Kathleen King from Dromin, Co. Louth, took up painting as a hobby nine years ago when she was encouraged by two friends who attended art classes at the time
“I work as a special needs assistant,” said Rachel, “so when the work got busier I took a two-year break from the painting.
“Then I heard about the Stabannon classes and it opened up a whole new world.
“And after awhile I developed my own technique because I realised you didn’t have to copy.
“My father who is 91 has great stories and history and I found I could like those stories to what I was doing.”
Kathleen also found that painting was a way of working through loss.
Her husband died and her son Thomas and she found that painting was a way of letting go.
She began to spread her wings and find a joy in her own self expression and developing her own style through acrylic and mixed media.
Her paintings are narratives. They tell a story and reflect on her life past and present and the everyday environment.
And now she has put together an exhibition called Stories.
This is a solo exhibition which will be held at Ardee Castle and the Ferdia Arms and it will be officially opened on Thursday 2 August at 8pm at Ardee Castle by Rachel Thomas.
Rachel has taught many people in the mid-Louth area how to paint and many of the people who have attended her classes have had their work exhibited at a special exhibition during last year’s Ardee Turfman Festival.
In fact, there were 170 works of art on show during last year’s exhibition, covering one year’s work, by her students.
Rachel started her classes at the Parish Centre in Ardee. Then she met Sr Catherine from the Mercy Convent who was setting up an active retirement group.
Rachel also gives art therapy classes at St Joseph’s in Ardee one day a week which she has described as very rewarding work.
Kathleen has acknowledged the great support she has had from Rachel.
“Rachael is a good teacher,” said Kathleen, “and very encouraging and inspiring and really helps people.”
“I have been working on these paintings for the last few years,” said Kathleen, “creating in paint the happenings of our country, stories my father shared with me and my life, past and present.
“Streams of thoughts and things I see compel me to paint. Sometimes prolifically day and night.
“I have reached the good young age of 60 and want to share my painted stories with everyone.
Each painting on view at Ardee Castle will have a story attached so people will be able to not only see and appreciate the picture but also get a sense of how the idea came about and where or what it is based upon.
“It’s not all this perfect art,” said Kathleen. “In fact, there’s a lot of imperfect work there, but that’s just the way it is.
“I just let things go their own way. There’s no point in forcing it. It has to be natural.”
“I enjoy painting. It’s wonderful. It’s a discovery and its about trying something and enjoying what you can do.
Kathleen’s exhibition will run from “ August until Sunday 12 August open from 12 to 5pm. Admission free.