Today I am going to share my thoughts on a painting by the Irish artist Paul Funge. An important figure on the Irish art scene, he is regarded by many as one of Ireland’s foremost portrait painters and his sitters have included politicians, judges, academics and pop stars. As a landscape painter, his work is fresh, exuberant and lively with a wonderful sense of colour and feeling for paint. He founded the Gorey Arts festival in 1970, regarded as a milestone in the development of the Arts in Ireland. He has exhibited widely in Europe, the United States and South America, as well as exhibiting extensively throughout Ireland. His paintings hang in many important private and public collections in Ireland throughout the world.
The painting I want to talk about today is a landscape, Kilmore Quay, painted in 2007.The painting is of a church in the fishing village of Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford. What immediately strikes me about this painting is its simplicity, everything is stripped to its most basic elements. The building itself is shown without windows or doors and the trees in front are expressed in their simplest of forms. In restrained but definite brush strokes, he manages to convey a complete landscape and one where you know the sea is not far away. What I really love about this painting is its colour – improbable but perfect. The pink gable and green roof of the church, the blue trees, the sky brought to life by the dramatic streak of pink and the greens and blues of the foreground combine to produce a work that is at once dramatic and charming – though I am not sure that Paul himself would approve of the word ‘charming’ with reference to the work. It is a painting that evokes for me, a feeling of optimism and harmony and one that the more I see it, the more I love it.
You can check out more of Paul’s work on his own webpage http://www.paulfunge.net from where I took this image.