Zagreb Academy

October 31, 2016

Zagreb – End of week One.

September 23, 2016

A hectic week but highly satisfying and much achieved.  After a great start in airBNB apartem Petra in the centre of Zagreb where we were lucky to encounter the lovely and kind hosts, Petra and Pavle,  who gave us information on phone networks and local services, we managed to find an apartment where we hope to live for the next eight months.  Thanks to Ivan for sending me accommodation links which led to us getting this lovely place,   just 20 minutes walk from the Academy – Yipeeee – no commuting!!  Thanks also to Katrin who also gave sound advice on network providers.  So, new home, new phone, new beginning!

We spend this last week just sorting out all of the above whilst familiarising  ourselves with the centre of the city of Zagreb, and what a town!   First impression – a lively,  busy city with a diversity of architectural styles.  So far, I’ve been exploring the northern part of the city  – along the long street, Ilica, it’s commercial heart, and up towards the Upper town,  Gornji Grad and parts of Kaptol.  We have experienced the lovely markets both on Ilicia, in Britanski Trg


and a more craft oriented one the very central area of Trg Bana J. Jelcica.  There is a stunning array of fresh fruit and home produce available in these markets with a pleasantly bewildering array of choice!

Zagreb seems to be a truly socialised city, with cafe bars and restaurants lining almost every street. Our favourite, so far,  is Tkalciceva Ulica  {or, my ref. Social Street] where you can eat and drink for a very reasonable cost and either stroll up and down the street or just   img_0658

and enjoy the vista.

A great introduction to what I suspect will be a very interesting and enjoyable year.


An adventure abroad

September 20, 2016

Currently in the process of preparing for a year studying as part of the Erasmus programme in the Fine Arts Department of the University of Zagreb.   The excitement is intense and the long list of ‘to do’s’ seems infinite!  Never mind, getting there slowly but surely.


September 8, 2016




September 1, 2016

In the final countdown for my foray into a year of study in the University of Zagreb’s Fine Art department as part of the Erasmus project.  Just days to go before I head for that fascinating city and finalising admin details.  Thanks to all in Ulster University International Dept in Belfast, in particular Debbie Fraser, for all the help and support with the mountains of paperwork.  Not my forte, but need must!   I’m feeling, at the moment, a mixture of excitement and apprehension but really looking forward to the experience.  I’m currently working on a number of projects at home and hope to have all work completed before I go.  Updates to follow!

Music moves..

June 26, 2007

…. the soul. Its amazing how a good blast of your favourite tunes can blow away the cobwebs – and what lurks beneath. Is experiencing a block in creativity a result of fear, insecurity, lack of confidence? Who knows? But one thing’s for sure – the coming together of kindred souls over the dulcet sounds of Joni Mitchell on that eternally inspirational “Blue” album surely opens the floodgates, a sort of cerebral sandblasting? Leaves ye a bit raw but hey, at least you’re feelin. No numbness there, then. Sharing the oh so moving strains of the Ni Dhomhnaill sisters, Triona and Maighread, in their ethereal “Idir an da sholas” compilation sets the heart alight and stirs up long lost and and evocative memories. As for the passionate energy and poetry of the Pogues  – let it rip, boys, and bring on the brushes – I’m ready and rockin! Like a rollercoaster, ye follow that hedonistic blast with the heavenly strains of Jeff Buckley – with “Hallelujah, you’re surfing the clouds and waving to now unseen and loving spirits who gently keep you afloat, even when you think you’re drowning.  Buiochas.


June 6, 2007

I spent the last few days organising my studio, new floor put in. Threw out mounds of paper and stuff. Its amazing the amount of rubbish we amass over such short periods. I think that if I could de-clutter the space around, it might make more room for new thoughts. I love the idea of getting rid of possessions – as many as possible. But I think I like the idea more than the practice! Bits provide a comfort zone, like old letters and presents – these objects which link us to our past. But what can you take with you?

Yesterday, I listened to RTE’s Liveline special programme on Kerry writer John Moriarity who died at the weekend. Since he was diagnosed with the big C last year, he regularly spoke to Joe Duffy about his thoughts on his life and his impending death. He spoke of having to look away, on one occasion, for the first time ever, from a sight so beautiful, that it overcame him. It was deeply moving to listen to him and he obviously was a man who had a profoundly spiritual outlook. I think that what he tried to say was that we should savour our lives, each moment, knowing that we only have a short time here. But John felt that death was not the end, that he was just moving onto another level or plane after this life. Here’s hoping. R.I.P. John Moriarity.

Post its plague

June 3, 2007

I had a surreal conversation with a colleague which concluded with us both deciding that we are post it addicts! The signs are clear for all to see – a work area festooned with little yellow patches fluttering silently. Addiction to this phenomena manifests itself in strange ways – tetchy behaviour when you’re on the phone, looking for that elusive little pad to scribble your details on, sweat breaking out when you’re desperately looking for that phone number written on a post it that you stuck on the computer monitor, along with a hundred others. The yellowness takes over your desk and soon the squares become an entire blanket – a bit like the takeover bid of swathes of Irish countryside by the rhodendrums. The symptoms of addiction worsen – soon you have the incursion of the dreaded yellow sticky bits into other parts of the home – milk cartons take on a festive appearance – cookers begin to look like Easter chicks without the fluff – fridge doors assume daffodil demeanour. There’s no end to it. You know you need to go to post its anonymous when you wake up – go to the bathroom and there it is – a post it stuck on your forehead – with a reminder to wash your teeth scrawled in mirror writing on the little yellow square! You’ve become so addicted that you now need hourly fixes of post it patches stuck to the skin!

Nothing whatsoever to do with creativity, but a mind needs heavy doses of frivolity on occasion!!

Moments of inspiration

May 29, 2007

Were you ever assailed by a thought? I mean, a thought that connects you to unfamiliar territory and people? You’re there, pottering along, not really paying much attention to anything in particular , doing the humdrum thing, when – bang – something you’ve heard in the background or seen in a glimpse stands up in your mind and demands attention. This happens, thankfully, quite a lot. I was driving on a secondary road a while ago. It was a clear night in November and there was very little traffic about. Dare I say it, but it really was a moonlit scene. It was a time when you feel afloat – no distractions. Then, in a glimpse, I saw a house in the far distance, surrounded by trees and blackness. Only one room of the house, the sittingroom, was lit and for that one megasecond, I felt I was in that room – part of that scenario because there was only darkness between us. Thankfully, I paint because I can illustrate this moment better on canvas than in words. Thats it for today.

Stunted creativity

May 9, 2007

Just throwing thoughts out and about . I just read a fantastically succinct description of blogging by Annette Clancy and it made it clear to me just how open a process this is. The thought of putting personal ideas out there is a little scary but I can see that it could be a mind altering process. I’m just wondering how other artists cope with situations where the drive to get up and do is suddenly crashed by circumstances? Just a thought.