On Land and Water

Artist Statement for ‘On Land and Water’

The subject matter of my work for anyone that knows it, is more or less consistent with what I started painting more than twenty years ago. The paintings for ‘On Land and Water’ are derived from the constant feeling of being drawn back to the landscape of my surroundings in Sligo that continually compels me to reinterpret this subject.
I spend a lot of my time observing, while fly fishing from the boat on the lakes and sometimes the anticipation of the hatch can be the magical moment, where time stands still and you are helplessly spellbound by the beauty of nature.
Observing the landscape is a continuous wonderful experience, where images are constantly recorded and the notion of the feeling, or essence of the landscape, rather than just the visual are conjured up from the familiar. The paintings evolve from layering, scraping, removing and reworking until the image reveals itself and is accepted as the resolution of the preconceived. I continue to interpret the land and water around me and can never expect to be finished.

This exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Paddy Creaven, founder of Cregal Art Galway.



Paul Colreavy is a self-taught painter and primary school principal from Sligo. He has been exhibiting his paintings for over twenty years now. The work is inspired by the wild, rugged landscape of Co. Sligo with its bogs, lakes and extensive coastal regions. Paul delivers a visual interrogation of his subject matter which employs a rich colour palette.

Bog and water can throw up vastly contrasting colours and textures, ever evolving through cycles of growth and decay, from changing weather conditions. Initial drawings would be made and photographs taken on the bog or on the water itself, and these would be brought back to the studio to try and capture a brief moment of the constant flux in nature.

“The hardest thing to catch is a landscape that only for a few seconds exists – this is Colreavy’s gift, to make it all momentary, when the concept is abstract.” Dermot Healy

Paul is also a member of Visual Artists Ireland and is one of the selected panel of artists of Sligo County Council.