Island Requiem

ISLAND REQUIEMtempera grassa (egg-oil tempera) on true gesso panel, 24" x 36". 
© Fergus A Ryan, 2013 

In 1953 the entire population of Great Blasket Island was moved, in their own perspective, 'out to Ireland', leaving the haunting sight of the abandoned houses of Europe's most westerly village. There are no roads on the steep hillside and the island is now home only to long-haired donkeys, sheep, and sea birds. This house, the highest in the village, looks longingly across Blasket Sound for its former owners, and the distinctive cross at the foot of Mount Eagle 5km away seems to suggest a requiem for a lost world sitting just off the most westerly point of the Irish mainland. The short distance seems almost infinite.

This painting has quite a strong abstract form, an architectonic harmony of shapes in the form a series of arrowheads—the house and shadow, the background landmass, the light sky-sea shape, the island cliff edge. In the midst of the calm scene the pointed shapes introduce a certain uneasiness or disturbance, a sense of loss. A calming hint of the island's continuing life is indicated by the suggestion of an animal track in the grass to the right of the house winding its way towards the edge of the hill and completing a visual line with the far headland.

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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  My Facebook art page is here. A video of some of my paintings is here on YouTube.