Evie Lavelle – New Artist

Connemara Sheep by Evie Lavelle

We are absolutely delighted to introduce our customers and friends to the work of our daughter, Evie ( Genevieve ) Lavelle. Evie has always had a flair for drawing and painting but she has honed her skills with hours of practice over the last couple of years. At just thirteen years of age, we think her work is exceptional ( we are a little biased ) and we are happy to hang her drawings along side the work of our comparably seasoned professional artists.

Evie uses a combination of artist quality coloured pencils and watercolour. As well as the animals native to Connemara, Evie also enjoys drawing her favourite characters from the world of anime and film. You can find more of her work on her YouTube channel at EvieLavelleArt.

Evie’s first drawing ( framed by Gavin ) can be seen on display in our gallery window on Main Street – watch this space, there is more to come.


Evie's work in the gallery window

Christmas in Clifden 2016

Christmas at the Square, Clifden

Clifden is feeling festive this December with it’s new street lighting and cheerful shop window displays. It’s a good time of the year to be in town as there’s a strong flavour of the season but without the crazy hustle and bustle of the city. Here’s some photos of the tree in the Square.


Christmas lights in Clifden


And a peak into our own shop window  – we have a colourful landscape in oils by Gavin Lavelle, also paintings by Lydia Brow, Manson Blair, Ann Flynn and Lorraine Fletcher and a selection of ceramics by Claire Finlay. Much more inside of course. We are open right up to Christmas so drop in – we look forward to seeing you.


Christmas at the gallery























‘Charms of Plenty’ by Rosie McGurran at the Lavelle Art Gallery

Painting by Rosie McGurran


The Lavelle Art Gallery hosted an exhibition of work by Rosie McGurran this September for Clifden Arts Week. Rosie has had a long association with the gallery and she has shown her work with Gavin in two joint exhibitions, at the Peppercanister Gallery in Dublin and more recently at the Whalley Gallery in County Down. Originally from Belfast and a member of the Royal Ulster Academy, Rosie has lived in Roundstone since 2000.

This exhibition was inspired by the wild flowers of Connemara. June heralds the bog cotton and foxgloves while summer ends with fuschia, heather and montebresia. Rosie gathers these seasonal markers on her daily walks and she has used them to make a series of pastel drawings and paintings. Figures often appear in the work creating a visual narrative, deeply informed by symbolism.

Here are some photos taken during the summer of the work in progress at Rosie’s studio in Roundstone.


14141844_10154470285992392_3081387001425341698_n Work in progress at Rosie's studio



The exhibition was officially opened on the 17th of September by Sheila Pratschke, Chair of the Irish Arts Council of Ireland. It took place in the newly renovated upstairs room of the gallery and ran for the duration of Clifden Arts Week 2016.

Sadly I missed the opening night myself due to a family commitment but here’s a few photos of the gallery space just before the show opened.


Rosie Mc Gurran show at the Lavelle Art Gallery




Upstairs at the Lavelle Art Gallery



Rosie's work at the Lavelle Art Gallery

Vive la Citroen

Old Citroen outside the gallery

Look what pulled up outside our gallery this week – Gavin managed to get take this picture, which is unhindered ( miraculously ) by the usual clutter of cars and vans on main street. A very large french family disembarked from it straight away – hard to believe such a car could make the journey this far west. We’ve been reliably informed that it is a Citroen Traction Avant Commerciale 11CV. These cars were built in France between 1952 and 1957 – I’d like to think that our 2006 Toyota Rav 4 will last as long but I’m not so sure..

In Conversation with Mary Donnelly

Sweet Song of Spring by Mary Donnelly

Cover image  ‘Sweet Song of Spring’ by Mary Donnelly

(This article will feature in the February edition of the Connemara Journal 2016)


Mary Donnelly has lived and worked as an artist in Connemara for most of her adult life. She has received many accolades throughout her career, among them the Oriel Gallery Award for a landscape of distinction at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 2004. She also received the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2013 and she has had solo shows in Dublin, Australia and New York. Her most recent show was in the Paul McKenna gallery in Omagh last autumn.

Originally from County Louth, Mary uprooted her painting studio from Dublin’s Temple bar in 1991 in search of a new landscape.  She found in Connemara ‘a place of extreme weather and sublime beauty,’ conditions that would combine to feed her artistic practice here for the next quarter of a century. Mary takes her inspiration from the contours of Connemara, often seeking out quieter places – a small copse or field, rather than the dramatic mountainous peaks you might usually associate with the West of Ireland. Mary describes her landscapes as ‘groundless’ and many appear to exist without a distinct skyline or depth of field in the traditional sense. More significant for Mary is the metaphor this provides for an exploration of the transcendent nature of landscape. She views the line of the horizon as a sacred place where Heaven and Earth come together. The surface of her paintings appear suffused with a silvery light, the half-light of winter, Mary’s favourite season of the year. It is under this delicate film, that the land and it’s timeless mysteries are revealed – the hidden furrows of another era or the gentle arch of an animal grazing, as animals have grazed here for centuries.


