Orpen About Farmleigh

I have loved William Orpens paintings ever sinced I learned to paint in my late 20’s at a night class in Bray from Jim Morrison of Signal Arts Centre Bray. Jim introduced me to Orpen’s work I think. I must be prone to hero worship and fanaticism. When I learned guitar, Jimi Hendrix got under my skin and I didnt bother listen to anyone else, all I needed was just Jimi. Same with Orps. Only Orpen, just Orpen. I recognise that fanaticism in Dominic Lee who is a powerhouse of Orpen knowledge. I gifted this painting above to Dominic many moons ago fully expecting it to possibly be placed on an obscure wall or corridor in his house if I was lucky. Imagine my shock when I turn up to the Orpen exhibition in Farmleigh and its there on the same hallowed walls as many famous Orpen paintings! It is beyond an honour. When you set a goal in life you are told to make it specific and break it down into smaller goals etc. But when I ask myself what my goal is it has always been ‘to paint with the skill and accomplishment of William Orpen’. Quite a vague goal, when would you ever know you reached that goal? Alas that is the goal, maybe that unattainable goal will be what keeps me painting for the rest of my life.

The Farmleigh Exhibition open for 6 months starting March 2024.


My mastercopy from the early days circa 2009. ‘Reflections – China and Japan’ by Sir William Orpen (1902)


The painting that started it all for me. My mastercopy of ‘Ready to Start’ around 2008 Id say.