December rainbows

Posted in work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2017 by Brendan Dean

December is here & already the towns are busy with activity in the lead up to Christmas.

It snowed here in Ballinamore the past few days & though we don’t normally get much snow until January, & then only a few days or so, it was nice to get a bit before but at the same time I’m glad its gone as getting out for walks are easier. We don’t  get crisp dry snow here, the current humidity is 97%, which is normal for this climate so our snow tends to be wet & sludgy or icy & hard.

View from my dressing room

Indoors always seems to be cosier when there is snow on the ground, or in our case on the rooftops!   As the fire has been lit every day for a while now, I have been painting pretty much all day, every day which is great as the varying layers dry quickly. Winter is great for that as there is less temptation to be outdoors unless I’m off up the mountain for my daily walks, so I get to explore a lot through painting small pieces of work.

I am tending more and more now to work on small series of 3 or 4 pieces at a time & though they appear to me to be quite different from each other, There is a progressive exploratory evolution in terms of practice.

After my last exhibition in September which was a great success I immediately started into a new body of work, which I usually do as the experience of both putting the show together & the resulting human interaction is always so inspiring that usually, I can’t wait to get back into the studio.

After a flurry of varying pieces which emerged after a holiday by the sea, resulting in a few paintings of beaches & one large mobile which is the subject of my last blog post & a few other sketchpad doodles & dabbles in the studio.



Evolution 1, mixed media on black Fabriano Paper, 12 x 12 in,  October 2017


I started into a couple of pieces to loosen up & went onto 3 pieces which were each  24 x 24 in square & though they were going well, I did think I tended to get bogged down in both the application of material & the resulting details, which was fine but just a bit tedious.  so I decided to go back to basics which I often do to reground & fire up my creativity so to speak and just have some fun, which is always more exploratory.


Oct- nov 2017   24 x 24 in each , acrylics on board

Acrylics on board,  24 x 24 in each, October 2017



I find that focusing on composition & working with small pieces allows me the freedom to both loosen up & allow something to come through that is not contrived or coming from my head.


Acrylics on 8 x 10 in canvas boards nov 2017

So this is where I started these exercises on small boards, which was interesting in itself as someone had given me a pile old canvas boards they weren’t using and as I was out of small boards ( I usually use MDF boards as I like the surface and the sides which I can paint around) I thought id use these for a change and see how it went. I cut small strips of wood about 1/2 inch wide and glue two on the backs so they can be hung on those and when finished look like they are floating on the wall surface which I really like, unframed they are not boxed in which I also like as they remind me more of drawings in my sketch pads….I do love my sketchpads!!!   The whole experience becomes more free for me like playing as a child before we have to grow up & take everything so seriously.




3, 5 x 7 in, acrylics on card . donated to INCOGNITO,

INCOGNITO is an exhibition of 1500 small-scale artworks – all the size of a greeting card (148mm x 105mm) – which will grace the walls of a Dublin city centre gallery space in Spring 2018. The public will be given the opportunity to buy each work for €50. Among these 1500 artworks are a large number of much more valuable collectable pieces from well-known artists – but no one knows which they are (although everyone is welcome to guess).

Every single euro from the sale of these works will go to The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation to help sick children – not to the administration of the charity, but directly to the nursing care of children with brain damage in every county across Ireland.

This arts fundraiser is a slight departure for Jack & Jill from its previous arts initiatives of three dimensional cows, eggs, pigs and hares over the years and it’s hoping that the simplicity and speed of this approach will appeal to a wide base of artists and the anticipation and gamble of revealing the artist post-purchase means that all buyers will get to make an affordable purchase of something they like, and some buyers might just pick up something very valuable for €50.

Details are available now on and people can contact the project manager Lucinda Hall on to find out more. 



In the middle of a dozen or so pieces on the go which were or were not working so …taking longer as I rarely give up…preferring to initiate patience and just keeps working on them until they begin to reveal their true nature…Talk about a metaphor for life! these 3 pieces for incognito helped as did a pile of 2in pieces I did to loosen up and also really focus on compositional elements which I always have to remind myself of as with abstraction there is always the tendency to go off on a tangent all over the place.



Compositional exercises on 2in square magnetic plastic….Fridge magnets!!!!




Screenshot-2017-12-9 Brendan Dean ( brendan dean 7) • Instagram photos and videos.png

Untitled 1, Acrylics on panel,  8 x 8 in, Dec 2017


These final pieces I am very happy with & I like the direction so…onward & we will see where it all takes me………..I like the landscape quality and they remind me of certain elements contained in the works of 18th & 19th-century illustrators which I’m fond of & contemporary painters also….excellent   the inspiration is working!!!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So though there may be rainbows outside here in December, certainly there are those indoors…..xx




Sea Goddess October 2017

Posted in Musings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2017 by Brendan Dean

Ironically I finished my mobile I have been working on for a while…today…the day (Storm..After hurricane) Ophelia hit Ireland….It looks and feels like a regular autumn storm here …from indoors anyway!    Thanks for double glazing!!!

