Monday, July 2, 2012


The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig is a  haven for authors, artists, musicians, composers, film makers, performing artists.    I spent one week there in May and it was a week I will always remember.  I was lucky to recieve a bursery from my local County Council and in the first week in May 2012  I packed my paint brushes along with  my watercolour paints,  some beautiful 300 lb weight watercolour paper and made my way to The Tyrone Guthrie Centre.   I really did not know what to expect as this was very new to me.   I am a self published author of only 4 years, you could say I developed my talents late in life as I am a grandmother with 5 beautiful grandchildren.   I have written/illustrated and self published 5 books and when I received the bursery I did not know what I would do.   Would I write, would I illustrate a children's book or would I paint big pictures?    I never thought of what the house would be like or about the wonderful people I was about to meet.....

From the moment I drove in through the white gates I was transported to a deep sense of calmness, peace and belonging.  Annaghmakerrig lake was gleaming in the sunshine and   I was greeted with openess and friendliness by the staff.   I got a tour of the house and was very lucky to be given my very own small studio and adjoining bedroom called the Artist Room in the big house.    There were other cottages alongside the house where one could go for a week, or even one month but I was glad to be in the house itself.   My room was so compact and peaceful and it was there that I worked morning till nightime creating my masterpieces.

I chose to paint a selection of poppies, large and small and I had a wonderful week doing just that.   I had been extremely busy for many months before my week in Annaghmakerrig and I really appreciated this wonderful opportunity to spend time with myself resting, meditating and just painting. 

There was no need for me to worry about cooking or chores because everything I needed was left in readiness in the huge kitchen.  The friendliness and willingness of staff  to cater for all our needs was just beyond words and the meals were meticulously planned  on a daily basis. 

There is a tradition that all artists staying  in the house meet at 7.00p.m for dinner and the gong rings out to call everyone to the large dining table which seats up to 20 people.   People relax and get to know one another and each evening people move around the table and within a few days everyone knows their neighbour.  Everyone talks about the beautiful food and everyone benefits from hearing about each others work, their ideas etc and how the athmosphere of the house lends itself to the development of and sharing of ideas and art.    I met many amazing authors, artists, playwrights, composers and performing artists each one was working on something new, or putting the final touches to a play, or a piece of artwork.   Many of them had been there several times before and they assured me that if this was my first trip, it would certainly not be my last.

I think they are right...........

Below is a selection of paintings which I completed in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, Co. Monaghan.

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