Mairead Holohan (Eire)
"Painting The Tropics” AHK Tutor January 2020
I work in many media. At this point in time in my teaching practice I am focusing on watercolours and textiles. Working in watercolours I like to let the media dictate the work I do and use it in a manner that is in tune with the fluidity of the medium. I think watercolours work best when the artist allows the paint to flow, not to fight it or try to control it too much.
I am inspired by my surroundings and allow where I am to feed my work. I am very tuned in to what I call the spirit of place. Trying to keep my work loose, different situations inspire my use of colour.
Watercolour can be gentle and soft or strong and colourful. I see watercolour as a very contemporary media when used with creativity and courage. Loving the freedom that watercolours give to be creative and responsive wherever I am. I do believe in drawing being the basis of good art, not necessarily academic drawing but drawing to understand our surroundings, to sit still and observe and record in a visual language that the artist understands. I carry a small watercolour sketch pad, pencils and pocket watercolour box with me when I travel to enable me to sketch when inspired and help me to resolve my responses to new situations. I may or may not use these in a finished painting but it all feeds my practice and informs my work.
Much of my work is inspired by my lifestyle which is rural and as a former riding instructor I enjoy equestrian and animal subjects as well as seasonal themes.
I just love what the watercolour medium can do and letting the paint do the work. Constantly challenging myself I am always looking for interesting ideas and subjects to push me to work better. If we do something often enough we can do it automatically and that is where I like to be when I’m painting.
We never stop learning and as a tutor I often find my students inspire me, they certainly challenge me to keep improving. As adults we all have knowledge that we are not aware of and perhaps are just not confident of expressing ourselves, I try to draw that out of my students.