Exhibition: ‘At Sea’ Lisa McGill

Lisa McGill is primarily a seascape artist, living in Rathmullan. As a young girl, Lisa spent several carefree summers on Rutland Island, the island of her forbears, so she likes to believe that this explains the tug of the sea. Living in Rathmullan also has a huge influence on her art as it informs her work on a daily basis. ‘Every day, almost every moment of every day, the sea changes. Then depending on the time of day, or the weather, or the light in the sky…the sea takes on a different mood.’

Walking the beach and studying the curve of a wave or the reflection of a seagull’s wing on the water is, she happily says, not time wasting, but research. Lisa worked in the media for over twenty years before returning to painting and writing. She is a published author who loves to paint, or a painter who happens to be a published author. “I enjoy both. Writing and painting use very different parts of the brain. When you are writing, it’s very insular. Apart from the research phase when you are out and about, you live in your head. Painting is the complete opposite. You are constantly watching…really looking at things. It’s all about the external stimuli.”

Although it is mainly seascapes that Lisa paints, a trip to Italy last year has had a strong influence on her colour palette and subject matter. As part of an art conservation and restoration project in Southern Italy, she worked on restoring Byzantine cave frescoes. “Between the 8th and 12th centuries, small monastic communities emigrated to Southern Italy and there are these beautiful traces of their religious and iconographic art on the walls of a network of underground settlements.” Although she learned some of the traditional techniques used in the creation of frescoes, as she says, apart from certain restoration projects, there are not many outlets for these skills. “Instead, I found myself trying to recreate that cracked beauty that I saw on those centuries old walls, but on canvas.” Lisa has a series of fresco style paintings. “I visited Pompeii, and it is stunning that remnants of these beautiful wall paintings still exist from two thousand years ago. The colours are still so striking and vivid. It did make me want to experiment with more colours than the green and blue of the sea!”

It has awoken her interest in the decorative arts, and Lisa has made a recent trip to Florence for further study at an artisan workshop.

“There will always be the sea, and I can’t but help paint it, but I have definitely become more interested in painting from a restoration and conservation point of view.”

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  • Category: Exhibition
  • Date: Thursday 30 March 2017 - Saturday 17 June 2017
  • Times: open daily - see here for our opening hours. Admission is free.
  • Admission: Free