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Getting to the art of the matter

Teresa Petty, Elizabeth Mansfield, Betty Cooper and Julia Cox, students from the Burren  Painting Centre, with some of the artwork. Photograph by Declan MonaghanPAINTERS basked in the sun enjoying the sea breeze as they put their artistic talents to the test in the Burren Outdoor Landscape Painting Competition on Saturday.
The competition, now in its fourth year, attracted up and coming artists from Clare, Limerick, Cork, Dublin and Galway, among other places.
Chris O’Neill of the Burren Painting Centre said he fantastic weather made the coastal location “very special” but presented its own challenges for the participating artists.
“Last year, participants had to wear wellies and raingear and were almost washed out of it; this year they got sun scorched. The heat and wind, however, make painting quite difficult. One of the locations was Fanore Beach and between the wind and sun there, the paint was almost dry dried as soon as it touched the paper, which is quite challenging for an artist. Some of the paintings, upon completion, unavoidably included pieces of sand and the odd fly, which had dried into the paint,” Chris commented.
The two locations for the competition on Saturday were Ballinalacken Castle on the Coast Road near Lisdoonvarna and Fanore Beach. “Both locations presented amazing views and a good choice to artists in what they could paint from the views before them,” she added.
Sixteen competitors took part in the art challenge this year, with some of the participants painting two pictures.
“The standard was very high again this year. We had a mix of about half and half, between newcomers to the competition and others who had taken part before. A number of the participants stayed in the Burren Painting Centre accommodation and made a weekend of it. For them, the weekend’s art events started on Friday evening, with a demonstration by Ennis artist, Lorraine Wall. On Sunday morning, while paintings were being judged, Dorothee Roberts, a French artist who tutors in the painting centre led a workshop on how to tackle painting stones and stone walls. Participants found this workshop very interesting and it was obviously very appropriate to the Burren landscape,” Chris explained.
The judges for the competition were Patricia O’Breartuin, past president of the Dublin Art and Sketching Club, and Frank Sanford, an American artist now living in Kinvara, who has tutored in the Burren Painting Centre for a number of years.
The winning paintings were put on display in the King Thomond in Lisdoonvarna, where Charles Harper, an elected member of the Royal Hibernian Academy presented prizes. “He also gave a speech on the importance of art and how money should not be cut back from it as it’s so important to community. He made the point that Ireland is renowned for its art and culture. Mr Harper was head of fine art at the Limerick School of Art and Design for many years and is very well known and respected in art circles,” she added.
The overall winner of the competition was Niamh Slack from Ballina, County Mayo, with Clontarf artist June Perkins in second place.
Both artists also came first and second in the oil painting category with their second paintings. Highly commended in the oil painting category was Bebhinne O’Donoghue from Lahinch.
Cillian Boyd from Ennis came first in the water colours/pastel/mixed media category. He was the overall winner of the competition last year. He also picked up a special merit award.
Second prize in this category went to Doolin artist, Cindy Griffin, with Elizabeth Mansfield and Julia Gracey Cox being highly commended.
The prize for best newcomer to the competition was Anita Pagett from Ennis.

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