Sheep Project 2011 (part 1)

Rod and his creation Daisy the bicycle sheep.

The Sheep Project

“Back in March 2011 I had a curious delivery to the Avoca Studio Gallery. It was a sheep, but not a woolly one, this was a steel sheep. This how my Sheep Project began. Twenty Five artists of TAG (Tinahely Arts Group) each got a 2-D life-sized sheep template to create their own individually styled art-sheep. They will make up a public art display around the town of Tinahely, Co. Wicklow. They will be on display through out the summer and be taking part in various events, including the Tinahely Walking Festival and the Tinahely Agricultural Show.

As a painter I knew I would be out of my depth working with metal. But I devised a plan and enlisted some help… ” – Rod Coyne.

The birth of Daisy

My original idea was to fuse a racer bicycle with my sheep template. I thought the handlebars as horns would make a handsome ram.

Two basic sheep templates…the journey begins.

While rooting through skips and dumps I turned up a couple of little girls bikes and started to rethink my plan A. Considering I live in a house of women I decided to get in touch with my feminine side. Here the raw materials.

I was lucky enough to get my friend Jeremy, a top class custom bike builder to do my welding for me. He saw the humor in it and did quite an artistic job.

I started preparing the surface on a hot April afternoon. Photos by lola.

I was advised to invest in a good quality primer. The instructions on the tin told me two coats with 24 hours between them, so I did as I was told.

Finally I’m painting, I knew this project was going to more labour intensive than painting any oil on canvas.

All primed and ready for some real colour. Daisy is finally taking shape, I have an idea of how she might eventually look.

I needed to mix up a nice shade of pink to echo the Daisy bike’s original colour. I took advise from two girlie experts.

It is such a relief to see a colour other than grey rust primer.

Deciding against black the legs and head were painted ivory. The original bike had cream coloured tyres.

It took half a day to cut contact and create the all important daisy stickers…

…and ten minutes to stick them on.

Late into the night I replaced the saddle and added sheep-eye-stickers and the girlie tassels.

A happy artist. Daisy is ready for transport to Tinahely where she’ll be mounted on a base and the placed in her summer grazing place along with the rest of the flock.

Here is the text from our Press Release:

Hung for a Sheep Project as a Lamb

The Sheep Project: A curious flock of sheep and lambs will be descending upon Tinahely this summer in time to join the annual Trail Walking Festival at the May Bank Holiday, 2011. These art-sheep, created by the members of TAG (Tinahely Arts Group), will be “grazing” around the town and surrounding area. Each artist, starting from a uniform steel template, has worked through the winter to create their own individual take on Wicklow’s familiar woolly friends. The results promise to be as diverse as they are quirky, while adding a new dimension to the renowned Tinahely Trail Walking Festival.

Tinahely Arts Group is a collective of artists and craftspeople, all living and working in the Tinahely area. Members and their work represent a wide and diverse range of disciplines and media, including painting and drawing, photography, sculpture, textiles and ceramics, glassware and metalwork. Formed in June 2010, the group seeks to share knowledge and techniques, pool resources, and work together on projects to promote awareness of the wealth of creativity in the region. In addition, members combine to ensure that the arts and crafts heritage of South Wicklow is visible in as many local events and tourism initiatives as possible, and to contribute their talents to community enhancement projects.

About TAG

The Tinahely Sheep Project will be comprised of approximately two dozen 2 and 3 dimensional metal sheep (almost one meter in length and more than half a meter tall, with some smaller lambs), each of which will be customized by individual artists in a variety of styles and materials. The flock will celebrate Tinahely’s history as a vibrant market town and will be unveiled at Market Square, Tinahely on the Festival Weekend, on Friday April 29th 2011 at 7.00 pm. Each sheep will have an ear tag identifying its designer, and the flock will make a striking visual display for this busy weekend. For the rest of the summer, the eye-catching sheep and their lambs will be situated out and about in Tinahely in unexpected locations around town, to be enjoyed by residents and visitors sampling our wonderful location and outdoor pursuits. In the autumn the sheep will return to the Market Square, and will be taken home to over winter with their artist owners. It is hoped that they will increase and multiply over the winter, as well as getting some refurbishment if needed, and will return to the roads and hills around Tinahely as an annual event.

Details of TAG and our members can be found on the group’s website at:

Covid-19 Workshop Update.

