Handmade Design Studio opened its doors last Thursday evening for the opening of ‘Solastalgia’, an exhibition of new paintings by artist Ursula Meehan. The exhibition was opened by Mullingar native and artist Paul Timoney who with great skill and humour gave insight into the  artist’s work.

The oil paintings, Paul referred to them as “internal landscapes”, reflect on loss, grief and transition through an exploration of dark and light. Ursula focuses on the bare elements of earth, sky, cloud in these artwork. She explores her theme through her strong use of colour to enhance the contemplative feeling within the paintings.

Originally from Dublin Ursula has been living in rural North Westmeath for 25 years and its landscape and natural beauty is a major  influence in her work. Westmeath Arts Office supported the development of the work through its Artists Bursary Grant. © Ursula Meehan


‘Solastalgia’  runs until February 20th, Tuesday to Saturday 10.00 am to 6.00 pm.



Autumn Feast

The splash of rich Autumn colours and ‘mellow-fruitfulness’ in Anna-Marie Leavy’s limited edition print “Blackberries” vividly conjures up for me memories of foraging for this beautiful sweet wild fruit as a child. Cycling along hedges in search of the blackest, ripest berries in mid-September, we’d leave our bikes on the side of the lane and by the end of our picking we’d have eaten almost as many berries as we’d collected in our little buckets. We’d walk along the bramble-laden hedgerows, our fingers sticky and stained a deep reddish purple colour while our tongues and lips were matching shades.

Blackberry jam is simple and satisfying to make and here’s an equally simple recipe for how to create a deep aubergine colour using Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan: Mix equal parts of Burgundy and Napoleonic Blue to produce a rich and strong colour purple. Add a bit of Graphite if you prefer it to be a deeper shade.