Art By Beckett

I am a self-thought artist, working mainly in acrylics, but occasionally in oils. I paint for pleasure and relaxation; I created this web site simply as a way of cataloguing my work.

I am influenced by photography, pop art and the intense colour of the smartphone-driven world we live in. Unlike writing and other art forms, painting liberates us from the need to make sense: I love that liberation.

I would love your feedback and opinions on my paintings.

A Life in Colour

I drew quite a lot as a child, and during my early teenage years, I filled books with the angst-fueled contortions you frequently find on the backs of school copy books. I loved Art class above all other classes, in fifth year we had a motivating, forward-thinking Art Teacher, and on Fridays, we had a two hour Art Class during which we were encouraged to draw whatever we wished.

I counted down the hours each week to that class. The teacher encouraged us to bring in music during those classes, and it was in one such class, just at the end of fifth year, that I first heard the songs of Leonard Cohen. It was a beautiful day, with sunlight streaming through the large old windows of the Art room. We sat at our desks transfixed and transported by the fusion of music, sunlight and a common creative purpose. In my mind that day, music and Art became inextricably linked with colour and sound; it was all just tones and scales of different hues, and I longed to create something that would transport people out of the monochrome lives I saw around me.

We finished for the summer, said goodbye to the Art Teacher in the knowledge that we would see him again in sixth year. I went off that summer and learned to play the guitar, torturing my family with every Leonard Cohen song I could find words and chords for.

When we returned in Sixth year the Art teacher had gone; it was felt he was a little too liberal for Sexton Street CBS. I cannot remember who replaced him, but I remember that from that day on Art was thought like any other subject, we learned what we needed for the exams, it was dry and devoid of any insight into what compels people to create.

I stopped drawing that year, no doubt consumed by the leaving Certificate and after that duties of work and family. About two years ago I tried to draw or paint anything again; I made many false starts but always gave up pretty quickly.  I decided on my last attempt that I would try again and not give up until I had completed at least 100 paintings. 

When I reached the 100th painting I had come to terms with most of the things that had caused me to quit before, I finally understood the much maligned medium of acrylics.  I had given up on oils because life is simply too short to have to wait for oils to dry. I had learned again the pleasure one gets, irrespective of age from creating something from nothing, of being master of a universe whose bounds only you can set.

I am not sure how one would describe my paintings, some people remark that they are very colourful but to me they are never colourful enough. I still have a tinge of disappointment when the paint pigment dries to an intensity that is a little less than the one I had seen leaving the tube. We live in an age now where the world is viewed on powerful high pixel count smart-phones with  retina displays. I always find myself competing with that, it takes a lot to capture and hold people’s ever decreasing attention so I always find myself turning up the colour, much as I would like to paint the harmonised colour pallets of fine art, I cannot;  I do not see the world that way, its similar to the way I have always heard music, to me Leonard Cohen’s music  was never depressing or sad, it was a celebration, crafted with glorious insight, infused with reflection and healing. All great artists hold a lens up to life, I always felt that Leonard Cohen’s lens was a prism, the colour was always there you just needed to know how to angle it to see the rainbow.

L Cohen, How the Light Gets in
L Cohen, How the Light Gets in

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything 
That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in…

Leonard Cohen Anthem

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