Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Works in Progress

A photo of Works in Progress on a very wet and windy afternoon.

- Richard

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

SEPIL Commission 004 - The Abstract Nature of Idea.

The Abstract Nature of Idea - oil on fine linen

Many times when you are envisaging, it takes a great deal of abstract thought to imagine and see the idea in your minds eye. This is what struck me during my time working as a young labourer on construction sites, and also during my recent visits to the various terminals and sites at the Corrib project. I also find myself confronted with dealing with this mental task of imagining daily as I create my paintings. I have to firstly imagine them, conceive them through my initial concept, and in many cases nearly 'will' them to being and to my eventual desired outcome. I don't know quite how I'll get there but have a belief or trust that I follow.

In many cases when I was listening to the engineers on site at the Corrib project I was having to create in my minds eye what was about to take place in the coming construction - or to imagine a pipe, tunnel or series of complex things happening under my feet or off in the distance.

With this piece I attempted, through my varied paint application, to illustrate the nature of an abstract concept or idea being explained from one person to the next, and how this very abstract idea takes formation through the various parties who are able to understand it abstractly and then envisage the steps necessary to get it eventually to the desired outcome.

It was this very 'abstract nature of idea' that I waited to capture with this painting. The highly rendered figures stand in conversation and gesture. They become the real focus of the painting while the background and landscape in which they are placed breaks up into dynamic lines, gestures, and expressive strokes of the brush. By doing this I hoped to illustrate how something might take form. In a way the background is like an underpainting, a foundation, a concept on which an idea or more permanent structure might be built.

- Richard



Phone: + 353 (0)86 216 1135.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Fragments from New York II

Fragments of New York, part II - oil on museum panel - 12"x8"

The second part of the two part still life painting I recently completed.

A selection of my work will be on show at the Jorgensen Fine Art Gallery, Christmas Exhibition
which opens this Sunday, December 1st at 2.00 - 6.00pm.
If you are in Dublin please do call in to the gallery to see the works on display.

The Hibernian Way, Dublin 2.
Telephone: + 353 1 7645734

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Red Quarters & Fragments from New York

Red Quarters & Fragments from New York, part I - oil on museum panel - 12"x8"

This is an image of the first of a two part painting I recently created.

The paintings were made as a reflection and tribute to my time spent at the Art Students League of New York. During that time I worked in the studio of the painter and teacher Gregg Kreutz. The  two paintings are both made up of cropped fragments of an original by Kreutz ( Still Life with Persian Vase).

I had direct contact with these objects and many more in the various still life set ups and cupboards in the studio.  It was such a strange experience for me to see and be with objects and materials that I had become familiar with through books and various reproductions.

The many experiences I had from working in this studio further enhanced for me the magical and transformative qualities inherent in painting when seen through poetic eyes and described through the right hands.

(Detail Above)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Artist's Shelf

The Artist's Shelf - oil on museum panel - 12"x8"

Just put the finishing touches to this piece a few days ago and am really looking forward to working a thin coat of varnish into it when it's completely dry.

The warm light cast over the objects allowed me great play in the cooler shadow areas, which almost vibrate.

I really enjoyed bring this piece to life.

- Richard

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

An Imperishable Crown

An Imperishable Crown - oil on museum panel - 12"x8"

This piece will feature in my coming solo exhibit at Jorgensen Fine Art in the New Year.
You will also be able to see a selection of my work at Ib Jorgensen's Christmas event exhibition
which opens soon on December 1st - details to follow.

As well as at the recent Irish Antiques Dealers' Fair, which opened at the Royal Dublin Society in September, I learnt that Ib represented my work this month at VUE, Ireland's National Contemporary Art Fair at the Royal Hibernian Academy which brings together 17 of the leading Irish contemporary galleries from around the country.

The painting above harks back to my time spent painting in studio at the Art Students League of New York.
The studios at the top of the building had this diffused north light which is remembered here. It filtered in from fogged out windows set at an angle in the roof and made for a wonderful atmosphere.

- Richard

Sunday, November 17, 2013

After the Market & another process

After the Market - oil on museum gesso panel - 12"x8" - sold

Thought to show another recent painting and its process, to illustrate how I might approach each piece differently at the outset of it's creation. This piece was created more 'Instinctually' - building the painting up, initially through the indication of tone, the rough placement of the objects and their scale through a sort of freeform dialogue as I went. It was a somewhat less 'Cerebral' approach in comparison to the recent piece illustrated using the grid of 'harmonic divisions'.

The initial rough in.

The second stage.

