Before we get into talking about the majestic countryside of County Wicklow it would only be fair to say that having spent my childhood there, I’m a tad biased. Favoritism aside, though, it really is a stunning county and while we’re not sure who it was that first called Wicklow ‘The Garden of Ireland’ we know they knew what they were talking about.
Looking at County Wicklow you could be forgiven for thinking that Mother Nature dwelled over the county for a little longer than usual because she was enjoying her work so much. Her brush dabbed the canvas with spots of purple heather and traced long, winding waterfalls down to snaking rivers from the tops of hills and mountains. She stood back from her work and decided ‘Hmm, more colour’, so she added glimpses of yellow gorse bushes and birch trees that rust to orangey red in the Autumn.
Now, while I appreciate all of the beauty of County Wicklow from the regal Powerscourt Gardens to the atmospheric valley of Glendalough – artist Aonghus Fallon takes it one step further and paints it. So without further ado it’s over to Aonghus, his work and Wicklow. Enjoy!
I started painting six years ago. Most of my work is of the Wicklow mountains with their year-round mix of browns, oranges and purples as well as that all-too ubiquitous green. Every weekend, weather permitting, I strap all my gear onto my bike and cycle up into the hills. My gear? A folding chair, my paint box, primed boards, and a slotted box for storing finished work. I also take sun screen and a mini-picnic – painting can be hungry work!
My chosen style of painting is ‘plein air’, which means producing a finished work in one sitting. I like that: you have one shot at getting it right. If it starts to rain, I’ll turn the painting round so its back is facing up, and wait. I used to just give up and cycle home, but rain clouds can pass in a minute and next thing you know, you’re sitting in blazing sunshine.
My works are actually quite small, and measure in at 6’x8’. Because they’re so small, I only need to lean back a bit for the composition to pull together. I use a mirror as well because seeing an image in reverse helps you spot areas you’ve neglected. To paint larger works I’d need an easel which would be quite a bit heavier and a tad bulky to transport! I tell myself I’ll graduate to a larger size once I get better, but who knows?
If the artist’s lifestyle in Wicklow appeals to you, maybe you could treat yourself to an art course in the Garden of Ireland?