Irish at HeART

As I write a group of 16 intrepid painting and mosaic enthusiasts are making their way across the Atlantic for the creative adventure of a lifetime in Lovely Listowel! The current Artists in Residence Jean Cauthen, Laura Hitchcock and Pam Goode have put together a wonderful schedule for the students, workshops include plein air painting and ‘Flowers of the Wild Atlantic Way’ Mosaic. The seed for the tour was sown during the artist’s first residency at Olive Stack Gallery last year. Cannot wait to welcome everyone to Listowel!

 

Laura and Jean
Laura and Jean painting plein air on the banks of the River Feale

 

One thing is for certain, the Olive Stack residency artists LOVE their time in Listowel! Says “second-timer” Jean Cauthen, “Having a month to settle in and work allows artists to get a sense of the ‘rhythms’ of this lovely town. Inspiration comes from the friendships, the theater, the poetry and the lively shop exteriors. As return resident artists, we felt more of a ‘home-coming’ on this return visit. We thrill to visit our favourite shops and delight in the new ones. Walking into our favourite pub and being greeted by a warm embrace along with our pint really tops off the day.”

For Laura McRae Hitchcock, the Olive Stack artist residency has been a career changer. “When I came to Listowel last year, I hadn’t been out of the US since high school. I embraced my empty nest status and decided to take some time to concentrate on my work completely. The residency provided that time and space. It changed how my family sees me, my career as an artist, and most importantly it changed the way I see myself. And when it’s all said and done, that is the game changer.

When I returned this year, I immediately felt at home — as if only a couple of months had passed. I love seeing people I know everywhere I go. I think I know more people here in Listowel than I do in Charleston! Last year, Jean, Pam and I saw so many visitors come into the gallery off of tour buses with no idea where they were or where they had been. We were struck by the difference in their experience of Ireland and the experience we were having in Listowel getting to know both the town and the people. We couldn’t let go of the idea that we wanted others to experience Ireland, and more specifically, Listowel, as we did.

So here we are, one year later, conducting a painting and mosaic workshop for 16 Americans from six states! We’re thrilled to have our vision come together so quickly. We’ll be concentrating our time here in Listowel so that the ladies in the workshop can experience the Ireland we fell in love with.”

Pam Goode, mosaic artist and owner of Mosaic Art Retreats, has taken artist groups to Paris, Provence, Barcelona, Morocco, Italy and Costa Rica. “I can tell you the name of the best tour guide in Barcelona or my favourite lunch spot in Paris, but I can’t introduce you to a single resident in most of those cities. In Listowel, I can match a student’s interests to a local, forging bonds across continents and enriching the experience tremendously. What I’ve found in Listowel is a rare breed of human being that truly embraces personal interaction. To be honest, in many cities it’s something I’ve become a bit wary of. But in Listowel it feels like every chance meeting warms the heart and strengthens the soul. We all need more of that, and it’s a trait I hope to take home with me.”

Plein-Air painter Jean Cauthen explains, “Although I’ve led many workshops to different countries, I’m especially excited to introduce students to Listowel. Our painting and mosaic students will be enchanted by the beautiful Irish scenery with extremes of cliffs to beaches to lush fields. But I think, more importantly, we’ve designed a program that allows students to feel like they’re part of the fabric of this lovely town. Local businesses and individuals are involved in the 10-day visit, and we’re picturing participants as they settle into a local bakery or pub and have chats with the locals. Like ourselves, we know they’ll remember these connections long after the week is over.”

 

May 17
Pam, Olive, Jean and Laura

 

The Irish at Heart Artisan Tour and Workshop will spend a couple of days exploring the Wild Atlantic Way and the rest of their time in Listowel. On the agenda is an encaustic demonstration and studio tour with Olive Stack, a cooking class with David Mulvihill, and Pub Theater at John B Keanes. Tours with Damian Stack will also be available, as will evenings at St. John’s. The group will have time to enjoy shopping and eating locally between their mosaic and plein air painting classes, as well as participating in a Get to Know Listowel scavenger hunt that will take them to a range of local businesses. The adventure will culminate with an artists reception at the gallery on Friday 26th May 4 – 5.30pm everyone is welcome to attend!

 

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Welcome bags ready!

 

 

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Artists in Residence!

