Exhibition – Clifden Arts Week

My studio has been slowly filling up with paintings for my forthcoming exhibition for Clifden Arts week 2015. There’s nothing quite like a deadline to focus the mind and I’ve been taking advantage of any free time available to get some work done. I have given myself a goal of about 12 – 14 paintings for this show, anticipating the finished size of the work (framed) and knowing the space that is available. So far I have about nine finished or almost finished paintings so the work is well underway, which is just as well as I only have about two more weeks left. Next week I will have the bonus of extra day time hours as the kids return to school and I am also in the fortunate position of having an excellent framing service at hand in the form of my good husband Gavin.


Busy Studio



Creatively I am approaching this show as a kind of representation of everything that I have done so far. I’ve been looking back at old source material – paintings, sketches and photographs and seeing how I can use this material to produce works on a larger scale and in a more fluid manner than I would have been able to five or six years ago. This is the first time that I will have produced a large body of work for one single exhibition as I have exhibited almost exclusively in our own gallery and at my own pace until now, just occasionally submitting work towards group shows.

I began this series with some landscapes based on favourite places – the bog road out towards Roundstone and the Oughterard bogs. Here is the first stage of a landscape based on the latter ( below ). It’s acrylic and ink on canvas board and it measures 12″ x 16″


Summer Bog, Oughterard first stage



I’ve kept the shapes simple with the focus on the striations of the cut bog in the foreground. The colours are light and bright to keep it summery and I’m using pinks and pastels to reflect the grasses and bog flowers. Here’s the finished painting below.


Oughterard Summer Bog, finished paintiing



As you can see, the background has not changed very much. I’ve darkened the blues slightly but I’ve kept the sky quite open and plain to convey the notion of the mountains as a kind of calm, all seeing presence that is constant in the face of the every changing earth. I’ve played with the paint and ink, keeping them fluid and allowing the colours to bleed into each other to describe the softness of the bog and the hair like quality of the grasses. I am satisfied with this one and have completed another two paintings on a similar theme as I enjoy working in a series and I hope that this will work well in the final show.

by Deborah Watkins