Edward Tomkus. “River and Mountain Scene. Oil 33x44cm.
Edward Tomkus (born 1936) is a Scottish artist who works with oils, watercolours, charcoals and scraperboard. He is of Lithuanian descent and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. After travelling all over the world he found himself a home in Ireland more than 30 years ago, whose beauty he has transformed to canvas. He has painted consistently from the age of 12 when he had his first exhibition of watercolors in the offices of the Scottish Daily Express.
“The Rack of Dún na Mase, Co. Laoise” (1993). Acrylic on canvas 45x56cm by Ramie Leahy
Ramie Leahy is an artist and a co-founder of Ireland’s first international arts festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival. One of the group of Kilkenny Colourists, a group he founded with his peers Francis Tansey and Tony O’Malley, he has variously been described as an impressionist and a surrealist, whose works range from landscapes to political satire and natural history studies. Leahy has specialized in the use of high intensity colour in all his artistic forms from landscapes to political satire and natural history studies. He has variously been described as impressionist to surrealist in his extreme use of his mediums, primarily oil paints and watercolours. Through the 1980s he worked on a series of paintings exploring ancient cultures from Brittany through England to Ireland and Jersey. In 1996 Leahy and a group of high-profile artists with links to his hometown of Kilkenny founded the Kilkenny Colourists Movement. Others in the group included Tony O’Malley and his wife Jane O’Malley, Francis Tansey, and other Irish impressionist artists whose work involved a particular focus on the use of colours. The group continued to exhibit together, usually during Kilkenny Arts Festival, during the late 1990s.
“Looking at Tradition” (oil on linen 92x81cm) by John Philip Murray.
John Philip Murray was born in Dublin in 1952. He attended the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, from 1970 -1976. Since 1986 he has lived and worked in Lissardagh, Co. Cork.
This painting is from his 1995-1998 series. After a short trip to Tunisia, the mosaics, and remains of the buildings by previous civilisations, entered, unasked, into his work.
“They have meant a dramatic turnabout, from growing, natural, sources, to man-made ones. The low-key colour values, and gently vibrating colour contrasts, have both caused questions central to my previous use of colour. I started painting with oil paints again. The skeleton briefly entered, in colour, as a device to provide distance from humanity, while I put it under investigation. I explored themes of self-importance, or self-aggrandisement, in relation to achievement, tradition and religion. I used a mixture of high and low-contrast colour, realistic and juxtaposed images. As of February 1999, I still had not reached a conclusion in these works. (I brought them to a final stage in late 1998)
Not having drawn from a live model since my college days (finishing in 1976), I started attending a life-drawing session every week. Drawing the naked human form requires a different sensibility than for almost any other type of art, simply because we are human. Our expectations, therefore, are much heightened. When drawing trees from life, faithful and rigorous though my working drawings always strove to be, making a branch look too long did not carry the same dread as say, making a neck, or a nose, too long. I remain committed to drawing as underlying art. It has two main functions: As an end in itself, and as a plan for another work, perhaps in paint or sculpture, or even a larger drawing.
The more recent work (1997-1998) is purely visual. I continue to use mosaic colours, warm stone arches, and other images from Tunis, Carthage and more recently the unlikely location of Ibiza. There is only a passing reference to achievement or sanguinity. The scepticism and cynicism to some extent apparent in the work of 1995-97, has disappeared. Even though there are no people or symbols of people in these new works, they are nonetheless, all about people.” – John Philip Murray
Untitled. (mixed media) by Anthony O’Carroll
Following his studies at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin born Anthony O’Carroll (born 1942) moved to Scandinavia to study at the Academy of Fine Art in Helsinki and the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Art in Stockholm. From the mid 1960s on, O’Carroll had solo shows in Dublin at the Molesworth Gallery and David Hendriks Gallery, and continued to exhibit in Sweden where his work was equally in demand. He also exhibited at group shows in London, Germany and across Eastern Europe. Collections that house his work include the Arts Council, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Swedish Arts Council and the National Museum in Stockholm.
Village Scene. Watercolour 38x28cm by Maurice Canning Wilks
Maurice Canning Wilks (1910–1984) was an Irish landscape painter. Born in Belfast in 1910 to a linen designer, he was educated in Belfast at the Malone Public School and attended evening classes at the Belfast College of Art. While attending college he was awarded the Dunville Scholarship allowing him to attend day classes. He went on to exhibit at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) in Dublin where he would one day become an associate member. He was also elected a full member of the Royal Ulster Academy (RUA).