Dusk,Cow With Calf 13x18cm

‘Dusk, Cow with Calf’ by Mary Donnelly



In some paintings, the activity of man is evident in the form of a telegraph pole or the faint outline of a building, but it is always unobtrusive. Others paintings contain an object within the work – a wire strung across the canvas might indicate a fence. Mary explains that the external nature of the additional material may serve as a gateway or threshold for the viewer.


Frosted Darkness by Mary Donnelly

‘Frosted Darkness’ by Mary Donnelly



The poetry of Patrick Kavanagh was an early influence and Mary cites the poems ‘March’ and ‘Wet Evening in April’ especially.  The lines from ‘March’ continue to resonate with her most current work –


‘There’s a wind blowing

Cold through the corridors,

a ghost-wind..


( Patrick Kavanagh 1904 – 1967 )


Other artistic influences include the sepia water colours of Victor Hugo, the light filled landscapes of J.W.M. Turner and the work of contemporary American artist Lawrence Carroll.

Music fills Mary’s studio, helping her to focus. Currently she is listening to ‘Stabat Mater’ by Italian composer Agostino Steffani and the music of contemporary mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli. Mary quotes the words of William Blake who said that poetry, painting and music are ‘the three powers in man of conversing with paradise’

Most of the paintings are worked on for several months at a time, in some cases up to a year. Each begins with a drawing and layers are built up slowly and carved away to create the sense of a surface that has been revealed. Mary tells me that the best advice she has been given in relation to her art is to hold on to the adage to ‘never give up.’ I ask what advice she might give to aspiring artists and she replies; ‘to understand that being an artist is a privilege and to always remember that you are a seeker of truth.’


Mary’s work may be viewed in Clifden at the Lavelle Art Gallery or online at www.lavelleartgallery.ie


Debi O’Hehir

Horses by Debi O'Hehir


This year saw the passing of Debi O’Hehir, a friend and artist who exhibited in our gallery for over a decade. We continue to sell Debi’s paintings at the Lavelle Art Gallery and proceeds of these sales will go towards the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan, in accordance with Debi’s wishes. This is a residential workplace where artists can find peace and quiet to develop their work, together with the stimulation of working alongside artists from a variety of disciplines.


Debi O'Hehir - photo by Reg Gordon

Debi O’Hehir – photo by Reg Gordon


Born in England, Debi grew up in Kinvara, County Clare. She studied fine art painting at the Galway College of Art, graduating in 1988. Debi worked for a time in England where she developed an interest in sculpture and began exhibiting her work in London’s Northcote Gallery. Debi returned to Ireland in 2001 to work at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre and she set up her home and studio in County Leitrim where she remained for the rest of her short life.

Debi’s great passion was horses which she realised in a large body of work. Her paintings are made primarily in ink on Arches or Fabriano artists paper. Each piece is infused with vitality and energy, demonstrating her mastery of these materials. Debi was a prolific worker and she divided her time between painting and sculpture, the latter comprising mainly of horses, intuitively formed in wire or plaster.

We were introduced to Debi in 2005 and over a ten year period, we came to know her as an artist and a friend. We are proud to show her work and she is greatly missed.

December Paintings

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about my painting and this is largely because I haven’t done a lot of studio work since September. This combined with the fact that our computer hard drive broke down, so I can’t process my photos as I normally would. Life has been been demanding in all sorts of ways since September that I could not have predicted. I have found myself embroiled in a variety of matters associated with a number of committees and other groups that have taken up far too much of my time and energy. My resolution for the new year is clear – I’m not going to take on any more battles and I am going to spend a lot more time painting. How wonderfully simple is that?

Getting back to being creative after an intensive period of work is always difficult and I think that there is a natural cycle of creativity – a time for industry and inventiveness and a time to slow down and prepare for the next busy period. I feel like I am somewhere in between at the moment as I am thinking about my next body of work but also keen to finish some pieces before Christmas.  We sold the last of my seascapes a couple of weeks ago in our gallery and this has forced me to focus my attention in this direction. I wanted to make some winter seascapes, dark brooding ones that reflect the weather at the moment which is stormy and unpredictable. I imagine myself out at sea reaching back towards a shadow of land in the distance and in another piece, the sky is the dominant feature, broiling and curling over the waves beneath. Here’s a few photos – the quality isn’t great as I took them with my phone.



Wild Sea

I’ve kept this image small as it is slightly out of focus and this is accentuated when it is reproduced larger – insert another pledge for the new year – sort out my computer!



Seascape with wild sky



Both of these pieces were worked over a relatively short period. I find that the work improves as I gain confidence with my ability to express a mood as freely as possible and this often happens during short energetic bursts of work. If I get bogged down in technicalities, the paintings lose this energy. I need to give myself permission  to be in the landscape ( or seascape ) while I am working and to feel what it is like to be there. This might sound like fancy, but it is simply where I am at the moment with this work.

Of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

Photography by Mark Furniss

I’ve been away from this blog for a while, caught up in catching up since my exhibition in September. Fortunately I have the Connemara Journal to bring me back to writing and this piece is in the the current November edition. It reflects what we have been seeing here in Connemara for the past few weeks, although we have had some wintry moments since. Today I’m looking out at clear skies and cool sun and I’m glad of it. I will post about my painting soon.  Continue reading