Some of the highlights from The 187th Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition.

They say what you learn in the classroom at school isn’t relevant or useful in real life. But what of all those drawings of your shoe in art class? Or the classmate posing for your 30 minute sketch? Art is timelessly relevant and evidently so at the 187th Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition.
Opened tonight, Monday 22/05/17, the show is diverse, awe inspiring and exhilarating. Here are some of the many highlights to enjoy during your visit.

From the deep, rich yet muted, jewel tones of Hollis Dunlap‘s “Man in Violet and Green” [124], the lively pallet of Peter Bradley‘s Carousel [47],  the sobering subject matter and social conscience of Jack Hickey‘s “Apollo’s Calling” [214] or the glorious hyperrealism of Blaise Smith‘s gleaming “China” [485] there is something to captivate every audience.[124] [Also the catalogue numbers, if you need a reference to purchase]

[47]

[214]

[485]

You can almost hear the crash of the Atlantic Ocean and taste the surf, standing before Donald Teskey‘s imposing “Ocean Memory” [505] In fact, I don’t know if it is the Atlantic. I am a girl from the West of Ireland and might assume or simply relate. Colin Davidson‘s “Portrait of John Hume” [99]  has a lesser heavy but equally steely blue and grey pallet and raw energy about it, even as it portrays a still moment.

[505][99]

The academic accuracy and expertise evident in Nicholas Benedict Robinson‘s “Hathaya R” [438] make you want to paint as much as you can for as long as you can. Don Niccolo Caracciolo Award and Medal winner and personal art hero of mine Catherine Creaney‘s “With Flowered wallpaper” [86] is another staggering feat in realist portraiture. As is the enviable skill and talent of Kyle Barne‘s  showing his ‘Man with Blue Ears” [6] portrait and winner of The Whyte Award.

[438]

 [86]

 [6]

There is something very confident about showing a drawing. But when you are, as accomplished an artist as William Nathans, the expertly executed “Micheal” [363] serves not only as a stand alone piece but almost as a trailer for his paintings. A teaser that entices you to want to see even more of his work. Speaking of trailers, like many artists, I enjoy paintings and sculptures of skulls. I will admit, Jason Ellis‘s works “Macrocephalus I & II [136] are all the more enjoyable having seen Alien Covenant recently.

I haven’t even yet mentioned Mick O’Dea’s portrait of “Michael D. Higgins” [385] or another of Blaise Smith’s works, the wonderful and I’ll venture controversial “Eight Scientists” [482] Winner of The Ireland – US Council and Irish Arts Review Portrait Award. I haven’t mentioned going to the bar to find Conor Walton‘s sunset coloured “An Ape’s Limbs Compared to Man’s” under the stairs. But there are many I haven’t mentioned. And my quickly taken snaps from my phone do not do these pieces of art justice. The exhibition runs from May 23, 2017 – August 12, 2017. Go to see it. Be inspired. Keep drawing.

[363]

[136][385]

 [482]

Oscar Wilde
“every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself.”

Conor Walton “An Ape’s Limbs Compared to Man’s”

Colin Harris “The Birth of Venus” [202]

My Top 5 Events to Celebrate National Drawing Day this May 20th 2017

“Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.” Salvador Dali

Tomorrow is National Drawing Day and here is the round up of some of the best events to attend as part of it. I have saved the best for last.

5. At number 5, The School House for Art in Enniskerry have a full schedule of events all weekend and all are absolutely free. Which is very generous, considering the School House run  courses year long and this is their main business. Get in touch on 01 286 9594 or schoolhouseforart@gmail.com

4. My old stomping ground Limerick hosts it’s own fun event: “Create a Character with Mark Heng” at The Hunt Museum  in which you’ll create a portrait of your own imaginary character while learning about anatomy and drawing fundamentals. Check out their Facebook event page here. 

3. Join artist Janine Davidson at one of my favourite galleries The Hugh Lane to celebrate National Drawing Day. From 1pm on Saturday she holds a workshop “Inspired by our current exhibition Port Life: Eugeen Van Mieghem, we will experiment drawings from 2D to 3D landscapes exploring a variety of materials and different perspectives that will bring to life a maritime scenery on the paper surface”
Free – No booking required.