This is an image of the painting in it's final stage.
The painting actually has a greener hue to the background but I find in many instances that my camera doesn't pick up these subtle shifts in colour. I have to get myself a better camera! Did you hear that Santa!?


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Creative Process, Grids and Colouring Pencils

During my time away I was sketching and taking notes on paintings that spoke to me at the museums and galleries I visited in Paris and Madrid.

Before I had left for Europe I began studying and endeavoring to apply, if somewhat crudely, a classical gridding system to my work to aid its development and try something new!

I had been looking at the work of the Irish modernist painter Sean Keating again, (mostly in relation to my commissioned project for SEPIL) and was struck by how he used different forms of gridding in many of his compositions (mostly to aid enlargement from staged photos). Also, upon reading about many of the painting ateliers, none of which exist here in Ireland yet, I learnt that the study of  harmonic divisions developed in the studios of architects and painters, using pythagorean laws and theories during the renaissance where common practice and staple knowledge which was passed down.

At the Prado I saw first hand how some of these grids were used in both simple and complex ways. A great example was that of Ribera's painting, 'The Martyrdom of Saint Philip', 1639.

Here is a couple of images of a piece in process, and in which I have employed the grid at the outset to aid my composition.

This Still Life, lite by natural north light, depicts my jar of my colouring pencils and a postcard reproduction of Sorolla's painting 'Alberca del Alcazar de Sevilla' from the Museo Sorolla in Madrid. I used much of a whole harmonic pythagorean grid in the placement of the various objects, but most notably allowed the two pencils at far left and right to run in exact correlation with two of the major diagonals.

If you look closely here you can see those grid lines I mentioned above.
I'm looking forward to sharing this piece with you when it's completed, along with a group of other paintings I am currently working on.

- Richard

Above and image of Jusepe de Ribera's 'Martyrdom of Saint Philip', 1639.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Highlights and Influences

Just last week I arrived home after a trip to the cities of Madrid and Paris. I know, lucky me, catching the last of the Autumn sun! Myself and Boo spent five nights in each city.

The visit had many highlights including the Musee Rodin in Paris, a day spent at Fiac - the contemporary Art Fair on the Champs Elysees which has been running since 1974, and a first visit to Museo Sorolla in Madrid not to mention all the beers and tapas!

We had been in Madrid for a weeks adventure four years ago and visited the 'Golden Triangle' of Museums there - namely the Prado, Reina Sofia and the amazing Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art. But I had presumed that the Museo Sorolla was in Sorolla's home of Valencia when in fact it was in the center of the city of Madrid! This was a great opportunity to return again and spend a day at Sorolla's home and studio, which didn't disappoint! The Museum has a great collection of both Sorolla's landscape and figurative works - many of which offered me a rich insight into his processes.

The Prado was incredible as ever and there just happened to be a dedicated new wing to hold a special show of 'Velazquez and the Family of Philip IV'. But the real clincher for me on this trip was the work of Ribera and a close encounter with a Rembrandt portrait at the Thyssen.

Over the years I have held many 'favorite' artists, and have come to realize now that I have never abandoned any of these influences as I have grown - no influence becomes superseded but my appreciation just grows with time, expanding with knowledge and understanding.

The works of Ribera at the Prado really stood out for me this year, especially a grouping known as 'The Series of Apostles' and a captivating painting entitled 'Saint Paul the Hermit'. Standing at these paintings I frantically took notes and jotted down ideas and insights in my notebook.

Another real highlight was in the Thyssen this year, when I came face to face again with a wonderful and enigmatic Rembrandt self portrait. I stood in front of it for at least half an hour, just breathing it all in. I'd say Boo was about to kill me!

Below, a few of photos I took of a couple of the more memorable paintings I encountered.

Captivating garden scene, (which for me had echoes of  the work of 'the orientalists') from the Museo Sorolla Collection.

A detail from a light infused seascape at Museo Sorolla.

Detail from a Ribera.


Friday, November 1, 2013

SEPIL Commission 003 - The Big Wheel and Excellent Preparation

The Big Wheel - oil on oil primed linen canvas

There isn't just one way to tell a story, and every story has many different aspects to it, many different perspectives. The truth is often times a very complexed thing - not fixed but elusive, ephemeral as time moves on.

As I mentioned in my first Blog post on this project. The inspiration or genesis for this commission was the body of work created by Sean Keating around the development of the Ardnacrusha power plant. This 1920's hydro energy project became known as 'the Shannon Scheme'.

Sean had his way of illustrating a story, his personal preferences and background.
I have my way also. Unlike Keating, there will be little stylizing, but through the work I have found myself more interested in 'the raw mechanics of the thing'.

