2 years ago

Artistic License: Kate Beagan


Reflections of light on water and timeless views are the basis of Monaghan-based artist KATE BEAGAN’s new exhibition at The Doorway Gallery …


“I love the visual drama that a painting can provide. The contrast of light and darkness, apparent through both tone and colour, being the most powerful formulae to attract attention to the focal point. Every brush stroke and layer is present with a purpose to enhance, and shares a relationship with the rest of the painting,” says Beagan. She tells us more about her exhibition “The Virtue of Light.”

What was the starting point for your new exhibition?

I had been planning this exhibition for over 18 months so I was looking for something that was familiar to me but not my usual subject. Most of my work for the last few years has been concentrated on the landscape around my home county of Monaghan. We are known as “the county of little hills” – and when the light breaks through the narrow roads, it can be quite dramatic.


In February 2018 I had a residency in Cill Rialaig Arts Centre in Kerry for a couple of weeks and it was the first time in many years I had spent some time by the vast expanse of water and I loved it. On returning home I knew that I had found what I wanted to do and while we have no sea in Monaghan, we have no shortage of rivers. Like many people, I am fascinated by water – a fast flowing torrent or a still pool in a meandering river – water, like fire, has a life of its own and both are beautiful and dangerous. My paintings in this exhibition are a combination of fire in the form of light and how it reflects on water. The play of sunlight through vegetation reflecting on water has been a challenge for me.

How and where do you work?

To capture the essence of a place I must first experience it, my preferred time is early morning or in the evening when the sun is low and casts shadows. I then return to my studio and with the aid of reference photos I compose my painting.

Do you have a favourite painting from the exhibition?

My favourite is “The Arrival of Spring” which is timely as spring has arrived in all its glory with snowdrops and daffodils everywhere. This is a painting from Dún Na Rí forest park, which is very close to my home just outside of Carrickmacross. It is a long tradition that visitors to our home are taken for a walk through the park as it is truly beautiful both in summer and winter. A small river runs through the centre and in winter it can be a muddy torrent cascading through fallen trees, while in summer it provides tranquil pools for children to play in.

Need to Know: “The Virtue of Light” by Kate Beagan runs from February 28 – March 28 at The Doorway Gallery, 24 South Frederick Street, Dublin 2; www.thedoorwaygallery.com.

Penny McCormick

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