2. The Kingdom will celebrate National Drawing Day 2017 at Kerry County Museum Practicing artists Roisin McGuigan takes participants on visual exploration of the intriguing flint artefacts excavated at Killaclohane Portal Tomb, Milltown Co. Kerry

Date: Saturday 20 May
Times: 11am-11.45am (family session 1)
12noon – 12.45pm (family session 2)
2pm-2.45pm (over 16s session 1)
3pm-3.45pm (over 16s session 2)

Duration: 45 minutes + 15 minutes Q&A
Cost: FREE
Group size: 12 per session (no booking; first come first served)

  1. Saving the best for last, at The National Gallery have a full list of events on the day but whats catching my attention is, childhood drawing hero of “Draw With Don” fame (yes my sister had the book and yes I drew every single page) Don Conroy competes in a lunchtime Art Battle from 12.30pm-2pm. Fatti Burke is his worthy competitor and the public decide the winner. Hashtag your drawing tomorrow with #NationalDrawingDay. I’ll be in The Winter Garden’s cheering on Don. See you there
  2.  

A pop up art gallery next to a hipster coffee shop. This is the new and exciting Harold’s Cross.

When I moved to Harold’s Cross, a full decade ago, to work as packaging designer for Neworld Associates, HXC had little to boast of. This evening La Galerie Impromptu, a pop up exhibition space in Harold’s Cross, hosts the opening of artist Dave Gleeson’s “Portraits”. The pop-up gallery is sandwiched neatly between The Workx salon and what is becoming a fast favourite, FivePoints cáfe.

You may be familiar with Dave Gleeson’s work, having spotted it on the top floor of the St. Stephen’s Green Centre. Over the weekend Dave will show a series of his incredibly detailed drawings as part of The Harold’s Cross Festival.

Dave’s inspiration came from his love of music. He grew up close to The National Stadium on The South Circular Road. He would often race home from school to see his favourite rock-stars setting up or having a sound-check ahead of their concert.

This childhood experience, observing the musician’s in their everyday life as opposed to their public persona,  is reflected in Dave’s work. We are used to seeing these superstars strutting their guitar-hero onstage pose, said Dave. But these portraits hold a uniqueness. He conveys the stars in their private moments, off duty enjoying a cup of tea in Bewley’s or strolling pasted the Olympia Theatre. The exhibition is curated by artist Eoin MacLochlainn. You can follow his art story on his blog Scéalta Ealaíne.

Next door you can grab, arguably one of best coffees in Dublin, ahead of the opening.  FivePoints have given their hipster exposed brick wall to exhibit the photography of Esther Moliné, in keeping with the artisic theme.

It also houses, the kept secret sun terrace in Dublin. With Santorini-eque white walls, these recent blue skies as a back drop, it makes for a gorgeous lunch in the sun.

Grab a coffee today, take a stroll in the park, be back for 6 and enjoy the portraiture exhibition. I will see you there. Sheila

 

 

 

 

 

Hatch and Sons has Just Opened a Second Eatery in the Dreamiest Location

Hatch and Harry make a dreamy brunch combination. The well-loved informal dining favourite Hatch and Sons opened a second venue last Friday at the Hugh Lane Gallery on Parnell Street, where once housed Itsa Bagel. I popped in today with a pal to enjoy a bite and some artistic inspiration.

Hatch and Sons are located in the bright and airy room downstairs and even have an outdoor seating area to enjoy on a sunny day. Just take a right as you come in the front door and go down the stair between the reception desk and the bookshop.

In contrast to the natural light of the café, the magical Harry Clarke room (to the left after the reception on entrance) is set in a darkened room. From this shaded space, bursting with jewelled coloured light, Harry Clarke’s Eve of Saint Agnes transports you into his dreamlike fairytale land.

Stained glass windows are often associated with church windows and religious iconography. However this particular stained glass window, is set out like a graphic novel, telling a love story based on the poem “The Eve of Saint. Agnes” by English Romantic poet John Keats.

The poem this window is based on is very long. In short it tells the love story of Madeline and Porphyro. January 20th was known as the Eve of St. Agnes. On this eve young girls would fast and go to bed early. The feast day of St Agnes was the next day January 21st. If you followed a bunch of rules, fasting, bed early etc you could hope to dream of your future husband on that night. This was before iPads, Facebook, Tinder and online dating sites, so extreme lengths were gone to.