During the painting process thoughts come to me through the process of creation. These thoughts are often times reflections on the hidden symbolism which might exist in the work or scene captured.

Painting is transformative, and I feel reveals itself both intentionally and unintentionally.
Distilled through the nervous system of the artist and viewer pointing at some truth.

To get to a place like this where an intimate dialogue begins between the artist and the work of art, where ideas and philosophies which might underpin the work start to come to the foreground there has to be quite a bit of preparation and time working at the canvas.

The twelve or so paintings I am currently working on for this project have become a celebration of drawing, paint and surface quality. By using an array of various techniques throughout I feel I can better illustrate my concepts and ideas around this project.

Below, a detail from the painting above, as well as a couple of  images of my studio space to give you an insight into the type of preparation, research and raw materials I need to have ready in order to get 'the wheels in motion'.

I can say now without a shadow of a doubt that 'the big wheel is now rolling' on this project.

An image of my studio wall from a couple of months ago with my blank canvases at the ready.

Sean Keating used a gridding system with quite a number of his photographic references. I decided that rather than using the common grid I would study the 'armature of the rectangle', a classical system which dates back to Pythagoras' theories of harmonic divisions and compositions in music and art. I am now endeavoring to apply this knowledge to my paintings to help strengthen their foundational composition.

And a very neat and important invention - my portable palette!



Phone: + 353 (0)86 216 1135.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ochre, Green and a little Cobalt

Ochre, Green and a little Cobalt 
(after a composition by David Leffel, title and size unknown)
- oil on linen panel - 7"x5" - sold

All the still life pieces I have been sharing over the past few weeks were began during a trip to Thailand last year. A month or so ago I began reworking and bringing some to a finish.

Since the first of October I have concentrated exclusively on my commissioned work to record the Corrib project for SEPIL. It's been really engaging, progressive, and a  great challenge for me. I'll be continuing to document and write about my progress, insights, and the solutions that I have made while tackling such an important project. These posts will appear on the first of every month during the duration of this commissioned body of work.

In the mean time I will continue to share with you these pieces, a selection of which will feature in my upcoming solo exhibition at the Ib Jorgensen Fine Art Gallery in February 2014.

This week I am off to Madrid and Paris for ten days! Can not wait to visit the sites, museums and friends in both of these incredible cities.

- Richard

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Urn, (tribute to Leffel) - oil on canvas - 12"x10" - sold
Private Collection, Ireland.

Must have began this piece a couple of years ago and put the piece aside several times, returning to it to heighten the light and colour as well as fixing some drawn aspects. I gleaned the image of the Urn from a part of a larger painting made by David Leffel entitled Texture and Light.

It now has an extremely rich feel and many interesting subtle colour shifts, especially close to the shadows.

Hope you like it - Richard 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Study in Green, Grays and Red

Study in Green, Grays and Red (after Leffel)- oil on canvas - 18"x16 - sold
Private Collection, California.

Another composition inspired by my study of the works and thought processes of David Leffel and my time spent with Gregg Kreutz at the Art Students League of New York in 2012. This piece began over a year ago and worked on it on and off over a period of time. Only brought to a finish one evening recently.

Below is a detail from the work.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Black Vessels with Grey and Orange

Black Vessels with Grey and Orange after David Leffel, original title unknown
- oil on linen panel - 12"x9" - sold
Private Collection, Ireland.

Since I was a child I have been trying to reconnect with an art that seemed miraculous and near unobtainable. Unknown to me, I somehow wanted to reconnect with it's historical life which I felt alive and present, but distant.

A few years ago I came across a book with images in it by a painter called David Leffel and was really struck by his work, as his paintings to my eyes, seemed  to build a bridge back towards a somewhat lost knowledge. Their orchestration and mystery interested me greatly.

Then I was lucky enough to be accepted to work in the studio of Leffel's star pupil, Gregg Kreutz at the Art Student League of New York in 2012. I spent two months his crowded studio in advance of my second New York solo show and learnt a great deal. During that period I created several of these 'arrangements' and understood more.

I began this painting in Thailand last year, sometime in late November, and over time worked on the piece at different stages from reference, finishing it a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

SEPIL Corrib Commission 002 - Traveling New Roads.

On my immediate arrival to Bellmullet for my first site visit, on Monday July 29th 2013, I was compelled to write, desperately wanting to record the experiences of my first journey from my studio in the heart of the Burren, County Clare, to the vast expanses of north County Mayo. I had wished I had a dictaphone with me all the way, but the memories of the journey were still fresh in my experience.

Sometime after leaving my studio in Ballyvaughan I began to miss the soft Burren landscape, feeling lost on roads until I entered County Mayo. Then the world opened up again!

