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Art from the heart of Rathowen

Longford Leader

Published Date:
11 September 2009

By Majella Reid


With few art spaces in the region, it's welcome news that a new art gallery is to open next Sunday in the village of Rathowen.


The gallery is called 'Alla Prima' and marks a new departure for upcoming midland's artist, Lorraine O'Brien.

Lorraine O'Brien's life as an artist had an unusual and rocky beginning. Unlike many of her peers, Lorraine did not go to art college or study art in detail in any form.

For Lorraine, the path was one of emotional recovery. In 2006 Lorraine found herself in "the worst period of my life".

Her husband Terry passed away suddenly, leaving Lorraine alone and with her three children, Jason, Rachel and Ross almost reared, the future looked bleak.

"It was the worst time in my life, and yet from it something colourful and very beautiful came. I started to paint as a therapy and I found that I had a talent for it," says Lorraine.

Lorraine's art is as she describes herself, "art from the heart". From a wide variety of subjects, she will select one that comes to mind as she sits at her canvas.

"It very much flows. It can take me half an hour or it can take me several weeks to paint a picture," she says. "I sit in front of the canvas and whatever comes to mind, that is what will come out on the canvas."

Lorraine's talent is very raw. "If you gave me a photo and asked me to paint it, I wouldn't be able to," she admits. "My art comes from the heart and my imagination. That is how I paint. My favourite artist is Matisse and he once said 'it is one thing to paint still life, quite another to render the emotion'."

For Lorraine, it all hinges on colour. She is quick to note the irony that the darkest period in her life has brought forward some of her most colourful work.

"It really is all about colour. I recently had an exhibition at the Bank of Ireland in Mullingar. It was titled 'Emotions and Colour' and was really well received by local journalists," says Lorraine. "There were about ten pieces in the exhibition."

Lorraine's work is known to have a very broad appeal. Her range of colours, sizes and subject matters ensure that there is something to suit the vast majority of tastes in our region. Her work also has a high level of fluidity to it, making it an ideal contemporary accompaniment to any living space.

Such has been Lorraine's success and widespread admiration for her work, that she has decided to take the ambitious step of opening Alla Prima. The gallery, which will exhibit Lorraine's work, is located in the heart of Rathowen Village, a perfect location for passing traffic as well as local art enthusiasts.

"Further into the future I would like to exhibit the work of other artists as there aren't very many places to exhibit in the Midlands. I am very privileged to have this space," admits Lorraine.

The official opening of Alla Prima will take place on Sunday, September 13 at 5pm. All are welcome to attend.

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