“There was always a big chance that the creation of Red Rock would not be born on video at all. There’s always so much to concentrate on when painting a big canvas en plein air that filming the whole affair has to be kept as a secondary priority so as not to distract me from the main event. I never have a camera man with me or any other technical helper so my footage is often off the mark or the batteries run out ages before I notice.”
But this day’s painting was different as I knew exactly what composition I wanted and which canvas I was going to use. The Skelligs features at least once on a residency at Cill Rialaig and this time I had left it till my last day at the Retreat. I actually love the fact that the Star Wars franchise has been celebrating the majesty of these holy islands and now here I was with ten days painting under my belt and ready to pay homage to the island cathedral.
Big canvases are susceptible to any sort of wind so I prefer to secure them to something sturdier that my flimsy easel. While the pier wall offered the perfect position for the perfect view I still needed to get creative in how to lash it to the stonework. Years of working on movie sets in an earlier life has given me a kind of can-do attitude towards this type of problem. Some heavy duty screws and a couple of bungy cords later and it was attached rock solid.
“Red Rock” work in progress on Glen Pier.
Then to the cameras; I used three on that day. One time-lapse camera with no view finder which has to aimed purely on intuition. Secondly, I had a temperamental go-pro up close to the canvas. And finally I filmed all the B-roll stuff using my smart phone. As usual while painting and filming somethings didn’t work out as planned and other things occurred which I had never expected. The upshot in both cases was that the happy accidents far outweighed the disastrous ones and I was very pleased with the results. The painting gave me a sense of instant gratification on the day but it was ten months before I got a chance to work with the footage. Editing the video over the period of a few nights transported me back to painting on that breezy, sunny day on Glen Pier in Co. Kerry. And now it’s done I’m delighted I took the time to allow for the second priority of the day. I hope you like it too, if so, please share.” – Rod Coyne.
Read more about the “Seeing Red” exhibition.
See more of Rod’s videos on YouTube.