Thursday, August 25, 2016

Monk's Hydrangeas

Every weekend is 'market weekend' for Boo and her Thai cooking stall at the Kinvara and Ballyvaughan farmers markets. Many other local producers, artisans and musicians also take part to make these markets the special weekly events that they are for the larger community and visitors.

One very special market seller is Michael Monk - previously owner of the famous and renowned Monk's Pub and Seafood restaurant at the pier in Ballyvaughan, Micheal retired some years ago from the publican trade, and became as famous for his 'spuds', (potatoes to the uninitiated) and as a local vegetable farmer in Ballyvaughan.

Michael, having never lost his Dublin charm, is also partial to gifting girls with flowers! A couple of weekends ago Boo was the recipient of these Hydrangeas from Michael's garden.  I thought it would make a great composition for a 'sight size' painting with it's strong leaf flowerhead of reds and pinks.

In life and art it's ultimately the combination of curved lines and straight lines that brings about perceived beauty. Through the deliberate balancing of the strength and order of the straight lines in this composition I plotted a foundational vehicle in which to place the grace and elegance of the curve - it's the balance between them that provides the life and structure of the painting.

I'm looking forward to showing this piece to Michael Monk on Saturday. I think he will get a surprise by his gift of flowers now immortalised in paint.

Hope you like it.

- Richard

Monk's Hydrangeas
oil on linen - 60x60cm [24x24inches]
Reserved for my coming New York Solo Show.
Contact, for more information.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Have you been to Vietnam?
Hanoi is were this short story started for me, the painting came later.

I visited that vast and densely populated city earlier this year. A cold snap of weather had drifted from China down to the northern parts of Laos and Vietnam - so unseasonably cold for that time of year that people were caught by surprise and wandered around the city of Luang Prabang wrapped in bed sheets in an effort to keep warm.

When we arrived in Hanoi it was still wet and cold. My parents were traveling with Boo and I, and efforts had been made to accommodate their interests, including a visit to the square and mausoleum of General Ho Chi Minh.

The atmosphere I felt as we circled the square looking for an entrance was alien and unwelcoming. The mausoleum stood in dark granite backed by a forboding grey sky. The building was fronted by a strong bold red typeface and grey block paving on which people shuffled into line to queue. The soldiers who filed people into line looked untrusting - no welcome was given - no smile - no colour - 'no cameras' - 'no talking'! All you could hear was the sound of wet boots along the red plastic carpet cover which lead us towards and into the monolith.

The remains of venerated General lay there in that vast silent chamber, a ghastly colour of orange light cast over his face. He was plastic and unreal. It was the most uncomfortable architectural space my body had ever entered. I wanted out!

While creating this piece I was surprisingly reminded of that day and my experience of the tomb.
In a way I feel this painting makes battle with my memory of that colourless place - that unnatural space and mummification of life.

A small orange colour note placed along the granite slab nods to my memory of the body of the general. Light and the play of colour and reflection pervades even in shadow.

Monolith, 2016
oil on linen - [24x24in] 60x60cm
PM me for details on this piece.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What is It?

What's the pictorial concept for a work like this?
What's the initial excitement that draws me in and makes me want to transmute, filter and communicate? 

John O' Donohue described the moment of inspiration so beautifully in his poem, The Artist at the Start of Day - 
'Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
That cut right through the surface to a source'.

Every once and a while a piece just presents itself like this, forcefully communicating an idea for you to investigate. 

With this work it was all about illustrating a hierarchy of 'edges' described by gradated light. 

I posted an image of this work accompanied by a number of other recently created pieces in my latest newsletter. This piece has been reserved and purchased in advance of my coming NYC solo show in November.

'Lilies', 2016
oil on canvas,
50x40cm [20x16in]
Private Collection, New York City.