Life drawing Residency in Roundstone

Some friendly faces at the gallery

James Hanley (RHA), Carey Clarke (RHA), Gavin Lavelle and Una Sealy (RHA) outside the Lavelle Art Gallery, Clifden 


We’ve had some interesting visitors to the gallery recently – old friends and acquaintances that we don’t get the opportunity to meet often enough. Pictured with Gavin outside the Lavelle Art Gallery are RHA ( Royal Hibernian Academy ) artists James Hanley, Carey Clarke ( former president of the RHA ) and Una Sealy. They were part of a group of fifteen artists that were here for a life drawing residency, organised by mutual friend and RUA painter Rosie McGurran

The setting was Letterdyfe House in Roundstone, an elegant country house surrounded by gardens and ancient woodland. Our hostess Suzanne Houbolt welcomed us with open fires, drinks and canapes and she prepared and cooked delicious meals for us during our stay.

I was fortunate enough to be invited and it was a real tonic to work with some of the finest artists in the country in such a setting. I forgot to be intimidated by all the talent because everyone was there for the same purpose and the work was mingled with plenty of good humoured banter and fun.

Letterdyfe house

Letterdyfe House, Roundstone 


The drawing sessions took place in the two front rooms of the house, so our large group was able to move around and make the most of both days. Our two models were excellent, engaging us in how to structure the poses and working for long periods of time. We worked on shorter poses in the mornings and each afternoon was spent on a longer drawing/painting when the two models posed together, which was a terrific challenge. Thanks to Rosie McGurran and Suzanne Houbolt for making the week end possible, my batteries have been charged for the next month at least.

Gavin Lavelle, Rosie McGurran and fellow Connemara artist Margaret Irwin West ( who also came to Letterdyfe ) have each had their work accepted at this years RHA Annual Exhibition in Ely Place in Dublin. Gavin and Rosie will also be showing together at the Whalley Gallery in Belfast, opening next month on June 4th 2015.



by Deborah Watkins