An Port is a favourite destination of mine and we visited it this year on the second day of our workshop. Port has a very special atmosphere. It is said that the whole village was abandoned at the time of the famine in the middle of the 19c leaving the houses to fall into ruin. It must have been a very hard existence – what appears picturesque to those visitors who make their way down and leave again, the reality was in fact a harsh existence.
On the first morning we spent an hour on Fintra Beach before moving on to St John’s Point. At Fintra our first exercise was to walk and make marks as we go, seaweed, stones, footmarks, pawmarks, feathers, waves – anything that took our eye. These sketches ended up as scribbles in most cases but served the purpose of honing hand-eye coordination.
St John’s Point
On the final morning we had a ceramic tutorial from the potter Alan Snape. At the start of the holiday he had asked everyone to think of five or six motives for a mini frieze. Always daunting at first the final results were awesome to the delight and surprise of all the novice ceramicists!
Our final destination was at the stunning Muckross Head with wind and waves and foam – an inspiration for any artist of paint or words.
Thank you to all who took part – to the tutors, the companions, the helpers. Thank you for all your work – sketches , paintings, poems and most of all – thank you for the craic!
The weather gods were kind this year although if I were one to bite my nails they would be down to the quick! For painters it was perfect – windy, cloudy and sunny all in one Donegal day. Motifs are always plentiful, satisfying every taste whether landscape, water, fishing ropes, scudding clouds, busy, colourful, towns or sweeping mountain passes.
Below is a slideshow of some of the work produced
This year we had a guest tutor, the ceramic artist Alan Snape, who gave a masterclass in modelling in clay. Results were stunning as you can see…
All over for another year. My thanks to Alan Snape, the Potter, for his excellent tuition, to Gerry (Mrs Potter and my big sis) for her help making thousands of sandwiches and gallons of coffee and tea and of course to all those who took part for your work, the laughs, the wine and the company!
Through the media of paint, glass and photography Rosie McClelland and Pamela Greene each explore the complex issue of identity. Recognising that identity has may facets and is subject to reinvention, their work explores the relationships we form with certain people, landscapes or objects and why these draw us close on emotional, spiritual or physical levels that we do not always understand. Drawn to the imperfections in the human condition and in nature, McClelland’s and Greene’s work recognises that it is in connecting with these fault lines that we find our DNA
‘Little Blue’ oil on linen 50 x 40cm Rosie McClelland
The condition of self is transitory, never fixed. Our position within society, family and workplace can change radically throughout our lives. It is with this in mind that I approach my work which is first and foremost intimate and reflective, a personal response to my subject matter.
My chosen method of working is figurative, weaving underlying abstract forms into reality and, in the process, hopefully creating a sense of presence – a vibration. The study of the human body, an ongoing fascination throughout my life, returns time and again as does the art of still life which is about much more than the objects it portrays and more often than not represents human relationships. Another repeating motif is the tethered boat, so long a symbol of the spiritual, at times swaying on choppy seas, times on still waters portraying a reflection of the self.
Woven into this process is the acceptance of faults, fractures and imperfections as it is only through a holistic view of reality that the truth and the real self are revealed. Rosie McClelland
Iceland Series ‘Frozen Sea’ dia 30cm depth 18cm Pamela Greene
Through the media of kiln-formed glass, photography and poetry I explore my primary interest, identity. I am particularly drawn to the identity of landscape and why many of us make emotional or spiritual or physical connection with wild and inhospitable places whose beauty is often savage and transient.
My current work focuses on the landscapes of Iceland and Ireland, sustained sources of inspiration. For my ‘Iceland’ series I chose to work with glass for its versatility: its ability – like ice – to transmit and reflect light, its reaction to fire, and, like the landscape of Iceland, its strength and vulnerability. These properties make it the perfect medium to try to reflect the spirit of a landscape whose identity is shaped by ice and fire.
My glasswork is supported by photographs of Donegal, a landscape similar to that of Iceland. In these I have sought to capture the essence of a fractured and fragmented landscape where it sometimes seems that the identity and history of our ancestors can be read in the faces and fault lines of the rock formations.
Working with glass and photography has enabled me to explore how landscape, actual and remembered, shapes our sense of who we are and where we come from. Pamela Greene
On Saturday 12 Nov 2016 10am – 4pm, I shall be tutoring a life drawing workshop in the Island Arts Centre, Lisburn. Please contact the Island for details
Jolita came to NI in 2005 from Lithuania to work as a clinical research scientist. Around the same time she started painting and took a National Diploma in Art and Design at the South Eastern Regional College. She has been painting and exhibiting ever since and in 2008 one of her paintings was chosen as a winning entry for the Lisburn Historic Quarter Arts Group Postcard competition.
In 2009 as Ambassador of Vilnius (2009 European Capital of Culture) in Northern Ireland and in conjunction with the millennium jubilee commemorating the naming of Lithuania, Jolitaworked with the Artists Association of Lithuania to create an exhibition realising the historical and contemporary study of Baltic identity and creativity. The exhibition was held at the Island Arts Centre, Lisburn.
Jolita has been liaising for us with Patrick McDonald from NIAMH, our chosen charity.
Here is some information……..
Niamh is a leading mental health and wellbeing charity that delivers a range of services which focus on mental health recovery, health and social care policy, training and counselling for employees across the island of Ireland via its 3 areas of service activity, Beacon, Carecall and Inspire.
Beacon provides 24/7support services to people with experience of mental illness through supported housing, day support and advocacy services. This is the largest division in the Niamh family and it has grown substantially over the past few years.
Beacon’s 15 day support schemes located throughout Northern Ireland provided a range of recovery-focused programmes to over 1300 people every year and its 28 supported housing services provided accommodation for 430 people. Its advocacy services dealt with almost 6,000 requests for advocacy support in the last year alone and floating support has recently provided services for a further 39 people.
Carecall provides therapeutic support through workplace-based wellbeing services such as employee assistance programmes (EAP) and counselling, and training and preventative services in a wide variety of contexts including schools, colleges and workplaces.
Last year alone, Carecall delivered just over 32,000 counselling sessions to nearly 6500 people and made their services available to 566,000 people, including 185,000 students. Over 2500 delegates attended Carecall training courses in 2013/14.
Inspire provides support for approximately 90 people with learning disabilities in various locations across Northern Ireland. It is the newest Niamh service, having commenced in October 2013, and extends the reach of Niamh beyond mental health in order to also support people with a learning disability.