art, Historic, oil paint

In Midwinter, a New Beginning

 

abstract oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

 

At this time of year I always think of Newgrange in Co. Meath.  Constructed over 5,000 years ago (about 3,200 B.C.) in a place called Brú na Bóinne, Newgrange is an ancient place of astrological, spiritual or ceremonial importance.  We really don’t know what went on here in the distant past but what we do know is that this ancient mound was constructed in such a way that on the morning of the Winter Solstice, if the sky is clear, the first rays of the sun shine directly into its inner chamber, down through a 19 metre long passage, illuminating the megalithic carvings for a magical few moments.

It must have served as a powerful symbol of new life, new beginnings, the victory of life over death, the ceremonial union of Heaven and earth… who knows.

I did a series of abstract paintings based on the idea of Newgrange some years ago – I was very interested in the effect of colour at the time (I still am actually) but I got involved in political and social issues in the meantime and my work became more figurative. Above is one of the paintings I did at that time.

Check out this link below, sent by my friends in France (thanks John) 🙂

http://irisharchaeology.ie/2012/12/images-of-newgrange-through-the-ages/

– it shows how Newgrange has changed in the last few centuries. I’m really not sure about that white quartz facing wall, (What do you think?) but it must’ve been truly amazing when they rediscovered the window/ roofbox and realised that it was aligned with the rising sun.

Also, more information about Newgrange at http://www.newgrange.com and at http://www.heritageireland.ie

 

art, artists, Nature, oil paint

Eithne Carr RHA

 

My car wouldn’t start this morning. Today of all days. I don’t use it much but today I wanted to go to a funeral. This was the funeral of the artist Eithne Carr. She was my first teacher when I went to NCAD. That’s a long time ago now but she’s had a lasting effect on me.

May she rest in peace.

I wanted to show you some examples of her work but there doesn’t seem to be much available on the internet. Perhaps it’s because she was represented originally by the Tom Caldwell Gallery which is now an interior designs company. Here’s one image but it’s of poor quality. But it shows the type of paintings she did – expressive brushwork and heightened colour. She will enchant the angels with her beautiful art.

 

eithne carr
an oil painting by Eithne Carr

 

 

art, Art musings, oil paint

Don’t let the Critics get to you: Act now!

oil paintings by Eoin Ma Lochlainn
Two pieces from the “What I’ve Seen” series

A long time ago, a critic who shall remain nameless wrote about my work. It wasn’t that he gave out stink about it but… well let’s say: my poor old mother wasn’t pleased. I was young, or should I say, “younger” at the time but it had a bad effect on me – It took the wind out of my sails. Even though that same critic has written positive stuff about me since, a bad review lingers on and it can really influence your ability to work.

The one thing to do if you get a snotty review is immediately to do something creative. That’s the advice of Julia Cameron who wrote the book “The Artist’s Way”. That’s good advice I think, it’s very easy to feel disheartened in this business but you know, once you’re in the middle of a creative project, you forget everything else. So, the big question is: how to get going again? How to get into it? And the answer: Act now!

Hmmmm. What to do. A friend of mine, an artist, had an interesting piece on his blog the other day about what he does to tackle a creative block. Basically, he pours diluted paint onto a large sheet of paper and ‘swills’ it around to produce interesting shapes and effects. He then cuts the sheet into small squares and tries to find possible images that might act as starting points for larger paintings. Allowing images to emerge of their own volition, I suppose you’d say. See: www.johnogradypaintings.com/blog/ Lovely work, well worth a visit.

No, I suppose most of you are not going to start pouring paint around but then, most of you didn’t get a bad review either. But I just thought I’d tell you what I do to counteract creative blocks. I work in series, that’s it. I decide that I’m going to do a hundred of these, or fifty of those, etc. Some will be successful, some won’t, but I’ll keep going and hopefully by the time I get to a hundred, I’ll have produced something worthwhile.

The paintings above are from an ongoing series, entitled: “What I’ve Seen”. They’re still wet, I was working on them this week. The one below is the first of that series, I started that one in 2008. Not sure how many I’ve done so far.

oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
What I’ve seen, no.1

More about them on my website at: http://emacl.com/index_files/page0022.htm

For more on “The Artist’s Way”: www.juliacameronlive.com

PS: Your comments are always welcome – I’d love to hear from you, thanks, eoin

art, Gaeilge, oil paint

What did they die for…

Numb, oil on canvas, 90 x 120cm, 2008
Numb, oil on canvas, 90 x 120cm, 2008

 

Nár mhór an t-ionadh ós comhair na ndaoine

Iad a fheiceáil sínte ar chúl a gcinn,

Screadadh is caoineadh a scanródh daoine,

An ghruaig dá cíoradh is an chreach dá roinnt.

