Waxing lyrical

I’ve wanted to try encaustic art for ages and today I got that chance. Poilin McGowan, who is a talented artist, has recently opened the Open Door Gallery and Studio in Rathcormac alongside fellow artist Tanis Gordon Smith.

Poilin had a beginners encaustic art class so I jumped at the chance to have a go and I absolutely loved it. Encaustic art is wax art, you melt the wax and make pictures…I’m sure there is a more technical term for it but you know me.

What I loved about this was the element of surprise, because I’m a beginner I had no clue of what the finished result was going to look like. Poilin makes it look so easy and I really like her way of teaching, she’s very calm which makes everyone else calm.

After Poilin gave us a demo off we went to our work stations, we had our own areas complete with an encaustic iron, what looked like a soldering iron with various attachments and a heat gun.

I churned out a lot of pictures, I realised I didn’t put enough wax on the first few but I got better as the morning went on. There was something very relaxing about being in the shadow of Benbulben, looking at the rain hitting the pavement outside, and watching the wax morph into something interesting.

We were all so engrossed in the class that we didn’t even stop for a break. It’s easily one of the most enjoyable classes I’ve been too and of course now I really want an encaustic kit!

Poilin helped with this one – you can tell.

If you are interested in ‘fast’ art I’d really recommend this workshop, it’s brilliant.

art, Diary

Glass Class with Graham Reid


Today was a brilliant day, you’ll know if you regularly read the blog that I’ve discovered a creative side to me. I’ve always been interested in arts and crafts and even more so in trying them out for myself. So today I went to a glass bead making class at Graham Reid Design.

Continue reading “Glass Class with Graham Reid”

art, Days out, Diary

Boyle Arts Festival 2018

Myself and my friend took a day trip to Boyle today to check out the Arts Festival. There are so many fantastic events taking place and it’s well worth a visit. We only checked out the exhibitions but there are also concerts, readings, workshops and more which you can find out all about here.

I’ve come home inspired by the many artists whose work I have seen today. I’ve also slightly overwhelmed as there was so much to look at, a visual feast and one I’ve not seen the likes of for a long time.

I saw some beautiful pieces in the Open Art exhibition and I especially enjoyed the photography exhibitions. We got chatting to a lovely man from the Boyle Camera Club and we watched the slide show they had running.

A special mention has to go to the very talented photographer Tony Murphy. Tony moved to Boyle a number of years ago and he wanted to document the area; the people, the landscape, the houses, so that the generations to come could have a glimpse into life in the town-land of CornameelthaTony ran the idea by his neighbours and they all agreed that he would be welcome to photograph them just as they were. If he called to the house and there was washing hanging over the range or spuds being peeled they went into the photo. Tony has a selection of the images as an exhibition Cornameeltha: Portrait of an Irish Townland and its People which is running at his photography studio near the courthouse until August 4th. This really is worth a look.

It wasn’t all art we did, of course, have to check out some of the cafes. I broke the diet for the day and had been hoping for the cup of chocolate that I’d seen on Facebook at the King House tearooms – they didn’t have it so I made do with a slice of cake instead – it’s a hard life! We also had a lovely coffee in The Bazaar Coffee Shop which is a gorgeous little cafe, a haven of blue with a beautiful secret garden at the back of the premises…well worth a visit.

So that was our day in Boyle. It was a really lovely day and well done to all involved in the arts festival, you should be very proud.

anxiety, art

At The Model

I was thrilled to have one of my photos chosen to be in the Cairde Visual Exhibition at The Model Art Gallery, Sligo. The opening night was last night and I was in two minds all the way along as to if I should go or not.

A friend of mine said she would go with me which I was very grateful for because one of my biggest issues is walking into a crowded room on my own. I also got a call from another friend to say she was there too. This made such a difference to me and I was grand going in.

The exhibition is wonderful, so many different pieces to look at including dinosaurs! It was a really busy evening there so I’m going back when it’s quieter to have a proper look.

I’m glad I went to the opening because otherwise I’d have been at home wondering how it was going but I don’t think I’d go again. I can’t get over this ‘not worthy’ feeling. Like I shouldn’t be there with all those talented artists and I don’t know if there’s any way that I can change that. To me it’s ‘just a photo’ and then I see all these amazing pieces of art. Anyway that’s just me.

On a positive note I met a few lovely people and I went with my friends for dinner afterwards which was just lovely. We sat in the sunshine along by the river and I can’t remember the last time I’ve been out to dinner with friends, hopefully I’ll meet up with them again soon.

If you get a chance do call in to see the exhibition, it’s on until August 19th at The Model, Sligo.


art, Diary

A Blizzard in July

I am so thrilled and honoured to have the photo above accepted into the Cairde Visual Exhibition. I wasn’t sure if I should enter into the Open Submission which invited entries from Irish and International artists but I decided if I didn’t give it a shot I’d never know.

The email came through to say I’d been successful and out of over 500 entries to get in to the final 70ish this is some achievement for me. I never thought I’d ever see any of my work displayed in The Model, Sligo but in a few days I will!

Now comes the scary part. I’d love to go to the opening….but…I’m very nervous about it. It’s daft really. I can stand in a busy airport departure lounge with no bother at all but the thought of going to an exhibition opening has me scared  rigid. I know if I don’t go I’ll be beating myself up about it and as this is the biggest exhibition I’ve been a part of I think I should go…..but…..anyway I’ll see how I feel nearer the time. I wish I had some people to come along and support me but I don’t.

If any of you out there are free to come along it’s on Wednesday July 11th at 6pm in The Model, Sligo. I’d love to see you.

art, Days out

Monday Miscellany

Ah it’s that time of the week when I throw the random thoughts in my head onto the blog. Some of it’s dull, some of it’s mad, but you might find some of it interesting.

I’ve decided if I was an animal I’d be an overexcited puppy. I have a tendency to be very enthusiastic if I hear someone talking about something I’m interested in. Over the weekend this happened on a couple of occasions, one was a speaker at a conference who I found really interesting. I went up to tell them how much I enjoyed their talk and they looked at me like I was something the cat dragged in. I felt like a bit of an eejit so I walked away with my invisible tail between my legs. I think I’d better keep my inner puppy under control.

Our Coolaney Drawing Project is almost at an end. I have enjoyed this so much, the group were all lovely and the lead artist was so generous with her time and advice. I joined the group thinking there was no way I’d be able to draw anything and I’m actually really surprised and delighted at the piece I’ve produced. Watch this space and I’ll tell you more about the project soon.

I got a little try at one of my dream jobs today. A lady who reads the blog is on holiday in Ireland from Canada and I took on the role of a volunteer tour guide and showed her some of my favourite places. I’m pretty sure I overloaded her with scenery but there are just so many lovely places around here that it was hard to choose.


We started at Hazelwood Forest, followed by Parkes Castle, Glencar, The Devil’s Chimney, Mullaghmore and Gleniff. I call this the Castles and Waterfalls tour 😉 I felt like I’d known this lady for years, I really enjoyed the day and I surprised myself by how much I knew about the area. The nicest part was seeing her reaction to the places, there really is a wow factor to the North West of Ireland and it was wonderful seeing it through her eyes. Part two is tomorrow where we’ll explore more – ooh move over Mr. Yeats I can be a poet too 🙂

Photos to follow tomorrow….maybe….