Friday, May 30, 2014

From the Museum

This larger work and some smaller little gems by the American artist John Frederick Peto really caught my eye last year at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. Peto is mainly associated with the art of Trompe-l'oeil painting but he also created lots of straight forward still life compositions. They have a great grouping of his paintings at the Smithsonian and I remember really enjoying them - their scale, design and sensibility.

Though to share them with you here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reflections on Joy & Why I paint?

This piece was created in late March at an Art demonstration I was asked to give in Dublin just before I left for New York this year. It was a wonderful day spent with a large school of painters in north county Dublin, and I found giving the demo and talk really 'took me out of myself'.

I begin the talk by asking all present a question: why do we paint and draw! Some of the students had answers immediately, but all were asked to reflect on this question.
I felt if we might be able to identify why we paint, we might also be able to formulate where we would like to go - a trajectory - through the act of painting and ultimately what we might like to achieve as artists!

It's a question I have asked myself many times and an exercise I feel I must repeat regularly.
Coincidentally the question I asked became the catalyst for my short talk at my Manhattan solo exhibit.

Why do I paint and draw, and why have I found the various mediums through which I express myself make such sense to me? What is my preoccupation with representing the visual world around me?

You know when you're a child at play in school and someone tells you 'you draw the coolest dinosaurs' or superheroes that really sticks with you!!

In art college I extended this communication through my work in Digital Media and video/sound technology, but always knew it was the processes of drawing and painting that attracted me most or made the most sense to me.

So, again, Why do I paint?

Well, because I can!
Because I've realized that there are dominant hidden questions in me, that only through the act of painting might revel themselves.
Because it brings me great joy, and it is my hope that that JOY communicates and transmits to others through me and my work bringing joy into their lives.
Because it never fully satisfies me. Because it's never complete, yet gives me a sense of unity. Unity with life, with nature, with others!
Because mastering my chosen craft continues to fill me with a sense of purpose.

Just a day before the opening of my show I came across this short written meditation by an Eileen Caddy. And I'll finish on this.

Why not do in life what you enjoy doing, as long as it does not harm another and brings only good to yourself and all those souls with whom you are concerned?

Learn to do what you are doing at the proper time and in the proper way and without great strain or effort.

Small children know how to enjoy life without any restriction, self concern or self consciousness, Do not always do things because you feel they must be done or you have to do them. When something is done under compulsion, all the joy and pleasure go out of it. Learn to do everything because you love doing it. Give whatever you have to give for the sheer love of giving and for the sheer love of living, and let's see how different life will become for us.


Sunday, May 11, 2014


Game - oil on canvas - 12"x10"
Private Collection, Denver CO.

Created this piece just before I left for New York this year.
My friends who continue to hunt Pheasant, Duck and Woodcock here each year are keeping up a long family tradition of seasonal hunting in the Burren.
I joined them once, but had'nt the heart to lift the rifle.

When they dropped in these three beautiful birds I had to capture them in a painting first before Boo prepared a traditional feast - Thai Style! The painting is now in the collection of a wonderful family from Denver, Colorado who visited me here at my studio just before I left for my trip to New York.

- Richard

Thursday, May 8, 2014

From the Museum.

Thought to share some pieces that caught my eye at the Museums this year in New York City.
Actually no, lets start last year at a visit to the Smithsonian in Washington DC.

John Singer Sargent, 1856 - 1925.

There are so many things about Sargent's work that attracts me. From his economy of paint handling to his bold and bravado gestures. The brush strokes are always so descriptive, although on many occasions I think he may have gone overboard on his use of turpentine in laying in the initial composition, especially in many of his larger works. This overuse of turps in evident in the extensive cracking on the surface of many of his paintings. Not so in these smaller pieces below though.

New York City, Exhibit Launch 2014

Here are some photos from the opening of my exhibit which happened last Thursday at O'Sullivan Antiques in Manhattan. Thanks to all who came along to the launch making it an incredible success and such fun. Many thanks to all who took photos on the night and sent them along to me.
This show is open to the public until this Saturday 26th, ending with a smaller reception.
Looking forward to seeing some of you there.

a little splash of some of the pieces which were on display.

Myself and  Kathy Kelly a lifelong friend of Chantal O' Sullivan.

With Ali and Carly Napier.

'A selfie' with Tom Guglielmo and Mary Fennell.

Time for a little talk :)

Two great friends and supporters of my work.

A massive turnout of support and interest at my exhibition.

Lovely shot of a few of my Thai landscapes that featured in the exhibit.

With The Consul General of Ireland,Noel Kilkenny, and his wife Hanora.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Art Students League of New York

Three weeks into my New York trip this year I finally got time to stop by and revisit The Art Students League of New York and see my old studio and my teacher Gregg Kreutz.
I spent three months painting at the league under the tutelage of Gregg Kreutz and Joseph Peller in 2011.

I love the feel of this five story historic building nestled in among the modern skyscrapers of mid town Manhattan. I've visited quite a few academies both accredited and unaccredited in NYC but none have the creative feel and history like that of the League with has been in existence since 1875.

(Me at the steps of The Art Students League of New York).

Catching up with Gregg was wonderful. He continues to be a real support to me and I'm encouraged by him to go back to paint there possibly on my next visit as Gregg and his instructors always are kind enough to make room for me there.

A couple of weeks previous to visiting Gregg at the league I called to another old institution, The Salmagundi Club with has been supporting artists as a Center for American Art since 1871. 
While there I caught an exhibit of its members among them was a self portrait of Gregg which I loved.
His paintings evoke the old masters sensibility, with their use of Chiaroscuro and lush application of oil paint.

(Self Portrait by Gregg Kreutz).

My love of Gregg's work, and his teacher David Leffel among others dates back to my discovery of the work, teachings and philosophy of Robert Henri, who taught at the Art Students League and spent many summers painting on the West Coast of Ireland mostly on Achill island.

(Image of Johnnie Patton by Robert Henri).

I would encourage you all to read Henri's book 'The Art Spirit', it never ceases to awaken and inspire something deep creativity inside of me.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Gregg once again for his gracefulness, understanding, continuing encouragement and friendship.

- Richard

Thursday, May 1, 2014

SEPIL Commissioned Project 008 - East to West, Coast to Coast

Having just arrived home after my month long stay in New York, I gather myself to journey back to north County Mayo for a proposed three days on site at the Corrib gas project.

New York was such an exciting, renewing, fun, rewarding and developmental time for me, and I now feel really ready to get back to painting, giving this commissioned project my utmost attention into the coming months.

There are various aspects of the project I'll look to capture over the weekend, including some time with the locomotive driver/operator and another visit to the Landfall Valve in Glengad.

I look forward to keep you up to date over the coming months as this commissioned project progresses. Until then consider the contrast of these two worlds across the pond from each other, separated by time!