A Year in the Garden of Ireland
Rod at The Dalkey Gallery
Howth from Bulloch
Avoca Painting School 2017
“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 Calendar is 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.
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 Calendar has been published along with a range of Wicklow Landscape canvas prints.
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!
For the period of 2016 I will be creating my plein air pictures wearing an eye patch, a pirate painter so to speak. I have more or less 20/20 vision in my good eye, and only 25% vision in my lazy eye. For this project I am covering my good eye and relying completely my lazy eye to paint. This is a totally experimental period of work and I have now idea what the results will yield. I am adapting a scientific approach by writing a detailed report on the creation of each painting and videoing the process. This project has received the full backing of Wicklow County Arts Office in the form of a generous bursary. So watch this space when I reveal the results in 2017.
I have a lazy eye, otherwise known as amblyopic eye. This condition can result in many and varied visual impairments, and these can range from mild to extreme. According to a recent optician test, the visual information I receive on my good eye is 92% of 20/20 vision verses 25% through my lazy eye. Specifically, the sight on my lazy eye is heavily blurred, but I do receive the same full range of both colour and light as with my good eye. This blurred vision applies equally up close as it does for looking into the distance.
Renowned art critic Martin Gayford commenting on Lucian Freud’s lazy-eye remarked how his paintings only came into focus from a distance, while up close they are all about mark-making and the lustre of oil paint. Apparently it’s to do with two sets of images being received by the brain, namely one sharp and the other blurred. My own painting has always born the same characteristics although I never understood the reason untill I read Martin Gayford.
I am now ready for the next artistic chapter in my artistic life. I am a firm believer in a structured and scientific approach so prefer changing just one element of my current modus operandi at a time so as to fully comprehend and judge the results. I see this project as an opportunity to disappear down a rabbit hole with no pre-conception of the pictorial results. My intention then is to calibrate and criticize the results viewing them in the wider context of landscape painting today.
What happens if I subtract my good eye from the painting process? In what way would the resulting image be different? How will I deal with a fuzzy, distant subject? How will it affect the colours I see and how I mix them? How will I judge if a brush is loaded or not? To what extent will I believe the canvas is covered when it is not? And most importantly will I bend my restricted vision to suit my current style or visa-versa? Answer: I haven’t got a clue, but the prospect is very exciting.
The Irish landscape is a means to an end for me, where the end is finding and developing my voice as an artist. So the landscape becomes a vehicle to investigating and developing my own style of plein air painting. This plein air conversation with Co. Wicklow continues unabated now into its 16 year.
My proposal is to continue my plein air conversation with the Wicklow landscape from April to December 2016 while wearing an eye-patch over my good eye. A pirate-painter if you like. It will be like painting with one hand tied behind my back and the results will be documented in oil on canvas in the form of a new body of experimental work. I hope with this experiment to better understand my physical perception of the world. Because my lazy-eye image and focus is so reduced and simplified I wonder to what extent the paintings will reflect this. I am also keen to know if my lazy-eye will improve during the year with all the extra exercise or if my brain will employ completion to “fill in the blanks” in the search for a more familiar image.
Rod Coyne reveals his 1916 Portrait Collection to Irish TV, one century on from the Dublin Revolution.
“I remember learning of Easter 1916 as a school boy, awe-struck and filled with pride. While back then the year 2016 seemed a science fiction away, I now stand on the threshold still awe-struck and filled with pride.” – Rod Coyne.
Irish TV’s new and charming presenter Pol Seoige gets to the heart of Rod Coyne’s 1916 Portrait Collection. The interview from last March was all about Rod’s then imminent Centenary exhibition. That show ran from 13th March till 9th April at The Courthouse Arts Center, Tinahely, Co. Wicklow. Coyne’s portraits set the perfect mood for a month of events marking the 1916 Easter Rising. The paintings formed a backdrop to theater, live music, cinema and panel discussions in Wicklow’s favorite arts center.
The exclusive print collection is available here.
Loads more about the exhibition: http://eepurl.com/bSYh2T
You can see the whole interview on YouTube.
“Those who know my landscape work might be forgiven for thinking I have made a radical side-step with this collection. On one had I have done just that, but on the other it’s just me going back to my roots. I have never considered myself a portrait artist, as there many who look after end of things so much proficiently than I ever will. I admire and enjoy their work. From day one I have drawn by that primitive artistic urge to work with the head, face and figure. I guess it’s just that eternal fascination with the human condition. Indeed, during my early years in Düsseldorf the human condition featured heavily in a long series on paintings examining the Troubles. So the “1916 Portrait Collection” is very much a continuation of those, themes held on pause for a while, rather than a surprise anthology from left field.” – Rod Coyne.
The Easter Rising of 1916 was pivotal to the emergence of an independent Ireland. Only supported by a minority of the Irish population, the courage and sacrifice of those who led it would in time change their nation’s destiny. The story of how less than two thousand Irish men and women bravely confronted the might of the British army in Dublin remains one of the most compelling in Irish history.