Ros Harvey is self-taught and began her artistic career in 1967 in Dublin. There she garnered from books and colleagues the art of clay and became one of the leading potters of original ash-glazed stoneware in the country. This ended in 1981 with a back operation. A friend persuaded her to put her expertise in colour and form on paper, so again she embarked on self-learning. The transition from clay to pastels should have been an obvious choice, but it was several years of struggling to find “atmosphere” in watercolours and oils that made her look further. A chance leftover from a visitor led her into pastels.
Her work has been shown in the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, the Royal Ulster Academy in Belfast, of which she is now a Member, and the Royal Society of Marine Artists in London. She has had 8 solo shows, numerous 2-person and open juried shows, with many awards. The most pleasing was being chosen for “Guests Choice” in the prestigious London Mall Galleries. Her painting, one of her “Rider from the Sea” series, was selected by hundreds of visitors to the gallery.
Ros has many paintings in public buildings, hospitals, corporations and private collections throughout the world and has illustrated 6 books. They cover landscapes, seascapes, islands, farm life, poultry and poetry illustrations
Ros Harvey - On Painting "Fire"
I first put in the sky. This applies to all my paintings. Get the sky right to start with, and the atmosphere is fixed for the rest of the work. This is a very small area, but nevertheless is vital. I use a pale blue. Having blended the blue, the next phase is putting in the reds, yellows and oranges, remembering that the hottest part of the fire is the whitest. I cover all the fiery places working from the lightest hot spots outwards to the deep crimsons reddish browns. I blend these carefully keeping a vertical pull or curve in line with the direction of the flame, and not mixing the colours – they must be kept clean. Then I spray.
The skeleton of the little burning twigs and flame spurts within the fiery bits go in at this stage, but leaving the highlights until the end. I am remembering how the twigs vary. Some are bright red and glowing, some still black on the inside. I will bulk these out when I go over them again, as a double line is often effective. I spray these lightly, just to prevent dark dust settling, and will be brushing them down later.
Now it is time to sweep in the smoke – varying light shades and tones of umbers, browns and ochres. Whins burn with a definite yellow/brown smoke. I visualize in my mind how it goes up in coils and circles, so blend in these directions. With dark and light greens I roughly indicate the form of the whin branches. I do this quickly and at random - the blending also. Too much detail distracts. Now for more definitive smoke. I have sprayed the individual parts that will have smoke over the top. The colours are good and firm, and the nap is nice and crisp. I put in all the smoke I think will be needed – well covered, and blend, very gently, and carefully, in small areas at a time until I have completed the whole surface.
One final detail is accentuating the flames again. I brush them down quite briskly as they inevitably collect dust, and re-apply my reds, yellows and oranges. Then small refinements like a few branches and twigs in front of the flames to quieten them down.
All the greens and highlights of the sun lighting up individual branches, and changing the colours from yellow greens to blue greens are fascinating too and need accentuating. Small spurts of smoke creep up in pale blues and pinks – these are the additional bits of information that make the painting of Fires so exciting.
"Sentinel" - from the "Rider from the Sea" Series
Three Planked Door
The youthful impressions of a Malin childhood have enabled Ros to capture the vivid and rugged elements of the Donegal landscape, with its great variety, and is the essential focus of the artist. From the subtle shades of smoke, or reflections on wet sand, to the dramatic intensity of a breaking wave or stormy sky, are masterly handled in her paintings.
Sky from Boffin
Tree in the Glen
Together with her print-maker partner Tim Stampton, they restored four old farmhouse buildings to create a gallery/ showroom, framing shop, print workshop and a painting studio for Tim. The studio Ros uses was newly built from an old stone two-seater privvy in the woods behind the house.