This is my first solo exhibition in my home town. I think most people in Ardee know me, I was born here almost 80 years ago, trained as a primary teacher, and although I taught for eight years in Drogheda, I have lived in this town all my life, serving on the staff of Monastery Boys School until 1991.
I have always wanted to paint. In the early years i satisfied this need by painting stage scenery and sets for various choral, musical and dramatic societies in the region. But in the sixties I attended U.D.C., obtaining a degree in Archaeology and History of Art, and in the early seventies I studied under the watchful eye of the late George Collie R.H.A. at his studio in Schoolhouse Lane in Dublin.
In 1976 I had my first solo exhibition in the Callan Gallery in Drogheda, and in subsequent years had solo shows in the Kennedy Gallery, Leinster Gallery and United Arts Club Dublin; also, in the Purple Onion Gallery in Tarmonbarry, The Courthouse in Cavan and in The Backstage Theatre in Longford. Since 1980 I have been a regular exhibitor at R.H.A. Annual Exhibitions and have exhibited at Oireachtas and R.H.A. Banquet shows. I exhibit regulary in group shows in Oeiel Gallery, Waldock Gallery, Sandford Gallery and Leinster Gallery, all in Dublin; also in the Purple Onion Gallery and The Lavit Gallery in Cork. Selected Collections and commissions include, Irish Distillers, Irish Financial Centre, E.S.B., Government Buildings, Mater Private Hospital, Ulster Bank, Bushmills Distillery.
Most of my work is in oil, landscape and still life, but I also work in watercolour. My approach to painting is simple, I paint what I see. My early work was influenced by the work of the Ulster landscape painters, Frank McKelvey, James Humbert Craig, Paul Henry and Maurice Wilks. Much of the landscape painted by these artists was rugged and mountainous and later I would come to admire the work of Constable, and also that of Edward Seago, who worked in the flat landscape of Norfolk and Suffolk, landscape that is similar to that of Counties Louth and Meath, especially the flood plains of the river Boyne, Dee, Glyde and Fane and these broad flat areas whether in pasture or tillage, have great appeal to me.
I have always enjoyed painting still life. The work of Chardin, and that of the great Dutch and Flemish painters, Vermeer, Willem Claesz and Pieter Claesz has always been a great source of inspiration for me. My studio is full of glass, porcelain, and pottery; bottles, jars, dishes and vases. The addition of a flower or a piece of fruit will keep me happy for a week. The primrose is my favourite flower.