Madeline, daughter of a Lord, lived in a great castle. She was hoping to dream of her husband this night. She had followed all of the rules and conditions. She was in love with a man called Porphyro however. But her father the great Lord Maurice had forbidden her to marry him. Just like in Romeo and Juliette the girls childhood nurse gives a helping hand and helps Porphyro enter the castle in secret.

Madeline is woken by Porphyro’s music and finds he is in her room. She isn’t sure at first if she is dreaming of her future husband as it is the Eve of St. Agnes or if he is really there. Porphyro assures Madeline this is not a dream.

Like the Ed Sheeran song “Nancy Mulligan” Madeline and Porphyro run away to be together despite the family differences.

This window is so detailed and gorgeous. It contains lines from the poem on each of the 14 panels. Purple, blue and red and strongly referenced in the poem and so Harry Clarke uses these colours quite a bit in the window. Pop in and see it for yourself, because like all beautiful things, it is best viewed in person.

Admission to the gallery is free and does not require booking. The Hugh Lane opens Tuesday to Thursday 9.45am– 6pm, Friday 9.45am – 5pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm and is closed on Mondays.

Detail from the window.

The super food salad was a very tasty and healthy dish. I’ll recommend it. Definitely a winner for me.

Lots of natural light at Hatch and Sons

The gorgeous turquoise and gold entrance door of the Hugh Lane. This photo isn’t doing the colours justice. This is my dream front door.

 

 

Artist Colette McDonagh’s exhibition opens this weekend

This evening sees the opening of an exciting solo-show by Galway based artist Colette McDonagh. Avid supporters of the arts, News Cafe, Books n More (formerly Easons) of Tuam, Co. Galway present the substantial collection of oil paintings.

The exhibition includes a collection of over forty artworks inspired by the great Masters, the human form, the beauty of the West of Ireland, abstractions, flora and domestic still life.

The exhibition opens at 4pm today and will run until June 30th 2017. The great news is all paintings are for sale and individually priced. Check out the event page on facebook for more images.

Pop in early to have your choice. Everyone is welcome to come along, view and enjoy.

A personal favourite: “Storm” after Turner. Oil on Board. €250.00

“Praying hands” after Durer Oil on board framed.

“Summer Meadow”. Oil on board. €95.00

“Farmyard at Ashford”. Oil on board framed. €55.00

“Flowers” Oil on Board framed. €65.00

“Lily Pond”. Oil on canvas. €95.00 

“Jump”. Oil on Canvas €95.00

“Connemara Scene” Oil on Board framed €75.00

“Naked Lady” Oil on board framed €95.00

“Sunset” Oil on board framed €350.00

“Canna Lily” Oil on Canvas €170.00

“Still life” Oil on Board framed €75.00

 

 

 

Incognito opened today at the Solomon Gallery: 5 tips for those attending this weekend.

UPDATE: The piece donated by yours truly. Already gone to it’s new home so I can reveal my identity. In fact the entire show sold out. All 1500 pieces over the weekend. Huge congratulations to project manager Lucinda Hall and all involved. Delighted for you.

Incognito opened today at the Solomon Gallery: 5 tips for those attending this weekend.

The already hugely successful Incognito exhibition opened at the Solomon Gallery today April 21st 2017. I had intended to simply pop in, take a few snaps of the full collection of donated art works before they were snapped up and post them here on the Art Academy blog.

I had been in conversation with Frank O’Dea of the neighbouring Balla Bán art gallery in the Westbury Mall and mentioned I was dropping in. He gave me a heads up, that there has been a queue, all day long outside the gallery of people coming to select their artwork. Expect a 40 minute to 1 hour queue. He was not wrong. A fantastic turn out.

I am delighted that this exhibition is doing so well. 1500 artworks were donated including by yours truly, for The Jack and Jill Foundation. How wonderful to see all the support. The neighbouring Westbury were even handing out delicious treats to those in the queue today.

