Painting the town Red….and Black!

The painting below is of MLR player and stalwart James Hickey celebrating one of the team’s many victories. The scene shows the joy and pride that the players and fans feel after this success. I think the joy and elation is well expressed here.

MLR - All-Ireland Intermediate Champs 2011 featuring player James Hickey
                Mount Leinster Rangers Celebration  featuring player James Hickey by Rachel O’Hara

You may also recognise James from this ad currently being shown on TV!

Bigger and better was to come Rangers’ way.  I’d like to show you a larger than life mural I did for a local business in support of the Teams’ next challenge. They reached the All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Final back in March 2014. It was a massive achievement from a club whose history only began in 1988. The villages of Borris, Ballymurphy and Rathanna were adorned in the club colours of red and black. Flags were draped, Teddy bears and pets dressed in club jerseys, signs were painted, songs were penned. Rival Carlow Gaa clubs near and far displayed good luck signs along the highways and byways, wishing MLR the best in the biggest game of their lives while paving the way up to Croke Park.

Mount Leinster Rangers Mural
Mount Leinster Rangers Mural in Borris Village, Co.Carlow by Rachel O’Hara

The text on the bottom of the painting is written in Irish it says “Gaiscigh Abu!” (pronounced Gosh-gig aboo!). This loosely translates into “Come on Rangers!”….The board was primed in white paint, giving me a lovely smooth (more importantly waterproofed!) surface to paint the image onto. I used acrylic paints and varnish to weather proof the completed painting. I think the white background sets off the red and black quite well and the idea was to make the individual player stand out while he reaches for the “Sliotar” (The Irish name for the leather ball used in the game of hurling). Unfortunately, success was not to be this year for the team but hopefully the Rangers will have better days coming and a chance for the mural to be aired again!

Even the homebaking got the Rangers treatment! by Julie Murphy of Borris Food and Craft Market
Even the homebaking got the Rangers treatment! Baked by Julie Murphy of Borris Food and Craft Market

My artwork can be viewed at Drawn to Sport on Facebook and Etsy shop. I also have my paintings on display in Borris Food and Craft Market in Borris Town Hall every Friday morning from 9.30am till 1.30pm.  If you are interested in purchasing a piece or indeed would like to commission a painting sporting or otherwise, I can be contacted by email or phone +353 (0)87 6397210.

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The peloton races through the sunflowers

The peleton through the sunflowersCycling is my favourite sport, I love it. Though when I’m on my bike climbing and my legs are screaming for me to stop, my inner voice asks me why I do this? But on reaching the top of the climb or changing direction and getting out of that God foresaken headwind, I don’t want to stop…. I can breathe again and notice the hedgerows and the fields and the birds and the odd bit of roadkill (sorry!). You can be in a semi-meditative state on the bike. Its a great time to plan and sort out your thoughts and for me as an artist soak up inspiration from the landscape I ride through.

The Carlow side of the Blackstairs Mountains mountains, one of my favourite cycling haunts….

“The peloton races through the sunflowers” was a labour of love. For those of you not familiar with the word “peloton”, it is a French word used to define the bunch or pack of riders in a cycle race. By sitting closely together, the riders conserve a lot of energy and can shelter from the wind. The riders in this peleton are almost in a snake formation, bending with the curve of the road, just as the road rises, the leading rider begins the climb. I used acrylic on canvas, I played around with the colour layering and mixing and building until I reached what I wanted to achieve.  Again, for me cycling is one of those sports that eminates colour and beauty with speed and pain. So I like to transfer all these feelings onto the canvas…Cycling is a lovely way to see the country side and its all the more beautiful when you’re spinning along with a nice tail wind…..here’s an excerpt from an old Irish blessing, which I think is appropriate for any cyclist…”May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be  always at your back…..”

The final furlong, Borris Point to Point – Acrylic on canvas 30cm x 80cm

The final furlong

I really enjoyed painting this scene, I love horse racing, it is always such a colourful, exciting sport and that’s what I try to portray here. I used a panoramic canvas,  to show how stretched out the field was. I went to the Carlow Farmer’s Point to Point which is held in the grounds of the beautiful Borris House, near the stunning Blackstairs Mountains (seeing is believing!)

Borris House in the evening Summer sun
Borris House in the evening Summer sun

Despite the freezing cold day, I gathered plenty of inspiration from those brave jockeys and horses of course. The thundering hooves and speed of the field galloping, is an awesome sight and sound to behold. The powerful thoroughbred is like a machine but it is beautiful and alive and I hope “The Final Furlong” demonstrates this.The final furlong (close up of)A close up of the leading horse from “The Final Furlong” painting.

If you would like to purchase this painting, “The Final Furlong”, it is now available on my Etsy shop.