Preparing for the arrival of the first artists in residence of 2017 is very exciting! Amy Hart and Caroline Brown will call Listowel home for the month of March and might even have a chance to paint the town green on St Patricks Day! Amy and Caroline are members of Ciel Gallery Charlotte NC. Ciel’s November show ‘Oh the Places we go’ was inspired by artist’s experiences and paintings from their residencies at Olive Stack Gallery. It was wonderful to be there for the occasion and participate in the show! To see the gallery full, from floor to ceiling with paintings of Listowel, Ballybunion and other familiar places and faces was quite the experience! It was an added bonus to spend some time over cocktails and bonfires with Amy and Caroline in advance of their residency!

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Ciel Gallery Charlotte N
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Amy and Caroline in training for endless tea and biscuits!

This year several of the artists are returning for their second residency, can’t wait to welcome them back to Listowel, this time as friends! We have lots of exciting events planned for this year and next and a wonderful line-up of workshops at the gallery in Lovely Listowel. A rare and amazing opportunity to take a workshop with some of the worlds leading mosaic artists and some pretty wonderful painters also! The residency blog Excira and Delira written by the artists is a great insight into their experience and love of Listowel, Co Kerry and Ireland!

The closing date to apply for a residency in 2018 is fast approaching, applications should be submitted before Feb 28th.

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Charleston with Jean Cauthen, Diane Pike, Olive Stack, Laura Hitchcock and Pam Goode

 

‘In Full Bloom’-Olive’s Garden

Fuschia
‘Happy Dance’ Mosaic by Olive Stack

A long awaited exhibition of new work ‘In Full Bloom’- Olive’s Garden opens at Olive Stack Gallery, Listowel on Friday 19th August 6pm-8pm all are welcome!

The collection of work was inspired by my garden, a never-ending work in progress and repository of seeds, cuttings and plants shared by family, friends and neighbours.  Within these pieces of art is infused the remembrance of these relationships each year as the seeds and cuttings bloom and grow, transforming bare earth into a celebration of life.

This show includes works in encaustic, oil, watercolour  mosaic & collage. Each painting is a reminder of seasonal renewal, the connection of family and friends and the tender emotion brought by bare earth transformed.

‘In Full Bloom’ would not be possible without the presence of each of the artists in residence at the gallery over the past year.

The residency began almost a year ago to the day with the dramatic and unforgettable entry of Emily Andress and Kerry Griffin! Followed by Deb Aldo, Sheary Clough Suiter, Nard Claar, Heather Vollans, Laura McRae Hitchcock, Jean Cauthen, Pamela Goode, Lillie Morris and the current artists in residence Diane Pike and Jen Jovan Walls who arrived in Lovely Listowel on Sunday! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart, your support and friendships are priceless! I’m so glad I planted that seed!

The Olive Stack Gallery Residency blog is aptly named  Excira and Delira

Primroses
‘Primroses’ Encaustic on Panel by Olive Stack

Time to confess!!!

Jamies PlumsJamie’s Plums
Oil on Panel

I feel the need to reveal the story behind my recent ‘blue stripe’ series of paintings! The blue and white striped napkin had been sitting in a drawer in my kitchen for some time. It was a souvenir from a special weekend shared with family in London, the highlight of which was an unforgettable dinner at Barbecoa. We also dined at Jamie’s Italian, Covent Garden (highlights for me usually involve good food!). I don’t recall exactly how the napkin ended up in my possession, but I have to confess it did and it has been playing on my mind ever since!

A while ago I was planning a still life painting, I gathered together all the ‘ingredients’and played around with various compositions, but it was missing something.  Then I remembered the blue and white napkin hidden deep in the drawer of shame! Everything fell into place, it worked and has become an intrinsic element in many of my recent paintings.

My first introduction to ‘Jamie’s Italian’ was while visiting friends in St Albans several years ago, I can still recall the Plum and Almond Tart! The blue jug is vintage Irish ‘Celtic Ceramics’ Kilrush, Co Clare. The jug of lightly whipped cream is a perfect accompaniment to Jamie Oliver’s Plum and Almond Tart!

Recently I came across an article stating a staggering 30,000 napkins per month go missing from Jamie’s Italians! Which has only served to exasperate my guilt! All I can do now is apologise publicly. Hope for forgiveness and permission to keep just one napkin…there’s a lot more in this series!

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