Rod Coyne was privileged to spend two weeks painting at heart of that Wild Atlantic Way. Here’s a two minute studio tour of his Cill Rialaig paintings at that point in time. #Skellig#WildAtlanticWay
The exhibition by Rod Coyne will be open to the public at Origin Gallery Dublin from 2nd – 20th March 2018.
Blizzard conditions in Ireland caused the postponement of the official opening night. After you’ve seen enough white then you might like to start “SEEING RED”. In the meantime please keep warm and safe in these polar conditions.
“Yes, its true, I am Still Seeing Red! Following on from my first tentative steps at Cill Rialaig during my Easter retreat in 2017 I’ve been delving deeper and deeper into my Rod Sees Red project. And now one year later I am ready to road-test this new departure and present this experimental work to the public at large. I am privileged to have been offered a solo exhibition in Dublin’s Origin Gallery during March 2018. This imminent show will be open to the public from the 2nd till the 21st of March and is curated by Dr. Noelle Campbell-Sharpe.
Don’t get Distracted
“Avoca Painting School commitments caught up with me after Cill Rialaig last year and it was August before I could return to the experimentation started in Rod Sees Red. I was taking part in the now renowned Irish version of the international franchise Art in the Open, where literally hundreds of painters descend on a different County Wexford location each day and capture its charms on canvas. I was feeling quite pleased with myself while completing an extremely red version of Hookhead Lighthouse when a fellow artist peered at my painting and gasped in shock. ‘I wish I had the guts to do something like that,’ he announced. At first we agreed it was indeed a risky approach, but I then burst the little bubble by pointing out that, ‘it’s only paint on canvas’, and hardly a case of life-or-death.
“Despite the fact that my new project was not actually dare-devil stuff it was consistently drawing gasps and raising eyebrows. But most importantly I was getting great feedback and people were appreciating my left-field take on otherwise familiar subjects. I was very grateful for the positive resonance because I was finding it very hard to look critically at the new work myself. I would start into each new painting knowing what I had to do to fulfill my own brief and yet feeling slightly revolted at turning perfectly good greens into red! It was all just too counter intuitive and dizzying for me. So each time I would have to steel myself and remember that I was on a mission. Even though when I finished each piece I would stand back and view it with giddy excitement I truly never believed anyone else would feel the same reaction – I was wrong. I got further affirmation later that year when two paintings were short listed for the UK’s biggest art-prize NOA 2017.
Moving it indoors
“As Autumn rolled around I was afforded an excuse to take Rod Sees Red into the studio and see how it worked in that environment. The ‘Dublin Docklands’ exhibition was going to be derived from photo reference and I set about translating antique black and white images into vivid red versions of their former selves. Again each painting went the full spectrum from the stomach-churning first strokes to that light-headed excitement at the end. Now I really felt that I was growing into my new style.
New Year’s Art
“To start 2018 I had a particular motif in mind, something near to home which I had studied a decade before. Painting the old stone-cut railway bridge at the end of the Vale of Avoca had a sensation of coming full circle for me. I remember so well standing on the same spot and breaking artistic ground with my then brand new Atmospherics phase. I was very pleased with the results, then as now.
More Giddy Excitement
“So I can safely say now that my confidence has continued to build from those first tentative steps in County Kerry last year. I am still unnerved and disconcerted starting into each new picture but now I can remind myself to set my jaw and push on through to the giddy excitement on the other side. I will definitely be perusing this road for 2018 and probably beyond.” – Rod Coyne.
Rod Coyne painted this picture, ” Skelligs Arch ” at Dr. Noelle Campbell-Sharp’s Origin Gallery . The live painting demo was a part of his “Waters Soft & Wild” exhibition in October 2015. This demo was captured with a time lapse camera. Sit back a see just how this little part of the West was Won by a determent artist wielding a palette knife.
Painting Demo Video – Star Wars couldn’t resist!
To date two Star Wars movies have embraced the Skelligs as a ready-to-go film set. It’s no wonder of course, these two sentinel islands lay on the Europe’s most westerly fringe and drip with otherworldly presence. Skellig Michael and Skellig Beag have featured heavily in Rod Coyne’s paintings since the year 2000 and his first residency at the singular Cill Rialaig Artists Retreat. Yet he first painted them on a 1st year field trip with the Crawford College of Art.