First the good news; we intend re-starting our workshops after the last of the national travel restrictions are lifted at the end of this month. The painting workshop on the 25th of July is going ahead as planned and we are now taking bookings. Likewise we expect to be going ahead with our August and September workshops as planned.

The bad news; as of Friday we have an update of Ireland’s Covid-19 travel restrictions for the coming months. We must now confirm the cancellation of our 27th of June 2020 painting workshop. Likewise we are cancelling our 2020 five-day painting holiday.

"Looking forward to socially distanced painting workshop with you all soon", says Rod Coyne.
“Looking forward to socially distanced painting workshop with you all soon”, says Rod Coyne.

Rod’s Recommendations & Testimonials

In 1990 Rod Coyne sold his first paintings. At first it was his recent graduation work and by the end of the year he was selling new work and taking on commissions. The artist has consistently built his fan base adding new collectors throughout the following decades. Here the collectors describe Coyne’s art in their own words: Rod’s Recommendations & Testimonials.

Dan – New York, USA.

“My family and I met Rod and his family a few years ago during a visit to Ireland. My wife is a Dubliner, so we always try to “bring a bit of Ireland” back to the States. Rod’s landscapes vividly capture the beauty of Ireland… He is a tremendously talented artist. We now make a visit to his studio to collect a new painting an annual event.”


Gary – Boston, USA.

“I’ve bought several paintings from Rod over the years and each one occupies a special place in my home. Rod’s use of color, light and texture in his paintings really bring scenes to life. Even though several of his paintings have been hanging in my house for years, I often find myself appreciating subtle details in them that I never noticed before. I highly recommend adding one of his pieces to your collection.”


Derek – Ontario, Canada.

“Rod, Again just to let you know my wife and I love the paintings and they are a wonderful addition to our collection. True to your word I was able to track their delivery progress via the Internet and indeed I was very impressed with the customized wooden box you built to ensure their safe passage from Ireland to Canada…I look forward to visiting the gallery again in the near future.”


Ian – Waterford, Ireland .

“I have enjoyed Rod’s work for many years now firstly as a collector and later as an art dealer and gallery owner. Rod is one of the major talents currently painting in Ireland. He has a truly unique and individual way of capturing the landscape around him, not just in subject but is his rich deep painting style and use of colour in a way only Rod can. If you are an established collector or just starting out I would not hesitate to recommend Rod’s work to you. If near Avoca make sure you go to the studio, Rod always has a superb range of works there.”


Shane – Wicklow, Ireland.

“Rod is an exceptionally talented artist. A print of perhaps my favourite of all his paintings has pride of place in my home where it invariably receives positive comment from guests. Rod’s studio in Avoca is a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of stunning and unique art and always well worth a visit.”


Rory – Dublin, Ireland.

“I am a big fan of Rod’s work over the years and have many paintings displayed in our house – recently my gorgeous wife Catherine commissioned Rod to paint our puppy…all’s I can say is he really did a splendid job in catching the moment in typical Coyne fashion – its brilliant – highly recommend Rod Coyne.”


Bernard – London, UK.

“Rod Coyne is a fantastic Irish landscape artist, fully and totally dedicated to his craft. I urge you to look at his website and buy some art, you will never regret it and will probably be making a very sound investment.”


Edwin – Philadelphia, USA.

“Hi Rod, That face is way to serious. You are, no doubt, one of the most joyful and fun-loving artists I know.”

POSTPONED – May 2020 Avoca Painting School Workshop at Knockanree Gardens.

Postponed this year, heres a photo form last years workshop.

As of yesterday we have an update of the Covid-19 quarantine and social distancing extension till 18th of May.

We must now confirm a postponement of our 9th of May 2020 painting workshop. It goes without saying that it is understandable but disappointing to have to postpone. But we hope our art friends can take a little consolation by downloading our free video and joining the Quarantine Creatives.

We will be contacting our students directly with updates by email. Avoca Painting School will also publish updates on social media and here on this website. If you have any questions in the meantime please contact us directly:

We will revert with alternative workshop dates shortly. In the meantime please keep safe and follow HSE/NHS advice.

Some useful links:

Current Irish government advise.

Medical advice issued by the HSE.

Avoca Gallery page on Facebook.

Avoca Gallery page on Twitter.

Quarantine Creatives

Belguim Quarantine Creatives using tech to achieve the perfect digital painting workshop.

Beat the quarantine blues with a Gratis Masterclass.