On a regional road towards Bellacorrick, (which seemed to go on forever) all twentynine kilometers of it! I thought more philosophically about 'the road ahead', and how when traveling new roads you just trust that the road will unfold ahead of you presenting you with the next piece of the journey and so on, eventually bringing you to your intended destination. In a way this feeling extends through my life as an artist, always trusting that the next brush stroke or mark will lead on to further places yet undiscovered - a new destination.

This winding road, so beautiful with the Glenamoy river on my left, made me think of my great grandfather Daddy Jim Hearns (b.1850), and his brother Frank, the famous fishermen. They surely must have fished this pristine river.

Then I meet a lake, wild and windblown. I continued to snake along this sheltered road catching glimpses of mountains which seemed close by. And then out, onto the vast bog plains which stretched away on all sides, and then rose up into unreachable heights out of nowhere. 

I looked at this wild and untamed landscape, contemplating the job that lay ahead of me. A feeling of foreboding, something sinister rose up in me, knowing of the opposition and history of this project and of some of the more contentious issues, but perhaps that was heightened by the recording from Conception des lumières by Anne Dutoya which was playing ominously that moment on RTE Lyric FM!

I continued on, acknowledging several farmers who worked tirelessly on fences at the side of the road. I reminded myself to be aware and conscious of the communities here and their important traditions. 

These small bog roads rose and fell, knocking out any kinks in the spin. It was a real adventure as I had never taken this road before. And t
hen I was there, having entered the Gaeltacht and the larger Erris area.

Since that journey I have had two site visits, inductions and safety training and had the opportunity to visit the sites at Aughoose, Glengad and a walk from the Leenamore River Crossing along the entire Wayleave. 

I have also taken the time to explore sections of the vast and stunning landscape around the Barony of Erris with it's extraordinary natural beauty,  sandy beaches and sea cliffs carved by the atlantic. The area covers around two hundred and ten thousand acres!

The works I have began to date includes notebook sketches and larger studies in oil on canvas. I am making great progress and have a number of strong visual references that I am working with currently.

I look forward now to my next site visit where I am planning to compose paintings at the Terminal at Bellinaboy, progressing this body of work further. 
At that stage, I believe, I will have a very good idea of how the overall project might unfold and what I will be interested to record in paint.

Please do pop your email address into the 'subscribe' feature on this Blog to receive updates on this project, my work, and future exhibitions.



Phone: + 353 (0)86 216 1135.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Light Bulb in Wrappings

Light Bulb in Wrappings - oil on linen canvas - 12"x10" 
Private Collection, New York City

This painting was a wonderfully interesting and rewarding challenge.

It can be amazingly insightful to see how you tackle certain subjects, and this painting was no exception.
How to compose and render bubble wrap, a crumpled white foam sheet and cardboard, all bathe in natural light.

You could say I had a sort of 'Light Bulb' moment!

Hope you Like it. - Richard.

P.S Below an image of me at work on this piece a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

48th Irish Antiques Dealers Fair

My work is to appear, represented by Ib Jorgensen of the Jorgensen Fine Art Gallery, at the 48th Irish Antiques Dealers Fair.

This Antiques Fair opens this Friday 27th of September at the Royal  Dublin Society, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 with a preview on Thursday 26th from 6pm to 9pm.

Please see invite attached for details.

- Richard

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Composition in Red and Green

(Apple, Can and Frame,) Composition in Red and Green - oil on fine linen - 12"x10

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

Over the past few years have I concentrated solely on the development of  my painting, and in some ways neglected my drawing in this pursuit.

Painting and drawing are, in my opinion, very different and require a shift in thinking and perception not to mention totally different handling and application.

During my school years and for the most part during college I worked specifically through drawing, rarely using any colour at all in my work. Over time then, during my travels abroad, my notebooks gradually developed from concentrated drawing into full colour finished paintings.

My tutors in college always encouraged my drawing and I used it as the foundation for the development and explorations of all my ideas for the video/sound pieces I created during that period.

So, during  a visit to the Smithsonian Museum of Art in Washington DC earlier this year I came across this book, 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain - a course in enhancing creativity and artistic confidence'.
I had seen this book in college years ago and decided that it was time to get back to drawing again. The book is in it's fourth edition. Have any of you ever worked through this course?

Attached are two Charcoal and Tea stain drawings I created around 1999 entitled 'Day'  and 'Night'.
The drawings are based on imagined images of Brian Keenan during his abduction and imprisonment in the Lebanon. Also, this mornings exercise from the book, to copy Picasso's drawing, ' Portrait of Igor Stravinsky'.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Egg, Shell and Complements

Egg, Shell and Complements - oil on fine linen canvas - 12"x10"

Created some weeks ago, this painting is another example of how I arrange various subjects in the afternoon and evening after a days painting from observation outdoors.

