My Diary

Kelly Hood’s – Cows in the hood -
Dublin solo show


Kelly Hood showcases her new collection of cows on canvas.

While Ireland has had its fair share of sacred cows in recent times, the spiritual nature of cattle and their aesthetic beauty is now captured on canvas in a unique solo show by young Dingle artist Kelly Hood. The exhibition, which opens in The Balla Bán Gallery in Dublin, on the, 28th November next, features a striking collection of cow portraits that perfectly embody the inquisitive nature of cows, in bold black and white.

Kelly Hood showcases her new collection of cows on canvas at The Balla Bán Art Gallery in November through to December 2011.

"My work sets out to express the spirit of the animal world. The characterisation of cows focuses primarily on capturing the individuality, charm and serenity of these gentle and earthy creatures. My paintings endeavour to portray the worthiness of these animals and depict their details with depth, sensitivity and humour. By producing life-like, animated images I am attempting to give these passive creatures a voice and a place in a society where they are all too often disregarded".

She has worked on large canvasses for maximum impact, and her super realistic style in these monumental, monochrome paintings is due to her use of the traditional glazing technique, inspired by Italian Renaissance painting.

Buyers of Hood‘s cow collection include people, now living abroad, who want a memory of Ireland to take with them, and others who grew up on a farm, but are now living in a city. "Living in Dingle, I‘m never short of a willing model. I found my first, Paddy, in 2008, and we bonded over a barbed wire fence. She snorted sweet breaths at me through her velvety nostrils, as a globule of spittle dangled from her whiskery chin. I determined then that I would paint her — and one cow led to another," Kelly laughs.

Regularly seen hopping over ditches to capture a particular look, expression or pose, Kelly's enthusiasm for cows initially amused local Kerry farmers.

"I was unexpectedly drawn to cows when I first viewed them as a subject for a painting. They were not just a herd of cattle; they were individuals with unique and completely charming personalities. The cows' curiosity and quirkiness makes them a good subject, and because they have always been part of the Irish landscape, we can all identify with cows‖ Kelly says.

Despite the single subject and her chosen medium, there is astonishing variety in Kelly Hood‘s cow collection, with her strength of technique ensuring that each new work is fresh and distinct. She consistently draws out the individual characteristics of her bovine subjects to humorous, affectionate and dramatic effect.

VENUE: The Balla Bán Art Gallery

Show Opens 28th November 2011
Opening Night - Thursday 1st December 5-7.30pm
Show runs until 10th December 2011
Balla Bán Art Gallery, Unit 10, Westbury Mall, Clarendon Street, Dublin 2


The Grange Gallery

Recent works by Kelly Hood @aThe Grange Gallery - Show runs from the1st June until 27th August 2011.

In her studio, she is preparing a herd of paintings for her solo show at the Grange Gallery
Recently she has taken her work into a grander scale – working on large canvasses for maximum impact. Broadly painted in a Super realistic style, these monumental paintings nevertheless reference the old masters in size and due to the use of a traditional glazing technique which the artist admits has been a 'revelation‘ in her working practices, which in Hood‘s case allows the artist to focus on drawing out the individual characteristics of her bovine subjects to humorous, affectionate and dramatic effect.

The success of the cow paintings comes after a series of technical explorations ranging from total abstraction to illustration. Recent departures include a two-year period of monochrome paintings and currently the adoption of an Italian Renaissance inspired glazing technique. Yet given the single subject and chosen medium, there is astonishing variety in the work - strength of technique ensures that each new work is fresh and distinct.


The comedian Jason Byrne posing with "The Bull McCabe"




Ireland's Home Interiors & Living


Ireland's Home Interiors & Living


Fingal Independent

Landscape brought to life with humour



Cows In The Hood


It’s Picture Perfect

The use of the art of photo-realism is capturing a worldwide audience for a Dingle-born artist whose work has been snatched up by celebrities such as The Cranberries and Terry Wogan.
Monochrome oil paintings are regularly mistaken for photographs due to the realism and attention to detail in vivid representations of animals, people, landscapes and nature by Kelly Hood from Ballydavid.

Her unique style has won her fans worldwide with major exhibitions in the 2010 Seattle Irish Festival in Washington, the Lorica Artworks Gallery in Boston and in an international showcase in Margate in Kent. And next month her work will be featured in Kerry with an exhibition in St. John‘s Arts Centre, Listowel, from August 1st to 31st.

"Painting for me is a visual language. I allow the paintings to speak for themselves; if my painting is able to touch the viewer and communicate, I am happy,‖ Kelly explained this week. Kelly‘s choice of monochrome palette was originally inspired by old black and white photographs of her family, she added.‖ My artwork now is based entirely on my own photographic work," she said.


"I choose a subject and then recreate the details of the photograph in pigment. Photo-realist paintings, like most, are built in layers and I use many layers of thin glazes, made from water based oil paint and a zinc flake medium. ―This gives me the subtle blending effects that help create three-dimensional objects and scenes on the flat surface of the canvas."

And her west Kerry background provides her with much of her subject matter, from men saving the hay to fishermen with their lobster pots, men bringing home the turf, fiddle playing, drinking, and old men engrossed in storytelling.

By Michelle Crean | The Kingdom News - July 2010

Kerry's Eye

Life In Monochrome

Irish Tatler

New painting 'PEEK A MOOH' featured in October 2010 edition of the Irish Tatler