Painting Demo Video – Star Wars pays homage to Rod
“Like some many of my generation Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader’s rivalry were an integral backdrop to my childhood and early teenage years. Sure the story existed in another time and a galaxy far away but for an Irish kid the first three movies occupied a realm completely alien to 1970’s Ireland. They also represented a glamorous, sophisticated America which seemed as far off to me as the worlds and planets depicted on the silver screen.
Fast forward to the present and the long awaited release of The Force Awakens and I could barely contain my excitement and expectation of how my Skelligs were going to be integrated into the story line. Disney were actually paying homage to my central painting motif. I wasn’t disappointed with the islands depiction but I did leave the table hungry.
But last month I got my fill and just relished every layer of that truly alien landscape as revealed in The Last Jedi. I have to guess that after such prolonged exposure that is one set we will no longer be seeing in future Star Wars Productions. I’m fine with that, they’ve recognized something I discovered for myself decades ago. They’ve paid homage to the great island cathedral which was once the last bastion of Christianity throughout the dark ages.” – Rod Coyne.
” Skelligs Arch ” is available as canvas print on this site.
So if you find yourself wandering the Dun Laoghaire seafront Xmas Market then be sure to make your way down to the former Ferry Terminal and see this exciting exhibition featuring painter Rod Coyne and selected artists. It was a full-house for the launch of Dublin Docklands on Sunday 19th November 2017, and the show is open daily untill 22nd December at the Ferry Terminal on Harbour Road.
Curator and owner of the Gallery Dalkey Siobhan Bastable launches the show with a glowing endorsement of her artists’ work. Photo by Keith Dixon.
New work for the Dublin Docklands
Coyne’s “Pigeon House” collection kept visitors rapt with his contemporary take on Dublin Bay’s icon skyline. Two Visitors in animated discussion before three canvases from this singular collection.
In “Hot Dockers” Rod Coyne interprets a vintage image depicting men at work through a palette of fiery reds, oranges and pinks.
ROD-CAST: Jaw-dropping iconic Dublin Skyline.
As you know Mr. Coyne is a keen vlogger, so sit back and enjoy this whistle stop tour of the “Dublin Docklands” exhibition launch featuring jaw-dropping views of the iconic Dublin Skyline. This two-minute video gives you a great insight to what the Gallery Dalkey have achieved in this singular pop-up exhibition space on the Dun Laoghaire seafront.
Dublin Docklands – Varnishing Day
“I went to wire finishing “Masts at Customhouse” before the show. This painting was going to be my centre piece and it lived up to all my expectations. But despite using plenty of fast drying alkyd paint the picture was just as wet on Sunday as it had been when I finished it the Wednesday before. Five minutes before the show I realised that Murphy’s Law had struck in the form of a big magenta smear across the cold grey sky. Armed with baby-wipes I set to work trying to remove the offending streak. I couldn’t help picturing William Turner in the recent bio-pic smudging and gobbing on his canvas as the Royal Academicians looked on in horror. The repair job was mostly successful and there was no fatal damage done to my masterpiece. Its fair to say that my bold, lose painting style tolerates that type of abuse better than any photo-realism could” – Rod Coyne.
A frantic repair job by Rod Coyne to save his painting “Masts at Customhouse” at the eleventh hour.
“Recently we tried some really cool painting exercises in the Avoca Painting School with a 3 minute colour sketch in acrylic paint. I’ll really recommend this exercise for anyone wanting to loosen up the brush stokes, you’ll be amazed how much you can depict in such a short time”, says Rod Coyne.
Rod Coyne Shortlisted form 4000+ entries and you can help get his paintings to the prestigious 21st National Open Art (NOA) Exhibition, Southbank London, November 2017. NOA invite the public to vote for finalists. So as Rod battles to become one of those who will be exhibited and be in with a shot of the kudos and prize money in London this autumn he needs your help. Please vote for the paintings at these links: “Cill Rialaig Blaze” and “Skellig Fire & Ice”.
Rod who submitted his newest most experimental work #RodSeesRed was totally thrilled to get the following message in his mailbox:
“Dear Rod, Firstly, thank you for entering the 21st National Open Art Competition. We are absolutely delighted to announce that your submissions “Cill Rialaig Blaze” and “Skellig Fire & Ice” have been shortlisted by our panel of judges for the second round on 29 August 2017. Very many congratulations from us all here at NOA!”
