I have been trying to process everything from the Grey Box find of last year, and make some sense of all the various items found in it. There were so many miscellaneous sketches and cards - the cards often acting like sketches. Sometimes the card came first - as in this abstract xmas card from 1982 (I think). For a series of individual cards I painstakingly attached tiny strips of gold tape and silver paper ovals (that for me were a development from my stem-less tulip paintings); the colour was added with wax crayon and burnished. I made about 30 of them of them I think, taking care of my xmas card list...
Continuing the theme from the xmas cards, I created small works in the following year on wood blocks that I had readily available (off cuts from various projects). As I gave a number of them away as gifts a few small pieces survive, along with this piece that I kept for myself. I did a couple of larger paintings on sheets of plywood while at university, but these are no longer in existence.
From 1983 (and for several years) I had many watery dreams of figures and dolphins and this imagery made its way into many drawings and paintings. Though undated, I think this oilstick drawing dates from 1983 or 1984 and is probably one of the earliest appearances of the gold tumbling figures in the water.
I had been on holiday in Ireland in 1987, visiting my parents, and became enamoured by watching individual rainclouds in the distance over the sea and images of these clouds made their way into my watery paintings, like this one "Meeting", oil on canvas.
In 1988 I used the image of the gold figure tumbling above the water as a design on a St. Patrick's Day card for my new boyfriend (now my husband). I found stripey paper to use as gold rain and I added the green stars as a reference to a line in William Carlos Williams poem "Our Stars Come from Ireland".
As well as making an appearance with other elements in numerous paintings and drawings, the rainclouds also appeared in their own right on a birthday card for my Dad in 1989.
The rain became a little more menacing I guess in this postcard from 1989.
I moved to Ireland in 1988 and started work on a completely new body of work as I had left all my dream paintings in Toronto. This new work consisted of a large group of figurative drawings where I covered the paper in graphite and used an eraser to draw. Later works in this series got more colourful as I drew with large oilsticks. This body of work became my first solo show, at Temple Bar Galley & Studios, Dublin in 1989.
In February 1989 I used the theme in a Valentine postcard sent to my boyfriend in Toronto.
I have always loved the stone walls and stonework ruins found everywhere in Ireland, totally different architecture than I had grown up with in Canada. I was back in Toronto when I sent this Mother's Day card to my Mum in Ireland in 1990.
At the time, although I was back in Canada, I started work on a series of paintings based on windows from ruins which were part of my life in Ireland. I exhibited a number of these paintings in a group show at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre in Scarborough in 1992. I brought the series with me to Ireland when I returned in 1993, completed more in the series and started a tour of the large group under the exhibition title "My Tower of Strength". The exhibition opened at Siamsa Tire arts centre in Tralee, Co. Kerry and its last stop was The Courthouse Arts Centre in Tinahely, Co. Wicklow in 1998 taking in a number of galleries in between. This painting, "The Holly & the Oak", is acrylic on canvas, 122 cm x 91.5 cm (4' x 3'), 1992 is in the collection of the Office of Public Works, Ireland. The window is structurally based on Raheenacluig - the church of the little bell - a ruin on the side of Bray Head, in the town where I live.