Entries in art (6)

Saturday
Jun032017

q&a with artist and yogi Caol McDonald

 

Caol McDonald is a  artist, yogi and a wonderful person.  Many evenings I have thoroughly enjoyed whiling away the hours in conversation with him. Even a quick conversation on the stairs of flow makes me wish we had more time to chat.  Caol is full of wisdom and his eye for light is thrilling.  He has a gentle spirit with the strength of a warrior that really sees what is around him.  You can connect with him  on Facebook and Instagram and buy his art on his Esty shop from FlowCo and Souk Belfast, practice with him at Flow Studio Belfast and other places - check out his Facebook page for details of classes - I highly recommend you make taking one high up your to do list.  The painting Caol did for me inspires me to keep lifting up.

 

Who are you, what’s it like being you…

My name is Caol, a 27 year old creative type, yogi by day and painter by night with a passion for exploring the great outdoors

Where are you from, where are you based…

I live in the heart of Mid Ulster N.Ireland, currently based in Cookstown


Talk about your work ... How do you find inspiration?

As an artist my work is my voice, what comes from within; I have doodled and created art for years and that voice is still growing. I’ve lived in Ireland all my life, and it being a small island, it’s possible to journey and discover your surroundings become changeable landscapes from mountains and forests to oceans and cliff views easily, the lens through which my mind perceives this world has been predominantly a visual one, my inspiration comes strongly from the raw Atlantic islands scenery and the concept of the human spirit, and it’s always been my passion to try and communicate and strengthen the bond between Humanity and nature.

I am simply a secretary to my own sensations, living a life through colour, and through the resulting expressions I paint and record on paper I aim to help re-establish our connection to the natural ways of the world.

More recently I have been taking this visual lens on an internal exploration of the landscapes of human nature through yoga, and drawing parallels between these conceptual, internal landscapes and the external environment and listening to how both yoga and art can inform how one sees the world.

 

What are your future plans ..

In an ideal situation I hope to find a place where I can be self sufficient by teaching yoga, creating and to live ecologically here in Ireland.

who you are inspired by ...

Creatively…artists such as Brandon Boyd or Jose Parla to name just two, also people who are living for a living, people who are kind and who live compassionate lives to each other and the world we live on.

Describe your space ...

There is always a cup of coffee in hand, a candle lit and an open window

A non-negotiable in your life is ...

Having a quiet moment to yourself each day, even (especially)if it’s simply to enjoy a coffee. 

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ...


While not necessarily the most encouraging I’ve ever heard, I was recently shared words written by Nikita Gill from my Mother that struck a chord

“You carry both lightning and thunder in that space between your bones and soul, become the storm you are hiding from, a hurricane does not run from the rain”


Your work life philosophy is ...

You weren’t born to pay bills and die, make room for enjoying life. 

What is your favourite smell ...

Petrichor…the smell of the earth after rain. (…or morning coffee)

Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ...

My tastes in music vary but currently I like Nahko Bear- Great Spirit


Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ...

I’ve wanted to for years but only recently I have been eating a plant based diet; for just almost a year now, it took time for me to longer miss my old favourites I thought I couldn’t do without. Now my most often ate meal is roast chilli broccoli with some form of tofu, … but my favourite food is 100% peanut butter, I could eat that all day!

Three things or products that have changed your life...

The addition of my dog to the family tribe instigated my proactivity towards a plant based lifestyle, yoga has taken me to Asia and back, offered growth and opportunities to connect with some of the best people I now call friends and colleagues and of course Art.

How do you relax ...

Meditation…whether that be the traditional method, yoga or meditation via art

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ...

Adventuring into nature with fresh air, places away from daily routine where you can take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the world, I’m particularly drawn to the Irish Coast and the wild power of The Atlantic.

What do you most value in your friends ...

Individuality of character 


What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ...

As somebody who lives with the constant urge to communicate or convey sensations…ideas and concepts, whether that be to other people or simply to myself via meditating or painting or writing, a few words I happened upon this year resonate with me

“Make ceremonies out of the air, and breathe upon them"

I conceptualise this phrase visually, as an artist or a yogi plucking inspiration from anything, what they see, hear and experience or from their own mind and using it to create something wonderful. A painting, a memorable day out or a great savasana!

