Henry McGrane
Contemporary Irish Plein Air Landscape Painter, Still-life Artist: Representational Art Style.

Pin it

For late 20th century paintings,
see: Contemporary Art.

Henry McGrane (b.1969)
Irish Plein-Air Landscape Painter

The virtuosity of Irish painter Henry McGrane is evident in several genres, including landscapes, still life, figurative genre-scenes and portraiture. But perhaps landscape painting best reflects both his love of nature and his outstanding painterly skills. The latter is exemplified by his mastery of perspective, compositional structure and daughtsmanship - each of which would require its own in-depth article to explain and illustrate. His Summer Evening in Slane (shown here in miniature) is a special masterpiece. See the larger version on McGrane's website, and marvel at the way he creates a magical snapshot out of an ordinary piece of road. I got so absorbed in it, that my Internet connection expired. In my opinion, this is what real art is all about: creating beauty from the world around us. It's also what makes McGrane one of the best Irish artists.

For other modernists based in Ireland, please see: Contemporary Irish Artists. For the world's best 200 practitioners, see: Top Contemporary Artists.


Unfortunately, many contemporary artists are so busy trying to 'create' something 'new' or 'significant' that they overlook what is surely the greatest source of inspiration of all - nature. Having grown up in the countryside, McGrane has no difficulty finding suitable subjects, to which he adds his own romantic interpretation. Like the great Irish representational painters of the 19th century - such as Norman Garstin (1847-1926), Alyosius Kelly (1853-1941), Frank O'Meara (1853-1888), Stanhope Forbes (1857-1947) and Walter Osborne (1859–1903) - McGrane's works demonstrate that you can't separate a scene from its climate, light and mood. His plein-air painting captures these elements with rare feeling. One reason why he is one of the most popular and highly-regarded exponents of representational painting in Ireland.


If his landscapes are deliberately loose and spontaneous - he says he often has no idea how a painting will turn out - his figurative and still life studies are models of tightly controlled craftsmanship. The latter being reminiscent of works by his contemporary, the classical artist Conor Walton.

One of sixteen children, McGrane was brought up on a farm outside Navan in County Meath. His early interest in sketching and painting led him to study fine art at Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design in Dublin, before joining Don Bluth Animation Studios in 1990, as a background artist. It was here in the animation industry, that McGrane (like other outstanding Irish representational artists such as Norman Teeling, David Nolan and Paul Kelly) developed his confidence in the use of colour and tone, as well as the drawing skill and compositional ability which is so evident in his works.


In 1995, after four years in Dublin, McGrane moved to the United States to produce backgrounds on three full-length feature films for 20th Century Fox. He took advantage of his stay to study oil painting under Joshua Fallik and portraiture under Diane Leonard. In 2000, he left America to spend time in Norway before returning to Ireland where he began showing his work. In addition to sell-out solo exhibitions at Blue Leaf Gallery and The Art and Print Gallery, Meath, he has shown regularly in numerous select group exhibitions at Combridge Fine Arts and Molesworth Gallery (Dublin), Killarney Art Gallery, Lee Gallery (Cork) and Cherry Lane Gallery (Wicklow). His paintings were shown at the Royal Hibernian Academy Exhibition in 2005, 2006, and 2007, securing his status as an outstanding still-life painter and one of the most sought-after landscape artists in Ireland.


Now a full-time painter, and a founder-member of Oil Painters of Ireland, McGrane is based in Co Meath although he travels regularly in search of new ideas, to places in Europe such as Venice, Cornwall, and especially Andalucia - where he has a small studio.

Don't miss his new solo show at The Art and Print Gallery, Slane, in November. It looks like being another sell-out.

To contact Henry McGrane, or to see more examples of his wonderful work, visit his website: www.henrymcgrane.com


• For more about contemporary visual artists, see: Homepage.
• For details of famous painters and sculptors from Ireland, see Irish Artists.

© visual-arts-cork.com. All rights reserved.