Aside from a few years spent living in Glasgow and County Cork, and short term periods spent in the US, Honduras and Italy, I have lived between city and countryside in the North of the Island of Ireland for most of my life.
I have always felt a deep connection to the landscape in Northern Ireland. I have carried postcards, poetry and artwork with me on my travels (and during periods spent living elsewhere), which have provided a connection, a link back, to the landscapes of the North that inspire me.
Whether it be the quiet bays and rolling drumlins of the Strangford Lough shoreline, the mystical rugged landscape of the Mournes, or the red brick streets of urban Belfast, for me there was a feeling of being known by being within this landscape. A sense of being in the right place, of being comforted and ultimately of being inspired. Belonging..... A Sense of Place.
I have held this sense of home and heritage in the Northern Irish landscape with me as I have uprooted and made temporary homes in other locations. This is not to romanticise the Northern Irish landscape. It is as affected by pollution, poverty, urbanisation and climate change. It also bears the scars of the legacy of the Troubles in a way that can bring unease and discord to the landscape (topics explored so skilfully by artists such as Willie Doherty and Dermot Seymour).
The heritage that shaped these landscapes always felt tangible. Traditional skills such as kelp harvesting, stone wall building, linen retting and bleaching and hedge laying that were practiced, out of necessity, by generations before have shaped the landscape we inhabit today. Traditional practices that are uniquely tied to the land, the seasons, and still shape our experience of it.
I know from speaking with customers and Northern Irish expats I have met while travelling that there are many people who feel the same pull of the landscape across Northern Ireland. That same sense of connection that stays with us. A sense of home that goes beyond the bricks and mortar of our physical dwellings.
The A Sense of Place Collection was borne of out a desire to try and encapsulate and communicate the beauty of some of Northern Ireland's iconic landscapes. The first prints focuses on County Down and the rolling mountains of Mourne and of Strangford Lough. Each artwork was originally created on Irish linen and then has been faithfully reproduced on 310gsm Hahnemuhle textured etching paper. As a Giclée print each one is high quality, designed to last, resistant to fading and created to archival standard.
I worked hard to create a colour palette that was evocative of the landscape and the weather we encounter here in this corner of the Island of Ireland. Light can shift rapidly bringing brooding skies, intense colour, and cloud patterns that are fleeting. Blue sky is often edged by grey and the promise of rain. The rain soaked landscape is often verdant. There is a softness to the colour palettes used in these prints that I felt reflected the 'soft' weather we often experience here. Our weather is not one of extremes, and there is often a gentle feel to the colours in our landscape.
You can read more about each of the three works in the Collection below:
Ceobhrán/Drizzle- Strangford Lough
Inspired by the beauty and stillness of the Strangford Lough shoreline and its quiet bays and stretches of open water. The calm and silent waters of the Lough are seen through shoreline grasses. The sky darkens as the promise of soft, light drizzle (ceobhrán) laden air arrives making the blue - grey hues of the landscape rich.
Pale Dawn, The Mournes
Inspired by the Mourne Mountains of County Down, Northern Ireland, A fading, pale moon can be seen hanging silently in the still, cool dawn of the morning. Below is a mountain tarn glimpsed through heath. An imagined scene inspired by the grandeur and mysticism of the Mournes.
Mournes Stone Wall