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The Art of Risteard O'Marcahain

Updated on August 5, 2014

An Artist's Tale

Let me introduce myself - I am Risteard O'Marcahain - In English your would know me as Richard Ryder but for all things art and music I like to use by my Irish name. Art has always been very special to me - from an early age I remember painting and drawing and it was by far my favourite lesson at school. Even when I studied Commerce at University and worked for a living I painted when I could. I have lots of lovely memories in my paintings.

When I got near the time when I felt I would stop work I attended a series of art weekends at a local hotel and grabbed the opportunity when I could to start a Fine Arts Degree at Bangor University.

So here I am at the tender year of 67 doing what I would have loved to have done 40 years earlier - Studying Art - I have reached the Diploma stage which is an exit level course at Bangor University. I have completed one year of this two year course and feel I have still so much to learn

Lets get together and share our stories on our experiences in Art

The self portrait was painted in 2011. Some people say I look younger than the picture but there is me in there.

New set of paintings starting soon I promise


My History in Art

My first important memory in Art was in Leaving Certificate Art at Catholic University School Dublin. I was a 'difficult' teenager always on the edge of trouble but being lucky enough to avoid being caught most of the time. I got serious about study when I was about 16 or so and found that my favourite subject was art. I used to look forward to the two hour lessons in the art room and CUS so much - I found the subject easy and I used to just love it.

In my final year at CUS I won the Art prize of a book and an oil painting set. The picture of a Viking ship entering Dublin is long gone but I still treasure the Book and I still use the palette that came with the oil set. - Happy memories. Like most young boys I was very interested in the female figure (at CUS they had to have clothes on) and it appeared in many of my painting at that time. (Nothing changes)

University (Commerce degree) and Work (Investment Analyst) got in the way of what could have been a disastrous art career but I still found time to scribble and spash a bit of paint now and then. None of this was very serious but I have some lovely memories even though many people in art would probably laugh at them they are precious to me.

When I realised that I would stop work I started a series of great weekends away at a posh hotel where we painted - what fun. This continued for some time after I did retire but the cost soon got at me.

In 2011 I fnally realised a dream and started a University degree course in Art. This will go on until I am 70 in 6 years time and I hope to enjoy every minute of it.

In the pages below I will show my art in one place for the first time and I hope to join with others and establish an online gallery with art on sale direct from artists

If you are interested in any of this, would like to buy a painting or give a commission it is easy to contact me. If you are an artist and are interested in participating in the gallery we are still looking for partners.

I hope you enjoy visiting this ongoing history of my life in art. The picture on this section is one of more recent efforts which is not finished yet - a bit like me I hope

Sculpture Term 2012

At the Bangor University Autumn Term I studied sculpture for 10 weeks. This was a great experience

Week 1

We started the Autumn term 2012 on 5th October 2012. The first two weeks of the term were designed to be awakening and liberating by allowing us time to play with 3d without having any great image to create. For the first week we created an abstract 3D piece based on two interconnecting pictures. First I drew a skull of a dead animal which belonged to our tutor. This was a fascinating subject to draw. I would have liked more time to work on the first drawing which was just starting to look interesting when the allotted time was up. This was not the intention of the exercise however and before it was completed we were requested to make a second drawing of the piece from a different angle on top of the first. Some of the students spotted their objective faster than me and make a combined drawing that was very much more picturesque and interesting than I achieved. They were able to exaggerate the second image on top of the first such as a camera lens by Bella I think. My second image on top of the first did not create anything pleasing more a mess. I choose to draw the underneath of the skull which did not create a pleasing contrast or complementary image. We then had to crop a section of our combined image and make a 3D image of the section of the combined image I created a framed image of the section I chose but I was never able to get happy with the combined image I had created. Overall I was disappointed by my efforts on the first day of term but was not surprised as I felt that the long layoff during the summer and the lack of time I had had stilted any creative abilities I may have. I also feel strongly that abstract work will never be my forte in the foreseeable future - I feel so strongly that realism is the direction I want to travel at least for now - Others seem to see ways forward much better that me.

Week 2

On the second week I was on holiday as with my wife's activities in art and the commitments to the cottage for holidays we had not been able to get away before. On Holiday I found that I just could not get the time to focus on the task that Marged had set us. I felt better when she explained the following week that really she felt that the students needed to be directed for t his exercise. Certainly those that attended the week seemed to have had a lot of fun playing with the materials they had brought with them creating fantastical images. I face a similar problem in Spain when I visit our home there. Maintaining it at a high standard so that it can rent always seems to dominate our time there. We have taken the decision that Spain must be sold too but this is hardly the time to have any great expectations there.