As for currently, in terms of books; I have an obsession with the works of J.R.R Tolkien and I just finished rereading The Silmarillion (a grand prequel to the more popular Lord of The Rings or The Hobbit). I also am keenly following any news articles or social media stories about the current political and environmental protest happening in America, where the Native treaty lands of the American Indians are under threat by Oil companies, I feel the Earth is an island and we have nowhere else to go, we need to protect what we have, Water is Life.


Share some words of wisdom ...

I came across this a while ago, I’m unsure of its author but I love it;

“You think in your idle hours that there is literature, history, science behind you so accumulated as to exhaust thought and prescribe your own future. In your sane hour you will see that not a line has yet been written; that for all the poetry that is in the world your first sensation on entering a wood or standing on the shore of a lake has not been charted yet. It remains for you; so does all thought, all objects, all life remains unwritten yet”

 

 

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Thank you Caol, it was a joy to have your at our place.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Tuesday
Nov152016

q&a with artist Peter Collins

It gives me great joy to welcome the wonderful Belfast artist Peter Collins to the Salt and Sparkle Q&A. Peter's work is full of a viseral power.  It is capivating and powerful all at once, he is suprenely talented.  His use of light and colour lingering in the mind's eye long long after you have first seen his paintings.  I met Peter through his brilliant fiancé Deborah Swain and am really delighted to feature him and his work.  You can contact to commission a piece by shooting him an email, or checking out his Facebook page.

Who are you, what’s it like being you ... 

Hi my name is Peter Collins and I’m a recovering IT professional. I’ve worked in IT for the last 20 years but did my degree in Fine Art. My whole team and I were made redundant recently which for me was a blessing in disguise. It was not a bad occupation but it was soul destroying working in a role that didn’t make use of my talents. It’s given me this amazing opportunity to get back to my art. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing in a year’s time but my worst nightmare would have been to look back in another year and still be in the same job.


Where are you from, where are you based ...

Born and bred in Belfast. Love watching it reinvent itself having grown up in the seventies and eighties.

Talk about your work ...

I’m enjoying learning to paint in oils again after a long hiatus. The creative process of bringing something into the world out of nothing is an incredible feeling and is about as close as I get to spirituality. However it is only hard work that pays off. There is no such thing as the artistic genius –there are just those people who work much, much harder than everyone else. I try to remember this mantra but it doesn’t always work!

I’ve adopted many styles in the past for commissions and so never really thought I had a style but I hope I’m now closing in on a personal signature in my work.


 

 

 

 

 


What are your future plans ...
I’ve set myself the goal of getting some paintings sold in a gallery –after that…

How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...   

From my own experience and from what I’ve read of other creative people, inspiration tends to come while you are working so the most important thing is to be constantly working at your craft - whatever it may be. Being productive will take you in directions you will never be able to predict by sitting around thinking about it. “You can't plow a field simply by turning it over in your mind” 

That said, Van Gogh, Cezanne and John Singer Sargent are heroes for me. Colin Davidson’s work is superb and adds fuel to the fire every time I see it! Pascal Vilcollet and Conor Harrington are amazing artists who are also very comfortable working at a large scale. I admire people who have enthusiasm for what they do. Jamie Oliver taught me to cook over the years but it’s his genuine enthusiasm that is infectious. The same applies to Prof Brian Cox (on Astrophysics not cooking!)

Describe your space .. 

I’ve converted an unused front room into a studio. The light is great but I’ve also rigged up lots of daylight lamps for a boost due to our erratic weather. Years in the I.T. business has taught me the “clear desk” philosophy which actually applies very well to an artist’s studio. So I try to keep the clutter to a minimal by clearing up at the start or end of the day. (My fiance may dispute this!)

How are you feeling today ...Great! The the sun is shining!

A non-negotiable in your life is ...

Coffee; and the dogs! I’m lucky to have two amazing dogs who know how to keep me fit!

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ...

It’s not what happens to you in life but how you deal with it that counts. I used to stress a lot about things which inevitably turned out to be pointless and trivial.

