When Jimmy Lawlor was 16 years old, he won the Texaco National Children’s Art Competition, an Irish art contest for children aged up to 18 years. “That was when I really knew I wanted to be an artist, and I used the money won to save for art college.”
He’s been pursuing his talent ever since, pinning it down in the form of paintings that seem to offer glimpsing into bigger tales, and playing both with scale and our expectations.
“I’m constantly sketching or imagining how images would work,” Jimmy says. “I live in one of the most beautiful places in Ireland, and people here are friendly and welcoming. In this place technology isn’t the mainstay of their lives, people stop for a chat, a coffee, a catch-up… There’s ‘time’ here.”
It seems to me that this ‘time’ allows the mind to unfurl and remember how it was to be a child, when summer holidays stretched all the way to the horizon, and every day held an infinite number of possibilities.
He says that he resists explaining what any particular painting is about, leaving it up to the viewer to fill in the dots and provide their own narrative. “But they are most definitely influenced by my surrounds and the wonderful people I meet.”
The painting shows above demonstrates Jimmy’s knack of marrying the real and the unworldly. A particular quality of light gives the scene a fairytale quality, while the lost expression on the woman’s face makes me think of the confusion that afflicts so many of us as we age. Perhaps in this case, childhood daydreams have seeped to the forefront of her mind, sending her astray so that instead of arriving in town, she’s ankle deep in the cold lick of the tide.
Jimmy refers me to a statement on his website, which he says he thinks sums up his aims best: “Each town has its own characters and characteristics but they are basically the same in every town. He applauds these people and their character, which makes them unique. Lawlor appreciates the humour of the Irish people, he finds the gentle mannerisms that he encounters while painting them honourable “
It explains how his paintings teem with stories. “I’m trying to capture ‘life’. The life that surrounds me, and is still at a nice pace, where people stop and chat. To remember that it is moments that are memorable.”
Being an artist, Jimmy admits, like all jobs has its ups and downs. “Thankfully, it has more ups. I get to create with total freedom. I have also the honour of being with my children every day and watch them grow up. I have been there when they started to walk and talk.”
This freedom is a privilege Jimmy relishes. “My job has given me the luxury to take time off to go fishing, go camping with my kids. I think this has been the most important gift being a successful artist has given me. I’m extremely lucky!”
Are you an artist or do you know an artist who would like to be showcased on SkyLightRain.com? Get in touch at judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’m also happy to receive reviews of books, exhibitions, theatre and film. To submit or suggest a review, please send an email to judydarley (at) iCloud.com.