Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Road Trip: Glen of Aherlow

A couple of months ago we went on a mini road trip from Kilfinnane to Glenbrohane, and from there downhill towards Ballylanders and then slowly along the Glen between the Slievenamuck Mountains to the north and the Galtee Mountains to the south, towards Bansha. (I love the name 'Slievenamuck'. It's Irish for 'Mountain of Pigs'.) We took our time, managed to get spectacularly lost before we ended up near the Moore Abbey near Galbally (where I took the picture of the daisies) and chilled a bit, and got talking to a pair of local women who were just hanging out there beside the little River Aherlow. We moseyed along, looking for a particular hotel we'd stopped in many years ago, which has since closed and is up for sale - not too surprising, given the economic situation in recent years. It's a lovely location, what with all the woods around, very pretty.

We got to Bansha on the N24, drove the few miles to Tipperary Town and got a bite to eat before heading home. Feeling nice and chilled. It was a lovely afternoon.   

Friday, October 9, 2015

Since my last post ....

1. Myles Breen has won an award. Huge congratulations to Myles and Bottom Dog Theatre Company generally. Richly deserved.

2. I've had to update technology. I'm not saying anymore other than it, and the cost of it, is keeping me awake at nights.

3. I've been thinking about ways to offset those costs, and looking at all my small works on paper and going hmmmmm .....

4. I've sent out a few submissions for inclusion in group exhibitions in other parts of Ireland. Will be interesting to see how that works out.

5. I've rediscovered the benefits of exercise. Specifically walking uphill. Damn but it tightens the rear.

6. I've bought loads of Cadbury's Turkish Delight chocolate which I am going to send to my great friend and sister from another mister Linda in the Netherlands. (Must do that this afternoon.)

7. I'm watching the sky frantically, and the back lawn, hoping they will clear and dry respectively, so I can mow the back lawn.

8. I'm looking at shrubs and hedging and wondering how quickly I can cut back, tidy and where necessary, poison.

9. I'm now doing art with disabled people twice a month, which I enjoy. We are exploring chalk pastels.

10. Since my last post I've completed three paintings and a chalk pastel drawing started a few more, and am hoping to participate in the next group exhibition in Moneygall, I'm doing two little acrylics for consideration. Even if he doesn't want them, I'm pleased with them.

11. Dolf and I went on a road trip around the Béara Peninsula and it was LOVELY. I posted my favourite photos I took along the way on and they have been getting lots of stars.

12. I'm learning the art of less is more with regard to photo editing. And realise that I still haven't gone through my camera manual, yikes.

13. I've started a few blog posts but either not finished them, or decided to change them and expand them, or simply deleted them. But I do enjoy the Draft option.

14. I went through my various computer folders and found hundreds of photos I'd forgotten about, including some really cool shots taken in Portugal. I miss travelling.

Now for a picture:

Ballyheigue Strand at Lough Akeragh Outlet, 2015, acrylic on paper

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Language Unbecoming A Lady to go to New York

Language Unbecoming A Lady is a play written and performed by Limerick actor and playwright Myles Breen, who is something of a gay icon in all senses of the expression, and directed by Liam O'Brien. There's just one character, a drag queen, and the entire play takes place in her dressing room, as she tells her story of growing up gay, finding herself within himself (or vice versa), her life and loves, and how she is inspired by the great divas. This is a tough but very moving story to watch, especially when you consider that homosexuality was not decriminalised in Ireland until the early 1990s. So, within the context of the history of homosexuality in Ireland, and its place in society, this play is important.

Myles has been active in drama for many years, and you'll see him in films set in Limerick, including Angela's Ashes, possibly not the best vehicle to sum up the sense of enthusiasm and vitality that typifies 21st-century Limerick city, but it's the most famous one I can think of. Myles works with Bottom Dog Theatre Company, and also holds drama workshops in the city and county, and was recently awarded Limerick Person of the Year for his services to Drama and Theatre - recognition that many agree was long overdue. He's been in several Christmas pantomines as an ugly sister, a villain, and a long-suffering mother to the hero. He's also in the brilliant Choke Comedy performances with several other outstanding performers, which involve a lot of improvisation and audience participation and are the BEST antidote to workweek stress ever, you laugh so much you're high on endorphins for two days afterwards; and of course anyone who has been to Limerick Gay Pride festivities will have enjoyed Myles leading the now (in)famous Tea Dance, which is just great fun to participate in too.

Myles and the Bottom Dog Theatre Company have been invited to bring Language Unbecoming A Lady to New York, as part of the very prestigious Origin's Ist Irish Theatre Festival over there, but owing to cuts in the arts in Ireland in recent years, funds are low, hence the need to crowd-fund. In Limerick city, there is a gala fund-raising event taking place tonight in Dolans of Limerick, the details of which are available here, and the online crowd-funding campaign can be accessed here, through Indigogo. Every little bit helps.

