Sr. Anne Kilroy is a Loreto Sister, living and working in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is a painter, musician, teacher and dancer. Sr. Anne has also been deeply involved in working for refugees and participating in the work of peace and reconciliation in Norther Ireland. To see more about her life, read this 2010 article from the Belfast Telegraph.
I am an amateur oil painter. I love to take a theme from nature which relates to my own experience and explore it from various angles.Time spent in Achill island in the last few Summers led me to a focus on bogland, especially last August when the heather was in full bloom. I have really enjoyed the freedom of colour, brush-stroke and interpretation this subject has given me.
Mystery, history and beauty dwell beneath and on the spongy surface of our bogs. The history and evolution of bogs, as well as the human history they hide and reveal, is very complex, especially in this small island of ours which has more than its share of bogland and rainfall. However, the overuse of bogland for energy and fuel has put this delicate balance in jeopardy.
My walks in the Ormeau Park have provided much inspiration throughout the seasons. The various shapes and textures of the trunks and barks of trees have been a particular source of interest and reflection. The low Winter sun sets the trunk and bare branches alight and exposes their shapes in stark relief. Last year there were two trees in particular which became the object of my camera and brush: The ‘burnt yew tree’ and the ‘dancing oak’ I had photographed the yew before it was burned. It’s limb-like shape was accentuated, its charred bark became a symbol of our abuse of nature. Yet, it became ever more attractive and beautiful to me even in its death throes. I pleaded for its preservation, but eventually it was cut down and not even a stump marks the spot now. It spoke to me of transience and suffering. But it also gave comfort in a time of personal loss. In contrast, the ‘dancing tree’ makes a statement of life and resurrection. This little oak has always attracted me because of its dance-like posture.