Composing pieces like this can be great fun, as I feel really free when painting still life and tend to push and pull the paint around in very unusual and exciting ways until I reveal image I want.
Perhaps it is because the image before me is so stable, unlike the light and subjects in the landscape, that I feel more free to be as daring in my approach and process.

Unlike the common academic approach taken by many when composing subjects like this, I have developed numerous or innumerous ways in which I begin a painting. In fact, I never 'know' how I might tackle a piece but just dive into it with abandon. This really keeps the excitement alive during the process of realizing the finished piece, and I feel gives the painting an extra vigor in many cases.

This painting is currently reserved for a coming solo exhibit at Jorgensen Fine Art, Dublin.

For pricing and purchasing information please email,
or contact me here or by phone at + 353 (0) 86 216 1135.

Below is an image of the painting and still life set up.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Vessel and Grapes

Vessel and Grapes - oil on canvas - 16"x12" - sold
Private Collection, Cyprus

This painting was created some weeks ago.
In the afternoons and evenings I have been working on pieces like this. I leave my studio and come over to this corner of my kitchen where a soft north light filters through the window.

The painting, with it's soft weightiness created by the objects is contrasted and heightened by the symmetry of the composition and use of line.

For pricing and purchasing please contact,
or + 353 (0)86 216 1135

Below an image of the painting during it's creation.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

SEPIL Commissioned Project 001

Firstly, I would like to welcome any new visitors to my art blog from Shell E&P Ireland Limited (SEPIL), Statoil Exploration Ireland and Vermilion Energy as well as BAM, Roadbridge and all of the subcontracted companies and professionals working on site or in the background at the Corrib Natural Gas Installation.

It is my hope that you, along with all my wonderful readers, supporters, collectors and subscribers worldwide will enjoy seeing this Commissioned Painting Project unfold and develop over the coming year.

In the autumn of 1926 Ireland's most famous political painter Sean Keating  began a series of paintings to commemorate an engineering project which became known as 'The Shannon Scheme'. This series of paintings commemorates a collaboration between Siemens and the Electricity Supply Board's (ESB)'s work to bring electricity to all of Ireland by way of hydro power.

Artist Sean Keating on site at Ardnacrusha, © RTE Stills Library.

In late November of 2012 Peter Colleran of SEPIL contacted me on viewing my work and this collection of Keating's paintings entitled 'Enlightenment and Legacy'. Peter and I began a dialogue around the idea of commemorating the 'Corrib' project along similar lines.

By means of a somewhat crude introduction to all my new visitors, my name is Richard Hearns. I am a thirty three year old Irish Visual Artist who has been working full time as a professional artist since obtaining a Bachelor Degree in Fine Art interdisciplinary Digital Media in 2002 at IADT, and a Higher Diploma in Art, Craft and Design Education in 2004 from The National College of Art and Design (NCAD).

My work has brought me all over the world, and I have to date collectors and subscribers on all four continents.  I have been drawing and painting since I can remember, in fact I can never remember a time when drawing and painting was not an integral part of who I am. For the last number of years I have worked and kept studios in the south and the west of Ireland both in Roscommon and County Kerry as well as County Mayo and now in the Burren, County Clare.

A great deal of my work to date involves working from life and out in the open landscape where I can truly experience and savor the various compositions I arrange in front of me. I work mostly in a representational style, meaning I create paintings that mimic to some degree the real world, and become a distillation of my experience.

Artist Richard Hearns at the easel, near the village of Ballyvaughan.

I look forward now and over the coming months to introducing you all to my work and this project as it unfolds by way of a monthly blog update and newsletter.

I too have set myself deadlines and a minimum output for the period in question and am excited to share with you my processes, insights and developments, as the project unfolds, as well as my other ongoing work for coming solo exhibitions in Dublin and New York City.

I am sure I will, over the course of the commission, meet with many of you who are working on the project, both on site and in the offices of SEPIL and the partnering contracted companies. I very much look forward to those encounters.

The Corrib Natural Gas installation is an incredible energy project, not without its controversy, and I look forward to capturing many aspects of its development and history in paint to become a document and record for the Irish nations history.

Here below are a couple of images of  preliminary sketches in oil on canvas to whet your appetite.

Please do pop your email address into the 'subscribe' feature on this Blog to receive updates on my work, projects and exhibitions.

Yours Sincerely,
Richard Hearns B.A, HDip ADe


Phone: + 353 (0)86 216 1135.