I started my blog ten years ago this week. So this morning Uncle WordPress sent me a note to say that I’ve written 499 blog posts and that the average word count per post was 333. So I suppose that’s about 166,167 words in 10 years…
Thanks for listening!
My general posts are published every Thursday but during the pandemic you’ll also see Covid Eyes, my temporary online art project, which comes out on Tuesdays.
I wouldn’t like to upset my average word count so this post won’t be too long but it’s interesting sometimes to look back and see where we’ve come from.
When I graduated from the National College of Art and Design, I was making abstract paintings with an emphasis on the emotional impact of colours. Then, when I became involved in the anti-war movement, I began to make more figurative work. During the Celtic Tiger years, I was making work about Homelessness – although some would say that it was really about the yearning for ‘Home’.
My first solo exhibition with the Olivier Cornet Gallery was about the Irish Diaspora and I painted a series of empty hearths in deserted cottages in the West of Ireland. I’ve also been involved with a couple of exhibitions about the Easter Rising.
More recently, I’ve been making work about the Climate Crisis and of course, my Covid Eyes online project is concentrating on the eyes, the windows to the soul.
Some people may be surprised that my work has changed so much over the years but it’s simply because I’m interested in what’s happening in the world. I don’t think that artists should lock themselves away in ivory towers although I still think they need a quiet studio to make work.
So now, to my conclusions. First: you must follow your muse; if you get an idea, you have to try it out, you just never know where it might take you. Second: you really mustn’t let those critics get to you. Third: ‘Art just happens’ – you could be struggling away in the studio for ages but then, out of the blue, it just ‘happens’ when you least expect it. Don’t give up hope. Fourth: have a sketchpad/notebook and make some scribbles in it every day. (don’t show it to anyone) Fifth: Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
Finally: Make sure that you spend more time working in the studio and less time reading stuff like this (!)
However, I love to hear your comments so, if you have any advice for me, it’s ok to spend a little time here and to add your comments down below.
Something else that I read recently: “Passive to Active Citizenship, a Role for the Arts”, by Declan MacGonigle. In this paper he challenges the Arts to be ‘a provider of vitamins, not painkillers in this anxious world’. The Arts can bring healing, new life, new hope… It was written some years ago but is still very relevant for today.