Tell us the starting point for your new exhibition “Enchanted Forest & Other Stories”?
I think the first painting I did was Rydal Cave which I found when visiting my son who lives in the Lake District in England. That was a year ago and I have been adding to it ever since. So it’s one year’s work. Most of the forest paintings are from walks in Dublin and Wicklow.
Which one is the Enchanted Forest?
The Vale of Clara in Co Wicklow, which is as magical in spring as it is in autumn when the leaves change to russet and burnt siena. The other forests I’ve painted include the evergreen Djouce woods, once part of Powerscourt Estate, as well as those I’ve visited on holiday in Kerry and in the Outer Hebrides off the coast of Scotland.
What about the landscapes in the exhibition?
Most of these – including the “Field of Dreams” series – are abstract and are a compilation of memories I’ve retained over the years.
Do you paint en plein air or from memory?
I use photos, drawings and quick outdoor painted sketches for my paintings. The final paintings are done in my studio. The finished paintings often bear little resemblance to the starting photo or drawings. They evolve in the studio with layers of paint, applied with large brushes, palette knife, or bits of cardboard. I aim for a loose painterly style, sometimes verging on the abstract.
How and where do you work?
I work in my studio in the garden. It is small so has to be kept fairly tidy. When I want to get a good look at a painting I bring it into my kitchen and live with it for a while, and decide if it’s finished or not.
What are you working on next?
I’ve already started a series on bluebells, in the abstract. I like changing subject matter and theme as I get bored quite easily.
Need to Know: “Enchanted Forest & Other Stories” will be on at Solomon Fine Art, Balfe Street, Dublin 2 from Thursday May 16 – June 8