In its own right, the play is the story of an individual at odds with the society in which he has grown up, but he still finds his place - or her place. It's funny, it's sad, it's hopeless in places, yet overall very hopeful for a more inclusive future in a more open and tolerant society. It's human. It speaks to those who inhabit the fringes, yet is confrontational. At the risk of throwing in a cliché that's been done to death: it's a story about someone coming of age. And perhaps more significantly, in the light of developments in Ireland in 2015, it reflects the story of a country coming of age, shaking off the yoke of social oppression disguised as spiritual dogma, and moving forward.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

July 2015, exhibitions and looking up plurals

It never rains but it pours. In a fit of madness I submitted 3 little paintings for a group show in the eastern half of Ireland, then suddenly I'm offered a solo exhibition in the midlands, Gallery Revival in Moneygall, to be exact. The crowd who sold my painting in March. And because the gallerist Joseph-Philippe Bevillard is a real jack-of-all-trades, I'm bringing some with frames that need a little remedial TLC, I know he'll do a good job of touching them up and making them look pretty again. In addition to analogue photography, Joseph restores antique furniture. If the three little paintings for the group show aren't accepted, I'll add them to the solo project in Moneygall.

As I write, I'm taking a break from the day job, today it's translating interviews with prostitutes who live and work in the city of Amsterdam, or, as my friend and translation agency project manager Caby calls them, the 'sex texts'. I have had to look up the plural of the word 'dildo', and for anyone who's interested, there are two options: 'dildos' and 'dildoes'. I'm going with 'dildoes', because it kind of makes sense, it's consistent with the spelling rule that applies to other nouns that end with an 'o', like 'potatoes' and 'tomatoes'. I think I'll cook rice for dinner tonight.

I've also been looking at old photos again, and have come across a couple of nice ones of me as a child on my mother's old horse. Kind of scary looking at them now, as the horse was in her paddock and I had climbed onto her back from the fence - the joys of being a farm kid - and she had no bridle or rope or anything on her for me to control her. Thankfully she was very gentle. Of course, I am fully aware of the nostalgia possibilities of this, so the old cynic in me is saying 'make a painting or three of this'. So I probably will. Most of us make a concerted effort to think back fondly on our childhoods, I am largely successful in this, and I suppose the nostalgia element in a thing is a way of exploring that option.

UPDATE: Oh, and another thing I learned as part of working on the 'sex texts' as we now call them, is the difference between a 'budplug' and a 'buttplug'. It's quite eye-opening, this series of texts. I realise that I have lived a pretty sheltered life .... and it's astonishing what you can find on the Google.

Jean in Moneygall has told me that there is considerable interest in my paintings, but nobody is brave enough to buy any yet. I use the word 'brave' in a very loaded manner for two reasons: I am largely unknown among collectors, and a very private person who prefers to keep out of the limelight; and I think it's understandable that prospective buyers are still watching their pennies and being careful about what they buy, given the unsettled state of the world economy. But we will still make art :-).

That aside, aspiring curators should go see how Joseph has hung the exhibition, how he lights the space, and how he dresses the empty areas around the paintings. I love it. And I will exhibit there again.

The next exhibition planned for Gallery Revival in Moneygall is Nudes & Still Lifes, and details on how to submit are on their Facebook page.

And a couple of pieces in my exhibition that's on for the remainder of August 2015:

Sailing to Ischia I

Dún na Gréine: French and Italian

Caloptric Chamber: Hall of Mirrors

Monday, June 8, 2015

Finally, it's here! My invite on Facebook for my exhibition in Dooradoyle next week.

Here's the text from the Facebook invite:

I like watching people, speculating about their lives - very innocently, of course. I like sketching them, possibly catching a moment of great importance in their lives. I like the snapshot element that's possible in painting, and how suggestive it is of what might happen next, and how it is open to interpretation. Some of these paintings were taken from drawings and photographs made in other countries, but the people in them could be anyone - someone you know, perhaps. The world is a village, people make their own stories.

Official launch of the exhibition is 18 June between 6.00 and 8.00 pm, but the paintings will be available for viewing from 17 June until 27 June during Library opening hours. The launch speaker is photographer Dolf Patijn. The launch is sponsored by The Treasury restaurant, Limerick city.

This exhibition is supported by Limerick Arts Office.

Now to go figure out how to get this sorted on Twitter.

I've also been invited to participate in a group exhibition in Moneygall, County Offaly again, which I'm pleased about. It's a good gallery, and the curator/owner is VERY particular about lights and framing and presentation in general. Now to figure out WHEN I can take the car and get the four little paintings to the gallery, which is an hour away from my house.

As for the book that I had hoped to have ready for the Dooradoyle exhibition: not yet. I have had so many ideas for it, I need to work through them, and pick some that will work together. It's taking on a life of its own, which is rather exciting.

In the meantime, some paintings.