March 22, 2017

I'm Working Away on an Upcoming Show!

Something I didn't really expect this year was to be putting on a show, but a new art friend inspired me to do just that!  We'd met at a women's event at the National University of Ireland -- where both our husbands are this year.  We exchanged our details and agreed to talk later.  Then I went off to Valencia, Spain and spent a month working mainly on sketching.  She was following me on Facebook and really liked my sketches so she suggested we do a show together.

"Abstract #1", 20 x 20 cm acrylic on
Canvas by Adrienne M Finnerty.
The idea intrigued me, but at first I was confused about what we could do together since her work and mine are so different.  As you can see by her piece at the left, Adrienne does abstracts, and I'm a realist.

Work in progress for show -- Oil on canvas
Night View of Galway Cathedral, by Tracy Feldman
But her enthusiasm, and our realizing that we had so many other things in common, changed my mind.  We both have a similar sense of fun.  We share a spiritual point of view.  And we were brought to Galway because of our husbands' work. She's from Ireland's East and has been in the area for  three years, while I've lived here going on four years, but the time has been split up between sabbaticals -- with us coming here for one year at a time (with 5 year absences) when Arny is on sabbatical doing research at the National University of Ireland Maths Department.  Our last commonality, and the title and theme of Bill Bryson's book "I'm a Stranger Here Myself", suggested the name of the show:

   "We're Strangers Here Ourselves: Love Letters in Paint to Galway and the West."

    Another wonderful thing that convinced me that this show really is meant to be is the fact that we found a great venue in downtown Galway, and not a year from now, but in May of this year.  Our work will be on display at the Portershed off Galway's Eyre Square, and we'll have an opening (with all the work in our exhibition) on the evening of the 4th of May, from 6 - 8:30 pm.  We are so grateful to the Portershed, and their sponsors (AIB) for welcoming us, not only for the night of the opening, but for all month.  At other times, you can visit the venue and see some of our work any Monday to Friday from 9:30 to 5 PM.

     If you can make it to Galway in early May, you are invited.  If you want to see more of the work that will be in the show, check out my homepage, or my or Adrienne's Facebook pages and instagram accounts.

December 19, 2016

Persimmons and Cranberries

Persimmons and Cranberries, 12 x 16", Oil on Canvasboard by Tracy Feldman
This piece is a continuation of my Vegetation on Oilcloth Series. I chose cranberries and persimmons to have together in this work because I like the way their shapes mimic each other, and the way the warm-colored fruit looks on the black and white oilcloth.   I played a lot with the composition to get it "just so."
I started doing this painting by using the underpainting technique I learned in Dreama Toll Perry's course this fall. But I didn't complete it using her using Dreama's ala prima painting style because getting the colors to work well together well involved a lot of experimentation.   I like the result in the end, and I hope you will too. 
I'm considering putting this series up in my gallery on the Fine Art America site because I believe they'd make great subjects for people who wanted to make cards or to get prints of the series for their kitchens, etc.. What do you think?  Should I do that?

December 8, 2016

A Better Way To Spend My Time

View From Elaine's Place, Inverin, Co Galway, IE
Persimmons and Cranberries on Oil Cloth - sketch by Tracy Feldman
I produced these three sketches yesterday during a long wait. Creating them was a fun challenge that kept me in the moment -- which really helped me not fret too much and also helped me be present.
Fall Light in Coole Park, Co. Galway

The first sketch is the view in from my friend Elaine's home in Inverin, Co. Galway. I am thinking about turning the second sketch into one of my vegetation on oil cloth portraits. And the third one is of late afternoon light as we walked along a forest path in Coole Park. 

I used sharpies, colored markers, a brush pen, and watercolor on sketch paper to do these pieces. All in all, a much better way to spend the four hours than sitting in a waiting room and watching the same news stories recycle dozens of times.

Vegetation Portraits on Oil Cloth?

Cyclamen on Oil Cloth - 16 x 12" Oil on canvasboard
 by Tracy Feldman
     This is another in the series that I am painting of objects on the wonderful oilcloth I bought for my kitchen table.  I had been calling the series, "Vegetable Portraits on Oil Cloth", but I think I'm going to need to change the name to "Vegetation on Oil Cloth" because as the growing season is coming to an end locally, I am going to need to look further afield for my portrait models.  What do you think?

