She lived in a cottage at the end of a long, winding boreen behind Croagh Patrick in Co. Mayo. I was so sad to hear of her passing.
The artist Veronica Bolay had a beautiful aura about her. She was gentle and kind, and very supportive of emerging artists. When she was involved with the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar, she never missed an opening and she made a point of speaking to all the budding artists. She was a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) and also a member of Aosdána. And she was wise.
Her work was steeped in the wild, wet landscape of Mayo. She told me once that she walked and walked down those little winding boreens, making notes and tiny sketches and filling her memory with images that would eventually be developed into her distinctive paintings and pastel drawings.
“My life in a western county offers constantly fleeting moments of light and shadow”, she wrote, “I am drawn towards the barely perceptible, the ephemera and unsubstantial components… ”
At the funeral mass in Kilmacud on Tuesday, her son Aengus and the poet Brian Lynch gave moving eulogies. Brian spoke about her life and art, referring to her as “a poet of paint”. During the Offertory, the organist played “Ag Críost an Síol”…
Ag Críost an síol, ag Críost an fómhar;
i n-iothlainn Dé go dtugtar sinn.
Ag Críost an mhuir, ag Críost an t-iasc;
i líonta Dé go gcastar sinn.
Ó fhás go h-aois, is ó aois go bás,
do dhá láimh, a Chríost, anall tharainn.
Ó bhás go críoch, ní críoch ach athfhás,
i bParthas na ngrást go rabhaimid.
From growth to age and from age to death,
Your two arms, O Christ, around about us.
From death to end, not the end but a re-birth,
in the Paradise of Grace may we always be.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílis
*photo of Veronica from Custom House Studios and Gallery