|Me, Diane and Olive painting just before dusk in Ballylongford.|
I am the proud pig of the Olive Stack Gallery Residency and Listowel.
I’ve happily, piggishly spent more than 4 months in Ireland over 3 years, thanks to Olive who offers month-long artist residencies. The residency comes complete with views of the comings and goings of Listowel, Co. Kerry, Ireland.
This year, returning with a wonderful artist and traveler Diane Pike!
After 3 visits, it is all the same and all different. Still the wonder and enchantment of the first few days of discovery with another great friend, Laura McRae Hitchcock. That was when, fresh off the bus, we met Damian Stack (“no relation to Olive,” he assures).
This third year, it is still Damian who reveals the best secrets of Kerry in his now infamous wild drives off the beaten path. This week, we wandered Beara Peninsula way for yet more discoveries. The thing about Damian is that guide-to-all-things-Kerry is his passion. He also heads Stack Furniture and Carpets, organizes city-wide events and a million other projects and shenanigans. Okay, shenanigans are his actual passion. This year, I was promoted to “adopted Stack status.” The bad news is the status entitles me to S.F.A. (Sweet F*** All).
Painting-wise…the brilliantly designed and varied hues of the city’s facades still grab me. It’s always the first painting I do when I get here.This year, I took a walking tour with Vincent Camody who focused on the designs of Patrick McAuliffe.
From my favorite vantage in the square, the city’s charms are laid out. The centerpiece, St John’s Theater , in the Church of Ireland building hosts wonderful plays and currently exhibits the Listowel Visual Arts Week juried show, The Wild Atlantic Way. I was humbled to have the painting Castletownbere Port accepted into this show.
|Castletownbere 8 x 10″ available at DilworthArtisanStation|
At St. John’s, I attended a performance of “Big Maggie.” One of Listowel’s John B. Keane’s wonderful plays. The role of Maggie, the powerful and cruel matriarch, was so intense a, the character physically combats her own daughter. The actress was in tears well into the curtain call. Some of this emotion may have had to do with the attendance of Keane’s children in the audience. The performance fell during the 90th birthday of the playwrite.
I can always catch a glimpse of Mary O’Flaherty’s red and black tiled Chic Boutique in these city scapes. But even better is to be lucky enough to have an encounter with Mary or her mom, Pat. Mary’s witty observations are the kind you think about later and BURST OUT laughing!
|Seanachai Writers Museum|
The Seanachai Writers’ Museum was the site of many of the highly successful Listowel Visual Arts Festival Week events. This included my profanity laced presentation on the topic of the Affects of Travel on Artists’ work. Followed with an interview with Writer’s Week own Elizabeth Dunn.
It’s my own bathroom view that provoked a series of Butler Building paintings under different lights and times of day. Most of these will be on view at my exhibition (with Diane Pike) at Caldwell Arts Council on October 5
|Painting available at Olive Stack Gallery|
Painting Listowel puts me in the grand position of being able to meet the “man on the street.” I’ve given directions (“want to know your Irish heritage? Talk to Tom”,) met future FB friends, had laughs, discussed the weather “Isn’t it glorious?”and solved many world problems.
Party at Carol’s
One of my favorite Irish people is a transplant from Greenville, SC,; Carol,who has let us into her circle for endless hours of mighty craic. (I’m sorry–that word still doesn’t quite flow. To this American, it still evokes images of plumbers bending over. But I don’t give up ).
This year, Olive, Diane and I took weekly ‘field trips’ to paint. CahirDaniel, Ballylongford, Ballybunion and of course, Ardfert Friary!
|View of Lislaughtin, Ballylongford|
|Hydrangea and Landscape: Cahirdaniel|
What I left out of this glimpse back: gathering with other Listowel Lovers (many
|Francis Bacon Drawing (Dublin)|
pictured in the party at Carol’s), the wonderful trip to Dublin with Tom, hearing Mickey McConnell’s music, hanging with Maura and Myra, our portrait painting of Mickey at Allo’s , the gin and tonic themes that recurred through the trip, meeting Fintin O’Toole, evenings at John B’s, hanging with Emily Andress, Terry Shipley and company, Dinners at Mully’s, River Feale walks, shopping and catching up with Clodagh at Taelane’s, meeting Barry, the Blasket Islands, teaching workshops, figure drawing, painting at the Farm, Book of Kells, Frances Bacon, Bloom Restaurant (Dublin) Paint Outs………
In short. The residency has enriched this little pig beyond measure(thank you Olive!). It has become a key part of my own personal biography. I’ve indeed scratched the surface of this wonderful community through a painter’s cloudy lens. But it’s gonna take a lifetime of returns to complete the picture of Ireland’s Listowel.