original. That’s why the original had to be changed. And it was quite exciting to work on it afresh. I might even paint a new version, a misty one, now that I see the result.

But the thing is – you’ll never see the original, hanging on the wall. You won’t be able to see the mark of the artist’s hand. That’s the difference really, between a painting and a photograph. But I like taking photographs too. It’s not a case of one or the other. See the photograph below – this is one I took back in January, with two swanny-swans gliding across the lake…

photograph by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Pearse's Cottage, Ros Muc, Connemara
Photo of Pearse’s Cottage, Ros Muc, taken in January this year

So let me know what you think. And which of the three images do you prefer?




  1. If you hadn’t told me that the first image was done using a computer, I would never have known. But since you did, I prefer the second. :). Then again, had you told me that the photo was not a photo at all but a painting, I would have believed that, marvelled at it, and preferred the photo. I think I see your point here. Very enjoyable post.


  2. What’s this cheating lark about? Surely it’s your work to do as you wish with it. Often when we look at old work we see things that could be changed, as you said you weren’t happy with the water. Onward with adjustments and alterations, mistakes and upendings.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. They both look good 🙂 I think the effect the two pieces have on a viewer are different, so to compare them wouldn’t do them any justice. The first has a dream like quality that makes it seem almost faded with time. The second is quite lovely too, just brighter and more serene.

    Art is art no matter what medium one chooses to use, using the computer is just another in a long line of tools an artist can use to make wonderful pieces. Cheating is the wrong word to use here 🙂


  4. I love bright colors, so I’m drawn (no pun intended) to the middle image. And don’t worry, I won’t call you out for cheating since I enjoy enhancing my own work with the computer when colors come out a bit too muted.


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