Saturday, March 28, 2015

Aquarian by Richard Hearns

'Illusions are useful only if we use them
To help us get to our true reality.
Initiations and rituals, if they are noble,
Have this power,
(They magnify the secret hour)
They enable us to pass from
The illusion of our lesser selves
To the reality of our greater selves,
Our soaring powers.

An extract from Ben Okri's poem 'Mental Fight'.

Below an image of my latest painting entitled 'Aquarian'.
I've been working on this image over the past couple of weeks and think it's very near complete.
I'll be sure to post a high resolution image of this piece as soon as I can, and it very well may become part of my Limited Edition Fine Art Print series.
Details of which I'll announce in the coming fortnight or so.

Aquarian - oil on linen - 100x80cms
Private Collection, Ireland.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Let me tell you a story!

There is a small island just off the Cambodian coast in the eastern gulf of Thailand.
I've spent many months if not years there, procrastinating, at play, training, painting and being an idyll island bum. In fact, after a quick calculation I reckon I've spent somewhere in the region of three years of my life on that small island outcrop.

As you can imagine I have many stories and tales from this place. The island holds a special interest in my heart and I feel many miraculous things happened for me there. One being it's the place I met my wife and another in finding my calling in art.

The story I want to share with you today has a more sinister side to it or perhaps not, depending on which side of the fence you stand.

One beautiful clear Thai winters day a young English man arrived on the island after a trip to the mainland. He brought with him several grams of Opium! I'd seen drugs on the island before but in all my years there had never heard of opium being available in this region.

A great deal of the opium was smoked in various cheap knock-off oriental style pipes or rolled in tobacco joints. Several grams of the opium was ingested by infusing it in a hot tea!

Within a couple of hours a palpable air of change took place. The atmosphere in the resort became other worldly. It's occupants in a zombified stupor. Everyone was 'out of it' and insular. Akin to being wrapped up in a ball of cotton. No one ate or washed for what seemed like days. Communication among the lodgers became rare. I remember the cook asking questions - why is no one eating, why are there no orders of milkshakes and the usual dishes to the kitchen? What happened to the seven o'clock rush for dinner?

So, what happened? Well, long term I suppose as the opium dried up the people who came and took part made moves to find more of the same further afield. The place returned to normality and island life began again.

I made several mixed media drawings on paper in my notebook trying desperately to capture the atmosphere of change before it slipped my reach. As I set up this recent still life with a dried opium pod and an old tin pot I was reminded of those few dreamy days by the sea on the secluded island I liked to think I knew so well.


Opium Pod and Tin Pot - oil on linen - 20"x20"
Contact for availability and pricing.

#stories #thailand #island #artist #richardhearns #stilllife #representational #painting #opium #pod #tinteapot

Sunday, March 22, 2015

'Saint Fursey's Song' by Kerry Hardie

I was reminded today of a poem I happened upon by chance some five years ago in the small meeting house library at the Cill Rialaig artist residency in Ballinskelligs, County Kerry. I wanted to share this with you all. The poem is 'Saint Fursey's Song' written by Kerry Hardie in which St. Fursey speaks to his brothers, St Ultan and St Foillan.

'Come, brothers,
we are free now, let us live freely,
the rose and the fire in our hearts.

Let us not worry our heads over rightness or wrongness,
nor fret about goodness,
but sing like the birds in the trees.

And we will go wandering, following the light,
we will speak where we will, and sleep where we will,
and take no more care than the lilies in His book.

I made enquiries of the olive-skinned young man,
he who studies under Cumian
and comes from a place he calls Lebanon;

he tells me these lilies spring up like our orchids fair and careless and singing with colour
and we three will be like them and will walk

with easy steps even in the darkest, most fearsome of places,
and certainly we will fear,
But underneath our fear we will be fearless,

So let us take up our ash -plants and be off,
and you, Ultan, bring that pup if you cannot leave her,
she will lift up your heart when your feet are sore,

she may even bring us a bird for the pot but I doubt it,
I think she is not of the stuff of great hunters.
And you, Foillan, tell your crow to follow after,

and sometimes to go before us to show us the way,
for he is a ruffianly bird, full of appetite
and hard sense,
and it's well that men like us be watched for by such as him.

Now farewell, Ireland, Loveliest of all earth's lands.
we may never more see you with human eyes,
but know that we will always have sight of you in our hearts.

And farewell to all who dwell in this land,
do not fear for us, for our souls are safe,
and what are our bodies but little sod houses

putting shelter round fire and round love?
What harm then if the house should crumble?
Fire and love cannot crumble,
fire and love will burn always
in one house or another
lighting windows in the darkest light.


