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This is another ‘stick’ post. This one’s about a ‘serious stick’. It’s just under eight feet long, a beautifully crafted arc of pine(?). Our boat Eileen’s ‘elum’ (helm or tiller which connects directly to the equally huge wooden rudder) had travelled home with me so that I could complete it’s gloss painting.

Gloss is wonderfully enigmatic stuff. It literally reflects your mood. Try painting when your stressed, tense, angry or anxious and all kinds of drama inevitably follows. Gloss picks up your mood and erm, runs with it.

But when the mood and the moment’s right, when the gloss flows creamily from your brush and pools bright and reflective on the surface of the wood it holds a powerful alchemy. The back and forth strokes, the repetitive returning to the tin to replenish the brush set in motion a ‘walking’ rhythm that encourages thought.

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The ‘elum’ standing ready to return to duty on the boat with three glowing bands of ‘bright red’, ‘grass green’ and ‘ivory white’.

By way of illustration here’s where my glossing took me today:

“My paintings talk of relationships. How bodies come together. How they touch. How they separate. How they live together, in harmony and disharmony. The character of bodies changes constantly through my work. According to colour. The opacity and transparency of how the surface is made. This gives it its character and its nature. Its edge defines its relationship to its neighbour and how it exists in context. My paintings want to tell stories that are an abstracted equivalent of how the world of human relationships is made and unmade. How it is possible to evolve as a human being, in this.” Sean Scully

It began with Sean Scully’s paintings:



Painting by Sean Scully documented in his Manhattan studio

Painting by Sean Scully

Touched on the drystone walls of Aran:




And Scully’s photographic response to them:


Inis-Oirr-Vl-2005-Sean-Scully-black-and-white-photograph-56.7-x-72.6-cmAnd ended with the similarities and differences between three wooden Brio trains…

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Good stuff this gloss paint!



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