The secret gallery’s blog

Maybe the first secret gallery in Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland

Archive for September 18th, 2008

Art and part time insanity

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Being an artist is a little bit like “controlled insanity” or “part time insanity”! Functioning reasonably normally to survive and maintain a calm exterior! However when it comes to making the art, normality is simply disregarded! Perceptions of reality are challenged and rearranged.The imagination buttons are pressed on fully. There are no rules to make the journey a little safer or predetermined. Bravery and honesty are just some of the requirements that are taken for granted when making art.

I find myself often simultaneously diving inwards and outwards; into the deepest parts of me and out into the universe and seeing which correlates. For example,  something I see in the landscape strikes a chord a resonates deep within me, then I start to pursue this. There needs to be a sense of discovery while I am making the art; to feel like I am making some kind of sense out of chaos. Or learning about our own nature from the nature we inhabit and are part of.

I am fascinated by the cycles in nature and natural order and spiritual science. Much of my interventions take on a quasi-scientific approach, sitting on the knife-edge between poetry and absurdity. I don’t fully understand why I do them, though they speak from the part of me that is in awe and amazed and that cannot be a bad thing!

Written by Marianne Slevin

18 September, 2008 at 4:29 pm

On-line drawing class

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You can draw with just about anything that leaves a mark, pencils are not bad but why limit yourself when there are so many things to choose from! Personally, I like to to and fro between what we think of as traditional art materials with house hold materials and ingredients; I would like to have my pencils varying in hardness or softness  from HB to 7B or so, charcoal, willow and the blacker more condensed type, inks, chalks, oil pastels and oil bars etc. However I am just as excited by using things that you can find in the kitchen or on a walk. One of my favourite things to draw with is stick and some ordinary writing ink.  I really like being forced to be freer by the materials I use. I do remember trying to draw or paint with just about everything in my parents larder once!

One of the most important lessons I ever got in drawing was, when you are drawing from life, never make it up and just fill in an area, even if it is in the shade, if you look very closely it will vary, made up areas do lack something important. The looking part of drawing is as important as the mark making part.

Some exercises in drawing that I have found to be useful or fun have been:

Drawing from memory, looking at what you are going to draw then stop looking and try to draw from memory

Drawing with your eyes closed, (this I do a lot!)

Drawing by touch rather than sight

Very quick drawings, for example 3 or 5 minutes.


Last thing, don’t throw anything away! It might be really good and you just don’t realise yet! it is also good to be able to look back at what you did.

Written by Marianne Slevin

18 September, 2008 at 12:04 am