The Irish School of Landscape Painting is staging an exhibition at Market House Gallery, Market Square, Mullingar, from March 25th to April 11th.
Included in exhibition are works by Susan Webb, Joan Keogh and Co Down artist Esther C-MacNamara
The school was founded by Kenneth and Joan Webb in 1957. During the last 52 years Kenneth has taught in many centres. He has held regular classes in Antrim, Donegal, Kerry, Connemara, Cork, Wexford, Greystones Wicklow, Dublin and in Co. Down. He has employed a number of part time tutors who helped him in these centres. Kenneth also took the School to England running classes in the Forest of Dean, the Cotswolds and East Anglia in "Constable Country".
Occasionally he lectured and gave painting demonstrations in London, at the Tate Gallery, in the V&A and at the Mall Galleries. Indeed Kenneth was so keen to spread the "good seed" of the Irish School he organised exhibitions for the members of the School in the Mall Galleries, London in the 1970s.
These were opened in successive years by David Attenborough, T. P. McKenna and the Irish Ambassador. Kenneth was always very "hands on" with the School, not only lecturing, teaching, demonstrating and "mentoring" his students, but also physically transporting the students' paintings from Dublin to the Mall Galleries and back again in his car. He also organised exhibitions in the Ulster Tourist Office in London.
Closer to home, the Irish School of Landscape Painting also held exhibitions in the R.D.S. during the Holiday World Show in the 1970s and 1980s. Kenneth used to give painting demonstrations at these. A funny co-incidence to this is that Susan Webb, Kenneth Webb's daughter who took over the Irish School of Landscape Painting in 1995, just gave an oil painting demonstration at this year's Holiday World Show for the Wicklow Tourism's stand at the R.D.S., completely unaware that her father had demonstrated at the same Show before.
This current exhibition is the largest of the School's work that has been held for many years. The tuition the School has offered is unique in that when it was founded there was none other organised in the country offering professional training to amateur painters. The Irish School still teaches by those founding ideas giving our students a professional grounding in all aspects of their chosen art.
Susan says, "Teaching by demonstration is still at the core of our work. We believe that since most people coming to learn to paint are already more visually aware, then it follows that the easiest way for them to learn new skills is to see the theory put into practice in front of them. They have the opportunity to learn by example as well as by theory. This approach influences even our teaching of the history of art. If the class is studying, say Monet and Impressionism, the tutor in charge will give a demonstration in the style of the Impressionists so that the theory can come alive before the eyes of the students. This unique approach gives substance allowing the student to gain a real taste of how one artistic movement evolves into another."
Following this thorough training many past members of the School are now members of such august bodies as the R.H.A., with degrees from Art Colleges in Ireland and the U.K.