Interior Leenane Hotel

We went to Connemara for a short break, the winter just gone. Mind, with snow falling in February, the winter’s not exactly gone yet. Back in November, we stayed in the Leenane Hotel on Killary Harbour. It’s a late eighteenth century coach inn, modernised, but with its cosy atmosphere maintained. It made an excellent base for touring Connemara and there were excellent walks nearby, and the Ashleigh Falls just up the road. As night fell at four we would return to this haven for a pint of Guinness before the blazing turf fire. The time was opportune.

In this acrylic I am standing in the lobby slowly taking in the internal panorama. All is quiet, the place all but empty. But I am there and M awaits by the fireside. Beyond at the bar, our pints are being pulled. So, poised between the cold and heat, the inner and the outer worlds, time takes a second to pause as we await our aperitif.

I am inspired here by the wonderful Dutch painters of interiors, such as Jan Vermeer, chronicler of domestic scenes of the17th century. The checkerboard tiles floors are a regular feature of his paintings. They make a timeless surface, from ancient days to ultra modern. They even suggest, in certain illustrations, Einstein’s configuration of the space time continuum. Music Lesson, Art of Painting, The Astronomer, the Geographer, Lady Writing a Letter, the latter in the National Gallery in Dublin, are amongst Vermeer’s greatest hits. These paintings feature the major art forms: writing, painting and music, and the sciences of the world and the universe. Each caught for a perfect moment in the amber eye of the artist.

That is what I am looking for in my painting, and in life I suppose. Who doesn’t? In a moment of perfection, all stories await their writing. And then we’ll see.