After college, Wilks resided in Cushendun, in the Glens of Antrim. Wilks’s early landscapes were mainly of the Irish northern and western counties including Donegal, Antrim and Kerry. He was inspired by the Irish landscapes of James Humbert Craig. During his career he went on to exhibit internationally in London, Boston, Montreal and Toronto. In his later years he maintained a summer studio at Sutton where he painted many scenes of the area including Dublin Bay. His works are in public collections throughout the world including the Ulster Museum, Armagh County Museum, the Ulster Folk and Transportation Museum, the Office of Public Works in Dublin and the Limerick City Art Gallery. Wilks died in 1984.
“The Travellers (watercolour) by C.E Kelly
Charles Edward Kelly (15 June 1902 – 20 January 1981) was an Irish cartoonist, and one of the founders and editors of the satirical magazine Dublin Opinion. His prolific contributions to the magazine were drawn in a variety of styles, from cartoony to illustrative. Kelly joined the Irish civil service as a messenger boy at the age of 15. At the age of 19 he, fellow cartoonist Arthur Booth, a 28-year-old clerk, and writer Tom Collins, founded Dublin Opinion in 1922, on the eve of the Irish Civil War, with Booth becoming its first editor. Kelly had no formal art training, and developed his style by studying the work of the leading cartoonists of the time. After Booth’s death in 1926, Kelly co-edited the magazine with Collins, while continuing to work in the civil service, eventually becoming Director of Broadcasting and Director of National Savings. Kelly’s cartoons were also published in The Capuchin Annual from 1942 to 1955. He began painting watercolours in the 1930s, and became a member of the Dublin Sketching Club and the Water Colour Society of Ireland: he exhibited over 60 pieces at the latter from 1941 to 1980, and had a solo exhibition of his watercolours in Dublin in 1972. After Collins’ death Kelly struggled on with Dublin Opinion for a few years, before it was voluntarily wound up in 1968. He received an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland in 1979, and was president and chairman of PEN.
His eldest son, Frank, was an actor best known for playing Father Jack in the Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted. His daughter, Pauline Bracken, is a journalist who wrote a memoir, Light of Other Days: A Dublin Childhood, published in 1992.
“The Owl and the Pussycat” Pen Ink) by Ari Ahmad
Ari Ahmad is a Malaysian based in Dublin. She qualified as an Interior Designer before discovering her passion for illustrating. She uses a variety of tools but feels most at home with pen and inks.
“My work focuses primarily on ancient myths and legends, especially those from Asian cultures. In the land of fairy tales and fantasy, anything is possible and everything achievable. The mind has no boundaries”. These artworks are from her ‘Nautika’ series, which means Nautical in Malay and explore various myths and legends of the sea. From the Kelpies of Scotland, to the Arabian Sinbad the sailor, Ari Ahmad uses different artistic mediums to help bring the stories to life.
“A Good Catch” (Oil on canvas 51x76cm) by Flemming Christoffersen
Flemming Christoffersen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and studied graphic design and illustration at the Copenhagen Institute of Art. Upon moving to Dublin in 1968, he worked as an Art Director in various eminent advertising agencies and, from 1989 to 2004, enjoyed a highly successful occupation as a freelance illustrator before dedicating all of his time to a professional career in fine art.
“Tender Moon with Dragon” (acrylic on canvas 60x44cm) Vincent Keeling
Vincent Keeling was lucky enough to study under the accomplished painter Brian McCarthy, who offered invaluable training in traditional oil painting techniques. Vincent has exhibited widely in Dublin and around Ireland, showing in, among others, the Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition, Sol Art Gallery, the Oisin Gallery, The Doorway Gallery, Duke Street Gallery and Combridge Fine Arts. From 2009-2015 Vincent ran his own gallery, The Keeling Gallery, selling both his own work and those of many other well-known Irish artists. With the gallery now closed, Vincent has returned his full energies to his oil painting, and has currently chosen to represent himself, rather than working through a gallery.
