NYLON AND STEEL TWO oil on canvas 10 x 10 inches

NYLON AND STEEL TWO oil on canvas 10 x 10 inches

I did not expect things to end so abruptly but it seems I have, unwittingly, forced my own demise as a painter. Or maybe not so unwittingly. My initial idea was to pull the painting out of my life so that I could rearrange it. After a month I realised painting would still fit into my life somehow but I was willing to let time sort that out. In the mean time I thought it would be a plan to get rid of some of my work.

In spite of my continuous experience of rejection by the powers that be in the art world and maybe with the sneaky thought that once I had given up doors previously closed would start to open, I submitted two works to the Eigse open exhibition as I have done before. As before, they were rejected.

At the same time, a gallery, who I had hoped would take some pictures from me has informed me that are not taking any more artists on.

This is not a big thing. Many writers and artists insist they suffer many, many rejections. Maybe I should have applied for many more things over the course of my career to become more hardened, but I found I wanted to paint rather than spend time filling out applications and waiting and hoping for letters of approval. Screw the approval, I thought, I’m just going to paint. Unfortunately, over time, when you have nothing else going on in your life, it is just not enough.

Many would say it is enough to love painting, to just to do it, I would not agree now. It is lonely work and when you have nothing else on either a personal or public level, when it is the centre of your life, having little beyond LIKES on FaceBook or compliments from friends “Aren’t you GREAT!” to breathe life back into what you are doing is like living in a vacuum:impossible.These days too, like many others, I am finding that more of my energies need to be directed towards just surviving.

At then end of the day, no matter what anyone says, rejection untempered by any concrete acceptance is extremely tedious to say the least . In this instance the timing seems to be crucial too. It is a time of review for me and this has brought back every door that had slammed in my face ober the years vis-a-vis my painting. And boy have those doors slammed.

NYLON AND STEEL ONE oil on canvas 10 x 10 inches

NYLON AND STEEL ONE oil on canvas 10 x 10 inches

In terms of living, following a path where all the doors are closed to you is insane.  Or it  will eventually make you insane. I am certainly heartily sick of it. I am also starting to believe that to struggle against the flow of life only adds to difficulties of life. Don’t get me wrong I believe life is always hard. It’s just I think I would like a little bit of good stuff too, if only in the form of some relief. Continuous struggle is just a pain in the damn butt and serves no purpose at all. It’s time to stop swimming against the current.

It is one thing to persevere and entirely another to keep going against all the messages the universe is sending you. In this case the message is finally for me that I am just not good enough to be a public painter. Private for my own pleasure but public, no.

A person needs more recognition from the world and not necessarily to feed ego, though ego is always a factor and anyone that tells you different is lying. We are all human. Recognition, acknowledgement of a job well done, can keep you going on some sort of vaguely forward moving trajectory. Recognition of your peers is also pretty much essential in every walk of life. Think about the job you do, if you care about it at all how hard it would be if your colleagues thought you were crap?When the majority of people who work in your sphere continuously fail to acknowledge you it is time to move on.



I do not want to be grubbing around in poverty in 50 years, worn out from struggling, because I refused to read the writing on the wall. I’d rather be grubbing around in poverty in 50 years time after a life spent actually living and with memories of more than standing alone in a room.

I guess I have said a lot of this in the previous two posts and I am sure many more decisive people than me are wondering why I am still banging on about it. I have always been slow to move, like an elephant turning around in a small room. I have always been drawn to (over)analysing things too. I have been enjoying a wake for my painting I suppose but now life is hammering nails in this particular coffin. It is a good thing I think. I am not being allowed to take the easy way out and put everything on the long finger. I am deciding now.



Of course there’s a ‘but’. There is always a ‘but’. As I have said in previous posts I won’t steer clear of painting forever. I can see myself making my surfers in the spare corners of my life for the sheer joy of doing it, though I believe it will take a while for me to able to come back to them free of all the bullshit I have been carrying about.

It was in the painting of the surfers that I enjoyed the actual act of painting for the first time, studio painting at least, splashing about on a big scale is always fun but unfortunately not often possible.

Maybe that was because at the time I was painting surfers I was engrossed in creating an exhibition that I wanted to be successful for other people rather than just for me. Maybe that is the only way we can catch happiness:out of the corner of our eye. And in that comment I realise that my painting has failed because I expected too much from it. I expected it to make me happy and it was my expectations that broke me in the end.

All for the other creative stuff I am doing the cartoons, the scribbles, the photos, the writing, I will still keep going. They are easy things, things that happen by the way, though I confess now the writing is making me leery. I am getting a lot of compliments for it, and I have to remember not to allow them to skew my feelings for it or make me think I should pursue it as any kind of meaningful occupation or make it a hub of my lifes wheel, which is what happened with the painting.

Of course I am older now a few light years more cynical and weary than I was when I started painting and it has to be said the main thing that keeps me writing is that I enjoy the act of writing a hell of a lot more than the act of painting. I painted because it was something I could do. I write because I want to. Sometimes I do wish I wanted to do something that was a little more of an earner… 🙂

On a practical note I still have that difficulty of getting rid of paintings. Over the summer I think I will have some kind of car boot sale or market so keep your eyes peeled, they’ll be going cheap. And if the universe slams that door in my face I’ll just burn the damned things.



  1. Frighteningly honest and raw , but you sure can write just don’t turn into a journo on me!


    • Some people take a break, go off and do something different and then come back re-freshed and re-invigorated. It is many a writer who was rejected, many, many times before finding recognition. Sometimes it is public sales that make all the difference. And as a painter one thing you can do(and indeed have done) is to have an exhibition. Don’t give into the temptation to burn your works. I have a number of relatives and friends who are painters and find it difficult in this time of austerity but still work at their art, if sometimes only on an occasional basis. But there is no talk of burning anything. One or two are doing smaller works, bearing in mind that larger works are hard ro sell and some have adapted to doing different things, such as special pieces for niche markets. People who focus too much on peer recognition are often disappointed. People who concentrate on their work usually find that the recognition comes later and to some being true to themselves is more important.


      • Hi Fintan, appreciate the comment.

        I have realised since I have wrote these pieces that I somehow still haven’t explained myself very well and I am a bit taken a back that so many people want me to go back to it. I don’t want to.

        (I have deleted much of this comment as I think I will make it into a further post as quite a few people have said to me that I should keep painting though I don’t want to and besides, its just me banging on again…)

        When I say I want to give up painting, what I mean is I want to give up the way I have being doing it ie in a studio, alone. I also want studio painting to stop being the centre of my life.

        I am heartily glad on a daily basis that I have taken painting out of my life.

        Anyway, thanks again Fintan


  2. Thanks for coming back so quickly. You have made a brave, life-changing decision. Nobody would consider that something to be treated frivolously. Not eveyone has the courage to make that decision. I also know people who started out as artists or writers but found the path a lonely venture and switched to other things or retained something of their original selves as part of a broader canvas. Good luck with all you are doing and may the peace of Christ always be with you.


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