June 2019: Residency complete- what an experience!

Aisling Drennan abstract painting using oil paint, oil bar and charcoal where to buy abstract painting how to understand abstract art why is abstract art interesting cill rialaig ireland cottage
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If anyone reading is thinking about doing a residency I would absolutely recommend it! Last year I applied to Cill Rialaig Artist Residency in Co. Kerry, Ireland as I had heard a lot of good things about it plus it’s a part of Ireland I don’t know that well. Also at the time of application, I was a bit stuck in my work and thought a residency would be a good change of scene/ pace. I applied June 2018 (the application was pretty straight forward cv, statement, proposal) and by June 2019 I was driving down the road to my studio cottage!

Before arriving I was a little concerned about the solitude as its been a while since I’ve had so much time in my own company. I decided to be selfish to anything outside of my work. I made a list of things I was not to think about (I’m getting married in August so wedding prep was included which was hard!!) to allow myself to stay focused on painting; I’d been given this time and fantastic space and I wanted to take full advantage.

Cill Rialaig is very beautiful and very remote. I did not
see or speak to anyone for the first two days and then slowly began to bump
into other artists, writers, composers who were also doing residency’s there-
Cill Rialaig revealed itself as a great little melting pot of creative minds.

I won’t lie it took me a few days (my residency was for one
week) to adjust to a different studio rhythm from London. Once I got my routine
(beach walk, breakfast, paint, lunch, paint, walk/drive, read, maybe more
painting before bed) I was fully immersed in my work and focused on what I
wanted to do.

Now, I’m back in my London studio and feel like I’ve found my rhythm in painting again. I can see how this residency has helped me; theres strong developments in the work I made plus a direction for future work from studies and notes made in my visual diary. I have thought of my time there many times since I got back and it’s like a little reminder to motivate or to get off my phone/laptop and just get stuck into painting again as I did in Cill Rialaig, which is what I’m going to do now!

Image: The cottage/ studio that I stayed in during my residency


Aisling Drennan is an award-winning abstract artist with a London, UK-based art studio.

Please get in touch to book a studio visit.

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