Saturday 20 January 2018

Wexford artists on TV show

By Maria Pepper

Alan Ryan.
Alan Ryan.
David Monaghan.
Louise Treacy.

Three Wexford-based artists are competing to be declared Ireland's best amateur painter in a new show on RTE 1 television called Painting the Nation.

Seven finalists were selected from hundreds of artists who applied to participate in the programme. Among them are David Monaghan (19) from Gorey; Alan Ryan (49),a Dubliner living in Enniscorthy and Louise Treacy (61), a Dubliner based in Tagoat.

During the series which started on Sunday night last at 7.30pm, the artists will attempt to impress two professional judges, Una Sealy and Gabhan Dunne as they travel around Ireland capturing some of the country's most iconic people and places on canvas.

One person will be eliminated each week with the winning artist having their work exhibited alongside some of Ireland's greatest painters in the Office of Public Works' state art collection in Dublin Castle.

All three Wexford painters won through to next week with David Monaghan being name Painter of the Week during the first episode.

Painting the Nation is presented by the actress and author Pauline McGlynn and was produced by Independent Pictures for RTE. It will be broadcast over five Sundays at 7.30 pm each night.

The other contenders are Kevin McCann of Laois who was eliminated on Sunday night, Sinead McCarthy, Cork; Sinead Lawless, Dublin and Agnieszka Ryan, Meath.

Alan Ryan became a full-time dad to his children Luke and Emily after years of travelling as a geologist. Having returned to college as a mature student, he embraced the idea of life-long learning.

Now that the children are a little older, he wants to take the time to focus on developing his painting skills.

His other great passion is fitness and he has competed in 16 Iron Man triathlons worldwide. He became the Irish Iron Man champion at the age of 42 and is the only competitor from the Republic of Ireland to finish on the podium at the World Iron Man Championships.

Alan is a keen portrait painter and having grown up in Skerries, County Dublin he also draws inspiration from landscapes and the sea. He says painting gives him the same sense of satisfaction and calm as training. He prefers to work in private - he doesn't even like his wife watching him work!

Louise Treacy lives in Tagoat when she isn't travelling the highways of Europe in her trusty camper van 'Thelma'. Her interest in art was sparked in her late teens when she worked in hand-lettering and design for a box-printing company.

She enrolled in a life-drawing class and then in her mid-50's, having been made redundant, she decided to study art. She completed a diploma in art, craft and design in her local IT in 2009 and went on to obtain a degree in fine art, specialising in sculpture.

Louise enjoys working in oil and watercolours and also making things out of disused and broken objects. She travels around Ireland and Europe taking part in plein air events and competitions and has won prizes for her work.

In her spare time she loves to write poetry and when she's back at home, she is kept busy by her grandchildren and occasional gardening.

The youngest contestant David Monaghan lives in Gorey with his mum and sister. He has been drawing since he was a child and displayed a special talent for copying drawings and cartoons using pencil and chalk.

He was first introduced to the joys of painting in Transition Year and now loves to work with acrylics although he has recently started to paint with oils. He enjoys painting portraits of family and friends and copies images of famous people from photographs he finds on the internet. He has also begun to dabble in abstract painting.

Although he is only 19, David has already won competitions and accolades for his work. In 2014, he was awarded fourth place in the Texaco Children's Art Competition for his portrait of the poet Seamus Heaney. He later presented the painting to President Michael D Higgins. In August 2014, he was invited to exhibit his portraits of international peace-builders to foreign diplomats at the Caux Palace in Switzerland.

Last year, he won the title of 'Young Artist of the year' in a competition organised by the Talbot Hotel. His portrait of William Orpen is on display at the hotel.

In his downtime, David bakes shortbread, watches history documentaries, reads and socialises with friends.

Wexford People

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