We talk to artist and painter, Richard Hearns about his practice and plans for 2020


Richard Hearns in front of Phoenix, 2017, oil, 270x178cm. Collection of Naomi House Children’s and Young Adults Hospice, Winchester, UK

Richard Hearns was born in Beirut and raised in Dublin. He lives in and works from his studio in the heart of the Burren National Park on Ireland’s west coast. Having studied in Dublin at The Institute of Art, Design and Technology and The National College of Art and Design, Richard’s talent for drawing and line work led to a keen interest in observational painting. Though practised in a variety of media, his works are primarily oil-based. In more recent years Richard has turned his attention to abstract painting. These works have brought an entirely new discipline and challenge to his practice.  Richard has been exhibiting for over a decade. His works can be found in important collections around the globe. To date he has had solo shows in Dublin, London, Paris, Barcelona, Los Angeles and New York.


 Any upcoming talents that impress you?

In 2017 I had the opportunity to work with a young musician and budding artist, Colm Keady Tabbal. This placement helped in his application for a place in the fine art programme at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. Colm has since gone on to impress his tutors and fellow students and he has been awarded a semester abroad in his final year. I’m thrilled to have been able to help him on his way and wish him every success in his endeavours. A huge talent and one to watch out for in the future. 


How has your practice changed over time?

My practice constantly evolves and revolves.  Starting out I created figurative drawings and paintings based on memories and dreams. I then made a big shift toward detailed observational painting. I worked in this vein or quite some time, honing my skills for many years before eventually tackling large-scale informal abstract painting. Currently I am working toward bridging all of these practices – it is very exciting! Lots to look forward to.


 How important are titles to your work?

Titles hold a great significance for my paintings. Sometimes they come to me as I am working on a piece and other times in retrospect. I am currently working on creating a series of paintings – this allows me to delve into and investigate a theme quite thoroughly. The titles have a direct relationship to the chosen theme. For example, a recent series titled ‘Three Poets, Three Philosophers’ takes its inspiration from the landscapes that inspired the chosen poets. Each painting is named after the particular poets associated landscape.

Three Poets, Three Philosophers, oil on canvas, 2019, tryptych; each canvas 120x120cm

What are you working on now?

I am developing two abstract series of works: One is titled ‘Beannacht’ and features four large-scale canvases which explore the ideas presented in John O’Donohue’s poem of the same name. These pieces will be featuring in a show at my representative gallery in London later this year. The second series features smaller paintings on panel. These works take their inspiration from ‘Terra’ (the Earth).


 Where do you find your ideas?

I find inspiration everywhere and all that I need to do is sit and wait for ideas to reveal themselves. This is when the real challenge begins – deciding which ideas deserve to be acted upon.


 What motivates you?

The chance to create something beautiful and enduring.  It is this that keeps me eternally excited, motivated and painting.


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