The secret gallery’s blog

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

Archive for February 2009

Hearts and Flower Petals

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Maybe Human           Marianne Potterton   2009                        oil on canvas

You might recognise this painting from the last post. After a few scary moments as I let our  children determine the direction the painting was going, I much prefer it now to how it was. I painted with our 2 and 3 year old and learned to be freer and really enjoy the actual act of painting, not thinking about painting but just simply painting! I brought the painting together at the end with a unifying swirling green and flurries of cherry petals falling!

beautiful bug

Beautiful Fly               Marianne Potterton    2009                         Oil on canvas


Birds imitating flowers              Marianne Potterton  2009         Oil on canvas



Hearts and Flower Petals                  Marianne Potterton 2009 Oil on canvas

Written by Marianne Slevin

27 February, 2009 at 12:25 pm

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Maybe Human

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“Maybe Human”  Work in progress     Marianne Potterton         22 February 2009

Oil on canvas


Studio in The Secret Galley

The two paintings above are what I have been doing today. The larger one is a collaborative piece which was started off by our children a couple of days ago, I really like the contrast of the marks they make with my own. Other painting that they helped me with are “Merging” and “Horses in the Mist”.

When I stopped to look at this painting it reminded me of some of Marc Chagall’s paintings where there are creatures that are both animal and human. Chagall is one of my favorite painters.  Previously when I painted people I felt quite restricted, say compared to horses; as if people were supposed to look real but horses could be a bit strange and that was fine! There has been such a history of life painting and life drawing being very academic and so called correct. I think I had it drilled into me from my foundation course so I was almost afraid to paint people, or if I do it should not be fun! Today I have enjoyed dismantling that old limitation!

Peace to all

Written by Marianne Slevin

22 February, 2009 at 4:56 pm

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Growing and a Big Birthday!

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Oil on canvas           “Growing”                  Marianne Potterton     February  2009


After a while of using pure pigments and enjoying how freeing it is to paint in a looser way with them I have brought this enjoyment back to the oil paints too. it looks quite different because it is a different material but it feels more fluid like the paintings I did with the  pigments. In this painting the face is merging with the landscape as if it was growing out of it, like the flowers. Alan Watts describes the earth as peopling like an apple tree apples, that we grow and are not made.

I have just come back from three days of walking The Burren Way and back, I slept two nights in a tent, it was good to sleep on the earth and spend so much time outside in nature, I was also very happy to come back to my family and have a hot bath lovingly run for me. The Burren Way is a beautiful walk especially the tracks and paths where you can not see any houses from. Having walked the Camino de Santiago a few times, seeing the yellow or white arrows on a stone that was part of a style/seat, there were three of them on the way to Ballyvaughan, they were beautiful, thank you who ever made them for the walkers!

I had a wonderful Birthday yesterday, we ate mussels on Fanore beach and watched a beautiful sunset! I was able to take this  amazing Birthday present of a Net Book from James to blog from the beach, or I could have written if I had not been having such a nice time! My old lap top was killed by an earwig! That is why I have not been writing recently, hopefully now I will be writing from lots of weird and wonderful places!

Written by Marianne Slevin

20 February, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Words cant say everything!

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There is an old cliche that says a picture tells a thousand words, I think a picture tells uncountable wordlessables! We think if there is not a word for it it does not exist, our world is tough and course when only described in words even when an exceedingly great writer tells the tail! Visual art can be much more subtle, and all encompassing, I love words but I think we relay too heavily on them and forget they cant say everything. When art has to be translated back into words and judged on the words that can be spoken about it I sat boo! What about art that makes us speechless but amazed? Art that makes part of us twitch that has not twitched before and stirs up something inside of us?

When I make art I hope to tap into the mystery so saying what I am trying to do stops the spontaneity, I can sort of write about it afterwards but only certain aspects, some of it I know little about, like I know little about how I pump by own blood or grow my own hair, but I do! My work/play explores some of the aspects of human nature and non human nature and where they collide. Our consciousness can alienate us from our connection to the rest of nature, our instincts have been over ridden by logic.

Slowly as we sleep the part of us that does not fit into society is lost, the man who wandered with his donkey and cart has vanished and there is now a clean, official tarmac loading bay for licensed vehicles only and a C.T.V. camera where he once slept!   

Written by Marianne Slevin

7 February, 2009 at 4:30 pm

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Horse in the Mist

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“Horses in the Mist” oil on canvas                                 Marianne Potterton 2008


I painted this oil on canvas several months ago. It has been through many stages and I struggled with it as it became muddy and confused. In the early stages of its life our children painted it with me as we built up a variety of marks together. One of the things that I like best about this painting is the contrast of the definite shape of the horse with the loose marks that could be flowers or could be something else. It is hard to see something being one way without having its opposite to contrast with it.

I have been drawing and painting horses since I can remember, as have many people since cave paintings. There is something almost timeless about horses. Artists have used them in many different ways in their work. Joseph Beuys used real horses. Jack Yeats painted many horses, I remember sitting in front of one of his paintings in the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin and crying, it was so full of feeling. It was probably nearly 20 years ago and I still remember it well! Paintings and other visual art can look great in reproduction, but their is nothing like sitting right in front of one you love!  

Written by Marianne Slevin

2 February, 2009 at 6:20 pm

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