As usual NOA boasts the support of the art-wordls most celebrated and respected figures. The 2017 Judges include Hughie O’Donoghue RA, Jane McAdam Freud, Kelvin Okafor, Cynthia Corbett & Zelda Cheatle. The 2017 moving images Judges are Elaine Pyke, Adam Saward and Marta Altés.
About National Open Art UK
National Open Art (NOA) is one of the UK’s leading art competitions, open to amateur and professional artists in the UK and Ireland. Since our first competition and exhibition in 1996, we’ve grown to offer multiple prizes that recognise talent and artistic excellence in a broad variety of artistic mediums and styles. Our panel of judges changes annually and features some of the most experienced and influential figures in the art world, from Royal Academicians to critics, curators and professionals.
NOA now attracts more than 4,000 entries per year and we offer both shortlisted and winning artists exposure and income opportunities through our exhibitions and online art sales platform. By working hard to expand the scale and scope of the competition, we aim to give all UK and Irish artists a gateway to exhibit and promote their work, regardless of background, and encourage them to pursue a life in art.
National Open Art is administrated by the Chichester Art Trust, a registered not for profit arts charity, whose aim is to provide a truly open and fair platform for all UK and Irish artists.
Q: How is it that now Rod Sees Red!? A:“For a while now I’ve been considering where my art’s at in the past, present and the future. I could feel a change coming on. Just because I stop painting in a certain way doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in it any more. It just means I need a break, a change of “wallpaper” around me and a chance to see things afresh. Also, I would be a liar if I denied that I am always thinking about how to re-invent my artistic expression and possibly create something totally new (or at least something rare in the art world).
Rod Sees Red! – Field testing a new theory.
So it was with this intention in mind that I set off for my two week retreat on the Atlantic coast of Kerry, Ireland. I am always careful to approach things scientifically in an arty way. In practice this means just changing only one element of my painting-modus-opperandae at a time, and that way I can easily identify how and why the results look different to previous work. So armed with a need for change and a willingness to throw caution to the wind I decided to turn my palette on its head.
Rod Sees Red! – and paints it!
After much musing ahead of my residency I decided to introduce radical amounts of red into my landscapes regardless if they were there or not. That was the basic theory but I still had yet to discover (through making the pictures) how that could work in practice. So for the first couple of days at the retreat I worked plein air, painting fast and loose in acrylics. First off I swapped the greens of the landscape for a tonally similar palette of reds. Then, as a ying to the yang, I started replacing the blues of the sea and sky with a palette of reds. Looking at the two versions side by side I saw instantly that the second option still looked realistic, just as if painted at sunrise or sunset. But where the land was red instead that took on a completely other worldly feel. So armed with my new painting-modus-opperandae I went to work for ten days painting the world red!
Rod Sees Red! – Oil on canvas in high speed.
“Ballinskelligs Bay” was created this month on a two week residency at the artists retreat Cill Rialaig, Co. Kerry, Ireland. I spent my time there experimenting with a new palette – namely switching the greens of the land for reds, corals and hot pinks – just to see what the effect would be. The canvas was completed plein air but later I distressed the surface little back at the studio. This part of the process opens the door to chance and takes the final say out of my hands. I love this painting because it has an abstract and other-worldly feel and yet it reads as a landscape drawn from life.”
– Rod Coyne – Rod Sees Red!
Plein air painting is about leaving the four walls of your studio behind and experiencing painting and drawing in the landscape. The practice goes back for centuries but was truly made into an art form by the French Impressionists. Their desire to paint light and its changing, ephemeral qualities, coupled with the creation of transportable paint tubes and the box easel—the precursor to the plein air easels of today—allowed artists the freedom to paint en plein air, which is the French expression for in the open air.
“In Ireland en plein air often means painting in the lashing rain. This doesn’t have to be a disadvantage; in fact, personally I find the opposite is true. To paint a mountain I like to stand in front of it. To paint a storm I like to be in the middle of it. Sure this means me and my canvas getting wet, but that’s when the happy-accidents start happening. More than that, I find the physical act of battling the elements manifests itself in the resulting picture. And if I’m out painting Mother Nature then why shouldn’t she have a hand the act of creation by making the paint run with rain or smear in the wind?” – Rod Coyne.
