Thursday, October 9, 2008

Josephine Kenny: Aspiring Artist (Ireland)

the meadow
Rosses Point
the cottage
rock of ireland
the metal kettle
Sunflower (Acrylic: 450 Euro-sold @ Solas)
sail boats on slate
red flowers
flowers in bloom

a family of ducks
irish daisies

a close up of the butterfly painting
chirping birds (Acrylic: 245 Euro @Solas)

I recently spent the day with Josephine Kenny where I became privvy to her undeniably tranquil paintings. She spoke with me about her use of vibrant colours, the importance of art therapy and her current pieces that can be found in her art studios and at local galleries. Owning an original Josephine Kenny became a goal during this interview...I believe in no time her work will invariably become world known.

You recently returned to painting?

I came home from Dublin to care for my ailing mother. It wasn't until I completed a series of black and white sketches (predominately still life) that someone took notice (her sister) that I decided to take it to the next level. These early sketches were of my home life in Leitrim; my fathers' possessions-his shaving gear for example, burning candles, books...

What is your approach to art?

I see a painting in my mind before I start and it stays there for days...I get excited about how I will approach it (new muse). Lately I take my digital camera along with me..the on-the-spot shots I have captured are simply amazing.

When do you get inspired to create?

When I'm walking my dog, Holly actually. I am forever looking in the hedges and tall trees to examine their different foliage, sprigs and berries to examine them more closely at home to get my inspiration to begin a new project. I've just moved to the country after living in the city of Dublin for many years and there you just don't see this.

So now, it's like you're rediscovering these things?

Yes, as if I'm noticing their essence for the very first time.

Aside from your home place of Leitrim, where else do you feed your creativity?

I visit the Irish beaches often: Rosses Point in Sligo or Portmarnock in Dublin. I just walk along and find seaweed, lovely shells and stones and imagine painting and sketching them. I love this time of year; the falling of the leaves and the sunlight that shines through the rustic and ever changing colours!

When you are immersed in the act of art, are there any typical thoughts and feelings you experience?

Feelings of freedom and contentment...I typically have a personal attachment to whatever it is I am painting at the moment and people often recognize this by my mood. And when I am painting outside I am much more free to express myself...

What do you enjoy painting mostly?

I love strong bright colours to splash around. I love depicting the country in my work: cows, dogs, sheep, birds, squirrels, and flowers...the country in my youth. I appreciate the wonder of Gods' creations all around me and its beauty.

Aside from painting, where else can one find your stylistic impressions?

At Christmastime I make decorations: wreathes and ornaments to share with family and friends made from natural material that I find in my garden and out on my walks. I am a qualified florist from Kays School of Floristry in Dublin. I also paint on slates, walls, and stones amongst other things...

I love this rock, it's beautiful! Are there any artists you aspire to?

Vincent himself. I actually love yellows and reds...I love cheerful-strong colours...I've painted many sunflowers also (displayed). I recall selling a similar one to a gentleman from Galway that had been rejected at a gallery. It was sentimental to me because it was painted just after my mothers' passing.

What education have you received in the arts?

I was the only student who chose art honours for my leaving cert. Upon graduation I was going to continue to study art at a college in Sligo but instead I took a job at Eirecom...I've returned after a long absence. At this stage of my life, I'm taking a big risk...

Is it worth it?

I think so. I'm happy. I am fulfilling my passion and my art has helped me overcome the loss of my mother. I am going with my gut feeling...I sort of envy myself for this. I think it's so important for one to have a pastime, a passion to fall back on in trying times. Whenever I see my work displayed in galleries, I am happy, cheerful...

Is art a talent or a skill?'s both! For me it can be hard to start but once I start it's hard to stop...

You have a very well know neighbor?

Yes, the famous writer, John McGahern. I've just read his memoir...very good...depressing but good. He really had a tough life. In a way, his bravery, his writing...has led other local artists to take risks. I painted a picture of his book. It was one of my earlier sketches from my original collection of black and white sketches.

Where can one buy one of your breathtaking paintings?

I am selling some of my paintings at Solas Art Gallary in Ballinamore. My paintings have been sold at The Book Shop in Carrick-on-Shannon and at Taylors. You can always email me also: or

Wonderful! Thank you so much for showing me your art studios, I love everything you do!

Thank you.

(The Solas Gallery is a new artist-led gallery space in Ballinamore which officially opened on Friday 20th July. The new gallery is a partnership led initiative between Leitrim County Council Arts Office, Four Seasons Flower Shop and artists from Ballinamore/South Leitrim and is funded by Leitrim County Council Arts Office and The Arts Council.)

1 comment:

S. Buccleugh, Gum Therapist said...

Hey Phillster-
pretty cool blog here!
thanks for the Indian food tonight:)
i'll be reading more of your blogs this week!
have a good week-