Monday, January 19, 2015

Winter notes from Barcelona

Hola, Buenos Dias, 

I'm just about to publish my first quarterly newsletter! You can sign up to receive it by entering your email address in the subscribe feature on my new improved website
I'll post in about two hours. Hope you can join me.

Until then here are a couple of images of new works in progress in my Barcelona studio space.

Ciao. - RH

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Over Two Weeks Passed

Over two weeks have now passed since our arrival in Barcelona. It's turning out to be such an inspirational trip filled with museum and gallery visits, long walks around the various areas of the Catalan capital and quality time spent with friends over long lunches and the occasional Vermouth!
But don't get me wrong it's not all fun and games!

Since I last wrote my concentration has been on getting all my equipment and further materials gathered and prepared in order to concentrate solely on the development of my studio painting here.
With the help of a skilled designer and his work shop machinery I now have seven top quality large canvas stretcher frames made. I've been preparing the linen that I stretch over them with three coats of glue sizing - stretching and re stretching as I go. It's a lot of work, but a process I really enjoy.

Five of my stretched canvases are made from a very fine Belgian linen and the other two from a courser Spanish linen. I'll write more about my painting process and this considered body of work as it develops further.

At home in Ireland I have seven canvases of this size that I've been working on for some time in near or total completion. Right now I am close to resolving three pieces here in the studio but I'm never quite sure when these pieces will be 'finished' as they are less to do with a technical or conceptual finish and more about a deep intuitive feeling or perhaps a surprise as the work unfolds and announces itself.

I'll leave you now with this image of the studio space taken earlier today as well as a couple of pics from this weeks trips around the city of Barcelona.


Studio Space, Barcelona, January 13th 2015.

A pot of Glue Sizing with some raw umber powered pigment mixed in.

Outstanding guitarist Mariano Olivera in Park Guell.

A sneak peek over the city of Barcelona from Goudi's Park Guell.

Streets in light and shade close to Barri Gotic.

Detail of a work included in an incredibly frightening but alluring exhibition entitled The Passion according to Carol Rama at the Musey d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, MACBA.

Life size video projection piece as part of an exhibit entitled Nonumental at MACBA which tackles the whole idea of the imagery of historical events that occupy and many times vulgarises our urban landscapes with it's inherent ideological and symbolic power.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Brand New Website On-line

I'm really excited to share with you my brand new website on-line It's designed to work on all personal computers, tablets and smart phones! I'll be editing, updating and adding to it during the year.

Due to demand I'm also working towards making available a number of certified limited edition art prints of my paintings by the end of February. Please do drop me a line if you are interested in being included in this limited edition first run.

In addition, I've also added a 'news' section in order to bring you fresher content and update you on new events and exhibits of my work as well as a quarterly seasonal newsletter which you can subscribe to on my homepage.

Special thanks to web designer Billy Gillooley for the new look and improved cross platform navigation . I'm sure you will all enjoy the way it functions. Please do take some time to browse the site and let me know what you think. - RH

Monday, January 5, 2015

Highlights so far

One week into our stay in Barcelona, I thought to share with you are some of the highlights so far.


Walking towards the Mediterranean along Avenue Meridiana.

The Azure Blue Mediterranean Sea.

Antoni Tapies. A Catalan Hero.

An 'Interval. Sound Actions' Installation at Fundacio Antoni Tapies which Brian Eno contributed.

Getting myself set up to work in studio a Nave 12.

A day with Boo at Museu Nacional d'Art Catalunya (MNAC).

A view from MNAC.

View from across the city from Mount Tibidabo.

My Works in Process.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Beginnings

It is so good to be here in 2015!
Sending you best wishes from my studio space at Nave 12 in Barcelona.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Among twenty snowy mountains,   
The only moving thing   
Was the eye of the blackbird.   

I was of three minds,   
Like a tree   
In which there are three blackbirds.   

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.   
It was a small part of the pantomime.   

A man and a woman   
Are one.   
A man and a woman and a blackbird   
Are one.   

I do not know which to prefer,   
The beauty of inflections   
Or the beauty of innuendoes,   
The blackbird whistling   
Or just after.   

Icicles filled the long window   
With barbaric glass.   
The shadow of the blackbird   
Crossed it, to and fro.   
The mood   
Traced in the shadow   
An indecipherable cause.   

O thin men of Haddam,   
Why do you imagine golden birds?   
Do you not see how the blackbird   
Walks around the feet   
Of the women about you?   

I know noble accents   
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;   
But I know, too,   
That the blackbird is involved   
In what I know.   

When the blackbird flew out of sight,   
It marked the edge   
Of one of many circles.   

At the sight of blackbirds   
Flying in a green light,   
Even the bawds of euphony   
Would cry out sharply.   

He rode over Connecticut   
In a glass coach.   
Once, a fear pierced him,   
In that he mistook   
The shadow of his equipage   
For blackbirds.   

The river is moving.   
The blackbird must be flying.   

