Abstract Artist Lola Donoghue's Galway Studio
After ten years teaching, abstract artist Lola Donoghue took a career break to focus on her own creativity and hasn’t looked back.
I studied fine art at the Limerick School of Art and Design and not really knowing what to do with my degree, I began teaching art. Before I knew it, it was ten years later. I felt like I had lost touch with my own creativity, as I hadn’t painted anything for myself throughout my teaching years. I didn’t know whether it was too late to make a career out of painting, but I knew I needed to try.
I couldn’t wait to get back in the studio. At first, I started with drawing. I really just wanted to get something in my hand and create, but I quickly progressed to painting. Having always been more of a figurative painter I presumed that’s what I would end up doing, but abstract art seemed to emerge, so I went with it.
I loved art and anything to do with art and design from an early age. When I went to college, I studied all disciplines of art in my first year. I especially loved print making, sculpture and fashion design, but realised quickly that painting was my first love, and this is what I went on to specialise in.
Currently, I am an abstract painter, but that’s not to say I will still be an abstract painter in a couple of years. My style is organic, an emerging process, and I go with the flow. I feel like a change might be on the cards! While the paintings I produce are totally abstract, I like to keep up my drawing skills and take life-drawing classes. I feel as an artist you are always developing.
I don’t consciously bring my own emotions to my work, but my paintings are an extension of me, so how could I separate the two? I use colours that I love and paint what I like, so it does reflect my personality.
My studio is in my home. It’s upstairs at the side of the house, with floor to ceiling windows, so it is full of natural light. The light, the feeling, the whole atmosphere in my studio is perfect for painting. Of course, I would love if it was bigger, but it suits for now. The light and the view is the first thing that people comment on when they come in. I have had my fair share of dark studios, so I am thankful.
Last year, the Australian singer-songwriter Sia emailed me and asked if I had any originals for sale. At the time I didn’t, so once my collection was finished, I got back to her and within five minutes of emailing her she bought four pieces. I’m a huge fan of hers and often listen to her while I paint, so it was pretty amazing to think she was a fan of mine too.
It was really cool when I got the email from Marvel. They were working on a top-secret series for Netflix at the time and wanted several of my pieces for their set. I was thrilled when I realised it was Jessica Jones. A lot of people noticed my work in the background, which was nice. They have since purchased a couple more for another upcoming Marvel project.
People often contact me trying to match artwork to a room and I always say buy what you love. It doesn’t need to match. I think this follows through with other items in your home.
PHOTOGRAPHY Conor Doherty