It started with #Stayathome with Rod’s “Secrets of the Palette Knife” free download .
As the Covid-19 lock-down continues we want to pass our time in fun and fulfilling ways. Eager to help, Avoca Gallery brought you a free DVD download. Now arty people are painting along with Rod Coyne at home, using his guide to landscape painting in the beautiful Vale of Avoca. Alternatively, other folks simply downloaded to enjoy a welcome escape to the Wicklow mountains while watching this hypnotizing and meditative insight into the creative process.

Now the Quarantine Creatives share their Art

“Using Roddy Coyne’s “Secrets of the Palette Knife” as a guide, which I downloaded from his website , I completed this large canvas of The Meetings of the Waters in Avoca over the last couple of days – well I have to keep busy ! I really enjoyed using the palette knife, using acrylics with structure paste added, but it does use a lot of – I’ve run out of white acrylic paint, trying to source some on-line so I can keep painting ! — with Roddy Coyne. ” – Wicklow based painter.

Facebook post link.

Now share Your Art

We are inviting everyone who has been inspired after enjoying Rod’s “Secrets of the Palette Knife” to please share your work with us all. We want to see and share your versions of the Avoca River triggered by the video. And if your more the viewing type maybe you have a few words inspired by your journey through the Vale of Avoca with Rod. Creativity boosts our well-being so please share this FREE DOWNLOAD link with your art friends, friends and family the world over.

Call to action: inspire the nation.

We’ll post your art works (anonymously if preferred or linked to your social media) here on this page. Please send your images to any of the following links:


Facebook: Avoca Gallery

Twitter: Avoca Gallery

We at Avoca Gallery thank you heartily in advance.

#Stayathome with Rod

2020 Rod Secrets DVD_film srtip banner #Stayathome with Rod
#Stayathome with Rod
#Stayathome with Rod “Secrets of the Palette Knife” free download
As the Covid-19 lock-down continues we want to pass our time in fun and fulfilling ways. Eager to help, Avoca Gallery  brings the mountain to Muhammad with a free instructional DVD download. Now you can paint along with Rod Coyne at home, using this guide to landscape painting in the beautiful Vale of Avoca. Free instructional video and a print-ready reference photo now available. Beat the quarantine blues with this gratis masterclass.

Alternatively, simply download and enjoy a welcome escape to the Wicklow mountains while watching this hypnotizing and meditative insight into the creative process. Creativity boosts our well-being so please share this FREE DOWNLOAD link with your art friends, friends and family the world over.
Together (keeping apart) we can beat the virus-crisis, please stay well
and follow HSE advice.  

Open but not Open

The Avoca Studio Gallery has been a “clicks & mortar” operation since 2015. Due to Covid-19 restrictions our gallery doors are currently closed. Fortunately, our online gallery is open for business as usual. We are still sending out paintings, prints, gifts and calendars. Remember to have a regular look in to see our ever-expanding range of Rod Coyne art and read our Gallery Blog.

Patrolling Puffin

image of patrolling puffin painting

At Avoca Gallery we are confined to barracks just like the rest of the nation and half of the planet. And like all firms we’re looking to stay connected and stay in business. We are busy uploading new Rod Coyne art onto the Avoca Gallery website all the time. The “Patrolling Puffin” is the first in a series of new canvases to be expected.

Workshop Update

2020 avoca painting achool update

After an Taoiseach’s announcement dated March 27th, nationwide lock-down prevails til April 12th. At this point we expect further government updates and will know if our Kilmacurragh workshop on the 25th of April will be going ahead. Avoca Painting School will publish workshop updates on social media and on their website. If you have any questions please contact:

Avoca Painting School Covid-19 update as of 29th March 2020.

Following an Taoiseach’s anouncement of March 27th, the National Botanic Gardens at  Kilmacurragh will remain closed to visitors until Easter Sunday, April 12th. At this point we should know if our Kilmacurragh workshop on the 25th of April will be going ahead. We will be contacting our students directly with updates by email. Avoca Painting School will also publish updates on social media and here on this website. If you have any questions in the meantime please contact us directly:

Photo of Rod Coyne's demo canvas at the Painting Workshop at Kilmacurragh.
Photo of Rod Coyne’s demo canvas at the Painting Workshop at Kilmacurragh.

Some useful links:

Current Irish government advise.

Medical advice issued by the HSE.

Avoca Gallery page on Facebook.

Avoca Gallery page on Twitter.

