Interview in The View, Malahide Marina

What Keeps you well?

My art and spending time with my family keeps me well. It is not only painting itself but attending my History of Art courses in the I.P.A.V., Baggot St.  I have been attending these courses now for 9 years and the icing on the cake is every year we go on a trip with our tutor to whatever country we have been studying their art. I have been all over the world with this group and get to see some amazing art which is a great inspiration for me. When I am painting it's like mindfulness and it always lifts my mood. 

What is your favourite medium and why?

My favourite medium is Oil, and I don't paint with anything else. I think this quote by artist Sean Scully sums it up perfectly. 
"I use oil paint because it has a disobedient and mysterious nature to it. I use it because it is an active volatile material , that no matter how much I know about it, one can never know completely. It engages issues of alchemy and mystery that resist the deadening ambition of the modern world to control everything, absolutely."

How do you think Art affects productivity in the workplace?

Firstly, I can say that a well-designed space positively affects productivity and inspiration. I studied Interior Design many years and the psychology of colour and it has been proven that our surroundings and colour can affect our mood. For instance, using strong, active colours create an energetic mood that keeps people moving. For example, using strong reds or oranges in a company rest room would encourage the staff to move on quickly and not loiter around, thus improving productivity.  Blue is my favourite colour and it has a spiritual side to it and is supposed to be the voice of calm and reason. As it is a calm colour it is good to help people sleep so would not be a good colour for productivity. When it comes to Art in the workplace, I thing it comes back to a well-designed happy environment. Paintings can really enhance a space and particularly if they have a lot of colour , thus creating joy and happiness to all concerned. 

Who is your favourite artist / inspiration and why?

This is an easy one, my favourite artist is Gerhard Richter. He was born in Dresden, Germany in 1932 and has a very interesting background having lived through the Nazi regime. He has explored so many different art genres and can paint anything but it is his abstracts that I love. In 1976 he turned to abstaction and has continued to this day. The first time I saw one of them was in Berlin a few years ago with my IPAV group and to say I was in awe is an understatement. Its hard to explain the appeal of abstract paintings but I feel for him it has a certain freedom, he felt he was ' letting a thing come, rather than creating it'. He builds up layers of colour, removes some and the painting evolves in stages and is not finished until he is happy with it. The highest price paid for one of paintings to date was in 2015 in London at Sotheby's Contemporary sale for €30.4 million so he must be doing something right. When asked about art prices like these, Richter said " Its just as absurd as the banking crisis. Its impossible to understand and its daft."  This is only part of the reason I like him so much: he is not concerned about money only his creative life.  

I like to paint my abstracts in the same way and feel these paintings are very emotive and are representative on my emotions on that day. 

What does the future look like for you?

The future looks good whether it is spending time with my family, ( 6 grandchildren to date) or painting away to my hearts content. I look forward to doing lots more exhibitions, some in The View and the big one I do every year in November in the R.D.S called Art Source which is the premier art fair in Ireland.