Still Seeing Red!

Rod Coyne is Still Seeing Red!

“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.

"Red Rock" on the easel Easter 2017. One year Rod is Still Seeing Red!
“Red Rock” on the easel, Easter 2017. One year on and Rod is Still Seeing Red!

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.


Hookhead Lighthouse in the distance while a very red version of same stands on the easel.
Hookhead Lighthouse in the distance while a very red version of same stands on the easel.

Living Dangerously!

“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.

Rod Coyne Shortlisted "Cill Rialaig Blaze" oil on canvas, 40x50cm.
Rod Coyne Shortlisted “Cill Rialaig Blaze” oil on canvas, 40x50cm.


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.

In "Hot Dockers" Rod Coyne interprets a vintage image depicting men at work through a palette of fiery reds, oranges and pinks.
In “Hot Dockers” Rod Coyne interprets a vintage image depicting men at work through a palette of fiery reds, oranges and pinks.


"Masts at Customhouse" 50x70cm, oil-canvas.
“Masts at Customhouse” 50x70cm, oil-canvas.


"Hot-Hull" 50x40cm, oil on canvas.
“Hot-Hull” 50x40cm, oil on canvas.


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.

Rod Coyne just finished his first canvas of 2018, and he's still seeing red. "I Walk the Line" 50x70cm, oil on canvas.
Rod Coyne just finished his first canvas of 2018, and he’s still seeing red. “I Walk the Line” 50x70cm, oil on canvas.


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.

Art in the Open 2017, and Rod's red version of the church at Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford.
Art in the Open 2017, and Rod’s red version of the church at Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford.

Follow Rod Sees Red on Facebook.

Read Rod Sees Red part one.

Painting Demo Video with a Star Wars Slant

Painting Demo Video – How the West was Won!

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.

Movie still: Luke vs Vader.
Movie still: Luke vs Vader.

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.

Movie Still: Rae and Luke perched atop of Skellig Michael.
Movie Still: Rae and Luke perched atop of Skellig Michael.

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.

” Skelligs Arch ” the original canvas available on this site.