Week 3 and 4

For Week 3 we were back to a more formal studio experience. We had a model - Tony - who posed for us. The first week was a sitting pose. Gosh I so enjoyed this week. The challenge of creating a piece in one week was enormous. It required us to work very hard and fast throughout the whole day. I had done this work from other models and felt the benefit from the experiences I have had. With these practical skills behind me I was able to work larger than previously and get more detail into the piece. With more people in the class I was able to pick up helpful insights and skills from them. Previously I have spent a great deal of time at home after the class working on the sculpture image but the next day I was sufficiently pleased with the effort - that I decided that it was 'finished'. That was just as well because the need to clear our cottage ahead of the sale was overwhelming. I would have been wonderful if I had had the confidence to have worked larger and to have had two weeks with the same pose. I appreciate this is not the object of the exercise but it would have been so interesting to have taken these skills to a higher level. From the picture below the head looks a bit large for the piece but this is not apparent from looking at the piece itself - other aspects could have done with a little extra time.

Week 5

Week 5 was a wonderful field trip to the Davies gallery in Newtown with Marged. There were two exhibitions at the gallery but the object of the trip was to see the main one. This was an exhibition by the London based artist Doug Jones entitled Alieni Luris (From somebody else's Authority). There were several installations in the exhibition. They all had latin names which added to the feeling that were tied to his life at school.

Week 6-10

The last 4 weeks of term were dedicated to a self directed study. I was fortunate to get a local person to agree to sit for a bust. This was great and felt like a real achievement. There was so much to relearn and find out. The work was hampered by a lack of time with the model and accidents in transport. Nevertheless, I got to the end of the term and can have a short rest.

I met David the other day - he has grown a beard so I have to start all over again

Learn to paint

I am Proof that its never too late to start painting seriously

Painting DVDs from Amazon

In the forlorn hope of helping to pay something for my University course

Salvador Mundi
Salvador Mundi

Salvador |Mundi

Learning from a Masterpiece

About a year ago I decided that I would like to do a copy of Salvador Mundi the fantastic masterpiece created by Leonardo da Vinci from 1503. He was living in Milan at the time and was commissioned to paint this picture for the private worship of the King and Queen of France.

Later the picture came to England and then disappeared to be found centuries later, restored and brought back to London for an exhibition at the National Gallery.

My version is not finished but it has reached a very interesting phase which I can discuss later. I have to learn how do do glazes to finish this painting

I have included for now the original but I will replace later with mine

Your Comments are everything to me

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    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Meant to say, don`t forget to change the default title on your guestbook.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      6 years ago from Canada

      I`m not very artistic but I do love art. I am glad you are having the opportunity to pursue your dream.

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 

      6 years ago from Washington KS

      I love your "artistic" name and your art.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Love your art and.. It's very nice to meet you.. Risteard :)

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      The portrait painting is really interesting.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      6 years ago

      Love the portrait

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      How wonderful that you have the chance to do what you truly have a dream to do. Best of luck with your art.

    • Brandi Bush profile image


      6 years ago from Maryland

      Your self-portrait is wonderful! You are very talented! :)

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      6 years ago

      How nice for you to be able to follow your dreams. Age doesn't matter, doing what you love does.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 

      6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      It sounds to me like you now have your life all mapped out the way you like it. Your story is a lesson to many of our age. We should never retire from things we love to do. I love drawing but have never been able to paint so I compromised and draw cartoons. Hmm .. Maybe I should do a lens on that.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am thrilled for you that you are getting to live your dream, you are an inspiration! Many would give up but you are grabbing that brass ring and you will enjoy these as the best years of your life!

    • minkyz profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens x

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I like this too

    • kathysart profile image


      6 years ago

      Lovely art!! Nice lens!! YAY! I had a nice visit, Angel blessed.

    • Richardryder profile imageAUTHOR

      Risteard O'Marcahain 

      6 years ago from Wales

      @julieannbrady: Its so great to have you visit I will start putting it up in the next few days - Bless you for your comment

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice to meet the artist ... welcome to Squidoo. Can't wait to see your art too.


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