The secret gallery’s blog

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

Archive for the ‘Thoughts on art’ Category

Land Art on the natural walking routes around North Clare

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Yesterday, I handed in a proposal for a collaborative exhibition and site specific art works, so fingers crossed, some time next year when the heather is in bloom there will be Art works in all sorts of wild and wonderful places. Myself and my husband James Slevin, are going to be working on it together so I am very excited! We will be fusing organic with technology! I am really looking forward to working with James on it, I think that it is going to be really interesting to see what we make. Making a deadline on time is always a great feeling. Though I was like a angry rat yesterday trying to get it done! I am not sure when we will hear back but the best remedy for that is to apply for another exhibition straight away so I am not focusing all my attention and hopes on it.

Today, I went on one of the natural walking routes that we are planning to make some art on. I often go horse riding there as it is the only place near by that I can ride off the road. It is a bog road, it is really beautiful and so removed from the road a couple of kilometres away. I took some photographs and got some inspiration, I brought back some natural materials to work with including heather, bog oak, red grass and turf.

The photographs were taken with an old film camera, which is a lovely change from using digital, but sorry no images for now. I took some photographs of the stacks of turf. This year I spent a very short time stacking turf with a friend and it was such lovely satisfying feeling. I also make two hay cocks myself with hay I hand turned, this was really enjoyable for me. Now I go around with a scissors and cut roadside grass for Maya the horse. I guess I am a country girl!

We are saddened by the lack of off road walks for people walking and riding horses, so we want to try to do something to get more trails made. Even The Burren Way  goes quite a distance on the road, this is sad when the landscape is so beautiful and the roads are so dangerous.

Written by Marianne Slevin

3 October, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Thoughts on tissue paper

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Thoughts on tissue paper 1,2,3,4,5, Marianne Slevin (formerly know as Potterton!) September 2009

Thoughts written in  children’s colouring markers on recycled tissue paper hanging in my studio in the Secret Gallery somewhere between Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher, on 5th September 2009. Maybe in a years time I can fill a whole gallery with these floating thoughts. This is a new phase in my art practice after 18 months or so of painting, though it relates to much of the previous art I did using text and materials that are not traditionally used for making art. I wanted to start to write a journal again in the old fashioned way, this is a culmination of blogging, tweeting and the good old diary, turned into a visual experience; you  can read as much or as little as you like. I am drawn to working with fragile materials once more, I like the way when up get close to them and breathe that they move; our presence effects them, as well as the gentlest breeze.

I would like to do some as often as it seems appropriate for a whole year, but then that sounds a little contrived so I will just see where it leads me. 365 thoughts in the first year of my marriage my sound  very neat but in my real and chaotic life it my be something like as many thoughts as I have pieces of tissue paper,( that was used to protect and wrap our wedding presents) till the time when the thoughts I  have no longer wish to be written upon that same tissue paper! The very first piece I wrote was about this need to constantly compartmentalise things in the west, everything has the be accounted for, and all the messy bits need to be cleaned up! It is often those messy straggling bits and pieces that are the most interesting and awaken something within us!

Written by Marianne Slevin

5 September, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Some Words on Drawing Crash Course Part One

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Draw on

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine that you are really good at drawing! Now sharpen your pencils( HB,2B,3B,4B,5B,6B)! Make sure your rubber is clean and you have some paper taped down so it does not move about while you are trying to draw on it! If you are drawing from life it is much easier to draw if the paper is on a tilted board, easel or wall rather than flat on a table. If you are working on a wall it feels nicer if you put a couple of layers of paper on top of each other, unless you are going for the look you get when you draw over a hard or slightly rough surface.

Draw outwardly

Hands are one of the hardest things to draw, I think, so why not practice by drawing your other hand. Years ago Kathy Prendergast did an amazing hand drawing that was like a map, it was huge, and blue. I love the way our hands look like maps. Feet can be good to draw too. When I was in collage in Crawford in Cork I did a series of drawings of my face drawing by touch.  Some of them I built up layers of card, paper, material and netting they all had a map like quality and felt like landscapes almost. So no excuses we always have something we can draw! We are surrounded by things we can draw. After a while you may find it boring just to draw for the sake of drawing and need to draw  whatever you are really interested in, confused by, obsessed by! It could be folds of material or it could be space travel ! It might be very illusive but every so often you get a glimpse of it’s tail and it leads you somewhere interesting and you want to keep following it!

Draw inwardly

It can also be really interesting to start to draw but not allow ourselves to draw anything recognisable, just to kind of doodle and keep going with it to see how it develops. Make marks and experiment with what you can do, and have fun!( I remember we all did this for weeks maybe months in college, and our own personal work developed out of it; over time our real interests were revealed.) Draw with your eyes closed, draw with the hand you don’t usually draw with, draw really quickly, draw really slowly, see how inventive you can be. Tune into how you feel and see how your line and instinctive marks change as your moods do. I like to draw as if the pencil or whatever I am drawing or painting with is an extension of me. Bold as I am bold, subtle as I am subtle. Sometimes I let the pencil lead the way as if it has a complete mind of it’s own; I guess this is when my subconscious mind taking over!

A word of advice, don’t throw away anything. It is great to look back over drawings, they often look different after a little hibernation! Not everything is meant to be a ‘finished’ piece some pieces are just stepping stones, but just as worth while as the ‘finished’ ones. One day they might look even better! Soon I will be giving some free drawing and art classes at the Secret Gallery. So if you are in the Doolin area you are welcome to join the Art Classes.

Written by Marianne Slevin

11 May, 2009 at 12:40 am

Posted in Thoughts on art

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Grass Hearts, a little journey

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Cut grass, aluminium printing plates and tent pegs on the way into the Secret Gallery. These are my alternatives to news papers! My friend found these sheets of aluminium beside a skip, I think they are used for printing news papers. I have used some of them for dry points and a few of these even have marks scraped into them ready for printing. Our children helped gather the grass for me. I wonder will they turn into hay hearts! I enjoyed doing some land art/ interventions again and hope to do more, maybe along The Burren Way and the coast of Clare.DSCF2848

Have a Heartfelt journey where ever it my take you! And remember I am having an exhibition in the Courthouse Gallery in Ennistymon, Co. Clare with two other artists on 14th August at 8pm, I hope you can make it!

Written by Marianne Slevin

3 May, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Some art in the garden

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This are some photographs I took today in the garden of the Secret Gallery.DSCF2809

“Travelling forty days the roads and trails of a distant country” Mixed Media on board, haiku poems written on Travels to India and Nepal

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“This Moment” Oil crayon on a concrete, rust and dried paint mould that came out of an old bucket I found while clearing out the garden to plant vegetables!

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“Love, Laugh, Sing” A recycled cable holder with words written in pencil painted and varnished.

Written by Marianne Slevin

18 April, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Posted in Words

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