“The Rustic Gate, Donegal”. (Watercolour 36x55cm) by Pat Phelan
Pat Phelan was a popular and prolific portrait artist, whose subjects included some of the country’s leading politicians and business people. His retrospective exhibition in 2006 included portraits of Seán Lemass, Maj Vivion de Valera, Michael Smurfit and Tony O’Reilly. Businessman Ben Dunne was a great admirer of his work, and a portrait of Dunne, with his wife Mary, was also on show. Working in oils, pastels, watercolours and charcoal, he painted portraits as well as landscapes.
He was upfront about his use of photography, saying he was sure most portrait painters used cameras even if they did not admit it, “but I’m damned sure if Rubens had had a camera he would have availed of it”.
However, he advised against young artists using cameras. “You need years of solid grounding in life drawing, which I’ve had. And I’d paint a live model anytime for someone with the time and patience to sit.” His method of creating a portrait was to take 30 to 60 photographs of his subject before he began to paint, experimenting with poses and lighting until he got what he wanted. He then worked from one photograph, relying on the others to highlight certain expressions or features. When the portrait reached a certain stage, he invited the subject for the first of three or four sittings. He could complete a portrait in a week, and he put this down to the discipline he acquired when he worked in advertising.
He spoke of the “terrific feeling” he experienced when he began to achieve a likeness and sensed a painting was going to turn out well. But a good likeness did not necessarily make a finished portrait; the composition also had to be good to make the picture work. It was not always possible to predict how a painting would turn out. “The flesh tones are the hardest; sometimes they’ll go dead and grey on you.”He found painting men easier than women – “I suppose they have more lines and angles to get a hold on” – and avoided flattering his subjects. “But I do try to get the best of them, and everybody has a best.”
Asked what feature was the truest indication of character, he said: “People seem to think it’s the eyes, but eyes can be very deceptive. The mouth is the most difficult feature to paint, and the one that gives the face its most characteristic expression.” Born in Portlaw, Co Waterford, in 1927, he was the son of Richard Phelan and his wife Margaret (née Dunne). As a child he showed a talent for drawing and his father encouraged him to enrol at Waterford School of Art, where he studied under the brilliant Scotsman Robert Bourke. He won a scholarship to the National College of Art, Dublin (now NCAD), where the renowned Prof Julius Romain and Seán Keating were among his teachers. Phelan subsequently found employment as an illustrator and designer with advertising agencies including McConnells, Wilson Young and Janus. It was not until he began to enjoy success with portraits, which he produced at weekends and at night, that he decided to become a full-time artist. He rented several studios in central Dublin, before building a purpose-built studio at his Terenure home. He established a solid reputation as a portraitist. Commissions included chairmen and directors of RTÉ, the deans of the faculties of medicine and commerce at UCD and six lords mayor of Dublin. Sporting portraits included champion jockey Johnny Murtagh, golfer Des Smyth and rugby player Ciarán Fitzgerald. Portraits from the world of showbusiness included Maureen Potter, Eamonn Andrews, Paddy Cole and Noel Purcell.
“Portrait De Melissa” by John Schwatschke
John Schwatschke was born in Dublin in 1943 to Austro-Irish parents. He is known as a Carlow portrait painter due to his family home being there since his father’s arrival in 1926. After secondary school at The King’s Hospital, the artist studied briefly at The National College of Art, Kildare Streetm Dublin (art and architecture) and as a draughtsman with a prominent Dublin architect. Also studied portraiture under Franz Erhmer in Munich. Originally interested in musical composition for pianoforte, his first art patron Pres. E. de Valera persuaded him to give up music for art: “Do one thing and do it well, and I believe that should be art”.
Market Day, Ganges, France. (oil) by Arthur K Madderson)
Arthur K. Maderson was born in London in 1942, and studied at the Camberwell School of Art, London, from 1959-1963. In 1963 he won the Anna Berry Award in open competition with all final year art graduates.
Maderson is primarily concerned with the depiction of light – a similar preoccupation of the nineteenth century French Impressionists. He has adopted some of the same techniques as the Impressionists, using broken brush strokes of thickly applied paint and vibrant juxtapositions of colour. He has tended to concentrate on one particular thematic series at a time, the most notable being the Lismore River series and Tallow Horse Fair series. He exhibits regularly at the RA and the RHA and has been an award winner at the latter. Maderson is included in a list of 17 of the world’s most successful and popular figurative painters in the book Modern Oil Impressionists by Ron Hanson. Maderson divides his time between West Waterford and the South of France. His work is well represent in major public and private collections.