The secret gallery’s blog

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

Archive for March 2009

Light shining through paintings

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Detail of a painting leaning against a window, oil on canvas

Paintings are in transit, and as I walked out of the emerging gallery space this painting caught my eye. One of the things I am fascinated in my art practice is by making or doing things that are fleeting. I have returned to painting after years of making work that is long gone even many of the photographs of that work have long gone too! I still like to make ephemeral work as well. I think the two ways of working help each other when things get too permanent, I go and do something impermanent and vice versa. James has been really encouraging and that has helped me a lot to make both permanent and transient art. Once you leave college it is hard to keep going on your own without support, sugar I have no excuses! 

This is a darker version of the same painting. I liked that it looked quite dramatic! An oil painting is thought of as an unchangeable, permanent thing, I find it interesting to play around with that notion, even of the actual painting does not change, how we see it can be very different. One of the paintings I remember changing most was one I painted many years ago, I used oil and mixed media, the surface was smooth in places and gritty in others and has many different textures so depending where you stand or what light you see it in it looks completely different even though the whole painting is blue. I like the idea of paintings being lit from the back, it reveals different marks, such as where the paint is thinner or there have been paint taken away like the words I wrote by using the back of the paint brush. This painting is called Love.

Written by Marianne Slevin

26 March, 2009 at 11:43 am

Posted in Painting

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Windy Wednesdays and flowers on the garden table

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Photograph Recycled juice carton and oil paint

The wind blows a lot, the sea is so churned up it looks white, doors swing and slam, balloons get caught up in mini whirl winds and we giggle as we  watch our children run around in circles trying to catch the illusive balloon! When I go out into the hurricane, my hair covers the whole of my face which is tense and grimacing as I attempt to clear away the escaped curls from my mouth and eyes getting more and more irritated! Swearing at plastic bottles as they are carried off from under my nose in a very erratic fashion, finally coming to rest half way up a thorn bush or some equally uncomfortable place! I love nature but I do have trouble coming to terms with the wind especially when it is cold and wet as well.

It is Wednesday again, it is windy again but today is a beautiful sunny day. I have just put some painted cartons at the gate and they are full of water so they don’t fall over,(apart from one that has more rounded edges and attached seed or bulb container) and even if they do they don’t smash like a vase would. I really Like the idea they they are affordable hand painted objects, as not everyone can afford to spend several hundred on a painting or artist’s print or sculpture. So today the Secret Gallery is open, well outside is we are still working on inside. I enjoy putting art in public spaces, this is like a very modest and transient form of motorway art!

These are multiuse vessels, one of their uses is called “art on the go” for filling with water and taking with you if you are doing water colour or or using any materials that need water, outside, I am in the process of designing the rest of the “art on the go” artist’s kit! I am going to keep one in my own car just in case I get the urge. It is a bit like the idea of having a suit case packed and ready for spontaneous adventures! Something James suggested but we still have not done, one day!  Spring is defiantly in the air!

Written by Marianne Slevin

18 March, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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DSCF2728 Shamrocks and Hearts     Oil paint on a photo album

One St. Patrick’s Day we painted enormous shamrocks on our car and drove around with them on it for months. Not sure what we will do this year, maybe take lots of photographs to fill this photo album. It might involve green face paint!

Wishing everyone a happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Written by Marianne Slevin

17 March, 2009 at 1:04 am

Painting and “non sense” and nonsense like that!

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DSCF2724 Work in progress, after   Oil on canvas Marianne Potterton March 2009



Work in progress, before      oil on canvas              Marianne Potterton March 2009

Painting for me a wonderful way to explore the many nonsensical partially forms thoughts, and unrealised ideas grow a visual expression via the process of painting. Sometimes creating art can be disconcerting; what once felt like a breakthrough and something honest, true and maybe even beautiful can change into something embarrassingly awful in the blink of a eye! Yesterday this happened to be, it is almost like someone else comes into the studio and starts painting over your work, but more confusingly it is you!  If I were to go up to the studio I might prefer the new look paintings or I might cry and  wonder who I was yesterday! But thankfully because of James I am in our very own home imperial hotel enjoying the room service, surrounded by the smells of lovely lotions and potions for a day of pampering with not even a whiff of white spirits or turpentine within smelling distance! I have a day to enjoy and relax and it will the paintings some time to settle.

Written by Marianne Slevin

16 March, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Posted in In progress

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Arty child’s play with kitchen stuff!

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You don’t need to spend any money to make art, sometimes you could just reach for the spice rack and rummage around the kitchen in search of inspiration. Maybe you could even eat it too! You can use out of date spices that have been sitting in the cupboard for 10 years! Food colouring for that green St Patrick’s Day Leprechaun’s hat cake you made a long time ago!

Last night, while one of our children slept, refusing to wake up from a nap, I started to cut up pizza boxes for our wide awake daughter to paint on. Usually the thing that puts me off painting with our children or letting them paint on their own is the amazing mess they make! It is such an ordeal, changing clothes first, constantly cleaning paint off them and everything else around them. I am a bit silly I suppose letting them paint with my oil paints! So I reached for the turmeric, paprika and soy sauce, three wizened potatoes a couple of reused plastic containers and the  biscuit and grey squares from the recycled pizza boxes, I find this better than paper for children to paint on as it is tough and does not get all scrupled up. I cut out some shaped to make potato prints with my well loved Swiss army knife. I forgot that when you print it comes out in reverse, be warned!

I just realised that I should have used the pastry brush instead of the normal paint brush, to make this a completely pure kitchen art experience for our daughter! There are many more things in the kitchen to paint, print or sculpt with. Once, I made brown bread horses, and hung them off a tree for birds to eat, maybe that with be the next kitchen art project we could do. James has been teaching them to cook so they are pretty knowledgeable on spices and cooking ingredients now! Our three and a half year old made a great curry last week and our two and a half year old made a tasty Risotto!! 

Written by Marianne Slevin

15 March, 2009 at 11:46 am