Bhí buachaillí óg ann tíocht an fhómhair,

Á síneadh ar chróchar is á dtabhairt go cill.

‘S gurb é gléas a bpósta a bhí dá dtóramh

‘S a Rí na Glóire nár mhór an feall.

 

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com

 

art, oil paint, Opinion

WHAT DID THEY DIE FOR ?

 

oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
“What I’ve seen”, 20 x 20cm, oil on canvas, 2009

 

“World War I: What Did They Die For?” – that’s the title of the new pamphlet brought out by the Irish Anti-War Movement recently and it makes some important points that are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago. While acknowledging the importance of remembering those who died in the war, over 49,000 Irish soldiers among the dead, it cautions against using the commemorations to justify the ongoing militarisation of the world today. At the launch, Reverend Patrick Comerford said that “we must remember them with dignity, with solemnity and sorrow while remembering that the promises upon which the war was waged were sold out on a long time ago”.

War is horrible, terrible. There is no glory… and that one was meant to be ‘the war to end all wars’. I remember from my school days, learning the four causes of the First World War – Militarism, Imperialism, Alliances and Nationalism.  Militarism – the arms industry is booming again these days. Where is that leading to? Flechette bombs, packed with metal darts to cause maximum damage to civilians?  Imperialism – a hundred years ago, the various empires were competing to plunder the riches of Africa and Asia. Now the major powers are jostling to gain control of the depleting resources of the planet, oil, gas, water, uranium.  No, I don’t think that it was a great war, those unfortunate foot soldiers, their lives destroyed. Alliances, the freedom of small nations? – It had nothing to do with the freedom of small nations. Small nations are struggling to survive to this day…

Above, a painting I did a few years ago. Aidan Dunne wrote about it in the Irish Times. See: http://emacl.com/index_files/page0022.htm

 

art, Art musings, oil paint

Social media and Art – which is more powerful?

 

oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Head no.19, oil on canvas, 2008

How much time do you spend on the various social media? I have to admit that they’re taking more and more of my time, these days. But anyway, the painting above was one of a series of “52 Heads” that I worked on during the early stages of the war in Iraq. These were a sort of Requiem or memorial to those who had been killed in the invasion and subsequent conflict. It was all I could do at the time, and God knows, that conflict is still continuing to this day.

Before that series, after leaving college, I had been making abstract paintings with the emphasis on the emotional impact of colour. But I (reluctantly) began to make more figurative work because I found that I couldn’t express what I wanted to say in abstract.

Recently I’ve been working on a series of apple paintings (don’t ask, that’s another long story) but again the news of “man’s inhumanity to man” is affecting my ability to work. But I was thinking of Claude Monet just now, I heard somewhere that he continued to work on his wonderful water lily paintings while the first World War raged outside. I can see both sides. His contribution to the world was his art – and nothing was allowed to interrupt that work – but then again – how can a man seem to ignore the injustice in the world? What do you think? I don’t know the answer.

Anyway, that painting above. Social media today shows us the horrors of the massacre, almost immediately, but a painting is a more long term thing. It takes time to produce, and time to appreciate. But I’ve put it up there today as an appeal to all you good people in Dublin to come to the Spire at 2pm on Saturday to protest and to show you care.

Here’s a link to more of those “Heads” http://emacl.com/index_files/page0032.htm

art, Art musings, artists, oil paint

Fresh fruit and Politics – the Moore Street story

still life of apple, oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
oil on canvas, 25 x 25cm, 2014

Back in Dublin, I went for a wander down Moore Street the other day with a friend of mine, the artist John Hearne. He has a studio nearby in Henrieta Street, “the once opulent Henrieta Street”, I should’ve said. At one time a grand street of Georgian townhouses, by 1911 a row of rickety tenements and now, it’s a couple of rickety old houses with rickety old art studios.

I know this area very well because I went to school in Coláiste Mhuire, Parnell Square and I often used to wander down to Moore Street afterwards, to see the hustle of shoppers, the fruit stalls, the vegetable stalls, the stalls selling fish, flowers, haberdashery and… more fruit.

Now, Dr. Brenda Moore-McCann once wrote about me that my art was “not so much a political art as an art made by an intensely political person” and I’d say that’s true alright but you know, sometimes I just like to paint fruit. I find it good for the soul to take time out to concentrate on a simple, straight forward painting – and leave the politics to one side for a change. Apples and oranges, nuts and split peas… here’s an apple I painted yesterday. What do you think?

Have a look at my website www.eoinmaclochlainn.com

also at John Hearne’s at: www.johnhearne.net

PS:  can you name the song I quoted?