Well.  Where have I been for the past few weeks?  Painting, mostly – I am now sitting on fifty four finished pieces of various sizes.  One of them is even framed and I’m picking up more frames from the wonderful people at Bespoke & Co this afternoon.  First exhibition of the year this weekend – the People’s Art on Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green.  Not a big fan of outdoor exhibitions but I wouldn’t miss this one for the world.  If you’re in town, come see my new paintings.  

I’ve also been gardening.  But more of that later.


Just back from a two day trip to Connemara, where I delivered paintings to a couple of new galleries.  I don’t get out that way enough – it is one of those few places that are exactly as magnificent as they are believed to be.  All manner of new ideas for paintings….  

Solo Exhibitions


I don’t do many solo exhibitions.  For any number of reasons, over the past three or four years, I just haven’t had the opportunity or the inclination to exhibit my paintings in a gallery without them being part of some larger event.  Partly this was because, well, you’ve seen the economy out there.  But it was also because the exhibition I wanted to do required a gallery to let me do it.  And galleries are businesses which need to sell paintings to stay open.  So while I could easily fill a room with the kind of paintings I love to make – they’re in the gallery of this blog, or on my website http://www.pcflynn.com (that’s called a plug in the biz) and sell lots of them, I was holding out for a gallery which would give me a big empty room and let me do what I wanted with it.

Watch this space…

Varnishing Day

StormThere was a time when Varnishing Day was the day set aside in academy exhibitions for the artists to put the finishing touches to their paintings.  It rarely involved varnishing, which needs at least a year of drying before being undertaken (learned that one the hard way) could take a lot longer than a day, is best not done in the vertical anyway (also learned that one the hard way.)

Today is varnishing day for me.  I shall be very sticky by later this afternoon.  Not to mention somewhat flammable.  Wish me luck.

“Who are your influences?”

Relic Image

Joe Strummer, may he rest in peace, once said that he much preferred to hear musicians ‘struggling with their instruments’.  By which I think he meant that in that struggle is truth, whereas in virtuosity, there is only beauty.  Passion beats proficiency, right?

With that in mind, I’d like to bring another rock and roll quote into the proceedings – as Jimmy Rabbitte asked in The Commitments – “Who are your influences?”

Pretty much everyone actually.  I’m a fan of painters.  But if I could only choose a few, these would be the few.

Lascaux.  That’s not a painter, it’s a cave in France.  On its walls are the primal scream of our craft, images which still shimmer and pulsate with life.  Every painter in the twenty thousand years since is merely standing on the shoulders of whoever left these images.

Michelangelo Buonarroti.  It’s not that obvious in my paintings but I come from seven generations of marble carvers so Il Divino has been a presence since I first picked up a pencil.  I learned to draw by copying from him.  I am still learning to draw by copying from him.

Rembrandt van Rijn.  For his self portraits, an entire life documented in paint.  In these paintings is every possible human condition.  Mynheer  Van Rijn is an old friend, with whom I have celebrated and commiserated over the years.

JMW Turner.  Any time I feel as if I’m starting to understand oil painting, a moment or two spent looking at Mr. Turner’s paintings will soon have me feeling like a novice again.  If ever a painter makes me want to do better, it is Mr. Turner.

Claude Monet. In Monet’s last works, his vast waterlilies, each brushstroke is a world unto itself, yet remaining part of a greater whole.  I can think of no higher praise for a painting.

Jackson Pollock.  Who freed painters from painting.  Pollock made it possible for us to do whatever it took to make people see what we see.

Mark Rothko.  Who freed painters from the image.  In a Rothko painting, what we see is not the canvas.  It is ourselves.

Alberto Giacometti.  Whose continual and obsessive return to the same few subjects gave them a linear narrative in which I find echoes of Rembrandt’s lifetime of self portraiture.

And lastly, Vincent.  I came to Vincent late, having many times visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam but never seeing what other people saw.  Until I read his letters to Theo.  Here was the loneliest man who ever lived, a pure soul who wanted nothing more than to be a part of humanity.  In December 2008, sitting in front of one of his paintings
I finally saw Vincent.

That’s what we really want, you know.   We make paintings to show you ourselves.