I live in Tullamore and raised on a farm which fuelled my passion for both animals and art growing up. My love for both has never waned. Growing up the support of my mother and my sister to continue my art has brought me to this point. I have been educated by local art teachers, like Olive Cuskelly and Claire Guinan to name a few. This led me to achieve a degree Art and Design in G.M.I.T. Galway and I recently completed three workshop with Dirk Dzimirsky in Germany in Advanced Realism in Portrait Drawing in graphite and charcoal.
My influences are George Stubbs, an English Equine and Portrait painter, he painted the Queen’s Zebra, which was a very unusual sight in England at that period. Also the ebb and flow of nature attracted me to paint these magnificent creatures. The hardships they endure in migration from one area to another and the fragility of their existence in our modern world. This also mirrors the horrors of human refugees. The individuality of each animal‘s pattern, although they look the same to us. Also how they behave with each other fuels my inspiration to create an image that communicates to the viewer that these animals do have a range of emotions that compels the survival of the herd.
The black and white stripes have influenced fashion for years, but as a painter the light affects all colours we see. Light defines their form and the colour I present in my paintings. I like their clean lines and the void background to invoke a narrative for the viewer. Red is a predominate colour in my work it evokes the blood spilt in their homeland on the people and animals.
I work mainly from photographs, taken at the zoo or from research. Recently I have travelled to South Africa to study zebras in their natural surroundings. I normally start with a rough sketch with is my map going forward. When I lay the under coats, I work on the eyes because the eye has the most interest and able to speak where words cannot. The work is slow and laborious and takes many hours to complete. Very often I will leave a painting to melt into my subconscious before returning to finish it.
I do hope you enjoy my work.
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