I have a confession to make. I’ve lived here all my life but this year will be my first ever Yn Chruinniaght festival. 

I was thinking about why I have never been to the festival before and part of the reason stems from my experience as a child, 40 years ago, when I attended St. Joseph’s Convent of Mercy school* which was located at 12-14 Finch Road in Douglas. The school closed the year I left (nothing to do with me – nor was it down to Mario Ricciardi flooding the cloakrooms either) and the Convent moved to Selborne Drive for several years before the nuns finally relocated back to the UK.

*As an aside to this wee tale, the wonderfully talented watercolour artist, Julie Collins, attended the Convent and was in the same year as my sister. Another great talent from my year on the musical side of things is Trish Fargher (Douglas Choral Union) and you may also be surprised to know that Damian Chiappelli (Director of the Sayle Gallery) was also a Convent school boy in my brother’s year.

Whilst at the Convent, I somehow got roped (or pushed, I’m not sure which) into going to a Manx dancing class run by the legendary Mona Douglas. The practice space was a rather dilapidated building up a flight of steps and if I remember correctly it was just off Finch Road going up towards Mount Havelock where the car park is now. I’m about as co-ordinated when it comes to dancing as one would imagine Mr Bean to be, so when it came to being entered into the Guild in only the easiest dance (the more complex ones being reserved for the long-standing dance group members who knew what they were doing), and subsequently coming last in said competition I hung up my dancing shoes for good, never to tread stage boards or wave a hankie around in the air again.

Along with this whole ghastly experience was the music which I heard that many times it has left an indelible scar in my memory. I could sing it to you to this day and I detest it with a passion, so I think this is where my dislike of Celtic music and dance stems from. It’s not exclusive in my list of dislikes though. I can’t stand country music either, especially Johnny Cash and Kenny Rodgers which my husband inflicts upon me whenever he’s had one over the eight! 

Next weekend (16th July), therefore, will be my first Yn Chruinniaght and the only reason I am going along is to support our wonderful Artists who will be in residence at the Corrin Hall in Peel. It’s certainly not for music or traditional dancing. However, it is a wonderful opportunity to stock up on cards and hand-crafted gifts and as we are on the wrong side of the solstice with the days getting shorter I’m planning on thinking about the ‘C’ word and getting a few gifts organised for that naughty December festival that has a nasty habit of creeping up on you while you’re not looking.

Look out for Nicola Dixon, Graham Hall, Katy Mitchell, Element.Isle and Faye Christian amongst other talented folk. The fab poster below is by Alice Quayle (Alice’s Illustrations). Click on the picture to see it in the lightbox.

minilogoHuge Congratulations to the BA (Hons) Fine Art students! They got their results on Friday and I wasn’t at all surprised: Rosie Wood and Helen Tate got Firsts and Bryan Moore and Kirsti Penzes both got 2:1’s. I’m so delighted for them as they have all worked incredibly hard. Helen and Kirsti are working part-time at The Sayle Gallery and I think Rosie is having a short break before starting her next endeavour. Bryan is currently working on a graphic novel and has some plans for where he wants to go with his skills. I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing them all well in their artistic careers. Kirsti should have a page on the Directory soon but Rosie, Helen and Bryan’s pages are all live so click on their names to go and take a look. Here is a taster from each of them.


minilogoI caught up with my favourite French friend, Bruno Cavellec, on Friday. He’s all cock-a-hoop at France being in the final of the Euro’s (final result at this point not known). I didn’t realise that he was such a passionate football fanatic. Anyway, with all of the footy excitement he’s taken his eye off the ball (groan….) on the Art side of things just recently and told me that he was back off to his studio after lunch to get stuck into work for his solo exhibition at the Isle Gallery in October. He has the title of it and sketched his plan for the poster for me. I’ll not divulge the title just yet but  you can look forward to paintings, graphic art, photography and printing/lino cuts. Here is a recent self portrait to keep you going until then.


minilogoHelen Fox has posted up on the Douglas Market Hall FB page that she is looking for a student or recent graduate to produce a Zine for the Creative Industries Summer Project. Contact helen.fox@ucm.ac.im if you are interested.Want to know what a Zine is? Check it out here…..



minilogoRebecca Odessa has spent the last week at the Slade Summer School in London and has been loving every minute of it. She’s also good at writing and has been doing a daily blog to catalogue her time which is a very easy and entertaining read. When I visited Rebecca for coffee and a chat a few weeks ago, she showed me some of her ‘pre-Slade’ collage work and I don’t think she will mind me saying that her ‘post-Slade’ collage work is considerably better. I’m therefore very excited to see how her studies this year will manifest into new work for her. I also had a sneak preview of a painting she has been working on that is one of a series of 12 and it blew me away. I can’t wait until she exhibits that work.




minilogoAnd finally, a bit of arty video for you. Adam Berry posted up this process video on his FB page to show how me makes a face ‘facey like’. Looks pretty facey to me 🙂 


minilogoIf you enjoy these news updates, please Share them with your friends and colleagues on FB and Linkedin to help raise awareness of our very talented local Artists. If you would like to do more to help, you can make a wee donation via PayPal here, advertise on this site or sponsor these news updates – just drop me a line for more information: jane@graceandhall.com

Have a great week!


Keep up-to-date by ‘Liking’ the Facebook Page or by ‘Following’ me on Linkedin or Twitter @manxart. You can also ‘Subscribe’ using the button top right of the screen.


Isle of Man Art News – 11 July 2016