It was evening all afternoon.   
It was snowing   
And it was going to snow.   
The blackbird sat   
In the cedar-limbs.
Wallace Stevens, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” from The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens. Copyright 1954 by Wallace Stevens.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird - oil on museum panel - 70x50cms

On May 28th of this year I came across this Zen like poem for the second time in my life while attending a lecture on 'Modes of Attention and the exploration of ones capacity to See'. The lecture was given by the former Dean of Academics at the Burren College of Art, Timothy Emlyn Jones.

Two days later I captured this image of a bird perched on a bare tree branch outside my studio space in the Ballyvaughan. It's still a work in progress but would hope to bring the painting to a finish in March of 2015.

This image marks my last blog post of 2014. 
Yesterday I arrived in the city of Barcelona and will be here working in studio at Nave 12 for the next six to eight weeks. Can't wait to share my experiences with you from here in the New Year.

- Richard

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pride of Connemara

I hope all of you are having a really nice Christmas time!

On Christmas morning I sent out this image of a recent painting entitled 'Pride of Connemara' attached to the main body of a Newsletter. I began the painting back in May or June of this year and brought it to near completion in the last couple of weeks. It is my neighbours Connemara Pony. I captured him walking towards me from a shaded area of his paddock. The light hitting off his beautiful white coat and golden mane contrasted wonderfully with the shaded old stone wall and light dappled foliage. I hope you like it.

The Newsletter I sent out is the first of a quarterly update which supporters and collectors of my work can expect to receive each year. You can sign up to receive these Newsletters and keep in touch on my new updated website  Please do have a browse and let me know what you think.

Wishing you an abundance of happiness and fulfilment in 2015.

Pride of Connemara - oil on museum panel - 70 x 50cms
Available for purchase -

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Sun is Standing Still.

Since the day before yesterday and for the next two days the sun will be in the same position each day in the northern hemisphere. This is what is called low energy part of the year - the winter solstice. The sun is at it's furthest distance from the earth resulting in the shortest day and longest night of the year.

Let's think about this - plants, trees and animals go into hibernation and conserve and store up their energies for the coming year.  I'll admit it's been hard getting things done lately - it's not easy getting out of bed when the mornings are so dark and I've spent a few days lying in and reading a couple of chapters of a book before breakfast.

The modern world demands that we are at a high production level all the time - higher yield - higher profits, high octane - but life is a cycle, a circle, and the wheel must go down before it can rise up again. I think we all know this to be true, but the capitalist world dictates that we play their game. You snooze you lose! That's what they say!It's my opinion that all the great seers and artists knew how to conserve their energies well. They knew how to replenish, rest, and listen to their bodies and the seasons changing message. Maybe we should try and do the same?

About six years ago I visited a passage Tomb close to the Naul in North County Dublin with a friend on the first day of the winter solstice. We were the first people to arrive and had to get a key to open the ancient passage from an elderly lady who lived close by. Imagine, calling into her at 4am!

I remember opening the entrance and walking up this pitch black passage. All of a sudden I felt the energy of the space shift and I knew, in that total darkness, that I had reached the opening of the main chamber. We stood there spellbound watching the light slowly filter in through port holes which illuminated the space. It was real magic!

In preparation for our visit we brought with us cake and some other festive nibbles and soon were joined by a brother and sister who cycled there each year to celebrate this special moment. They had with them a flask of hot tea laced with whiskey. Incredible to think it was just the four of us there! We all enjoyed sharing that Winter Solstice moment together.

Below an image of a piece I painted about this time last year.
Beannachtaí na Féile.

Winter Sunset, Fanore, 2013 - oil on panel - 7"x5"
Private Collection, Ireland

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The First Batch

Just posted out the first batch of 'Corrib Gas Art Project' Calenders yesterday to all who got in touch. The Calenders have literally gone out across the globe, Australia, Thailand, Lebanon, and all across the United States - New York, Chicago, Wisconsin, and L.A, not to mention all over Ireland.

I feel truly privileged to have been asked to create these paintings and take on this commissioned project. I wish I could start it all over again!

Today I had the opportunity to have all twenty three paintings I created professionally photographed in their bespoke stainless steel frames. I'm looking forward to announce dates when this body of work will be on public exhibit in 2015.

Thanks a million for all the continuing support and interest in this commissioned project.

- Richard

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Landscape Untitled

I suppose it's true, "A painting is never finished - it simply stops in interesting places"*.  I also heard an idea presented recently by Vincent Desiderio I think, a New York based artist, where he quoted some other artist who said, that when he began a painting all his painting heroes where in the room, and one by one they left as the painting progressed until it was only him - and then he left! I think I can relate.

Just today I put the finishing touches to this piece. I began creating and working on the composition sometime in early June of this year. Now I have to come up with a title for the painting. Any ideas? It's such a dreamy image - it reminds me a little of some of the mystery, nostalgia and memory presented the works of the recently deceased Andrew Wyeth. I hope you like it. - RH

* quote by Paul Gardner.

Untitled - oil on museum panel - 28"x20"