Props by Pat Byrne

 For the last couple of years I thought about exhibiting some of the props or costumes alongside my paintings so I needed to make them look a bit more presentable than what they were. The Púca horns were the first of the original props to be revamped. When I first made these costume pieces they were made with the intention of being just something to paint from and have shadows and light falling accurately on the characters. They were extremely rough and ready and fairly awkward to wear so the aim with the new ones was to have them more secure and comfortable to have on my head. I also want them to look more realistic. 

 The original horns, made from newspaper and papier mache

The original horns, made from newspaper and papier mache

The originals were made of newspaper wrapped as tight as I could get it, covered in masking tape, then given a layer of papier mache and finally having some acrylic paint slapped on. The new horns were made of tin foil crushed to a fairly solid state, wrapped in plaster bandage and then covered in a layer of filler. After sanding it down I added and shaped the ridges using a little more filler and then onto the paint. I used 2 layers of slightly watered down acrylic, mixed up and applied a dark wash then a light coloured dry brush before dry brushing on a lighter colour over the ridges.

 The newer set made from foil, plaster bandage and filler

The newer set made from foil, plaster bandage and filler

I'm planning to remake the shamrock that the leprechaun wears because the one I'm currently using is my third or fourth one in 4 years and it doesn't hold the paint due to it being made of a type of plastic, it just flakes off. I might reuse the stem but the leaves are the biggest problem, I tried fabric but it was to hard to work with, I’m looking at EVA foam now instead.

 The horns attached to a headband and hat, ready for use

The horns attached to a headband and hat, ready for use

As far as new props go I have a mask made for the Sluagh, it was just a plaster bandage cast of my face with the addition of a beak. I'm trying to make a set of antlers too, these took a bit of playing with but I think I'm happy with them now, they're currently in progress and I want to attempt a set of wings at some stage but these haven't gotten past being a balsa wood maquette yet. The stray sod is another piece of folklore that I would like to paint from too. For this character I want to try and use an under layer to stick the oversized flora to so it looks like its growing out though the hoodie instead of just looking like it is stuck on the jumper.

 The Sluagh mask made from plaster bandage

The Sluagh mask made from plaster bandage

After that some of the props are just clothes that have suitable colours to represent certain things, such as the baseball cap, which had colours and a pattern that I could use in a nod to the children of Lir in their swan form. If I get the wings made they’ll be added to the cap for the full effect, and then there’s the Fear Dearg or Red Man, a relative of the Leprechaun. As the name implies he wears mostly red garb so there wasn’t an awful lot need doing to props or costume for this character.

  He Sat Listening to the Songs , a painting of the clothing that I used without additional props

He Sat Listening to the Songs, a painting of the clothing that I used without additional props

Work Showing in Dublin by Pat Byrne

I have 2 paintings on show in the Soul Noir Festival of the Dark Arts in Dublin this week. The Gothic and macabre themed festival is curated by friend and artist Sinéad Keogh and is running at the Chocolate Factory Arts Centre. It’s the second year of the festival being run, last year it was held in an old Georgian house in Dublin 1, I was delighted last year to receive The Best Emerging Artist Award during the 2017 festival.

 This years poster, designed by  Shota Kotake

This years poster, designed by Shota Kotake

I was up today to install the work and the exhibition looks great again this year and the space works really well too, there are a lot of artists working in different media so I have a link to the Soul Noir website here for more information and the festival Facebook page and Twitter can be found by clicking on each one.

  To the Unknown Spectator , one of the 2 oil paintings that I have in  Soul Noir

To the Unknown Spectator, one of the 2 oil paintings that I have in Soul Noir

The festival opens Wednesday October 31st at 6pm with live music by Midnight Chimes, and then there will be live performances by Fergus Byrne and Ricí Ní Chléirigh. Then on Thursday the space is open from 1pm and there’s a lecture by Ann Marie Curran/The Dead Authors and a live performance later by Aepril Schaile

Work Showing in Westport by Pat Byrne

Back in July I had 2 small paintings in a group exhibition called Island Life at the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery in Dublin. That exhibition is being taken over to Westport, Co. Mayo to go on show at Custom House Studios and Gallery and will be curated by Ingrid Lyons and Kevin Kavanagh.

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It opens on the 25th of October and runs until the 25th of November and contains work by 18 artists, 6 more than the show in Dublin:

Nevan Lahart, Aileen Murphy, Sonia Shiel, Kathy Tynan, Marcel Vidal, Joe Scullion, Stephanie Deady, Lesley-Ann O’Connell, Stephen Loughman, Pat Byrne, Cecilia Danell, William O’Neill, Mark Swords, Julia Dubsky, Robert Armstrong, Dermot Seymour, Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Salvatore of Lucan.

  Lower we Fell , Oil on Canvas, 2018. One of the 2 small paintings that I have in  Island Life

Lower we Fell, Oil on Canvas, 2018. One of the 2 small paintings that I have in Island Life

Work Showing in Birr by Pat Byrne

I have a solo exhibition in Birr at the Arts Centre, opening this week and running until the end of November. It’s running under the same title as the show in Pallas, Between the Hawthorns, but is a combination of oil paintings and the props that I use for the characters in my paintings. There’s no official launch, it’s installed and is open for viewing. The staff at Birr Arts Centre explained to me that there doesn’t always be a great turnout for exhibitions by artists from outside of Birr but being honest I don’t mind, I’ve been really busy painting for exhibitions over the last 2 years and I’m starting to feel a bit burned out, the last few paintings that I finished just felt like a real struggle and I felt like I didn’t know how much was too much with them, what details were necessary and what wasn’t. The main thing is I was happy with them, they wouldn’t have gone on display if I wasn’t.

  Hilltop Domain , Oil on Canvas, 2018. One of the paintings on display in the exhibition

Hilltop Domain, Oil on Canvas, 2018. One of the paintings on display in the exhibition

The reason I want the props in the show is because it’s a direction I would like to go with the work and have the costume pieces on show with the paintings and I felt Birr was a good opportunity to try it out as it’s not an exact white cube space.

 My Púca horns, made from wire, foil, plaster bandage and polyfilla. They turned out a little heavier than I intended but they’re really strong so I’m hoping they’ll last. I’ve recently started playing with EVA foam so that might be a potential replacement material down the line.

My Púca horns, made from wire, foil, plaster bandage and polyfilla. They turned out a little heavier than I intended but they’re really strong so I’m hoping they’ll last. I’ve recently started playing with EVA foam so that might be a potential replacement material down the line.

I’m a little late with this post and sending out invites because I’ve been sick for the last week, another reason why not having an official launch was a good thing and have been trying to get the last few bits finished off for the show so I’ll be sending them out over the next few days. After that I’m looking forward to painting again without the pressure of exhibitions, I want to see where the work goes heading forward and I want to tweak the process. I’ll be continuing with the same theme of mythology and folklore and the same characters will feature plus the addition of new ones. I’m hoping to change up the aesthetic and also work on a larger scale. That’s my plan for the next 6 or 7 weeks and then I’m going to take a bit of a break over Christmas, and in the new year start painting toward a solo show in Westport in 2020 and apply to anything going between now and then.