Ireland’s Colors Drive Niamh Slack to Paint

I am a landscape artist, and I am particularly attracted to coastal and woodland scenes. I believe that there is much beauty and colour in the Irish landscape. It is that which I aim to capture in my paintings.

My art is primarily about capturing the essence of those places that speak to me on a personal level. Perhaps more importantly than this, my paintings are about my love of colour. When working in oils, I am continuously experimenting with the placing of heavy layers of colour on canvas, and I strive to see colour in the seemingly ‘mundane’ and ‘ordinary’ things around us.

I especially enjoy painting ‘en plein air’. When possible, I like to complete as much of the painting outside as possible, in all types of weather! The unpredictability of the Irish weather means that sometimes I can only spend short periods of time outside, completing quick sketches, and memorizing the scene before me.

My favourite stage in the painting process is that magical stage at the very beginning of a painting, once the design has been executed. I am then observed to work furiously and frantically!

Layers of paint are heavily placed with a palette knife, and I try to capture every part of the landscape before me. I work at this rapid pace for as long as my body will allow me. Eventually, I force myself to stand back and I continue to touch up and retouch the painting at a slower pace, before bringing it back indoors.

Once dried, even further layers of paint are added. This results in landscapes that have been described as vibrant, energetic and full of life. When depicting seascapes my interest often lies in the wealth of colours and tones that can be explored in rock formations by the sea. I am especially taken with exploring the tonal ranges that can be found in such formations. Woodland scenes have always and continue to strike a chord with me, and my work here focuses on the changing colours of the seasons, both on the foliage and the woodland floor.

My paintings are inspired and influenced by the work of Irish artist Jack Yeats and the contemporary art of Kenneth Webb. The colour, energy and movement in my brush and palette knife work have been greatly influenced by impressionists such as Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh.

Collage of Irish woodland scenes

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