“It may seem trivial to be worrying about a painting workshop in such dire times, but we feel it has important value in balancing the daily news cycle. We are all trying to keep a sense of normality going in these abnormal times. And regardless of how long it takes to put this crisis behind us we intend still being here, doing our arty thing. So, here’s looking forward to better days in the future and the healing power of art. Keep safe everyone.” – Rod Coyne.

Painting Workshop Update

Avoca Painting School Covid-19 update as of 15th March 2020.

Having studied the recent Irish government advise ( 16th March ’20) and following medical advice issued by the HSE (14th March ’20) we plan to continue with our outdoor workshop programme for 2020. This is our current position and we realise that we may need to re-assess at any time given the fast-changing nature of the virus situation. So please watch this space (also our Facebook) for further updates or contact us with any queries:

Meeting of the Waters with Avoca Painting School
Meeting of the Waters with Avoca Painting School

We wish to reassure our students that our workshops are conducted within the current health guidelines. Each workshop contains a maximum of 10 students, we are working solely outdoors and with ample space for effective social distancing.

A carpet of "Rhodi" petals.
A carpet of “Rhodi” petals.

“A Hunger for Painting” by Jurgen Raap

“Two years into my Irish plein air experiment (2002) I really felt that I had the bit between my teeth. The studio-less year I had promised myself was set to become three years. My key fears of unproductive, distracted wanderings through my native landscape proved unfounded. I was more prolific and confident than I could ever remember in my artistic life. In short I was unhinged, unchained and happier than a dog with two tails. It was at this point that a German art critic took an interest in my work and wrote the following.” – Rod Coyne.

“The Works of Rod Coyne”

written in 2002 by the eminent German author, journalist and critic Jurgen Raap. “White bellowing clouds in the sky. Deep, dark blue-gray announces an immanent rain front (Bull Cow and Calf 5, 2001).” – Jurgen Raap.

image of painting depicting distant islands on the horizon under a massive storm cloud.
image of painting depicting distant islands on the horizon under a darkening dusk sky..
(above) Distant islands under a massive storm cloud. Acrylics on paper, 60x40cm.
Distant islands on the horizon under a darkening dusk sky. Acrylics on paper, 40x30cm.

“Stormy wind stirs up the sea. The waves smash hard against the rocky shore of Dalkey island, and the heavy rain sprays over the frothing foam. ” – Jurgen Raap.

image of painting depicting a arain storm moving between Dalkery Island and the mainland. This painting was highlighted by Jurgen Raap.
(above) A rain storm moving between Dalkery Island and the mainland. Acrylics on paper, 40x30cm.
A south-easterly gale piles waves over the bulwark of Bulloch Harbour. Acrylics on paper, 60x40cm.

Intense Study of Nature

“Rod Coyne’s pictures are the result of an intense study of nature and weather. After living in Duesseldorf between 1990 and 1999, he rediscovered his native landscape on his return home. Landscapes and seascapes make up the backbone of his painting over the past four years – yet the treatment is anything but sentimental nor is it a simple recording of unbridled nature as in the romanticism of the 19th century of such subjects as a metaphor for the immortal for the animation, spiritualization nature dramatized. In contrast, Rod Coyne’s pictures communicate the immediacy of the physical experience of the atmospherics, of wind, of rain, and of natural lightshows. When the sun breaks through the clouds, a yellow reflection ripples on the uneasy waters of “Killiney Bay”, 2000. In another painting a rainy landscapes disappears in a gray foggy, veil.  Only the dark silhouette of the mountains breaks through the mist, “Coomacallee Mountain”, 2001. ” – Jurgen Raap.

(above) Killiney Bay, acrylics on paper, 40x30cm.
Coomacallee Mountain, Co. Kerry, acrylics on paper, 40x30cm.

Coyne seen through Traditional Art History

“One could be tempted to see these paintings in a traditional art history light, the likes of William Turner and the French impressionism stretching into the post modern 20th century, as painting with an emphasis on sensuality and the substance as against the brittleness of conceptualism and minimalism. At the same time Rod Coyne frees himself of the art historical legacy: his “harvest” series 2002, completely side-steps symbolism , which in ages passed was about a seasonal depiction.  Coyne paints the fields with rolled straw bales  and towering haystacks.  With dynamic, rhythmic brushstrokes he captures the stubble rows of  grain with bright yellows, ocker and brown tones. ” – Jurgen Raap.

