cathy callan ireland
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An artist's impression from the highest point in Leinster, with Colm O'Briain, Dr. Mary Deane, a Cyclist and a Dog.

Medium  oil -
on hand-primed Canvas
Size          46.5" x 67.5"
Year         2012-2014

In autumn and winter, when the hedges are cut and bare, I can see the highest mountain in Leinster from the fields where I live…it lies in the far distance, majestically appearing and disappearing depending on the day's weather..

This large painting was inspired by a conversation I had with a Resident of the Royal Hospital. Paddy Sullivan dreamed of returning to the Dublin mountains where he'd cut turf as a child. Our conversation also reminded me of how I felt the first time I witnessed the view of the Province and beyond from the highest mountain in Leinster - at that moment, from the summit of Lugnacoille, I felt so close to the elements, deeply aware of wind, rock, sky and sea.

My work is a condensed view of some 60km. Dublin is out of view and the wind farm in Arklow is barely visible. I flatten what in reality is a 180 degree view - you have to turn your gaze to see Turlough Hill and turn again to see Croghan Moira. I determined to include as many mountains as possible - those with evocative names like Scarr, Djouce, Mullaghcleevaun, Crogan Moira and the much loved Sugar loaf. Scarr is a little deep in colour as it is in real life. I took many photographs from various viewpoints. I made my colour studies on two tablets en plain air atop Lug na Coille - and these studies from life were essential to my work.

Returning to the studio I made three small scaled painting studies. Turlough hill is a distinctive shape and has as a crimson colour. People came and went in these studies until I finally had the correct composition for the large painting. Two hikers remain and a cyclist for compositional and narrative purposes.

I hope my painting gives many hours of pleasure and wonder, especially to the Residents of Donnybrook Hospital for it is the Residents, our dreams and nature that have inspired my work.

Many thanks to Rita Maloney for originally showing me the trek to Leinster's summit and later to Liamy Matthews for his mountaineering expertise, great cooking skills and warm tent !!

Title : An artist's impression from the highest point in Leinster, with Colm O'Briain, Mary Deane, a Cyclist and a Dog.


This work is part of the Permanent Collection of the Royal Hospital in Donnybrook.


© cathy callan 2015