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How It All Started

I’ve had a few false starts, and I’m having to make a concerted effort to show up regularly so that I can produce an authentic journey of my experiences of my Tarot and Mandala Art that I make, that so frequently gets pushed aside due to life events, earning a living and expanding the career front, and bringing up a growing family.

I hope to start by introducing you to my paintings and how they have evolved over the years.  Although a watercolour artist, and a painter at heart, I’ve always had an interest in illustration, buying many books, both children’s and adults simply because I liked the pictures.  When my own children were young I loved reading them stories that had a deeper meaning about life, rather than just those that were ‘funny’ or designed to teach the child to read. The favourite story was that of The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde.  It was relatively short so my eldest daughter, Jennie, could hear the whole story before bed.  It was probably the most heart-felt story in that it introduced her to the higher meanings of Christianity and the message of unconditional love.  (More on this later).

The Happy Prince, for me was my favourite and one of the most beautiful stories with a message of being able to see the bigger picture and learning to  have compassion.  But it was quite a long story  and  she often fell asleep before the end (she was only 5 years old at the time). I think it was more for myself that I was reading the story and I loved it so much that I chose it for the subject for a painting for our literary theme one year for the annual exhibition for the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club

The painting started off as a sketch from my imagination.  I feel I have to get the ‘dream image’ down.  I see it in my imagination; feel the sentiment of the story; and highlight words or phrases from the story. The images can look a little clumsy; child-like even.  But this is because it is with my inner child that I’m forming the art.  Later when I get the gist of it down and know what elements want to come out, I search for the information by way of photos, or live models (I often use my daughters for this).  The angel in this painting was done from a photograph of a statue.  The ageing of the stone gave me the idea for a tear-stained face.  I guess you can say this was the first angel I have ever painted, so it belongs here as part of the eternal cycles tarot journey. 

The Development of The Painting

Stages of the Painting (the technical side)

Most of my paintings start with washes of watercolour onto which I apply pastel to highlight certain areas.  It gives the painting more texture than using watercolour alone.  Collage is added on top of this using paper (I select the words I’m going to use from the piece of literature, in this case, The Happy Prince) and print them out either on paper or silk tissue paper.  (The print has to be sealed with fixative if I’ve used an ink-jet printer.) Next, I use acrylic to further enhance the texture of the painting by bringing out the grain in the paper, and also the texture of the hand-made paper I use for the collage.

A Giclée Print of this Painting is available to purchase from my website.

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