Born in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland, Trisha Slowey is a graduate of NCAD (National College of Art and Design), where, under the tuition of some of Ireland's greatest teachers and artists of the time, she developed her love for painting in oils.
After graduating in 1966, she taught art at both primary and secondary school levels up to her retirement in 2017.She now dedicates all her time to painting and her paintings have sold all over the world.
Over the years, Trisha has also collaborated with a stained glass studio designing and painting commissions for church windows.Her work can be seen in various churches throughout the west of Ireland.Trisha’s paintings are all oil on canvas and her inspiration is mainly derived from the stunning, ever changing scenery on her door step in the west of Ireland.
What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?
I have always wanted to draw and paint ever since I was very young. It went to boarding school at the age of five, and it was always the one class of the day which I really looked forward to.
How would you describe your own personal style?
My style is representative, I paint what I see because I find the subjects appealing. For me, its such an enjoyable challenge to re-create on a canvas what I can see in front of me.
What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?
Whenever I see something intriguing, I take a photo of it and can’t wait to put it on canvas.
What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?
I’m inspired by many things, mainly by the beautiful, ever changing scenery here in the west of Ireland. The light and the natural beauty will never cease to inspire me.
Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?
I had an brilliant Art teacher and I had excellent opportunities to use the art room. My parents also encouraged me massively, artistic talent runs in our family and for them it was something to be very proud of.
When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?
I love working in oils, they are so forgiving and expressive. I use a variety of brushes depending on the subject. I could start a painting with a flat 4” bristle and end up using a 00 round sable, I also like filberts.
Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?
Initially, I just roughly block in the colours and then develop from there, starting with the large brushes and finishing with the fine ones for the details.
Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is it more a case of when the moment is right you work?
I usually rise early at six or thereabouts and paint till nine, then I will do the shopping as I care for my husband, take my dog for a walk, then back painting until one, lunch, and usually back to the easel until seven thirty or eight. After that I make dinner, tidy up the house a bit and head to bed!
When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?
I prefer to work on 3 or 4 pieces at the same time as they can dry a bit in between work, then at the end I will concentrate on one at a time.
Which of your artworks are you most proud off?
I love “Evening Tide” I found it very calming, I also loved “Batten Down the Hatches” as I was able to really “attack “ the canvas with the clouds. Both pieces to me have a very strong mood and really stand out on their own on a wall.
Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?
The Irish artist, Ceila Mannion. She does such beautiful delicate watercolours. We were in college around the same time and I have always respected her as an artist.
If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?
What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?
Multi-media. The convenience of multi-media has resulted in people not respecting or appreciating art as much as they used to. The world moves so fast now, with us humans wanting everything quick and convenient, art and painting are neither of those!
What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?
Work hard, talent alone is not enough. Making a living in art is not easy. Believe in yourself.
Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is there another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?
Impressionism, I love the freedom of it. Near the end of my paintings, just before I start the fine details, my painting looks impressionistic and I would love to have the courage to be able to stop there!
We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?
I have a few pieces which I keep meaning to get back to! I am very lucky as I have a daughter who is a good constructive critic and is able to tell me when my painting is finished, or when it needs a few tweaks!
Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expression your creative nature?
Both, but really I just want to show people how beautiful our country is in a form they can identify with.
What are you working on at the moment?
Woodland scenes, playing with the lower autumn light and the effect it has on the shadows of the tress in the forest.
When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where it is?
I have had two solo exhibitions in the last three years and I have no plans for another one at the moment.
To view Trisha's full collection click - The Online Art Gallery of Trisha Slowey