Wednesday 1 June 2022

inspired by flowers

I always seem to be noticing flowers and admit that I find them inspiring! Wisteria hasn't yet entered my painted repertoire, but I always stop to look at it when I see it. This picture was taken a couple of months ago before the flowers were fully in bloom. I was in Dublin that morning and just had to stop and snap the trained wildness over this doorfront.

My absolute favourite example of the trained wildness that is wisteria is this magical portal here in Bray. I used to live up the street from this house so watched it bloom every year.

This is one of my favourite gardens in Bray, and right next to the wisteria gate is a gorgeous magnolia tree. As the tree is so close to the footpath it was easy for me to do sketches of the flowers in different phases of bloom when I lived so close by.

The result of my sketching that particular tree was this acrylic painting that I did in the spring of 1999 and which was included in my Blessings exhibition at Signal Arts Centre that fall. In 2000 the exhibition was again displayed at Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff. It currently resides in a private collection in the US.

As well as working from sketches and photographs flowers also appear in my dreams. When I lived in rural Kerry in the mid-90s I noticed that many people had beautiful and enormous calla lilies in their spacious front gardens. In fact, I think this may have been my first experience of seeing these flowers other than in pictures and I was quite taken with them. So much so that I dreamt about them, albeit in my dream life the flowers were vibrantly coloured. I made this Father's Day collage card in 1995, and a later riffing on these images painted the curtains that became the main part of my installation Dreaming for Dad, which was created as a memorial for my father (he died in September 1995) and exhibited at The Basement Gallery, Dundalk in 1996.

When thinking of seminal images of my home and life in Kerry for my painting Knockeen, the dream calla lilies made a large appearance. This large painting from 2021 was part of my exhibition Memory Is My Homeland at Rathfarnham Castle earlier this year. 

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