Hello from Kinndi . . .


I must have been out the day they told us how to write artists' statements in college - and I'm glad I was. I blame the 'alternative' tutors of today who are responsible for turning out "artists" such as Tracey Emin, who was shortlisted for the 1999 Turner prize for "installing" her unmade bed in The Tate Gallery:

My Bed, the work shown at the Turner Prize exhibition in 1999, graphically illustrates themes of loss, sickness, fertility, copulation, conception and death - almost the whole human life-cycle in the place where most of us spend our most significant moments)

Damian Hirst, the 1995 winner:

Steel, GRP composites, glass, silicone sealants,  a dead cow and a dead calf suspended in a formaldehyde solution

 Martin Creed, 2000 winner:

 'Lights Going On ... and Off' - Installation at Tate Gallery, an empty room with the room-lights on a time-switch, 5 seconds on/5 seconds off.

And then there's the sadistic Costa Rican 'artist', Guillermo Vargas Habacuc, who in 2007, captured a stray dog, chained him to a wire stretched across a corner of the gallery and left a bowl of food just out of the dog's reach. Wait for this - the "art" was watching the poor dog die of starvation. People actually came to admire his "art". If I was there I would have cut the wire with a wire-cutter and probably have got myself arrested.

Now is it time to stand up and be counted - and tell all those people and the people who indulge them and discuss their "artistic creations" that THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES? Those people are not artists! The people who talk pretentious waffle about their "work" are even worse! I encourage all honest artists and art-buyers out there not to be scared or embarrassed about expressing your thoughts on this dangerous travesty. I look forward to a time when they will be exposed for what they really are.

I paint because I enjoy painting. I think I was drawing before I could walk. I can't remember a time when I wasn't sketching or colouring on any available scrap of paper. In school, I was constantly reprimanded (punished to be truthful) for drawing caricatures and making animations on the corners of 'As You Like It' or 'Intermediate Prose & Poetry'.

Musical instruments, musicians and streetscapes have always fascinated me as have the works of Amedeo Modigliani in particular, though I admire the art of Georges Seurat, Tamara de Lempicka, Gustav Klimt, Alphonse Mucha, Dudley Watkins and L.S. Lowry too. I aspire to create something as wonderful as they all have done.

Each painting is triggered off by a moment - whether it be a meeting with someone, a place, a recital, a concert or perhaps a book. I might doodle on a drawing pad or the back of an envelope until I get the balance right and then it's into my studio, down on the floor with my craft-knife to cut from a roll of canvas (I buy the stretchers ready-cut), select a suitable size and after a battle with an awl, stretching-pliers, small hammer and copper tacks,  my canvas is ready for the easel.

I use a table-easel, probably because I don't like standing for long. Now here's the bit they didn't tell me at college - I use acrylic paints and watercolour brushes! What commandment have I broken? I go through brushes like Tuc biscuits (have you ever tried to stop eating them?) Yes, they weren't made for acrylics or canvas but so what? They do the job for me and I hate long handles anyway. I do use some synthetic acrylic brushes too, but not the long-handled ones.

I've had a few exhibitions but I don't look forward to them. Too much dressing up and "red or white?" for my liking. I much prefer when people come to my studio and see the no-frills birthplace. My paintings have winged their way around the world, there are some in Australia, New Zealand, USA and three are in the Irish Embassy in Brazil.

Is that an artist's statement? Good.

 Snowy (born 1983, died 2001)

Snowy was 19 when she passed away. She had a withered back leg, a result of a brick falling on her when she was a few months old. She lost an ear in an operation to remove a tumour in 1998. She loved ice-cream and chips. She's buried under the apple-tree where she spent alot of time. We miss her.

 Patch (born 1985, died 2005)

Patch was Snowy's daughter, one of a litter of 4. She was the most timid cat you could ever meet. She hissed at absolutely everyone apart from her close friends! After a long and happy life, her kidneys gave up in September 2005 and very reluctantly, on the advice of two vets, we agreed to put her to sleep. We miss Patch.

 Lulu (born 2001)

Lulu was found abandoned at a busy crossroads in 2001 when she was about 10 weeks old. She was in hospital recently when she became ill with ulcers on her tongue and throat. She's a bundle of fun!

 Punk in 2007 when he came to live at The Croft  Lulu on reception  Punk, a fine boy . . . passed away on 4th February 2010 after three comfortable years with us.

 Kiwi (born 2009)

As a tiny kitten, Kiwi was abandoned and followed some girls who were visiting the house next door. They persuaded the couple to keep him but they don't really understand cats. He struck up a friendship with Punk and decided to move in with us. The official 'adoption' took place around March 2009. He eats more than the other two put together. He's a thief and an assassin - though, to be fair to him, he brings the field-mice and the birds in to show me first and gives me a reluctant opportunity to save them. He can jump through a hoop and walk the tightrope.

 Síog (born 2011)

Pretty Síog joined our family in May 2011. She was born in a feral colony but she's a dainty little Miss! Adopted via Galway Cat Rescue. Síog is the Irish word for 'fairy'.


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