Storm in my heart

November 25, 2014  •  Leave a Comment



Stormy dayStormy dayoil on canvas

Living in Beara year round I see the many moods the sea has to offer. Often flat calm, more often than not raging away. The sound of a raging storm is like no other, as the waves crash off the rocks coming into the bay over which my house looks. It is also the storms of my mind, the changes I go through. Pent up frustration over tiny things. All year I soak up the colours of Beara and when I paint I never plan a painting, it develops before me. Tell a lie I did a Christmas snow scene of Eyeries mid November 2014. At the start I painted from photographs, then I got nowhere so I decided to go and do it as I normally do, from memory. I think I got it sort of ok, I think it looks happy and Christmasy, but I got frustrated and  painted over it. I tried to get it right, the houses, the windows

I wanted to do something that people could identify with as being Christmas, with children playing in the street, and snow falling off the rooftops. Once I had done the painting I was going to put 'Greetings from Eyeries' on it, then someone suggested it would be better to put 'Greetings from Beara' which I mulled over, and asked quite a few people and in the end I started to ask myself what was I doing that I could not decide what to call it. I decided to paint over it with the painting below

Gathering storm #21Gathering storm #21oil on canvas
The storm was just starting to move things around, Seamus and Mick hurried down to the boats to tie them down, make them as safe as possible before the heaving waves washed over the strand

which I'm calling 'Gathering Storm' #21  I know I have done several Gathering Storms over the years, 20 at least, hanging on walls in private collections. I like the title and it suits the above oil

I have a show coming up at the Lauragh Lodge Restaurant and so I have been putting together a new series of storm paintings. Most of them you can see here on this website, others you can see on

I have been criticised for doing storm paintings, only by people who feel they know the answer to what I should be doing. I often do a storm painting just to spite them!! People tell me I am painting too dark, but that's because they aren't looking at them right. Once you put my oils under spotlights, they come alive. You walk into a room without illumination and my paintings are there, you see them as square or oblong objects on the wall. Then you put the lights on and suddenly they come alive, and you are sucked into the world I have created for you. That is the key to what I want, to draw you away from where you are into the world I have created on canvas.

I have gone back to using Payne's Grey a lot more. For a spell I was using greens and prussian blues mixed together. However I love the cold starkness of paynes grey, with prussian blue. With that I can then tempt you with some lighter hues, make you see things differently

Tending boatsTending boatsoil on canvas

Tending Boats

I grew up around traditional fishing boats. I recall rowing out to sea when I was young to catch mackerel, and how odd it seemed when they started putting outboard motors on the backs of boats and how they wouldn't start properly and you'd be wondering why they bothered with them at all. That pat pat pat sound of the outboard, and the way the boat suddenly shifted when you eventually got the thing going. Hauling the big boat out of the sea, minding where you put your boots in the mud and small rocks, tug that boat up over the wooden poles. If you timed your return right it would be high tide and there wouldn't be so much tugging. Over the winter months you would tar the hull, spend days preparing to go back there and catch fish. I shall end with a quote from a local harbour master, who I spent quite a bit of time with as a lad. Dan smoked a pipe with a metal lid on the funnel, and he would busily light the baccy and finally get it going, and then of all things he would tuck it under the peak of his flat cap. I would often wonder if his head would catch fire. He once said, 'would you ever go out and catch the fish before they die of old age'



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