     This one is of a lovely plant that a friend brought me and suggested would be a great subject for a portrait.  It's called a cyclamen.  Several varieties grow here in Ireland.  Some, like this one, are hardy enough to over-winter here (at least in mild winters).  Others go dormant over winter but return in very early spring (February) to brighten the forest floor.  Their vivid hues are very welcome during Ireland's particularly gray months.
 Cyclamen underpainting

      As you can see on the right, I used the under-painting technique I learned this fall from Dreama Toll Perry.  But because I could not finish the piece in one sitting, I used my painting medium when completing the painting.

           I chose to show the plant from over head because that point of view made the cyclamen appear to be growing out of the tablecloth  -- and that appeals to my "reality with a twist" sensibilities.  I also took several portraits of the plant from the side. I'm also going to paint one of those because I loved the way the perspective changed how the "leaves" look on the oil cloth.  So keep your eyes peeled for that, and for a persimmon and cranberry portrait that is also in the works!

December 4, 2016

Revisiting Paintings

Redone picture of geraniums.

Sometimes when I walk past a painting day after day, elements of it start to bother me. If  I get bothered enough, I'll just go in and change the painting to make it better for me. 

This is one of those pieces.

Original version.
 I didn't like that lack of vibrancy of the geraniums. I got more and more bothered by the thickness of the wood between the window panes. And, the very bottom of the painting bothered me too.

I more pleased town and I hope you are too.

November 18, 2016

Finding Autumn (Fall) color in this area of "rocky beauty" -- as it is called in the tourist literature -- what I loved about living in Galway during This Week

Last week, we went walking in some unusual woods with old trees in County Galway: The Barna Woods (in the Galway suburbs) and Coole Park -- the grounds of Lady Gregory's estate in southern County Galway.  Lady Gregory was WB Yeats' patron and confidant as well as a writer in her own right, and a founder of Dublin's Abbey Theatre.  It was wonderful seeing the color and smelling the scent of fallen leaves.  Enjoy -- we certainly did!

Coole Park Pictures:

Barna Woods Pictures


November 11, 2016

What I loved about Living in Galway during Halloween Week 2016

Macnas 2016 Parade - music, costumes, giant puppets,
folk on stilts, acting, dancing -- what Craic!
 Macnas's 30th Anniversary Parade for Halloween! 

They say in Galway that the Halloween celebrations started in Ireland.  It spread to the States with the people escaping from the potato famine.  Like so many things,  American Halloween celebrations -- through the influence of TV, films, and folk returning to Ireland --  have come back to influence how the event is celebrated in the 21st century.  For instance, we first lived in Ireland for the year in 1999/2000 , and tThen the majority of children who came to our place were dressed as ghosts and ghoulsThis Halloween, the costumes are closer to the ones we'd see back home:  more superheroes,   Disney characters, princesses, rock guys and gals, etc. than we saw in 1999.  Also, like at home, kids are much less likely now to trick or treat on their own, without a parental chaperone.  

One thing that makes Galway, Galway, is how much Galwegians enjoy "the Craic" -- pronounced "the crack".  It refers to fun-loving people  getting together to have a good time with friends, perhaps at a special event.  That is why a wonderful, community-based puppet/parade company has thrived here for the last 30 years. This Galway-based, non-profit street theater group puts on huge, elaborate parades that incorporate music, drumming, dance, and giant, human-powered puppets. Its parades are so wonderful that the group (Macnas)  has been invited to perform in many places in the world.  The Halloween-themed Macnas parade celebrating its 30th anniversary was a truly wonderful spectacle.  But the spectacle did not stop with the Macnas performers.   Many of the individuals and families who packed the streets to watch the parade also dressed in wonderful, elaborate costumes of their own.  Craic indeed.  And even though we were only visitors (and not dressed for the occasion), we loved  it.

        We got a lot of fantastic images of the event, and I might paint something this year based on what we saw.  Periodically check on this blog or my website for the work I produce this year.