This mobile is a practice run for a stabile I have in the making,  waiting for the paper mache base to dry out which can take ages, sometimes months,  thankfully I have it beside a dehumidifier so it’s only taking 3 days or so…….

The inspiration comes from all the driftwood, seashells and bits I have amassed over the years waiting for a suitable project….my recent trip to Wexford and all my childhood favorite beaches are the inspiration, along with the pile of oyster shell pieces I collected while there………..

I also wrote a few poems while meditating on the beaches there so will include one at the end of the picture selection here…………Enjoy!




SEA GODDESS……………..Mixed media,  27 x 52 inches   October 2017








Oh to b beside the sea

so still, A sound so quiet,

A breeze so gentle

drifts about me, caressing me softly

Kissing the edges of my mind,

Unveiling my ancient past

The sun comes out, peeks then shouts

Dancing on jewels across golden scape.

That once were mountains,

Rocked to dust by a salty memory.

So many treasures, each one unique

teach the game of appreciation & desire

Did I ask? Was I given permission,

Thank you, thank you for all the love.

This ocean so green,

a pale, particular green

full of life & invitation.

Orange bars across its face

draw my eyes to fresh green hillsides,

devoid of interruption, no rushes here

just glistening wheat fields

dotted with ochre yellow cylinders

Monet himself would have been proud to paint.

Small birds thrown across the sky,

dance with the wind that is their nature

A single call catches then whisks away the lofty space

with its feathered makers to another place.

This ancient place where no one lives

its silence undisturbed by my footsteps

calls me back from the edge of memory

Let go, let go… its all done now.

I wonder, I barely notice

the lone grey heron that stands out there

green waves splash through two sticks

Patiently waiting for some morsel to appear.

This drowsy place, makes me want to lie down,

Stay here a while, climb in bed with my ancient past

once I knew this place, a long long time ago

That soft green sound that endlessly rolls in

Calling me to sleep like a lullaby,

Caressing the edges off my concerns

Let go….let go….its all done now.

That notion,….. this ocean…. pulls at me

to let my salty memory wash away,

A bright yellow line on the horizon

the edge of this world that ends in sunlight

leaves me with a certain stillness

an option just to be,……to be.

Brendan Dean…………. Grange beach, Fethard on sea Sept 12th 2017






Posted in Uncategorized on October 9, 2017 by Brendan Dean

Time for a self-portrait, methinks, it’s been a while so on with the show….

This time I thought I would just photograph myself instead of standing in front of a mirror, so I duly did that & projected it onto a canvas with a black ground.  interestingly the resulting image which I drew the outline of & was going to fill in the details by hand afterward turned out to be elongated because of the projector lens….Hmm so I had to adjust everything, nose, chin, lips, mustache, shorten the top of my head and widen the space between ears and eyes….lol,  so in the end, I drew the whole thing anyway by hand!    The thing about portraits is if the proportions or angles are even a couple of millimeters off, the image will look like someone else. This was very evident when copying classical portraits so it’s a good idea to project at least for the basic proportions, though I’m sure I could do it by hand which I have done many times…..But hey….Have technology!   use it……..the real artistry comes after all that anyway.


I used white watercolor aquarelle pencil to sketch with so it would not muddy the paint.

At this stage, I have yet to decide if it will be realistic or just the base for something more, not abstract but…..we shall see……….



Wow is that really what I look like………Apparently so!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 24, 2017 by Brendan Dean



Opening Night “Untitled, A conversation in time”

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2, 2017 by Brendan Dean

The past few days were hectic somewhat as I busied myself with firstly hanging the show on tuesday, thankfully helped by the wonderful charlie Perpoil who offered his expertise for the day. The entire show , all four spaces was pretty much hung by the end of that day except for a splattering of small pieces which I finished off the next day on wednesday. Then of course there were all the small details like numerous changes to the catalogue, and reprinting the poetry which I wanted included and I felt in the low light it was difficult to read and placing all the finishing touches like small freebies and inspirational quotes and of course all the writing on mirrors.

Then on thursday after finishing off bits and bobs including cleaning all the glass of which there was a lot, I returned home to bake the cake and make the sandwich fillings.

I finally got to lie down around 9pm and practice my speech as I was opening the show myself, which im told is somewhat unusual, however i thought …well who knows my work and process better than me…and I really wanted to share it myself…      before I left the gallery on thursday i went around with the camera and took some shots as i was so happy with the way it looked and this show i thought i wanted to document very well as in the past i had neglected to photograph the actual space itself with the work hung in it.



