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.
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.
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Read Rod Sees Red part one.