A little about the original
Oil on canvas.
Giants Causeway ‘Légende’ 100x120cm
‘Légende’ meaning legend in the French language as nod to our very own ‘Finn McCool’
A stunning piece which would hold space on any wall.
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The inspiration behind the painting
During which time I spoke of my love for capturing the intricate basalt in paintings of the giants causeway, and managed to capture the painting featured above in the right timeframe . I’ve a sore neck to prove it!!
Painting under pressure is difficult but I actually felt energy from Gemma who worked for me and sadly passed away, as well as feeling empowered by ancestors of ours who walked these stones before us. It just so happens that I have the privilege of being able to capture the experience with my paintbrush.
About the location
According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. The story goes that the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), from the Fenian Cycle of Gaelic mythology, was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Fionn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet. In one version of the story, Fionn defeats Benandonner. In another, Fionn hides from Benandonner when he realises that his foe is much bigger than he is. Fionn’s wife, Sadhbh, disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him in a cradle. When Benandonner sees the size of the “baby”, he reckons that its father, Fionn, must be a giant among giants. He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn would be unable to chase him down.Across the sea, there are identical basalt columns (a part of the same ancient lava flow) at Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish isle of Staffa, and it is possible that the story was influenced by this.
In overall Irish mythology, Fionn mac Cumhaill is not a giant but a hero with supernatural abilities, contrary to what this particular legend may suggest. In Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (1888), it is noted that, over time, “the pagan gods of Ireland […] grew smaller and smaller in the popular imagination, until they turned into the fairies; the pagan heroes grew bigger and bigger, until they turned into the giants”. There are no surviving pre-Christian stories about the Giant’s Causeway, but it may have originally been associated with the Fomorians (Fomhóraigh); the Irish name Clochán na bhFomhóraigh or Clochán na bhFomhórach means “stepping stones of the Fomhóraigh“. The Fomhóraigh are a race of supernatural beings in Irish mythology who were sometimes described as giants and who may have originally been part of a pre-Christian pantheon.
About the artist
Aly is a Northern Irish based Artist, Writer and Educator. One of Northern Ireland’s top artists, widely known for her Belfast prints and impressionist techniques. She has several accolades to her name, most recently:
> Nominated 40 under 40
> Listed as top 100 / Small Business Saturday
> Finalist in the East Side Awards
Aly works from a studio near Belfast which is conducive to her family life with her husband and their three young boys.
She is passionate about placing importance on everyday moments, objects and places in her oil paintings and pastel work.This is one of the many reasons Aly is a well established artist in Belfast, Northern Ireland and the United States of America.
Her practice is influenced heavily by her own childhood memories of growing up in a smallholding in the Irish countryside.
Themes of the familiar and familial can be traced back as far as her degree show in 2003 when her installation “Daddy’s bread” used 795 empty bread bags (of her father’s favourite loaf) to represent each week from when her Father passed until the opening of her final exhibition.
Aly was awarded a first class honours degree and a distinction in her Masters in Fine Art which she completed following her degree. Specializing in Acrylic, oil and Mixed Media Aly has a love for creating stunning vibrant paintings. Along with a love of monochrome and simple sketches.
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I use art in all it’s mediums to express my love for the “everyday”. Coffee cups, familiar landmarks, colour associations. All of these, I believe, contribute to what is known as our “everyday”. Not only do I love drawing them, I think they are worth placing importance on.
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