Below a photo from inside the Cill Rialaig artist residency meeting house in Ballinskelligs, County Kerry.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ai Wai Wai - Done Good.

Just yesterday morning the Burren College of Art, as part of their Wednesday lecture series, aired a documentary video piece on the prominent Chinese Artist Ai Wai Wai.

Last month while in Barcelona I had the chance to visit a retrospective of Ai Wai Wai's work held at La Virreina Centre de la Imatge on La Rambla. The show spanned a gigantic portion of his interests and output from his early years in New York to works documenting his more recent incarceration at the hands of the Chinese government.

I find him a fascinating character. His works explore 'the tensions between truth and lies, evidence and ambiguity, control and freedom, politics, art, power and society'.*

There is much information on Ai Wai Wai online. He is an avid blogger and uses many social media platforms like twitter to communicate his ideas, tell his story and bring to light the need for more transparency the world over. He believes that we all have a duty to work towards producing a new and better reality.

I'll leave you with these provocative couple of lines and image below. It's food for thought!

'We are actually a part of the reality, and if we don't realize that, we are totally irresponsible. We are a productive reality. We are the reality, but that part of reality means that we need to produce another reality.' - Al Wei Wei

*extract from an essay by Independent Curator Rosa Pera.
#aiwaiwai #ethancohen #burremcollegeofart #artist #richardhearns #barcelona

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Message in a Bottle

Below, an image of a recently completed piece entitled 'Message in a Bottle'.
This painting is reserved for the Barbara Stanley Gallery, London.

Working on this painting over a period of several weeks I managed to put the finishing touches to it on my arrival back to my studio in the Burren from Barcelona.

With this piece I endeavoured first and foremost to explore through line the fundamental differences between the objects gathered. How my treatment of line might better describe their uniqueness and ultimately their relationship to each other.

Hope you like it - RH

Message in a Bottle - oil on linen canvas - 40"x32"
Private collection, Ireland.

richard hearns

Monday, March 9, 2015

Keeping your hand in it.

'Keep painting - day in - day out. Be absorbed by it'. -Milton Avery

My sentiments exactly! (And with the weather as blustery as it is on the west coast of Ireland it's easy to stay indoors in the studio.) It's the processes I'm engaging with that keeps my hand moving, the spirit of the work alive. With several works on the go now I rotate the canvases. This helps me keep a fresh perspective and build insight. I find new ways to bring the works along together. They all inform each other and my ideas flow freely.

Below images of one of the new large still life pieces under construction in my studio in Ballyvaughan, County Clare.

Aquarian - oil on canvas - 40"x30" 


Friday, March 6, 2015

From Life | Nature Morte

Painting from life or painting from nature is such a fulfilling way to work. It's an important exercise in looking and training your eyes to really 'see'. It teaches you a great deal about light, form and space. It encourages you to filter and learn what is truly significant. I love it. And when I do find myself working from reference photographs or found images the discipline gained from working from life informs me more about this inherently flat image being referenced.

Even with the apparent freedom, abandon and fun I have working on my latest series of abstract pieces I'll continue to train and inform my hand, eye, and heart by painting from life.

- RH

Untitled Tea Pot and Opium Poppy - oil on canvas - 20"x20"
#artist #richardhearns #paintingfromlife #stilllife #naturemorte 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Representing Home.

Some time ago I remember watching a short video featuring the prominent German artist Gerhard Richter. Richter continues to work in the realms of representation, abstraction and photo realism at tandem. He brings several bodies of work along all at once. Many times the images can be consequential and many times having no immediate relation.

Richter relates his abstract painting to 'going to work' or being 'like a gymnast' and equates his time spent creating figurative paintings to 'being on holidays' - a more relaxing endeavour! Nevertheless he states that all his time spent painting gives him a feeling of freedom, 'you do what you want' he said. This I can relate to!

Since returning home from Barcelona a couple of local landscapes presented themselves to me. Working on them I felt extra depth, an even greater enjoyment, and some understanding that my vocabulary in paint handling had further extended due to my time, seven weeks in all, depositing and pushing and pulling paint about on large format canvases in Barcelona.

The image below is entitled 'Karsk Pink'. The flattish dark olive green and black foreground is contrasted by the pinkish light cast across the rounded Karsk Burren hill. The clouds hang over offering a heavy line of neutral grey blue above the ever changing sky in my back garden. Today this hill was covered in a light blanket of snow which looked equally magical!

Hope you like it. -RH

Karsk Pink Burren - oil on primed cotton panel - 24x30 cm