Irish Art - Martin Driscoll's Paintings Of Ireland And Her People
ARTIST'S BIOGRAPHY IN HIS OWN WORDS
"All my paintings are a prayer, a song, a laugh, and tell old tales"
Inspiration for a painting starts with an emotional tug towards a subject matter. Frequently it begins with a gesture I see in an old photo or when observing someone in a restaurant, a museum, bookstore or where ever. I see a gesture, and I am immediately transported back in time to remembering my aunt, uncle, grandmother, mother, father or some relative who had that same way of standing, or tilting their head. Suddenly the image leads me into a daydream story about the imagined person. I begin to wonder what they may be talking about or, what their lives are like. All my paintings tell a tale.
The tale is for my amusement.
It's my story. I paint it, but then it magically becomes someone else's story when they view it.
Imagine the beauty of that!
I love to think that I have touched another's heart when my painting becomes someone else?s story.
Obviously, I grew up in an Irish Catholic household. My mother and my father's mother were born and raised in County Kerry Ireland, which is in the western part of Ireland. This part of Ireland, is very rural, and all of my relatives were farmers.
I grew up, hearing many tales of life in Ireland from both my mother and my grandmother. My grandmother lived with us in a five room apartment in Astoria
Queens, NYC. We called her Nanny.
At least once a month, my mother's brothers and my grandmother's brothers and their wives and children would come to our apartment in Astoria to have food,
drinks and to share in singing, story telling, poems, dancing and all kinds of fun. Everyone took turns at either singing, playing a fiddle, accordion, a penny whistle or the piano.
I loved these visits.
I distinctly recall a very serious conversation that I had with my mom when I was perhaps eleven or twelve. I asked her, Mom, were you happy when you were growing up in Ireland?
She looked at me in kind of a strange way, and said
"Ah, Martin we didn't think of things like that, we were busy taking care of the farm.
I pressed her somewhat asking her if she ever had time for herself. She kind of smiled and said,
Yes I did. Behind our farm was a mountain and I found a special place there that I would go to, to be all alone. I asked, What did you do?
She said, I would sit in my special place and talk to the faeries.
I of course assumed my Mom was having me on, but she always seemed serious about this and I never pursued it.
Okay, now you have a slight picture of what my life was like steeped in things Irish!
After a successful business career and raising my family, I returned to art full time in the 1990's teaching painting, giving art demonstrations, and selling original
work. But, from about 1992 to 1997, while I painted many paintings and many portraits, I felt somehow not as connected to my work as I wished.
In 1997, I went to visit my cousins in Ireland. I had been to Ireland many times in the past, but this trip changed me utterly. Memories of my youth, my folks, relatives, the singing and the stories washed over me. I wanted others to share my memories of Ireland, and the wonderful Irish culture, that I fear will soon be lost. So I hold onto it in my paintings.
All of my paintings of Ireland, be it a cityscape, landscape, or seascape have people in them.
It's those people that I want to capture and remember. I want people who see my paintings to feel that there is a story that they are witnessing. I love stories and if I were a gifted writer, I would tell stories. I am not a gifted writer, so I tell the story, the best way that I can. I could tell people about why I painted particular paintings, but I somehow feel that I want the person who is looking at a work of mine, to see his or her version of the story.
Who knows, maybe their story is a better one than mine.
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