What Do You See? Let’s explore the work of Bernie Masterson

Look & respond to a selection of artworks within Fingal’s County Council’s Art Collection with artist Beth O’Halloran.

Cruinniu na nOg 2020 is here! And we’re delighted to share several educational arts activities with you to enjoy while you stay close to home. We invited artist Beth O’Halloran to develop text and activities inspired by three significant artworks from Fingal’s County Art Collection. Ideal for all ages and abilities, you’re invited to look, imagine, create and draw today! Let’s celebrate the arts, creativity and self-expression together.

Nightfalling, by Bernie Masterson, 2004, Oil on panel

Bernie has said that in this pair of paintings she’s trying to show the evening light as it ‘intensifies… stirring emotions … with many other experiences…’ Images like these of skies, or where man would be very small in the landscape, are usually referred to as Romanticism. This was an art movement which focused on how nature was very powerful. Do you think Bernie could be referred to as a Romanticist? What kind of emotions do you think she’s mingling? How might we tell this is nightfall as opposed to dawn? How might the feeling be different if we knew it was about to become daylight as opposed to getting dark?  Often artists depict these times of day – dusk or dawn as they are full of a feeling of action that might be about to take place and can give us an expectant feeling. And often images of weather are used to depict emotions or even other senses like sound. If the painting were an illustration of music, what kind of sound might it be like? For example, could this painting be what quiet looks like? Does Bernie’s sky remind you of anywhere? How might we guess if it is an Irish sky?

Here’s an idea for you to try at home:
Can you make two paintings – a diptych – but of two very different weather conditions that might reflect two opposing emotions such as angry vs calm or confused vs focused, happy vs sad?

• Using oil pastels or crayons, fill an entire page (A4 or larger) with colour.
• Use you crayon or pastel in a way that reflects the feeling you might want to convey e.g: if you want to show anger, bear down with your colour to make bold, sharp marks, or if you want to show calmness, you might soften the areas where two       colours meet.
• To blend an oil-based colour such as oil pastel, you can use an oil such as cooking oil or Vaseline to make the colour more fluid. (Bear in mind using an oil to blend will make the page more transparent).