Portraiture HAROLD, egg tempera on true gesso panel, 46 x 61 cm (18″ x 24″), © Fergus A Ryan, 2016

This painting of our neighbour shows a man in whose face is reflected the history of much of the twentieth century. I spent hours listening to his fascinating story. Harold was born in Monkstown, County Dublin, in 1921, the same year as the Treaty with Britain that led to the foundation of the modern Irish state. He was sent to school in Windsor, where his classmates included the Romanoff princes, Michael and Andrew, nephews of Tsar Nicholas II. With rumours of war Harold, then 15, became part of the young Officer Training Corps that formed the guard at the funeral of King George V, in 1936. In 1941 Harold joined the Indian Army as an officer, while still having some of the benefits associated with neutral Ireland. In the 1970s, he was part of the French Civil Service. Returning to his native Dublin, his business included making the special coatings for Dublin’s iconic Poolbeg power station chimneys (featured in my painting ‘Shelduck’). Harold is related to the great Irish Fitzgerald family, the knights of Glyn. Years ago I had the pleasure of bringing his grandsons into the Aer Lingus aircraft simulators at Dublin airport, and Jeremy is now an explorer and famous photographer. Harold was also friends with Capt Kelly-Rogers, formerly Winston Churchill’s personal pilot, who lived near us in Portmarnock. All of which made for a fascinating historical swirl in which to paint a portrait of this remarkable man.


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Fergus Ryan

About Fergus Ryan

View all my Artist Daily images and associated chat HERE ____________________________________________________________ Everything I look at I make a mirror of  Wherein to see my soul in all its seasons.  Patrick Kavanagh To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion all in one. John Ruskin The Presence of Absence I am moved by a sense of the lingering 'presence of absence', the suspension in unbreathed time of reveries of unforgetting, lost presences, and the melancholy of traces. My inspiration in recent years comes from twentieth-century American realism, especially the somewhat disturbing and isolated moods of Andrew Wyeth. There are similar resonances in western Ireland's remote Atlantic landscapes. After a career in flying, my art studies have consisted of extended workshops in the United States with some prominent artists, Koo Schadler (egg tempera), Joe McGurl and Don Demers (oils, en plein air), Stan Miller (watercolour and egg tempera), and David Kassan (charcoal and oil portraits), and in Ireland with Carey Clarke, past president of the Royal Hibernian Academy (oils). In 2013 I spend the summer in Italy studying landscape painting with Israel Hershberg as part of the Jerusalem Studio School master class. In the Spring of 2015 I participated in the 6-week intensive programme of drawing and painting. I have exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy's annual exhibition in Dublin, with works in egg tempera (Buttermilk, Tidepool), acrylic (Extra Room andTerminus), and oils (Dreadlocks, Liminal, Lightkeeper and Reflection). Sudden Breeze was featured in International Artist magazine's Feb/Mar 2009 edition (65) landscape competition, and an 8-page article on my landscape paintings featured in International Artist June/July 2012 issue, number 85.  My website is www.FergusARyan.com  My Facebook art page is here. A video of some of my paintings is here on YouTube.