Out in the ‘Plein Air’

Out in the ‘Plein Air’


“Plein Air” at Laois Arthouse,  Stradbally will be officially launched by Catherine Fitzgerald, Cathaoirleach of Laois Council on Monday 20th July at 11am.

The Plein Air programme with artist Jock Nichol includes an intensive outdoor drawing and painting workshop running from 20th to 24th July in Stradbally. Jock Nichol will be in residence at the Laois Arthouse for the month of July. An exhibition of his Plein Air paintings will be on view as well as a selection of work by participants in the Laois Arthouse until September 6th.

Jock at one with nature

Jock at one with nature

Jock Nichol is a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, where he studied Drawing and Painting. He has worked extensively around Ireland, including residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Monaghan, and Cill Rialaig Centre, Kerry. He is currently involved in Adult Education with Abbeyleix Further Education Centre, and has exhibited widely, with works in many private and public collections.

Growing up in the shadow of the Cheviot Hills in the Scottish Borders, gave Nichol an early fascination and curiosity about the landscape – especially marginal lands, where evidence of man-made interventions co-exist in an uneasy balance with nature. Since moving to the Irish Midlands in 1991, the open spaces of the bog and forests of the Slieve Bloom Mountains have become the focus of his work. Being immersed in the constantly changing sights and sound of the environment encourages a more intuitive and receptive response to the subject, honing observational skills and infusing the work with a subliminal sense of the surroundings.

Of his time in Stradbally, Nichol says;  “I relish the opportunity to explore the stunning man-made and natural heritage of the Stradbally area. Focussing on the woodland, participants in the workshop shall look at many aspects and possibilities within the chosen location. From the complex vastness of the forest to the delicacy of the detail of such things as leaves, the feast of textures, such as moss or bark, how light, colour and shadow constantly change, everything, from the forgotten hidden corners and mysterious stones, animal tracks, to trails and paths of “designated”, “recreational” areas.  Only when we open our eyes and begin to look do we really see the true nature of the place, beyond the superficial or picturesque.”

Documentation of the programme will be done by Lisa Fingleton. A film and Catalogue of the Plein Air Programme will be launched later in the year.

This project is curated by Muireann Ní Chonaill, Arts Officer.

This project is funded by the percent for Art Scheme and Laois County Council

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Management, Members, Arts and Library Staff Laois County Council.

For more info:  T 057 8664033 E: