Irish art, sculpture

Are you wondering what to do next?

I’ve spent the last two days clearing out the studio (it’s now in a worse mess than before) but it’ll be better tomorrow, hopefully.

It’s not a bad thing to do. You can get totally overwhelmed by the detritus of old projects and the bits and pieces ‘that might possibly be useful some day’, and this burgeoning clutter can have a detrimental effect on your mood as well on your workspace.

Progress? 6" x 6" metal grid, shadow, 2004 artwork by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Progress?   6″ x 6″ metal grid, shadow, 2004

You see, for the most part, you’re on your own in this space, working away at something – unlike any “normal people’s work. Yes, it’s a strange occupation. I remember once the late Tony O’Malley said to me: “Painting is a mystery, like poetry… you have to listen. It’s available to you, as long as you don’t presume…”

Still, you sometimes stand there alone, wondering what to do next.

But as I was clearing, I came across this piece of wire (see above). I made that back in 2004 and it was exhibited in 6×6 for Ireland at the Central Academy of Fine Art in China (organised by James Ryan of the 411 Gallery, Hangzhou).

Yes, of course, it’s just a bit of ould wire but I like to think of it as a 3-dimensional drawing. It was referring to all those building projects that were underway back then. It had no colour, increasing the effect of the cold inhumanity of it all.

I was incorporating those grids into a lot of the work back then.  Below is another one, a more hopeful one, I suppose.  Breaking free from the grid. The shadows and the different sources of light were an important element in these works.

Birdsong, 6" x 6", oil on canvas, metal grid, shadow, 2005 artwork by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Birdsong, 6″ x 6″, oil on canvas, metal grid, shadow, 2005

So, if you’re wondering what to do next – why not have a rummage in the attic, or in the shed.  You just never know what you might find or what new direction it might lead you. (Don’t throw anything out) and, if you happen to come across something interesting… maybe you’ll let me know about it?

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing, China

 

Irish art, Nature

At least the Swallows are still returning…

watercolour sketches of swallows by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
a page from last year’s notebook

Yes, I’m well aware that the world is now officially in a state of complete ‘chassis’ but I’m going to ignore that for the moment and tell you instead about what happened at the weekend.

Even better, to describe it more elegantly, I’ll quote from Gearrscéalta an Phiarsaigh, the short stories of Patrick Pearse. It’s in Irish but I’ve added my own (loose) translation below…

Cluineadh go tobainn glór nár cluineadh san áit le tuilleadh agus leathbhliain. Glór beag bídeach. Glór fann fíorbhinn. Ceiliúr mear meidhreach, agus é neamhchosúil le h-aon cheiliúr eile dá dtagann ó ghob éin. Le luas lasrach thiomáin toirt bheag dhubh aneas. Í ag eiteall go h-ard san aer. Dhá sciathán leathna laidre uirthi. Déanamh gabhláin ar a h-eireaball. Í ag gearradh na slí roimpi mar shaighead a chaithfí as bogha. D’ísligh sí go tobann, thiontaigh sí, d’éirigh arís, d’ísligh is thiontaigh arís. Ansin rinne sí caol díreach ar Eoghainín, í ag labhairt in ard a gutha…

Translation:   Suddenly a sound was heard that hadn’t been heard in the place for over half a year. A tiny, twittering voice. A stray, puresweet voice. A joyful celebratory birdsong, like no other. At the speed of lightning, a tiny speck appeared from the south, flying high above the land. Wings spread wide. Forked tail. Slicing through the air like an arrow from a bow. She dived suddenly, she turned and rose again. She dived and turned again. She made straight for Eoghainín, joyfully, joyfully…

And I’ve added a tiny clip from my short film “Ar theacht an tSamhraidh” to celebrate the return of the swallows. If you can’t see it immediately below this, you need to click into the actual blog…

That piece of music was by Davy Spillane, by the way.   Slán go fóill,  Bye for now, eoin

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

“Ar theacht an tSamhraidh” – the 9 minute version

Historic, Irish art

Quiet determination

oil painting of Padraig Pearse by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
An Piarsach, le Eoin Mac Lochlainn 90 x 120cm, oil on canvas, 2016

Quiet determination – I think that’s what he had.  He was passionate about the Irish language, Irish history and culture, the Irish way of life.

He saw what the English education system was doing, trying to stamp out any indigenous cultures, and produce obedient servants of the British Empire.

“I thank the goodness and the grace that on my birth has smiled and made me in this Christian age, a happy English child” – this was the prayer in Irish National School readers, before 1916.  This was the attitude that he rebelled against – and was determined to change.

Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Pearse's Cottage, Ros Muc
Pearse’s Cottage, Ros Muc

Patrick Pearse had a cottage in Ros Muc and last year at Easter, Fionnuala and I went over there to join in the local commemorations of the Easter Rising.

We heard many stories about Pearse from people in the area, people whose grandparents might’ve met him long ago. There were fond memories of him.