Solas Art main gallery

To cut a long story short, on the opening night  Friday I arrived with food at 7pm to a very quiet gallery, which was pretty normal and by 7.30 the space was filling up. As people arrived i met and greeted them and was delighted to see so many faces I knew, Practically everyone really, which was so lovely as it felt like a family affair.

Before the speech making began i was already blown away with the level of compliments and amount of people, in particular Artists who found the show so inspiring in that it validated their desire to show who they really are in their own work.

I had put the show together so the 2 gallery spaces downstairs were like public spaces, as in the face we show to the world, what is expected of us. And the upstairs 2 smaller spaces were like the private selves we rarely show to the world but are really our true selves under the masks that we wear.

In those spaces upstairs I had originally decided i wanted one to be a studio space were unfinished work and the mess that often is my studio when im in the process of working was strewn about…raw and unpolished      And the second space i was planning to be super positive with a wall of mirrors full of inspirational quotes relating to self love and affirming positivity which i have been actively working at since graduating in 2011.

On the day i took everything down to the gallery and was open to what worked and what didnt. I had already decided the studio idea wasnt a goer as it would be impossible to manage without being there to make sure the work wasnt moved or damaged….so on the day it evolved into what it was…..Some pieces were left out and others included as an after thought to complete the athmosphere…after a conversation with Siobhan OMalley last week, who works constantly with Artists, I was inspired to include some poetry i had written in 1999…She had suggested i read some out on culture night as i had agreed to talk about the work on that night as the show would still be there.  I decided to include it in the gallery and that room became the space where my old self was, a wall of self portraits from my past, the poetry and several other pieces which related to depression and those dark times from my past. Charley helped me and indeed suggested we darken the space, so we blocked out the window and subdued the lights.

The effect was amazing…I loved the contrast between the dark depressing space and the room next door which was super light. positive and fun….very powerful



Amazingly all the four sculptures worked perfectly in the spaces    I really felt like I was divinely guided as the entire show couldnt have been better, every piece fitted in perfectly…This was reflected in peoples reactions,  so many people were moved to tears by the contrast & one man said to me ” I dont like abstarct work at all, yet from the moment I arrived in the gallery I was blown away by the fact that I absolutely loved practically everything”

A truly wonderful night…To be congratulated and showered with honest heartfelt compliments and hugged by almost everyone….And red dots too! .

OMG  so much love …..thank you universe!    I am truly blessed 

The show continues until saturday september 23rd    & i will be as i mentioned  talking more in depth about my practice and the show on culture night at 8pm September 22nd.

“Untitled, a conversation in time”

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26, 2017 by Brendan Dean
Invite for Brendan Dean Opening.jpg



Opening at Solas Art Gallery, Ballinamore on Friday Sept 1st is “Untitled, A conversation in time” A solo show by local Ballinamore Multimedia Artist Brendan Dean.

The show title is a contradiction as the work explores the balancing of contrasts in our daily lives.

Made over the last two and a half years the work is a mixture of mostly paintings with some paper mache sculpture and other pieces and is both colourful and intriguing. Most of the work is abstract which Brendan has always preferred to work with, though he manages figurative work very well. He feels that abstraction helps the viewer to focus on an emotional response…Heart over mind so to speak.

“ My ability to play like a child is what I aim for more and more while making work, this allows my subconscious to speak through the work and that I feel conveys something we all can relate to and often perhaps deny in our daily lives”

Brendan will open the show himself  as he not only knows his own work very well, but is happy to always talk about it.  He will be introduced by artist, curator and technician Martin Reading who until 2013,was responsible for the exhibition galleries at The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon & wrote for many years in the leitrim Arts newsletter.

The exhibition opens Friday 1st September at 7.30pm and runs until Saturday 23rd September. There will be another opportunity to hear about Brendan’s work as he joins us on Culture Night, 22nd September.

Solo Show Sept 1st at Solas Gallery Ballinamore, Co Leitrim

Posted in Uncategorized on July 24, 2017 by Brendan Dean

5 weeks to go to the show opening at solas gallery……. Feeling good that I have plenty of work ….still  a lot to do but hey ho….Its all good…Ill get there


Auglin series no 12, mix media on Board, 12 x 12 in,  2017



The work mostly employs a technique where i respond to abstract forms with little or no preconcieved notions of the outcome.  This i find allows my subconscious to speak visually which has more emotional resonance than any words would. in this way it is as much a kind of therapy as a platform for a conversation to take place which perhaps bridges the gap between the collective consciousness and the individual.


Auglin series no 8, mix media on Board, 12 x 12 in, 2017


Auglin series no 20, mix media on Board, 6 x 6 in, 2017