Irish dancing concentrates on a calm upper body but vigorous leg and footwork. The costumes are very colourful. My paintings have tended to become more abstract as I continue new works in this theme.

dated 2010 until 2017 (click on an image to enlarge an artwork)
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Kick

Kick

2017

The kick is one of the typical moves in Irish dancing, as in many other dancing forms.

Leap

Leap

2017

"Leap" conveys the energy and movement in one of the moves of Irish dance. The figures may represent several dancers or the same single dancer at different stages of the move.

Hibernian dance (winter dance)

Hibernian dance (winter dance)

2017

The picture title is an indirect reference to the fact that the Romans called Ireland Hibernia or winter land. They seem to have had little interest in putting down roots there, perhaps too cold, wet and dim. Hence "Winter dance" The picture depicts a group of dancers in a pool of light, the origin of which is uncertain. Although painted in oils, I have covered the final painting in a gauze material which further diffuses the light and helps to gives the work the diaphanous atmosphere I was seeking.

Flicker

Flicker

2016

A vibrating and fluctuating warm light bathes the moving dancers.

Glow

Glow

2016

A warm glow, perhaps of firelight, bathes the dancers and in the picture helps them to coalesce and transpose, creating a vibration which I hope the viewer can feel.

The red dress

The red dress

2015

Red dress is intended first and foremost to give a feeling of movement and life. The left hand figure is fairly calm while the right hand figure is slightly out of control.  The red of the dresses increases the sense of activity.

Night dance

Night dance

2015

Night dance conveys the impression of slightly surreal dancers performing the various moves of Irish dancing. The atmosphere is not exactly enjoyment but rather intense concentration.

At the feis

At the feis

2014

A painting celebrating the colours and feel of an irish feis (cultural competion and festival where traditional Irish dance usually predominates.

Red

Red

2014

A strong sense of movement in the dancing figures which are nevertheless in harmony, which is strong in Irish dancing.

Valkyries

Valkyries

2014

The valkyries were female figures in Norse mythology who decided the fate of soldiers in battle. This painting depicts figures of great energy, not least suggested by the vivid background colour, but my valkyries are dancing, mainly Irish dance and although vigorous, are peaceful and presumably harmless. The painting uses both oil colours and collage, the latter building on the intricate patterns of Irish dance competition dresses.

Gravity

Gravity

2014

The composition in this painting was inspired by watching the movie "Gravity" (2013, dir. Alfonso Cuarón) which depicts astronauts in startling close up shots with the backround of space and the Earth producing great depth, This I have transposed to the subject of irish dancing where dancers replace astronauts and loops and bands of traditional patterns replace their umbilical life-support cables. I have retained the contrast of tones and shadows present in space but chosen a colour palette reminiscent of Italian Baroque ceiling paintings. The painting incorporates some collage.

Irish knot

Irish knot

2014

A tangled chain of dancers tumbles through space. The colours are reminiscent of those often employed in the Irish dance costumes and the patterns are applied using collage. The title of the painting is an allusion to the entaglement depicted but also to the intricate patterns used in the decoration of the dresses.

Dance frenzy

Dance frenzy

2014

The painting is a mixture of oils and collage, the collage elements being specially created by computer for the painting and consisting of spirals and gold patterns common in early Irish art. The figure elements are realistic to some extent but greatly dispersed and distorted to increase the feeling of movement.

Dancing

Dancing

2014

The painting shows in a semi-abstract way the interplay of moving limbs, flying dresses and their rich decorative patterns typical of competition Irish dancing. The technique combines oil on canvas and collage.

The blue dress

The blue dress

2013

Irish feis dancers entering the stage, look into the light. I hope I have given a feeling of excitement and movement being unleashed.

Wild dance

Wild dance

2013

With this painting I hope to convey a strong sense of movement, even with a hint of pandemonium. The umbra and blues contrast strongly. The style is semi-abstract with the figures transforming, coalescing and overlapping to produce a sense of flow and movement.

Dancing in the gloaming

Dancing in the gloaming

2013

A circular group of dancers. The intention is to create subtle tones within a limited colour range. The light is warm and the movement suggested is gentle.

Mystic circle

Mystic circle

2013

A wandering circle of Irish dancers bound by the music. The technique involves brushwork and some dripping.

Moving nimbus

Moving nimbus

2013

Although not intentionally so, I have been doubtless influenced by paintings from the so-called cubist, futurist and Art-deco movements to which I seem to be naturally drawn when looking through published art books. This painting reflects that influence. The painting itself is simple in concept, representing a circle of figures dancing within another circle. The play of light on the moving figures produces facets of varying colour values while the foremost figures are mainly in silhouette.

