Artistic License: Eithne Roberts

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The Dublin artist’s still life paintings reflect the quiet beauty of familiar objects …

What was your initial inspiration as an artist?

When I first started painting I mainly painted vessels, jugs and bowls. A lot of these little vessels were pieces that I made myself as I studied ceramics for a few years [part of a Fine Art degree from DIT], so when I started painting they became the main focus of my work. The bowl shape is something that I love to paint. Sometimes I place a small flower into just a couple of these bowls or vessels. In the last few years I have been using more flowers and stems, many of which I grow in my garden. I come from a family of gardeners – we all have green fingers, inherited from my mum and her sisters who were all amazing gardeners. This year I let a lot of my garden grow wilder. I like to do that every now and then, it’s nice to be surprised and see what pops up.

Where and how do you paint?

I work from home, which suits me as I can work at any time of the day, and quite often work late into the evening. I work in different ways – sometimes I set up a small still life composition with different jugs, bowls and maybe a bottle or two. But these are just for inspiration really, as I don’t sit down and paint what is in front of me. I always stray off the composition, adding to or taking away pieces. I also like to use small pieces of painted paper or cards. I will cut them into shapes of jugs and then collage them onto the wall in front of me. Sometimes pieces of paintings that aren’t working out for me find their way onto my wall too, cut out of the canvas with flower stems stuck behind them. The flowers are sometimes from my garden, but I use photographs as reference also, when certain blooms aren’t in season.

Tell us about your latest paintings – do they reflect the seasons?

I started these latest paintings at the end of spring and finished them just as the leaves started to fall on the trees. However, in my work, I mix up the seasons. In my garden the forsythia is well gone by the time the foxgloves or Japanese anemones come along, but not in my paintings. I do have favourite flowers that I like painting, but I also like the relationship between certain blooms that I create on the canvas. One looking down as the other looks up … I try to create a relationship between the bowls and jugs also, as they tell a story to me.

Have you any recurring flowers that you like to paint?

I like taller willowy flowers. I have beautiful, tall yellow daisies in my garden at the moment, and they feature a lot in my work, although their colour changes on a regular basis, no-one could ever say I was a botanical painter! Japanese anemones are a recurring flower too – they have it all for me as a painter, tall stems with delicate petals, and probably one of my favourite colours to mix up on my palette.

Need to Know: This week “Getting to Know Eithne Roberts” takes place online at The Doorway Gallery, 24 Frederick Street South, Dublin 2. On Thursday, November 12 there will be a question and answer session with Eithne at 8pm on Facebook. For further information visit www.thedoorwaygallery.com.

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