In August 2013, I have traveled to West Coast of Ireland for a month-long residency at Burren College of Art. It is rich in wilderness and vegetation particularly in the summer time. Burren is by the Atlantic, and felt like it was the west end of Europe. The sky appears huge. The natural light is colorful and constantly shifting with everlasting rain and occasional sunlight.

Burren, 10×32” diptych, Gouache on paper, 2013

There I found an incredible range of mark making in nature. Ancient limestone ground, which spread widely by the coast, has been weathered and etched by constant rain and wind for thousands years. Often, the Irish seascape has been marked by aged limestone walls built by farmers. They have survived for at least a few hundred years in order to protect their land. They carry delicateness and sturdiness at the same time- they were inspirational for the painter who engages in mark making.

Limestone, 20×16” Gouache on paper, 2013 (left)
Limestone Singing,14×11” Gouache on paper, 2013 (right)

Living in an unfamiliar place for a period of time and surrounding myself within the mystical landscape, climate and the unique historical heritage, I was able to give up my habits and expectations in the creative process. Working in the limited and unusual circumstance allowed my work to take a dramatic turn. It felt inevitable to adopt different kinds of mark-making in these paintings.

Photo by: Melanie Simpson