Then and Now
“William Turner led the way in the late 1700’s and a century later the French Impressionists fell in behind, and made Impressionism into a recognised artform. These days it is considered an outdoor pursuit just like hiking and fishing. Some high-brow people might look down their noses at the masses picking up their paints and heading outdoors. But I have now time for any snobbery; I believe all who want to enjoy the meditative properties of creating en plein air should do so. It is a true form mindfulness to be stopped in one spot and studying the view before your eyes. It is in stark contrast to our hectic day-to-day and offers an undeniable form of relaxation therapy. And if you have a painting at the end of it, well, that’s a bonus, but it shouldn’t have to be the goal” – Rod Coyne.
“I couldn’t see it coming at the time, but what started out as a common or garden solo exhibition has turned into a major project with no end in sight” – Rod Coyne.
The My Place on Canvas 2017 Calendaris just the latest by-product of an over active artistic imagination. What started out as a homage to Wicklow landscapes has turned into a celebration of people, memories and stories documented through a compelling mix of videos, words and paint.
MY PLACE ON CANVAS – Born in 2013
The My Place on Canvas is a project where the public nominate their favourite Co. Wicklow landscapes for artist Rod Coyne to paint. This culminated in an exhibition at the Tinahely Courthouse Art Centre in 2014.
Throughout 2015 Rod continued to solicit and paint nominations of cherished Wicklow landscapes. This led to exhibitions and workshops with the Heritage department of Wicklow County Council and the Hollywood Fair. And in 2016 planning started the book to be published in 2017/18. And in the meantime the 2017 Calendarhas been published along with a range of Wicklow Landscape canvas prints.
CALL TO ACTION – then and now.
This is your chance to be part of this project by nominating your favourite Wicklow landscape to be immortalised in paint and print. You just need to share some details about your “My Place” and Rod will do the rest. There is no charge for taking part and it is open to everyone. So if there’s a place close to your heart and you’d like to share it with the world then contact Rod Coyne.
“My Place on Canvas” An exhibition by Rod Coyne, will be opened by TD Stephen Donnelly on 23rd November 2014.
Rod Coyne paints sentiments and memories En plein air*. His upcoming exhibition at the Courthouse Tinahely is a singular mission to capture the favourite Wicklow scenes of others. Rod has motivated people to consider and articulate their relationship with their landscape. Then he has retold that story through paint. The result is a compelling mix of paintings and text called “My Place on Canvas”.
Notable are contributions from author Paul Howard aka Ross O’Carroll Kelly, former Ireland rugby international Shane Byrne, lawyer to the stars Dr. Gerald Kean and Irelands most respected TD Stephen Donnelly. This multi-facetted undertaking saw Coyne marching from the mountains to the sea, or flanked by deer in the forest at dusk, and lunching with The Hon. Garech Browne in Luggala estate.
“My Place on Canvas” is an exhibition celebrating the Wicklow landscape, where the public decided which scenes would be painted. Choosing a selection the artist then interpreted each in his own distinctive plein air style. The finished paintings will be displayed alongside the text of its very own personal back-story.
The exhibition is the culmination of a three year long project which has captured the public’s imagination. Rod set out to break down some of the barriers and exclusivity that still exist around art. With this interactive project Coyne looks at the world through someone else’s eyes while they get to see their landscape through his. The result is a compelling mix of paintings and text broadcasting the majesty that is Co. Wicklow.
Excitement mounts as all contributors anticipate their landscapes being publically unveiled for the first time. The exhibition will be opened by TD Stephen Donnelly on November 23rd. “My Place on Canvas” has allowed people who were previously never involved in art to find themselves at the heart of a fine art exhibition. There have been over 70 submissions from around the world including Holland, Scotland, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong and, of course, Wicklow. The artist received submissions from across the board including politicians and prisoners, celebrities and writers. All share a passion for the Garden County of Ireland, as the 30 new works being premiered will testify.
In art we can find common ground, and in Rod’s hands it becomes universally accessible. In an effort to de-mystify the creative process Rod has been documenting his painting journey through a photo diary on Twitter. He has also filmed the realisation of each piece with a head-camera and these YouTube clips will be on display at the Courthouse Arts Centre. They tell the other story, that of Rod’s experiences and adventures as he wandered the county, bringing art outside, finding and painting other people’s visions of Wicklow.
*En plein air is a French expression meaning ‘‘in the open air’’ referring to the act of painting outdoors. Plein air artists like Rod capture the spirit and essence of a landscape by incorporating the changing natural light, colour, and movement into their works. They need to capture that movement-Mother Nature does not stand still during the course of a day!