Paul O'Kane - Tutor ·

Paul O'Kane

Born in Belfast in 1953, Paul lives in County Down, Northern Ireland, where he has been a self employed architect for 28 years.

I really only paint out of doors, en plein air, if you will. It gets me out of the office...ideally for a week abroad. No telephone, just the heat and light. Wonderful!

I am self-taught and has been painting in oils and watercolours...from a very early age. My favourite painting trip was to Havana in 2000. But Provincetown in 2006 pretty amazing.

With painting now taking over full time, I try to paint on the continent at least twice a year. And I travel Ireland in the summer months in a tiny but luxurious camper-van. It’s great for ‘Art in the Open’ festival in Wexford each year. I’ve won prizes there in 4 year of the 6 I’ve attended, most recently the T. Morris Award in 2015.
Weather permitting, I take off to the Mourne Mountains on my Harley Davidson. Now that’s a treat. (I have a very understanding wife of course).

Watercolours I use as a fun medium. Great for Urban-Sketching. Most of my demonstrations are in oil paint. I do lots of plein air ‘oil sketches’ on site and then develop these on a large canvas for demonstration purposes. I give workshops to art groups and inspire them to paint in the great outdoors and to keep it simple.

I have been painting for so many years that I now paint intuitively. Not with the head but ‘from the gut’. I encourage students to engage the ‘right hand’ side of their brain. Or better still a balance of left and right. There’s nothing worse that being ‘zoned out’ on a right hand trip when someone taps you on the shoulder making you jump out of your skin. No, balance is best, but it has to be taught.

Students watch and say I make it look so simple. Well it is, if you take the time to learn or take a shortcut and follow my lead. At the end of one demo, the group came forward to see the painting up-close. One lady glared at me saying ‘You make me sick!’ Hmm.., I think that one worked! Or did she mean that I should begin with a medical disclaimer :-)

My plein air works only ever take an hour. So students will learn the techniques of simplifying a subject and using my saving methods to create a satisfying, quality finish. Let’s Go! (Must love Coffee!).