Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland
I am an artist living in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. I was born in Newry, Co. Down but have lived most of my life close to Belfast. I went to art college in Belfast and Manchester, achieving a first class honours degree in illustration.
While at college, I won first prize at the North West Artists exhibition sponsored by BP. After college I began exhibiting my paintings with Tom Caldwell Galleries and won awards at the Royal Ulster Academy (best painting as voted by the public and UTV award). Despite my success in painting, I began working in advertising which left no time for painting.
After further career moves in graphic design using ICT, I began teaching various art classes. I also began teaching in local primary schools. I have now stopped teaching in order to devote myself entirely to painting. I paint in both oil and watercolours, depending on the subject and have no preference. I paint ordinary people in their environments and always try to make the commonplace interesting.
My work has recently been featured in Artists and Illustrators magazine and this year, I have exhibited at The Royal Society of Portrait Painters at the Mall galleries, London. I am currently exhibiting at this year's Royal Ulster Academy at the Ulster Museum, Belfast and have been awarded the watercolour prize. I have also won two other prizes at this year's Ulster Watercolour Society exhibition.
Hugh And Beautt
By John Cooney
47" x 35"
"I met Hugh and his dog, Beautt in a Pub in Moville, Donegal.
He told me that he had Haemochromatosis. This is a blood disease where the body absorbs too much iron from food. It is thought to be an evolutionary process because people living in Northern European areas thousands of years ago had poor diets. Researchers recently found such a mutation in the remains of two ancient people — a Neolithic woman who lived about 5,000 years ago, and an early Bronze Age man who lived about 4,000 years ago. It is called the 'Celtic curse.' Symptoms can include organ damage and a bronze or grey tinge to the skin, as well as fatigue, weakness and joint pain.
His wee dog, Beautt was totally devoted and was very protective of Hugh. He told us that when he was going home one night, a group of boys in the street made threatening remarks. He told them, "If you lay a finger on me, this wee dog will have your balls in his mouth faster than you can blink!" The boys wandered off..."
Portrait, farmer, Donegal
Carrickfergus, UK artist.