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Let Art Be My Companion Forever

April 12, 2013


My life has always been enriched by art and as I grow older the need to create has become an all important need, each day I have to do something to lift my spirit, even if it’s just a few marks on a piece of paper. I suppose when you make art you look at things in-depth no matter how uncomfortable and then express them through your work and sometimes there is a price to pay. Because it’s a lonely process with intense periods of thought that take you to another place (metaphorically) where the intellectual process is at odds with the general perception of what is normality. It creates a division in your life and tremendous difficulties because compromise causes problems in all aspects of your life.

self portrait

I often work into the early hours in silence and I become very aware of my state of being and it isn’t always easy, last night I was truly aware of something quite bleak about my life and how lifes events and struggles have taken a heavy toll on my psyche. Best described as a feeling of existence without joy, I know it’s a temporary state but never the less it’s an important part of me. In this blackened mood I wondered what could possibly lift the force crushing my spirit and it was only the thought and hope of my art that could hold it all together and offer any light. Sitting alone with a pencil in my hand in silence at two in the morning, a sketch book at my side existing in that moment was like a moment stolen from a chapter of l’etranger. I guess it’s just a bit of a melancholic moment, part of lifes great balancing act but as I’ve decided to face up to my life without reservation I will have to face up to  some great challenges. My great difficulty is finding joy, by nature I’m a smiling type of chap with an optimistic outlook but my life has dealt so many cutting blows that I’ve reached a slight impasse, a clash between my reality and the nature of my being and the outcome is uncertain. I feel like the kindness in my nature has been exposed to cruelty, this may appear naive but as someone who protected their innocence and awe at the world so they could celebrate the wonderful nature of life with optimistic joy, I have been truly challenged. Maybe this is just the truth of life as our ideals erode through the passage of time though I hope not, I would hope through my reflection to find a way forward full of meaning a place rooted in a profound understanding where I no longer feel that my life aches. A place where I’m no longer weighed down  by the burden  of unrealistic expectations and where my sense of freedom flourishes.


As the ray of light shines through my art it exposes a depth of sadness that I never imagined, I see it in my eyes whenever I draw myself, but I’m now  starting to feel a change as I turn a corner. Through my sculpture I’ve learned so much about expressing myself in an open way, it was a difficult transition from the days when an oblique reference satisfied my needs but never the less it’s a vital move. But this shift with my work has had great consequences in my life because it has opened up all the wounds and experiences of my life and while there has been so much good and there really has I can’t help but feel the effects of this dark cloud that stalks me. Now in the harsh light of day I realise that I have to balance my lifes experience and learn to live with it as we all do. After all I have much to be thankful for and celebrate in my life when I truly open my eyes and heart to all the possibilities out there. I think I know the way forward (for me) and it’s through a balance where happiness and sadness co-exist in equal measure.


A few years ago I stopped drinking, watching tv, turned a blind eye to the news and switched the radio off in my studio, in short I removed the distractions of my life which led me to a crossroads. I had to face up to myself without distraction and question my directions, my relevance and look for a meaning to my existence. I found I had no choice but to take the path that I’m on now where I had to address more direct narratives and invigorate the content of my work. I have at times on my new path been clumsy and even resorted to producing disturbing images and using colourful language, but how else can you find your boundaries and limits and indeed what you are capable of? How do you know what you want to express until you’ve tried it? In a way it felt clumsy and at times ugly but changes are a challenge and often have to be forced through by whatever means, often leaving you in limbo with half a concept that you think works, but really you don’t know because you are lost in a sea of uncertainty. I would regard it as a process with a broad lateral approach so open-ended that you are aware of an immense freedom where you pick what you want to work with. If I had not made this change I would have remained just so but I have and though it’s been difficult I have learned priceless lessons, soul~fields wouldn’t exist and my life wouldn’t be so full of wonder even if some of it is painful. Right now I have achieved a level of composition in my equine sculpture that I could not have imagined possible and I feel that I have pioneered my own sculptural language. On a superficial level it has brought me no recognition or eased my struggle but as an artist I hold my head up high because I am proud of my achievements and the good thing is that there’s a lot more in the tank. But most important is the lesson that I have learned, to stand up even more for what I believe in and now I have the strength of character and belief to follow my dreams and vision. I have also found out about the constraints we impose upon ourselves that inhibit our lives greatly and used this to overcome issues with my work caused by insecurities.


The result of my reflection is a great step forward, where I have faced up to my past and will now move on to a brighter future free from the constraints that were holding me in limbo because life without hope, optimism, joy and love is not living. But somehow I have to change my fortunes and that is difficult after looking at the world through black tinted spectacles where at times every action aimed at the outside world appears to be a chore and goals seem to be unobtainable. But in writing this I am at least admitting to myself that there have been issues in my life and focusing on the negative aspects is doing me no favours, I can’t change anything so I have to let go even more no matter how painful that is and work my way forward with my life long companion, my art. Art has often been described as a mistress but it’s a lot more than that, when you have given your life to it you are held and captivated by its presence as your paths are inextricably linked through lifes roller coaster ride. It’s not about fame or fortune either it goes much deeper for me it defines my very being I guess what you would call your soul which is why my search for truth and freedom mean so much and why when I’m thrown off my path  I feel such devastation. As an artist your work is your true voice and it is no more than the sum of its parts it tells your story in full and exposes who you really are on many levels and that is a sobering thought.


Life can get a little complicated 😉


A life in art is an ongoing journey of discovery 🙂

  1. Nancy Newberg permalink

    I too feel a desperate meaning to find my life, it came about when I lost my loves, parents,brother,2 husbands, and my best friend on march 31,13 few weeks ago. I feel like a wounded bird hungry for the sky….if practice at death makes you perfect, I am about as perfect as I can be??? I am here for a reason……….I’ll be damned if I know why ???


    • Hi Nancy, it’s hard to make sense of it all March 31st is my birthday. Maybe as you say to bring a ray of light and as you keep reminding me enjoying the beauty in art. Have a lovely day and take care Eoghan


  2. Nancy Newberg permalink

    Hello Eoghan,
    I re-checked my journal it was March 30,th. My good friend passed ..sorry for the confusion however my Grandaughter’s birthday is the same as yours Now that is a nice connection . I did not know your exact Birthday until your last note, for which I thank-you ..Have a wonderful day and Look into the SUN So its rays will bring you power to inlight your super talent…….Your friend Nancy 🙂


  3. Hi Nancy, (third time lucky) I keep replying to your comment only to find it disappear. I just wanted to say thanks for your positive encouragement it goes a long way. Sometimes you have to reach a low ebb to recognise where you are in life and I think that I have woken up to my reality. I have a bit of mountain to climb and have already started, I’m getting back on track and realise that perhaps you are right about lifting my spirit through my work. A touch of beauty lets the sunlight in and lifts the spirit 😉
    Take Care Eoghan


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