Your work life philosophy is ...

Do whatever you want but work hard at it. What defines you is not your chosen calling in life but how you do it. For me happiness and fulfillment come from being creative and productive which lifts your mood and in turn lets you appreciate life and the people in it. I happiest when free time is coming up and I know I’ve achieved or created something good.

What is your favourite smell ...  

 Peat fires. Preferably in Cork or Kerry! Also Italian pine trees. Preferably in Italy! Did I mention coffee?

Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ...

Anonhi – “Drone bomb me” -very different. When I’m really concentrating or experimenting I need chilled out music like Massive Attack or even Classical music, but if I’m on a roll it’s got to be something more “full on” like Queens of the Stone Age or some Dance/HipHop.

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ...

I love to cook so that’s a tough one. But my “go to” comfort food dish would have to be pasta Puttanesca. 

3 ingredients? Basil, Lime, Garlic: For homemade Pesto, Margaritas and everything else, in that order!

Three things or products that have changed your life...  

My Fiancé Deborah: (not a thing!) One of the most positive and open people I’ve ever met and a joy to be around!

Travel: everyone should do it. When you are young it is literally mind blowing. Every child in this country should be sent abroad for a few months at the age of 14 or 15. It would solve a lot of problems.

The Internet: Having grown up pre-internet it still astounds me how empowering the internet is for expanding your knowledge and for practical research. Alas if only more people would make use of it rather than watching cats and indulging in public displays of ignorance.

How do you relax ... 

I love cooking. Especially for other people. I only worked out recently that I somehow find it relaxing! Walking the dogs in all our beautiful parks and green places, reading a good book or some quality TV.

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ... I’m definitely happy when I’m being creative as it defines who I am and so gives me that fulfillment. My happy place is either on the sofa with, or travelling with my wife to be Deborah.

What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...

 My favourite journey is heading Cork and Kerry. It’s where my family are originally from and I haven’t really explored it properly. I would love to see Machu Pichu in Peru and also a long road trip around France. 

What do you most value in your friends ...  

The absence of expectations and the Craic.

 

What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now 

Favourite words: “We’re booked!”

I’m reading Moby Dick at the moment. I’ve a long list of classics that I thought I better start working through!

 

Share some words of wisdom ... 

Personality is how you behave around others. Character is what you do when you think no one is watching.

 

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Thank you Peter it was such a pleasure to have you at our place.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Monday
Aug312015

q&a with artist Kieron Black

It is a pleasure to welcome artist Kieron Black to the Salt and Sparkle q&a.  Kieron is an immensely talented artist who's work has been shown across the world.  Kieron's work is lumious full of effervescent light.  One of his drawings has accompanied me across the world.  His cartoons accompany pieces in New York financial magazines each week and his watercolours are available to commission.  I have had the pleasure of knowing Kieron for a long time because he is my very cool older cousin.  You can connect with Kieron and commission a piece of his art work on Facebook and by email.

Who are you, what’s it like being you ...
Kieron Black. 45 years on this planet. Very human.

Where are you from, where are you based ...
The afore-mentioned planet. Killough, Co Down, in a timeworn cottage by the sea.


Talk about your work ...
Talk about yours.

What are your future plans ... 
Live my life, be a good father, husband. Not die til it's time.

How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...
The beautiful, the grotesque. Everyone who tries... by those who it comes easy to but mostly by those who it comes hard to.


  
Describe your space ... 
Messy. Full of boards and the means of making marks.

How are you feeling today ... 
Just dandy.

A non-negotiable in your life is ...
Coffee.

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ... 
You can do this.

Your work life philosophy is ...
There is always someone who is better at what you do than you are. Don't sweat it.

What is your favourite smell ...  
Wax.

Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ... 

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ... 
A good caeser.

Three things or products that have changed your life... 
Boards. My wife, my daughter.


How do you relax ... 
Ride.

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ... 
Riding.

What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...  
All of them. All of it.

What do you most value in your friends ...  
Time.


What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ... 
My weeping friends forebear to mourn, nor for my absence cry. You must, like me, to dust return. You must, like me, die.

Share some words of wisdom ...
I just did.

