Eimear Maguire is an artist and the owner of Dollybirds Art. Eimear will be presenting her artwork at the Design Ireland stand at Showcase, Ireland’s Creative Expo, at the RDS, which runs from Sunday, January 19 to Wednesday, January 22; see www.showcaseireland.com
I live in Belfast and come from a very creative family. I studied art at the University of Ulster and went on to train as a teacher. I taught for a few years but gave it up to start my own business.
It has been hard work, especially with a young family, but I love that I have been able to combine my love of nature and art in Dollybirds.
I start most days with a quick walk on the mountain after the school run. Cavehill is right on my doorstep. I love living in Belfast because I am so close the city and mountains. I have a studio close to home, so I am usually there everyday painting, getting orders ready for stockists or website customers, working on my website or designing new products. Sometimes I will have meetings with stockists or suppliers to discuss new ideas.
One of my most recent paintings has been of Bog Cotton. Its such a simple Irish Wildflower but extremely difficult to paint. It tested me because the pale colours and delicate textures were hard to capture. For me it really it is such an important image as it represents the Irish landscape and its history. I have been blown away by the positive response to this print. I have had so many messages and stories sent through about the Bog Cotton and about what memories this print has triggered. That is the best feeling.
I have been working on a new limited-edition version of this print on the most beautiful iridescent paper to launch at Showcase.
I like to keep things simple while also doing justice to whatever I have taken inspiration from. I am my own worst critic and I can spend 100+ hours on each painting. I like to think that each of my prints comes with one of my memories but also that it will trigger a memory or story for whoever owns it.
My work is inspired by my time spent in nature and I tend to paint things as I encounter or notice them. Each image is very much connected to the seasons, we have birds that migrate here over the winter months so that will be the only opportunity I have to see them. I painted the Ash leaves over the summer because that’s when these trees look most magnificent. Beech I started in Autumn when the leaves turned the most beautiful colour of copper.
My dad has been a massive influence. He is 75 now and still goes on the mountain with me at weekends, I have learnt so much from him about appreciating and enjoying nature.
Plants in the home are really on trend which is great as they bring many benefits such as cleaning the air. You know the feeling get when we go to the sea or forest? We can bring a little of that into our homes through plants, natural materials and artwork.
The only thing I would go into a burning building for would be my family.
I have been so lucky to have done quite a bit of travelling and have seen exhibitions by David Hockney, Mark Rothko, Monet etc…I love it all. I think though it is important to stay true to your own style and do what makes you happy.
I would love to use some of my images to create beautiful wall papers or fabrics. Last year Avoca created an exhibition of some of my original paintings long with their homewares. It was brilliant to work with their visual merchandisers creating ideas — to see it completed was absolutely the best feeling. I would like to do something like this on a much bigger scale again.
Choose natural elements for your home in whatever way you can. It has been proven that experiencing and interacting with nature makes us all happier and healthier.