People remembered him as a quiet man who visited the area regularly. They described how he would sit with them, late into the night, listening to their stories, endeavouring to learn everything about their way of life, and discussing and developing ideas for a better future for Ireland. Éire saor agus Éire Gaelach.

They appreciated his interest and he inspired them with his dedication.

If you read his short stories (that were based around Ros Muc) you can see how much he loved the place and the people. That was why we wanted to be in Ros Muc for Easter last year, to remember him and to commemorate the Easter Rising, one hundred years later.

Photo by eoin Mac Lochlainn of Raidió na Gaeltachta inside Pearse's Cottage, Rosmuc at Easter 2016
Raidió na Gaeltachta inside Pearse’s Cottage, Ros Muc at Easter 2016

Raidió na Gaeltachta was there to record the occasion. They all crowded into Pearse’s Cottage to interview the locals. The man you see talking in the centre, above is Frank Ó Máille. Pearse stayed in his father’s house, the first time he ever visited Ros Muc. (an Teach gorm – ach níl sé gorm níos mó, faraor). His father met Pearse at Maam Cross railway station and brought him in his sidecar to Ros Muc.

I wanted to create something special to mark that special year. While I was working on an art project there, I created a short film entitled: Ar theacht an tSamhraidh. With my brother Fearghas, we projected it onto the gable end of the cottage, as you can see in the video below this paragraph. (If you can’t see it straight away, you need to click into the actual blog) An raibh an Piarsach féin ann an oíche úd, meas tú, agus an bheirt againn ag seasamh le chéile, i gcoim na h-oíche?

The painting of Patrick Pearse, which appears in the film, is hanging in the Olivier Cornet Gallery in Dublin at the moment. The gallery will be open over the Easter weekend – Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  (that man never stops!)

You can see more about the Ros Muc project at the first link below.

https://emacl.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/clandestine-projection-in-connemara/

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

 

Irish art, Nature

The blackbird and the flying snails

oil painting of Blackbird by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

My brother tells me that it’s listening for earthworms. That blackbird on our lawn is certainly on the lookout for something – but our hardworking earthworms?  I’d much prefer if he went for the snails. Those snails are the bane of my life.

Well, just one of the banes, I suppose, but those snails have been causing major problems here in Harold’s Cross ever since we began to grow our own vegetables.

I had a plan. Not a complicated one, I would simply drop them over the garden wall. Next door’s garden was just an unkempt lawn and nobody lived there, but d’you know – those snails used to come back over every night! My brother tells me that they’re like homing pigeons, they can find their way home. And I’m sure of it now because every morning, when I went out to check, there’d be less and less green shoots and more and more gastropod devastation.

I became a bit desperate. I used to go out at night with a torch and a saucepan, and I would search and find every single marauding mollusc and… but what to do with the seething, sluggy mass of Pulmonata?

I had a catapult. I would launch those slimy pulmonates into space, right over the roof of the house behind. Now, find your way home from there, you slug!

Bhuel, bhí go maith agus ní raibh go h-olc. But I was out in the garden one night around midnight. The sky was clear, the stars were twinkling bright. (I love to stand in the garden those nights and listen to the distant hum of the city). Then I heard something fall on the lawn; there it was again! Something landed behind me. I turned – and something hit me on the back of the neck! Something small and slimy…

And even though this is a terrible story (and very little to do with my art practice), I reckon I’ll be preparing the ground soon for another season of slugduggery. Any sensible suggestions would be very welcome.

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

https://giy.ie/

 

Irish art, Nature

The Diaspora and the Irish weather

oil painting of empty fireplace by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Fionnuala tells me that it’s called ‘the anti-cyclonic gloom’ . It’s nothing to worry about, it’s not terminal, but it generally keeps our little island shrouded in a misty, fecky, damp grey miserable blanket of cloud for most of the month of January.

She also tells me (she’s doing a climate course) that the third week in January is most likely to be the dampest, feckiest, miserablist week of them all. But the other day, let me tell you that it was 10 degrees celsius in Dublin – the same day that it was snowing in Venice – so that can’t be bad!

But why am I telling you this? Well, this ‘anti-cyclonic gloom’ is probably the reason that I’m painting empty fireplaces again, my “Tinteáin Tréigthe” series, because if one ventures out these days in search of inspiration, up in the hills around Dublin, one might find oneself on a fool’s errand: – Nothing to see, it’s all over lads, have yez no homes to go to?

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of a cottage in Donegal

So I wander off and investigate some deserted old cottages instead. I have been painting empty fireplaces in abandoned homes in the hills for a few years now. I think about how central the fireplace once was to the home, how people used to keep the fire going throughout the night and throughout the year, and how the fireplace really was the heart of a home.

Seeing them abandoned and cold, each with their own distinctive personality, was quite moving so I started a series of paintings as a requiem for those people who had gone, a memorial to the Irish diaspora.

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

and if you don’t believe me, check out:

http://www.encyclopedia.com/earth-and-environment/ecology-and-environmentalism/environmental-studies/anticyclonic-gloom