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Thank you Kieron, it was great to interview you on the Salt & Sparkle q&a.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

Tuesday
Nov122013

You are Awesome 

My friend Laura sent me this beautiful piece of art she created.

I smiled.

Her use of colour and her creativity shine in her art.

I was so encouraged and uplifted by her work I wanted to share it with you.

May you know today with every ounce of your being 'You are AWESOME'

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Wednesday
Jul182012

I saw this picture on my friend Daniel Vogler's Facebook it spoke to me & I thought it might speak to you too.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Wednesday
Jun062012

Believing in ME

    

Image by Chrissie Grace 

I highly recommend you visit Chrissie's blog.  She is one of my favourite artist's.  Her work is full of colour, beauty and grace.  It inspires me every time I look at it.  I bought a print of this beautiful image last year, and it sits proudly above my desk, reminding me that regardless of what else or whatever happens around me, that 'I believe'.

That's the secret I think, to believe regardless of everything else that is happening.  Regardless of how we feel or what we think about ourselves at any given moment.  Believing in ourselves is permanent, many other things are transitory. 

It has taken me a long time to be able to say, 'I believe in me'. 

It didn't happen overnight. 

Trust me, it hasn't been an easy process.  Instead it has been one filled, with doubt, with shame, with fear.  A journey against the words spoken over my life, telling me I was, 'a failure', 'stupid', 'you'll never achieve anything', 'your lazy a waster'.  A desire to overcome the past, to not be a prisoner to it, and to walk fully into my future. 

And, even though I can say it out loud now, 'I believe in me'  the strength of my conviction behind the words sometimes faulters.  It may be a whisper.  A murmur.  Barely audible.  Spoken with a tinge of doubt.  Slow faltering words that sort of stumble out of my mouth, or from my pen. 

I believe.

I believe in me, regardless of what others think, I believe in me.

Sometimes that belief, isn't quite 100%. In fact it is often anywhere but that.  Somedays those words 'I believe' are all that I can say that will help me to get me through the day.  So, regardless of how I feel about them, I make a conscious decision to believe

To set my mindset to one of belief.  I chose to say it anyway, in whatever way I can.  I say it out loud, I write it down and sometimes I talk about it.  The more I say it, surprisingly the more I begin to believe in myself. 

That is why I have Chrissie's beautiful piece of art in my study because it reminds me to believe.  And, it reinforces my mindset that I do believe.  I want to encourage you to surround yourself with art that helps you to  believe in yourself.

It isn't a mistake to believe in yourself.  It isn't a crime.  It's not self seeking, or arrogant.  Instead it is real.  Saying 'I believe' is actually you stating, I am thankful for the gifts that I have been given in this life, and I am going to run with them.  I feel like I have a responsibility to the gifts that I have been freely given, to live them in the best way that I can, and to encourage you to live your gifts, and your life.

'I believe' are often the scariest words I say to myself, or to others. 

But, they are words that I have to speak because as surely as the air that I breathe, I have to create, to let out what is inside of me.  My voice, my words, my pictures, my food.   By believing, by opening myself up and putting my words, my art, my thoughts, my recipes, my creations out there I stand alone, naked on the edge.  My work no longer belongs to me.  I cannot control people's reactions to it.  All I can do is put it out there.  In hope that they do have a reaction to my work.

But the one thing I have learned is that if we don't believe in ourselves, neither will other people.  Which leads me to the question.  If we don't believe in our writing, why should other people?  That's a scary question, but I think, one worth thinking about. 

It also struck me as I wrote this, what if we chose not to believe in ourselves, and instead chose to reject a part of our identity, that identity as a writer, do we kill a piece of ourselves?  Do we destroy our voices, by a lack of self belief?  Although we share many comminalities, our voices are unique.  We have a responsibility to ourselves to let that voice out. 

I suppose the question that y'all might be asking is, what do you believe in or about yourself?  Well, I have written about there here when I wrote about who I am. 

Today is the second day of Jeff Goins, 15 Habits of Great Writers, today I am writing about believing in myself.  You can read my first post in the series here, or link up with Jeff & the community that are taking part here.

Tell me, do you believe?

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt and Sparkle = Life Remarkable