I am a visual artist, painting nature in a naturalistic style using oils as my preferred medium. My work is inspired by the wild and wonderful landscapes and seascapes which surround me in the West of Ireland.
'Soft Day, The Flaggy Shore' Oil on Canvas Patricia Kavanagh
"And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightening of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white
Their fully-grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you'll park or capture it more thoroughly
You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open".
'Soft Day, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare' Oil on Canvas Patricia Kavanagh
'Winter Landscape' Oil on Paper. Patricia Kavanagh
My version of a painting by Caspar David Freidrich
The artists of the Romantic period have always been a great inspiration to me in my work.
Friedrich is one of my all time favourites.
Caspar David Friedrich (September 5, 1774 - May 7, 1840) was a landscape painter of the nineteenth-century German Romantic movement, of which he is now considered the most important painter. A painter and draughtsman, Friedrich is best known for his later allegorical landscapes, which feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees, and Gothic ruins. His primary interest as an artist was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey the spiritual experiences of life.
Friedrich was born in Greifswald in northern Germany in 1774. He studied in Copenhagen until 1798 before settling in Dresden. He came of age during a period when, across Europe, a growing disillusionment with an over-materialistic society led to a new appreciation for spiritualism. This was often expressed through a reevaluation of the natural world, as artists such as Friedrich, J. M. W. Turner and John Constable sought to depict nature as a "divine creation, to be set against the artifice of human civilization".
Although Friedrich was renowned during his lifetime, his work fell from favour during the second half of the nineteenth century. As Germany moved towards modernisation, a new urgency was brought to its art, and Friedrich's contemplative depictions of stillness were seen as the products of a bygone age. His rediscovery began in 1906 when an exhibition of 32 of his paintings and sculptures was held in Berlin. During the 1920s his work was appreciated by the Expressionists, and in the 1930s and 1940s, the Surrealists and Existentialists frequently drew on his work. Today he is seen as an icon of the German Romantic movement, and a painter of international importance.
'Gapstow Bridge' Central Park. Oil on Canvas. Patricia Kavanagh
"Curving gracefully over the narrow neck of the Pond at 59th Street, Gapstow is one of the iconic bridges of Central Park. Design aficionados might notice a striking resemblance to the Ponte di San Francesco in San Remo, Italy.
The bridge offers postcard views of the surrounding cityscape. Facing south, you can see the famed Plaza Hotel and distinctive New York skyscrapers rising from above the Park’s trees. Look southward in the winter and you’ll see Wollman Rink’s twirling skaters; in the warmer months you’ll see the colorful amusements of Victorian Gardens.
Originally designed by Jacob Wrey Mould in 1874, the then-wooden bridge with cast-iron railings suffered great wear over 20 years. It was replaced with the current stone structure in 1896, designed by Howard & Caudwell. Built of Manhattan schist, Gapstow stand 12 feet high, spans 44 feet of water, and stretches 76 feet in its full length."
'Peek-a-Boo' Oil painting with knife Patricia Kavanagh
'Crubeens' Oil on Card. Patricia Kavanagh
"In England once there lived a big
And wonderfully clever pig.
To everybody it was plain
That Piggy had a massive brain.
He worked out sums inside his head,
There was no book he hadn't read.
He knew what made an airplane fly,
He knew how engines worked and why.
He knew all this, but in the end
One question drove him round the bend:
He simply couldn't puzzle out
What LIFE was really all about.
What was the reason for his birth?
Why was he placed upon this earth?
His giant brain went round and round.
Alas, no answer could be found.
Till suddenly one wondrous night.
All in a flash he saw the light.
He jumped up like a ballet dancer
And yelled, "By gum, I've got the answer!"
"They want my bacon slice by slice
"To sell at a tremendous price!
"They want my tender juicy chops
"To put in all the butcher's shops!
"They want my pork to make a roast
"And that's the part'll cost the most!
"They want my sausages in strings!
"They even want my chitterlings!
