Collection: Una O'Grady

 Una O’Grady was born in north Belfast in 1976. She studied at the Ulster University Art College where she gained a BA Honours in Fine And Applied Art. At her final year Degree Show her painting (‘The Burren’) was bought by Theo Snoddy for the U.T.V Collection. She also received an invitation by then president of the Royal Ulster Academy, Joseph McWilliams to exhibit in the Academy’s annual show where she went on to receive a special award.

After training to teach Art and gaining a Post Graduate Certificate in Education,  Una took time out to travel Australia and Asia. Her true desire though was to follow her own painting path and work as a full-time artist.

She considers herself very lucky to now live this dream and  paints daily from her studio in rural County Waterford.

Despite the move to a rural setting  Una’s enjoyment  in painting her home city did not dissipate. Her vibrant, energetic Belfast docks scenes became more whimsical and allowed her to feel a connection to home.  Una, knowing the shapes and colours of the docks so well painted them instinctively and from memory.  This bold application of energetic, vigorous mark-making requires palette knives, brushes, charcoal and even finger-painting. The finished result always conveying a sense of immediacy and spontaneity.

Serendipity was to play a role in Una’s new rural world. Never before had she painted animals. But while staying in a mobile home (during a seemingly forever house build) she began to observe her new rural neighbours. The calves in the next field were becoming a more familiar sight than anticipated.  Una watched their movements carefully and their idiosyncratic poses and characteristics interested her. What began as pencil sketches through the mobile home window quickly developed into a new exciting series of work.

Terriers on the small farm caught Una’s attention too…the local deerhound and Irish wolfhound. The rural experience was acting as a catalyst in developing Una’s subject matter and allowing her to become sure of her unique style of painting. Crucially, it was the contrasting themes of her urban and rural existence that gave a fresh, seemingly effortless feel to her art work. The different subject matters worked in tandem and were co-dependant.

Painting is a constant in Una’s day but what drives her to continually develop her work is the enjoyment that she gets from it. She trusts that the viewer can sense this enjoyment too!

Una has had numerous successful solo and group shows over the years. Her work appears in Art Collections such as the Ulster Bank, U.T.V, Queens University and her work can be viewed in public Art Collection