Art for Arts Sake

To be able to sketch a potrait, sit down to paint a favourite seascape, ponder the different colours and how to mix the right one for your needs. These are concepts and pleasures that I have always pursued and tried to grasp at over the years. Maybe you need to be born with a certain flair for these kind of things. There is no doubt in my mind that I have always had a quiet appreciation for any kind of art. Visiting the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork City used to be one of my favourite pasttimes as a teenager…coaxing other unwilling friends through the doors if a new exhibition happened to be there. They always thanked me for exposing them to a sometimes hidden world. These artistic pleasure’s needed to be sought out, you had to make an effort to find them. The prize for your efforts was a great reward that stayed with you for a long time afterwards.
Nowadays, I try to light the darkness with a taste of the hidden arts that are always just at your fingertips…you just need to stand on your tippy toes to grab them to you heart. My little girl, Eabha, has a flair for drawing and colouring and so we took it upon ourselves to nurture this fledgeling talent with art classes from a nearby art teacher. The teacher lives in a quaint little cottage a few miles down the road from us. A house lost in time, uninterfered with from the modern ways of thinking…all intact and acounted for sir!! She only started last week , so today we needed to get her a folder to carry her drawings and paintings. Comical to say the least since the bloody thing is nearly as big as her….waiting for her to grow up and to fill it with an ever increasing portfolio of wonderful sketches and drawings of all things beautiful. I hope the teacher will act as a fertiliser to something that could easily wither with the winds of youth. Every encouragement is needed at such a young age.
Sometimes I sit on the couch at home imagining whats in store for them. What lays ahead for these little girls on the long journey of life. Will they fall in love? Will they travel the world. The one thing that I will encourage in them is a wanderlust that should see them on many’s the train and bus journey in the future. One of the visions that I see in these daydreams is me talking to them as equals…having a chat on the complexities of life and at the end of our discussion …me being flabbergasted at the way they opened up a philosophical door that I had never seen opened before. Will they amaze me with their knowledge of all things politcal, technical, natural, musical, local ……endless amounts of stuff that I may have yet to discover….a journey that we embark on together as father and daughters….best of friends …hopefully!
As we were looking in the local art shop for the gigantic folder thingy, an old woman who worked in the shop gave me some advice. “for Gods sake, make sure she doesn’t try to make a living out of it…I had a cousin who was a struggling artist in London who ended up coming home in a box!!! Make sure she ends up as a teacher of art…at least she’ll get a weekly wage from it!” Wise words indeed!

Eabha & Clodagh I don’t want to think that far ahead just right now. I want to live in the moment…enjoy their little nuances and the rapid development of their personalitiies. Each day they come up with a new phrase or a question on the most simple aspects of life that makes you stop and think for a second on just how complicated life is. I know we all had to climb the same ladder, but sometimes you realise just how difficult the climb can be for someone so young. This is a ladder with a lot of obstacles and broken steps to look out for!! Eabha seems to live in a cave of never ending questions that echo on each aspect of life. I have no doubt that she would make a nuclear physicist question his theory after a session with her. Not the simple “where does the light go when you flick the switch” kind of questions. These can be questions which suprise you on a daily basis…making you audit your own views on life…a true philosopher maybe in the making…who knows!!
My other daughter, Clodagh, has the ability to make your heart leap with a simple look or turn of her head. A totally different personality to her sister but to look at them they look like twins. We always get asked are they twins…to which they take it upon themselves to answer for us in their droll Cork accents….”Noooo, wer’e sisters!!”


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