My 5 tips for to the Incognito exhibition this weekend:

  1. Grab a coffee from No. 9 Butlers on Chatham Street (around the corner) to enjoy during the queue.
  2. Get there early. Every artwork is €50 and they are selling quickly.
  3. Give yourself plenty of time to queue and browse the exhibit. Once inside there are 1500 postcard sized pieces on show. So worth the wait. Take your time, see which piece is calling you. You get to find out the artist after your purchase. You can really test your inner art critic here.
  4. Take a look on the website before hand. Not every piece is listed but it gives you a good feel for the exhibition.
  5. After all that art and culture I recommend Balfes next door for brunch or upstairs to the Westbury for a tea. Pat yourself on the back for supporting a wonderful cause and getting an artistic bargain too.

The Solomon gallery is located just off Grafton Street, next to The Westbury Hotel. The exhibition runs until the 25th of April.

Happy art shopping.

 

The queue at 5pm today. 

1500 miniture / postcard sized artworks are on sale to raise funds for Jack adn Jill.

 

 

“INCOGNITO, Jack & Jill’s 2017 Public Art Project. This is an Exhibition and sale of 1500 miniature pieces of artwork (postcard size) which will be displayed for sale in the Solomon Gallery in Dublin (Beside the Westbury Hotel) from Friday 21st April to Tuesday 25th April.

Each piece will cost €50 but you won’t find out the name of the artist until you finalise the purchase of the piece. You might end up with something worth €10,000 or something that you love by a Sunday painter!

All funds raised from this campaign will help provide home nursing care for very sick babies nationwide.”

 

Incognito Exhibition, what you need to know.

For those unfamiliar, Incognito is an exciting exhibition in aid of the Jack and Jill Foundation. Artists from all over Ireland have donated postcard sized artwork to the exhibition (including yours truly).

They are all priced the same. For €50 any piece is yours. The fun part is, it is only after you purchase the art, that the identity of the artist is revealed. Fancy yourself as an art critic. There are so many styles so choose wisely and see if you have a good eye.

The incognito website is now open and so you can view all the artwork online at  www.incognito.ie. Call into the Solomon on Friday 21st April (10am-7pm) to see the exhibition. 

Check them out online www.incognito.ie where you can register your interest in a piece. Here are a few of my personal favs so far:

This dreamy textured painting above

I have a weakness for realist art, where the everyday is elevated to the divine, like the oil tube above

This Mother’s Day Weekend, Why Not Try Something a Little Different

If you fancy a bit of culture this Mother’s Day weekend, I recommend heading along to The National Gallery where there is a new and exciting portrait on show. Gareth Reid’s commission of Graham Norton has arrived and is hanging in the Millennium wing.

It show’s a different side to our favourite TV show host. A more relaxed, casual, pensive side quite far removed from his highly polished tv persona.

Gareth won the commission as the prize on Sky’s Portrait Artists of the Year 2017, available to watch on Sky Go. Over the course of 8 episodes we see artists battle it out to win the coveted prize: a £10,000 commission to paint a portrait of Graham Norton.

Perhaps the real prize for any artist is this painting is now part of the permanent portrait collection in the National Gallery of Ireland. So we are lucky to have this piece here in Dublin and free to the public to visit.

While you are there why not pop in to see the finalists and winner of the Hennessy Portrait Prize 2016. You need not have a four year degree in Art History from Trinity to enjoy these pieces. Both hold fantastic examples of contemporary portraiture that are accessible and appeal to all.

My favourite part about viewing Gareth’s commission on the final Episode 9 Season 3 of the show, is we get to see his process.

* * *

Here we see the artist change his composition several times before settling on a final one. He paints and repaints over and over sketching using the brush and red and black oil paint. We get a real insight into how he works as an artist.

**  * *

*Image credits: Still from the Sky Portrait Artist of the Year 2017 Ep9 S3 available to watch on Sky Go

Gareth had three sittings with Graham ahead of painting the portrait. They met in Cork and got to know each other. Eventually it was revealed through their conversations that they are actually distant relatives. Gareth made several sketches and took photographs of Graham and the surrounding area.

* *

Gareth Reid at work in his studio, still from the show.

I would recommend watching the show (or at least the final episode if not the series) and then popping in to see it in person. It’s amazing to see art in real life as opposed to a representation on your tv/ media player.

Image credit: photo taken while visiting the National Gallery.

The portrait in reality is larger than I anticipated. The National Gallery is located around the corner from Merrion Square and the perfect located for lunch and a Sunday stroll afterwards.

A very happy Mother’s Day to all the wonder women this weekend.