Hellos and Goodbyes!

The Good Old Days‘The Time Of Our Lives’
Graphite, Watercolour & Encaustic on Cradled Panel – Diptych
by Olive Stack

Earlier this week it was time to say farewell to Sheary Clough Suiter and Nard Claar their month long residency had come to an end, so off they went on a whirlwind tour of Ireland before they return to Colarado in a couple of weeks. Sheary and Nard worked prolifically in their Listowel studio and quite a few painting have found forever homes in Co Kerry! No doubt the ‘Ireland Experience’ will continue to influence their work after they return home! Sheary is currently working on a new series’Water and Stone: Reflections of Ireland’.

So as one residency comes to an end another adventure begins with the arrival of Mosaic Artist Heather Vollans from Canada. Heather will teach two workshops during her month in Listowel. ‘Mosaic Matters – A mixed media mosaic class Sat 16th April & Sun 24th April 10am – 4pm. Please contact the gallery to reserve a space in either class ASAP. Welcome Heather…looking forward to another wonderful month and lots and lots of studio time! Let the magic begin again!

Mosaic Artist Carol Shelkin is yet another of this years wonderful Artists in Residence. Carol shared an incredible experience that proves just how small the world is! This is one of several similar stories! ‘So, there I am at the car wash with a muddy car that couldn’t wait until the next rain to be unblemished. On the back of the car in front of mine is a sticker that read: County Kerry. Being the person I am and sitting next to the owner of the car I said, Oh, I’ll be going to Listowel for a month in November Her speedy response startled me. She asked, “Are you going to Olive Stack’s Gallery?!” She then told me she’s an O’Sullivan and is related to everyone that is an O’Sullivan in Listowel and news travels quickly, even all the way to our little town, just outside of Philadelphia!’

Follow the Artists in Residence blog Excira and Delira to share the artists experience in Lovely Listowel!

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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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Last Day Blues!

ShoesVUnknown Pair
Mixed Media Encaustic on Cradled Panel
8″ x 8″

This tiny pair was among the collection of little old shoes I purchased on eBay! They’ve been sitting in the box in my studio since 2010 (a parcel from America)! Judging by the size they look like they would fit a 1 year old or there about! It’s fascinating how worn and tattered they are, I imagine they were passed down from every member of a large family…but will never know for sure! In order to prop them up, I had to stuff them with tissues, because of their delicate condition.

This is my final painting, on day 30, of 30 paintings in 30 days and what a challenge it was! It has been so rewarding, spending  most of everyday in the studio. Starting the year as I mean to go on! Thank you for following the journey over the past 30 days. I will continue to post updates here, just not so frequently. Please do stay tuned! My website will be updated in the next few days (now that I have time) with lots of new and available work!

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Reeling in the years!

ShoesIIMemories
Mixed Media Encaustic on Cradled Panel
8″ x 8″
Today I continued to experiment with new techniques. The drawing from yesterday has become one of the many layers. These shoes are the same pair, from a painting in a previous post. They belonged to my Mother and Uncles as children, I was lucky enough to discover only one of each! The words coming through are lines from one of the songs that our Grandad sang, as he did his daily jobs during his 101 years! It’s an old Irish song about children gathering to sing at ‘The stone outside Dan Murphy’s Door’ in Ennis Co Clare!

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Back to basics again!

ShoesStaying with the same theme, another study for the next mixed media piece. I had forgotten how much I love to just sit and draw. Maybe when I sign up for 30 in 30 again I’ll do a drawing a day for 30 days…think I could manage that! It’s hard to believe that the month is coming to an end, when there’s still so much more to do! So glad, I made the commitment to paint everyday. For the rest of the year, I look forward to carrying on the habits that have become so natural over the last few weeks. 2016 is my year in the studio!

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Playing with hot wax!

Shoes‘A little Girls Shoes’
Graphite and Encaustic on Cradled Panel

I know this looks very similar to the image I posted yesterday! In fact it’s the same graphite drawing with a few more touches…and a whole lot more! Today I decided to experiment by encasing the drawing in encaustic medium on a cradled panel…all very exciting! It’s hard to see from the picture, but the subtle texture of the brush marks on and around the shoes adds a softness and tactile quality and the build up of layers seem to give even more age! I’m not sure if this is finished…I might come back to it in a few days. I can’t wait to continue with this technique and explore further ideas and possibilities…starting in the morning!

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Back to Basics!

Shoes

This is the first of the drawings for the Encaustic Mixed Media series. It’s a follow on from a couple of other ‘shoe’ paintings. The first came about when I was visiting a friend and noticed a little pair of old and well worn boys shoes on his mantelpiece! He explained that he had worn them as a child, as did all of his brothers. He had recently uncovered them in the family home. I asked if I could borrow the heirlooms and this is the painting that followed.

Johnnys Shoes
Johnny’s Hand me Downs

A year or so later I came across a pair of my own family heirlooms! I only found only one of each, a girls and a boys shoe, worn by my Mom and her brothers (and possibly cousins also)! I painted them on a wonky chair, another heirloom and they now sit on my mantelpiece!

Sister & Brother
Sister and Brother

I’m sure that the little black shoes from today’s drawing have an interesting story to tell, but unfortunately I know nothing about them or the girl who wore them. I bought them as a job lot on eBay! They came in a box with eight other little pairs of old and very old children’s shoes. Some are very well worn, but one pair is unused and still in the original box marked ‘Crib Shoes’. The logo on the box reads “A gift for an ideal baby”!!

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More finishing touches!

Plums‘Trio of Plums’
Encaustic on Cradled Panel

This is a piece I’ve worked on over the last few days. Adding layers then melting some away! The blue stripe has been a recurring element in many of my recent paintings. A common thread that unifies the collection!

I’m looking forward to exploring further the medium of encaustic and already have ideas for the next series, combining drawings with wax! The possibilities seem endless! Also excited about having the first artist working predominantly in this medium as artist in residence at the gallery in March.

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Plums on Striped Napkin

Plums and Striped ClothPlums
Encaustic on Cradled Panel
8″ x 8″

Another unfinished painting…but tomorrow is another day! I am surrounded by little square still lifes, all with blue stripes in common! When they’re finished and framed I’ll group them together on one wall in the gallery (although I do have a wall adjacent to the dining room table that’s crying out for them!) I have enjoyed working from life and swapping from one medium to another each day and will continue to do so when the challenge ends. It has been just what I needed to get in the zone for all the studio time I will have this year! Very exciting and interesting times ahead!

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Figs

Figs‘Figs’
Watercolour on aquabord

Today was very full and productive. I had an early start, managing to grab a couple of hours mosaic time before my weekly trip to the farmers market (where I found my subjects for today’s little painting) and then around the corner to work! Again this painting is unfinished. I knew when I started the challenge that a painting a day was going to be a very tall order, I have tried my best, but it’s just not happening! For me the most important aspect of the challenge is committing to spend as much time as possible in the studio every single day and in that I have succeeded with flying colours! It was a busy day in the gallery as well as the studio, with bookings for the upcoming painting and mosaic workshops and lots of interest in the print sale. Plus I had a chance to catch up on some framing jobs when the light started to fade, forcing me to give up on the figs…until tomorrow!

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