Feis

Feis

2013

The feis is an important competition event for Irish dancing and other cultural events in Ireland. This applies to local and all Ireland events. The excitement and stress is often very strong and the standards high. This painting tries to convey that feeling.

Céili

Céili

2013

This painting is inspired by classical relief sculptures, but substituting Irish dancers for e.g. Greek figures. In particular I have been inspired by the Danish-Icelandic artist Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844).

Dancing with spirits

Dancing with spirits

2012

The painting is meant to be ambiguous. The dancers surround a spirit or conversely a central dancer is surrounded by spirits. From a painting point of view the work is about light and values, with some figures in silhouette and others in high key.

Brigid

Brigid

2012

For me this was a different style, being somewhere between expressionistic and figurative.

Dancing shadows

Dancing shadows

2012

Group dancing in the low light produces a mesmerising image where outlines of the legs and shadows are constantly shifting.

Duet

Duet

2012

A duet in several senses: the rhythm of the dance and the drum, the colours of the dress and as it is seen through the drum and the skin of the dancer and of the drum.

Dance of the sidheog

Dance of the sidheog

2012

Some forms of Irish dance can be imagined as extensions of folklore. According to folklore the sidheog (faeries) are sometimes good and fond of dancing, fun and gaiety, but generally not to be trusted too far. These beliefs still simmer under the surface in many people even today.

Her name was Finvola

Her name was Finvola

2012

Dancing flashes of light and colour caught in the whirling movement. The title is from a local song about the legendary Finvola, "gem of the Roe". The Roe is a river in County Derry, N. Ireland and I was born and brought up in that valley and no doubt molded by it to a large extent.

In full fling

In full fling

2012

A semi abstract painting suggesting the atmosphere at the height of the dance.

Intricate moves

Intricate moves

2012

A limited palette of reds browns and greens, with some relief moulded in gesso provides a mysterious atmosphere. The figures suggest some of the more intricate moves found in some Irish dances such as in "Trip to the cottage".

....one a gazelle

....one a gazelle

2012

The title of the painting evokes the jump peculiar to Irish dance and is from a poem by Irish nobel poet W B Yeats (In Memory of Eva Gore Booth and Con Markiewicz).

Dancers

Dancers

2012

  O body swayed to music, O brightening glance, How can we know the dancer from the dance?   (W.B Yeats - Among School Children)

Dancing flames

Dancing flames

2012

An abstract work intended to impart a feeling of movement, flying skirts, noise and gaiety. The work overlaps a painted "frame" of blue-viridian at top and bottom. Ghostly part-figures are barely suggested in grey-greens.

Irish madness

Irish madness

2010

This painting abstracts from the wild movements in the high stepping Irish dance, while using colours and patterns reminiscent of Ireland´s ancient culture. In Ireland´s history and culture there is also perhaps an element of madness which I have also tried to convey.

Turning

Turning

2012

Movement and concentration. This work was chosen as publicity material for an Irish cultural event in 2013 by the Museum of Man, San Diego, California

Flying skirts

Flying skirts

2011

This diptych painting represents some of the typical movements in Irish dance and at the same time is an ode to the beautiful ultramarine blue colour. The painting is owned by the town of Akranes in Iceland who claim Irish roots.

Dance of the Druids

Dance of the Druids

2011

In the light the limbs seem to become suspended in space as the hypnotic dance progresses.

Entrance

Entrance

2011

The painting is about line: the bright outline of the dancer´s figure and the blue which might be the hemline of her dress, or simply a flowing symbol representing movement.

Fire

Fire

2011

The painting emphasises the red of fire, while ghostly figures evoke dancers from the distant past.

Golden steps

Golden steps

2011

High stepping, vigorous movement and concentration. As in other paintings in the series, this is also an ode to the beautiful ultramarine blue.

In time

In time

2011

As well as evoking the exact and vigorous leg work of Irish dance, this painting is an ode to the beautiful ultramarine blue colour.

Spirited away

Spirited away

2011

Just as old as dance are the faries in Ireland. This painting suggests faries or dancers or both, appearing, turning and dissolving among the country´s ancient rocks and monuments.

The three graces

The three graces

2011

My oil painting version of the famous Greek sculpture, by which many artists have been inspired.

Irish dance I

Irish dance I

2010

Apart from the characteristic calm upper body and vigorous leg movement, the painting tries to express some of the primitive feeling in this ancient art.

Irish dance II - the west wind

Irish dance II - the west wind

2010

This picture emphasises the windswept landscape of Ireland where the trees on the north and west coast are usually bent over and stunted. The weather is often stormy and dim. The dance perhaps reflects this.