"The butcher's shop! The carving knife!
"That is the reason for my life!"
Such thoughts as these are not designed
To give a pig great piece of mind.
Next morning, in comes Farmer Bland,
A pail of pigswill in his hand,
And piggy with a mighty roar,
Bashes the farmer to the floor…
Now comes the rather grizzly bit
So let's not make too much of it,
Except that you must understand
That Piggy did eat Farmer Bland,
He ate him up from head to toe,
Chewing the pieces nice and slow.
It took an hour to reach the feet,
Because there was so much to eat,
And when he finished, Pig, of course,
Felt absolutely no remorse.
Slowly he scratched his brainy head
And with a little smile he said,
"I had a fairly powerful hunch
"That he might have me for his lunch.
"And so, because I feared the worst,
"I thought I'd better eat him first."
"Banshee or 'Bean-sidhe' is Irish for faerie woman - ban (bean), meaning a woman, and shee (sidhe), meaning faerie. The banshee can appear in one of three guises: a young woman, a stately matron or a raddled old hag. These represent the triple aspects of the Celtic goddess of war and death, namely Badhbh, Macha and Mor-Rioghain.
She usually wears either a grey, hooded cloak or the winding sheet or grave robe of the unshriven dead. She may also appear as a washer-woman, and is seen apparently washing the blood stained clothes of those who are about to die. In this guise she is known as the bean-nighe or washing woman.
The wail of a banshee pierces the night, it's notes rising and falling like the waves of the sea, it always announces a mortal's death.
The banshee can only cry for five major Irish families: the O'Neills, the O'Briens, the O'Connors, the O'Gradys and the Kavanaghs. Each Banshee has her own mortal family and out of love she follows the old race across the ocean to distant lands. Her wails or keen can be heard in America and England, wherever the true Irish have settled"
'St Matthew and the Angel' Oil on Board Patricia Kavanagh
My version of the famous painting by Caravaggio. Need to do the angel yet!
"Matthew is portrayed in a remarkable pose - not as one would expect a devout evangelist to be depicted. Caravaggio made an earlier version of the painting, but the commissioner refused it because of its lack of decorum. The work was sadly lost in WW2. It would seem as if the painter did not compromise his intentions however - this time the evangelist has dirty feet.
"If you have forgotten waterlilies floating
On a dark lake among mountains in the afternoon shade,
If you have forgotten their wet sleepy fragrance,
Then you can return and not be afraid.
But if you remember, then turn away forever
To the plains and the prairies where pools are far apart,
There you will not come at dusk on closing waterlilies
And the shadow of mountains will not fall on your heart.
'Blackrock, Salthill, Galway' Oil on Canvas Patricia Kavanagh
This painting is dear to my heart because I grew up just a short walk from here. We played here as children every day during summer holidays. My father, who spent his youth diving and swimming here was presented with an award by the Carnegie Trust for saving human life on 29th September 1942. His name appears in the 'Book of Heros' in the Carnegie Trust Museum.
The painting was sold to a woman whose father had recently passed away. This was his favourite place in the world. She used the image of this painting on his memorial card and she included these beautiful words:
I was invited to exhibit in the 'Burren in Bloom' exhibition in the Russell Gallery in May 2012. The exhibition is one of the events held as part of the festival of the same name. I was honoured when the Gallery chose this painting to promote the exhibition!
'Mullaghmore, The Burren, Co Clare' Oil On Canvas Patricia Kavanagh
'Lough Murri, Flaggy Shore, The Burren, Co Clare' Oil on Canvas Patricia Kavanagh
'Bright Colours of Dharavi' Acrylic on Board Patricia Kavanagh
'Festival Time' Acrylic on Board Patricia Kavanagh
"Let us rejoice that we are poor
And have no gold to keep;
We do not need to bar the door
Ere we can go to sleep".
I painted these after reading an article in National Geographic on Dharavi Slums in Mumbai. They are some of my few acrylic paintings. Somehow I think acrylic worked better for these paintings than oils.