Two Sheds, Two Stacks, acrylics on canvas, 130x65cm.
Hay Bales, acrylics on canvas, 130x65cm.

Contemporaneous of Rod’s Painting

“Rich, dark green marks the forest edge and trees in the background. But that is not a parable of the idyllic and simple rural life – it is more a visual documentation of the rationalization and commercial efficiency of the combine harvester in a time when the farmyard has made way for factory farming. In this scene Rod Coyne offers us a most up to date contemporary painting. The mechanical, automation reflected in the straw bales allow no room for romanticism, as found in the Shepard scenes paintings of the 18th century, or the light hearted paintings of the impressionists. In this rejecting every transfiguration lies the contemporaneous of Rod Coyne’s painting. ” – Jurgen Raap.

Twin Towers, acrylics on canvas, 130x65cm.

Truest form of Painting

“While the style of painting in the harvest series remains true to the image depicted, other series show a tendency towards abstraction and form reduction. In the picture “Dusk, Cill Rialaig House” 2001, the landscape experiences a dissolving into long bands of color contrasting blue and yellow. Wide, quick brushstrokes traverse the picture. The cottage with its ghostly gable end is equally fleetingly depicted. The rough architectural form is captured loosely – while all other shapes are simplified and reduced, the more its abstracted, the more the atmosphere is realized the color blocks alone. ” – Jurgen Raap.

image of painting depicting a thatched cottage nested between the mountains disapering in the evening gloom. This painting was highlighted by Jurgen Raap.
A thatched cottage nested between the mountains disapering in the evening gloom. Acrylics on paper, 60x40cm.

“This is truest form of painting – as the fundamental principle of painting is the paint (i.e. paint control). The paint depicts the form, not the outline drawing. The natural conclusion all abstraction is monochrome, as practiced in successive modern movements, from Paul Cézanne to Yves Klein, while having aesthetic value did prove to be an art historical cul-de-sac. The only exit was and is the rediscovery of figuration. ” – Jurgen Raap.

Perched on the edge of the world, Rod Coyne paints on Valentia Island, Co. Kerry.
Perched on the edge of the world, Rod Coyne paints on Valentia Island, Co. Kerry.

“With the creditability of  the tools and materials and handling of paint, painting has been able to hold its own against the new age of technical media art. As the German critic Wolfgang Max Faust credited the artists of the 80’s with a “hunger for pictures”. That same sentiment can be attributed to the young painters of today, to Rod Coyne and his peers. ” – Jurgen Raap.

Rod’s Radical RTE Radio Plug

RADIO ROD…got an amazing plug and nearly crashed the car. Avoca Painting School vouchers come in for special attention by Aiofe Barry on the Marian Finucane Show under the heading “Experience Gifts” and score 10 out of 10. See our gift Vouchers here.

“Exactly one year ago I’m bumper to bumper in Xmas shopping traffic, killing time with the radio on. Marian Finucane is on RTE Radio 1 and she’s examining the world of “Experience Gifts” with journalist Aiofe Barry. During the intro the presenter mentions the various categories coming up and among them is the “painting experience”. Cynically I chuckle to myself saying “…imagine they pick the the Avoca Painting School, like there’s no way that’s going to happen…” I am so convinced that fate owes me nothing that I nearly rear-end the car in front when Aiofe Barry launches into “…And for painting I’ve chosen the Avoca Painting School run by Rod Coyne…”

In future I promise not to be so cynical and thank the gods of fate for every endorsement they pass my way. Merry Christmas everyone.” – Rod Coyne

Broadcast Details:

Aiofe Barry reported: “Avoca painting school, run by Rod Coyne. You can buy vouchers online:

You will receive your Gift Voucher as an email containing a unique coupon code, the recipient must use that code to book their chosen workshop online. Courses cost up to €100. A lot of these courses are outdoors in Wicklow, the Botanical gardens, at The Meeting of the Waters…Also, if you book early there’s a €20 discount. “

RTE1: Rod on the Radio.
Marian Finucane discusses Avoca Painting School with journalist Aiofe Barry. They endorse our gift vouchers and celebrate the new “Experience Gift” culture for creative, adventurous types. National broadcaster transmitted this edition on the 22nd of December 2018.

weblink to show:

Big thank you @rteradio1 @marianne__finucane__44576 @aiofebarry #RTE1#radio#paintingworkshop#vouchers#experiencegift#LearntoPaint#Avoca