I’m Irene Purcell and I’m an abstract painter, writer and intuitive coach based in West Yorkshire in the UK.
I came to making art with serious intentions late in life, having dabbled a little here and there over the years.
Having an almost lifelong fascination with metaphysics, delving deeply in my reading and thinking into what it means to be fully human as a connected part of all that is, I am inspired and moved to try to express how I feel about “Life, The Universe and Everything”, which gives great scope for endless ongoing experimentation.
The way I see it, whatever forms or beings we observe in the known universe with the telescope, microscope or the naked eye, they all mirror and echo each other in form, pattern, shape, colour, movement and essence, constantly giving us clues about deeper mysteries.
There are worlds within worlds within worlds, and nothing is separate from anything else.
“Everything is Connected”, has become the overarching principle that I find myself trying to convey in my work.
Whilst holding effortlessly my overarching theme of ‘Everything is Connected’ in the back of my mind at all times, I rarely start a series of work with a plan. Once, I knew I had to paint a series under the theme ‘Mystery’ and once ‘Exploring Blue’. Other than that, all my work evolves intuitively.
I may begin with a colour palette that I wish to explore on the basis of nothing more profound than ‘I love purple and yellow together’. I love colour so my liking for more muted tones has evolved as I’ve discovered the inherent beauty of colour harmony.
Sometimes I don’t even ‘like’ a colour that I use, but because I know it ‘lives with’ the others I have mixed and applied, I know I will love it in situ. In this way, after my initial instinctive choices, I become the servant of the painting even down to how it will appear colour-wise.
I paint in layers with acrylic paint and use a variety of additional media and materials including drawing pencils, water-soluble colour pencils, oil pastels, acrylic pens, graphite sticks, and so on.
Also much-used is collage. I love the underlying textures and hint of images and texts that collage provides and I use a whole pile of different papers from catalogues, dress-making patterns, sheet music, old diaries, random documents of my own and found pieces that I buy online.
Also, I love to make very simple black and white paper prints of my own photographs and use them in subtle ways to lend depth and mystery.
My latest work also includes surface collage images that are meant to be fully seen and to indicate my sense that we live in a world within worlds, there are mysteries all around and the veils are thinner than ever. The juxtaposition of apparently unrelated things gives me a thrill of recognition that we just don’t know as much as we think we know.
The whole painting process is intuitive and responsive. ‘Happy accidents’ are gratefully incorporated as I go. I use a lot of tools apart from brushes including screwdrivers, random metal objects and decorators’ tools for scraping, silicone wedges for spreading, sponges, objects for stamping, a trowel, palette knives, and so on.
I always work in a series so that I move from one piece to another in fairly quick succession in the beginning, slowing as they near completion. Each piece informs the others. They all come up together like a family.
At some point my changes and additions get smaller and fewer and I begin to understand what must go on as the final layer.
Sometimes a work seems finished but needs to sit for a little while, after which I may discover that it actually isn’t and that something else is calling to be added. I seem to know how to respond at this point, even though, by now, the painting is definitely in charge.
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I’d love to hear from you with any questions you may have.