You know the first time I traveled
Out in the rain and snow
In the rain and snow
I didn’t have no payroll
Not even no place to go
This is the first time I’ve put together an exhibition of my paintings. Although I have been painting and drawing for as long as I can remember, my visual art has been a bit sporadic over the years. Most of my energy has gone into commissioned work or illustrations for specific briefs and events.
Over the last five years I have devoted more time in generating a coherent body of work, painting on canvas. This has culminated in the show, On the Road, currently at the Signal Arts Centre in Bray.
There are twenty painting in all, around the loose theme implied by the title. It’s subtitled: a travelogue in pictures. All this means, is that as soon as I step outside my front door, I am on the road. Early paintings in this process were taken from walking home at night and feature streetscapes of Bray and its suburbs.
Farther afield, I have used photographs through the windscreen of our car, driving the highways and byways around Dublin and Wicklow. Then there are the many places I have visited over the years. Vancouver, the snowy mountains of British Columbia, the city of Granada in Spain and the highlands of Scotland are included in my subject matter.
There are many ‘nocturnes’, nighttime paintings of cities and motorways. At other times, I am painting into the low winter sun. I like the stark contrasts created, those long, eerie shadows. At other times, it’s the rain, and that great feeling as countryside or town emerges from a heavy shower, the dark veil of cloud pulled aside for the glaring sun.
It’s exciting, isn’t it? Stepping out into the world, never stepping in the same river twice. And so it goes. I keep on painting, looking for new inspiration and challenges. Most of the paintings have appeared in these pages, with prose attached to set them in their context. Here I am reprising them again.
The Signal show runs to the end of the month. Thanks to everyone there, they have been wonderful. And thanks for all the comments and encouragement from folks on wordpress and facebook and all my friends here, and far away.
But I ain’t going down
That long old lonesome road
All by myself
If I can’t carry you, baby
Gonna carry somebody else
Canned Heat recorded On the Road Again in 1967, the summer of love (or the autumn thereof).