My wife, Mege, and I had moved from Dublin city to a rural part of Kerry, a county on the southern tip of Ireland.   As we settled into to our life in the country I saw men and women going about their daily agricultural business, herding cattle, driving tractors, standing in fields.  They had something about them, purposeful without being hurried.

One night I had the dream.  Mege and I were going to the local town, Kenmare, to do some grocery shopping.  As we drove along we passed people doing their thing on tractors and in the fields as usual.  Except for one thing.  They all had big wings. They weren’t fairy wings as such, more organic, like a butterfly’s but not so fragile, or pretty.
We arrived in town.  Everyone had wings. No one was surprised by this. Everyone was going along as if nothing was unusual.  For them it was natural.  After a little while I got used to it  and it became natural for me too. I began to wonder why I’d never noticed the wings before.

When I woke up the dream stayed with me.  Without thinking about it I knew I would paint four little square pictures of the farming men and women with the wings.

A couple of days later Mege and I were going to Kenmare to do some grocery shopping.  As we drove along we passed people doing their thing on tractors and in the fields. There was something different about them, or maybe there was something different about me.  I couldn’t see the wings or anything like that but I could feel them.  The same way you can feel it when people have been arguing in a room.  In a way, feeling the presence of the wings was more real than seeing them.

It took me a year and a half to paint the pictures and in the end I painted six, not four. They turned out not to be as little as I’d thought, but not huge either.  As I painted them my neighbours would ask me what I was painting.  They asked in that friendly neighbourly way people do.  If I said I’d been gardening they would have asked me what I was growing. I was a bit apprehensive to show them initially. I didn’t know how they would respond. Kerry is a big tourist destination, predominantly with Americans who grew up with Darby O’Gill and the little people and John Wayne in the Quiet Man. I didn’t know how my neighbours would respond to a Dublin man painting wings on them.

I needn’t have worried. I’ve shown the paintings to quite a few local people now and the response is always the same.  They are always captivated.  It’s remarkable to watch farmers who have walked in off the field, still in their wellington boots, staring at these paintings like they are looking into a magical book.

Sometimes they will recognise the faces in the paintings and tell me the names of the people. They each see different people which makes me think I must have captured something of the  Kerry people. The response has been a genuinely pleasant surprise for me. I hope you enjoy them as much as my neighbours.

You can see the pictures in detail below along with videos of how they were made.

Seamus and Excalibur

Seamus and Excalibur by john Dalton

40 x 40 cms (15.7″x15.7″)
Acrylic on canvas

Below is a short video showing the making of this picture.

[KGVID width=”480″ height=”480″]http://www.johndalton.me/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/trim.21B259EA-888F-4FE4-86EE-3864D55DF9A0.mov[/KGVID]

Eilish and Chester

Eilish and Chester by John Dalton

40 x 40 cms (15.7″x15.7″)
Acrylic on canvas

Below is a short video showing the making of this picture.

[KGVID width=”480″ height=”480″]http://www.johndalton.me/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/eilish.mov[/KGVID]

Mick and Trampas

Mick and Trampas by John Dalton

40 x 40 cms (15.7″x15.7″)
Acrylic on canvas

Below is a short video showing the making of this picture.

[KGVID width=”480″ height=”480″]http://www.johndalton.me/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/trim.9E2959F3-2BBE-44D7-AFBF-C46A9695F9E2.mov[/KGVID]

Tony with onlookers

Tony with onlookers by John Dalton

40 x 40 cms (15.7″x15.7″)
Acrylic on canvas

Below is a short video showing the making of this picture.

[KGVID width=”480″ height=”480″]http://www.johndalton.me/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/trim.B20E0645-BE8B-489E-8A91-A6EC5E084252.mov[/KGVID]

Mary with chickens and Caesar

Mary with chickens and Caesar by John Dalton

40 x 40 cms (15.7″x15.7″)
Acrylic on canvas

Below is a short video showing the making of this picture.

[KGVID width=”480″ height=”480″]http://www.johndalton.me/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/trim.DC870B50-4066-410C-BFA5-B63D59215842.mov[/KGVID]

Pairic with milk churn

Pairic with milk churn by John Dalton

Private collection
40 x 40 cms (15.7″x15.7″)
Acrylic on canvas

Below is a short video showing the making of this picture.

[KGVID width=”480″ height=”480″]http://www.johndalton.me/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/trim.AEA55DC8-E3D7-4DAA-A4F6-7650407C93C5.mov[/KGVID]

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