Caroline Murtagh is a painter living and working in County Wicklow, Ireland. Born in London, she has lived in Ireland most of her life apart from some years spent studying at Montserrat College of Art in Massachusetts.
For many years she studied the human figure, attending life-drawing classes and workshops. She continues to paint portraits on commission. She also painted murals for several years. Specializing in trompe l’oeil effect, her works can be seen in many large houses and business premises throughout Ireland.
More recently she describes her work as more personal. It is now predominantly abstract as this gives her the freedom to concentrate on the aspect of painting that fascinates her most: the use of colour in the context of light. When one sees the wonderful colours and textures, the depth, as well as the play of light and dark in these abstract pieces, clearly it illustrates a high level of accomplishment.
She works in oils, mostly on linen, though occasionally she will work on a series in mixed media on board, wood or paper. She prefers a traditional “old masters” approach to applying oil paint, though this can be time-consuming, as each layer of glaze must dry, especially on larger pieces, so she works on several paintings at a time. Caroline remarks: “It can take up to 2-3 years before a large piece is ‘finished’ – though I do subscribe to the notion that, as Leonardo da Vinci said, ‘A painting is never finished, only abandoned.’”
To Caroline painting is a continuous exploration which never fails to surprise and delight both her and the viewer. As she explains: “Although when beginning a painting its direction may be clear, as it develops it seems to take on a life of its own. The surprise is that no matter how much you try to control it, you never quite know how it’s going to end. While this process can be very frustrating, it is often delightful but mostly it’s exciting and utterly compulsive”.