Deirdre Walsh was born in 1957. She lives and paints in Mayo where she is continually inspired by an elusive light. After graduating from University in Galway, she spent six years in New York where she studied painting at Parsons School of Design and The Art Students League. During that time, she had an opportunity to set up an Art Department in a large inner city High School. She returned to Ireland in 1993 and has been exploring her local landscape since, as a plein air painter. She was Artist in Residence with Mayo County Council from 1995-2000 and has developed art programmes for people in long term care settings.
“To paint the West of Ireland requires that one is in a state of readiness. The plein air painter must be alert to the elusive and ever changing light of the outdoors. The readiness I speak of requires a discipline which for me began over twenty years ago under the watchful eye of Richard Vernon Goetz at the Art Students League of New York. Through the rigorous discipline of observation and mixing colour, it was as if I had been given a new set of eyes. During my years at the Art Students League, I had been greatly influenced by the French and American Impressionists ability to fasten light to the canvas in what appeared to be a series of simple and confident brushstrokes.
Since returning to Ireland in 1993, I have been compelled to respond to my local landscape. The painting experience is a fusion of an emotional response and a hurried chase to catch the light. This demands taking my easel outdoors, to be alert, seize the essentials and to finish quickly.
Driven by a sense of urgency, I continue to be caught up in this dance with nature. Notes of colour appear and disappear as if through a mysterious veil .Every single brushstroke, like a clear note of a symphony must be deftly played. As in music there is no room for a discordant note. The light strikes, a moment is revealed and there is only a small window of time in which the tune can be played. For me each painting is a silent orchestral piece.”