art, oil paint, Opinion



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:


art, Art musings, Opinion

7 conclusions about making art

Don’t people change over the years! It’s interesting sometimes to look back – and to see where you’ve come from.

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I was doing this recently and I have to say that it opened a bit of a can of worms. I have reached a few conclusions alright but first, what you see above is a slideshow of paintings that I’ve done since I graduated from art college in the year 2000. 

When I started off, I was making abstract paintings with the emphasis on the emotional impact of colours. I loved it. But d’you know, a certain art critic wrote a scornful article about them and let me tell you, that affected me for a long time afterwards.  (I kept at it anyway and I’ve received some better reviews since then, thankfully). Anyway, when I became involved in the anti-war movement some years later, I found that I couldn’t say what I wanted to say in abstract and I (reluctantly) began to make more figurative work. Then, during the Celtic Tiger years, I began to make work that referred to the Homeless. In truth, it was really about the search/ yearning for ‘Home’. More recently, my thoughts have turned to emigration and to the Irish Diaspora and I started on a series of ‘empty hearths’. I was up in Donegal, and I couldn’t help noticing the number of abandoned and derelict houses.

So that’s what I’ve been at. Some people may be surprised that my work keeps changing but it’s simply because I’m interested in what’s happening in the world around me. I don’t think that artists should lock themselves away in ivory towers but still, I think you need a quiet studio for painting.

And 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 shouldn’t let those critics get to you;  just keep on going your own way. Third: (and this is not mine) but a wise tutor once said: “Rule number One: Don’t Panic”. Fourth: Art just ‘happens’ – you could be struggling away in the studio for ages but then, out of the blue, art just ‘happens’. Fifth: Plans, hah, you can make plans and it’s no harm of course but – things just ‘happen’. Have you heard of Synchronicity? Sixth: You can’t please everyone, don’t try! Seventh: Make sure that you spend more time working in the studio and less time reading stuff like this.

However, I would love to hear your comments so, if any of you out there in Bloggyland has advice for me, it’s ok to spend a little time here (!) And there’s more detailed information about all my work at

Slán go fóill, eoin

Exhibitions, Gaeilge, Opinion

Caochspota / Blindspot

oil painting from Caochspota / Blindspot art exhibition
Pól, 80 x 90cm, oil on canvas, 2013, by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Ceannairí an G8 ag teacht ar chuairt orainn agus muidne ag súil go dtitfeadh blúiríní ón mbórd, b’fhéidir. Nach bhfuil a fhios againn go fóill gur mar gheall ar an gCaipitleachas fiáin atá muid insan gcruachás seo.  An féidir leosan ár gcás a fhuascailt?  ’nfheadar…

Tá Caochspota fós ar siúl i nGaillimh. Thuas ós cionn seo, sin ceann de mo phictiúirí ón dtaispeántas agus thíos, roinnt cáirde liom ag an oscailt oifigiúil. Beidh an taispeántas ar siúl go dtí deiridh na míosa. Tuilleadh eolais ag agus freisin ag

opening of Caochspota / Blindspot, an exhibition in the Niland Gallery, Galway


PS: an meall mór móna sin ar an úrláir? – sin píosa ealaíona le

Seán Ó Flaithearta dár teidil dó: “Tír Dhreach”.  Is féidir tuilleadh dá chuid ealaíne a fheiscint ag