Emerging Northern Irish Female Artists

Emerging Northern Irish Female Artists – Orla Gilkeson

Orla Gilkeson lives along the County Down coastline in Northern Ireland and is inspired by the changing nature of the Irish Sea and surrounding landscapes. She produces abstract paintings and creates undeniably unique wall art.

She was recently featured in the wonderful and popular http://www.IHIL.net (Ireland’s Homes Interiors and Living) magazine September Edition, and the competition to win her artwork lasts until the start of September 2021. You will need to buy this fantastic magazine to enter. More information on Orla Gilkeson’s Instagram here:

Her work is particularly interesting in that she reimagines landscapes and seascapes using textures, brushstrokes and scraping techniques through the mediums of acrylics, watercolour and oils, imbuing them with a slight edge of magical realism. This makes her abstract paintings and fine art photography seem both timeless and yet constantly evolving at the same time. There is the slightest hint of transcendence if you pay enough attention, resulting in some very unique wall art.

Northern Irish female Artists – ‘Wave,’ by Orla Gilkeson

Her overpainted photographs are worth a look also. She uses photographs she has taken of the sea and then adds layers of paint over the top, making the photograph become her canvas, in the tradition of the great German artist Gerhard Richter. The result is a thought provoking interrogation of the idea of what landscapes and seascapes really are, not to mention what art itself is. You can see her collection of overpainted photographs here:


Her Irish Sea Glimpses Collection (a series of canvases 15×15 depicting the sea in a state of continual fluctuation) is an intriguing and beautiful series of abstract paintings. You can find some of her work on Saatchi Art here:


Northern Irish female Artists – Overpainted Photograph Mixed Media Seascape by Orla Gilkeson

Emerging Northern Irish Female Artists – Aly Harte

Aly Harte has become more and more prominent through her mentorship programmes, podcasts, videos and artworks. She describes herself as being ‘passionate about placing importance on everyday moments, objects and places,’ and her brush approach is loose despite having quite a bold style. She produces paintings in quite an abstract style with a particular emphasis on soft pastels.

Northern Irish female Artists – Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge’ by Aly Harte

Having grown up in the Irish countryside has had a huge influence upon her subjects, style and her painterly gaze. Many of her landscapes are from around the island of Ireland, and highlight important Irish symbols and products. 

She is keen to highlight the struggles of women and gender inequality as demonstrated in her 12 Female Portraits which she released for International Women’s Day last year. All of the women in the collection are known to Harte and she had them send photographs of themselves to her to use, rather than drawing from real life. They are all similar to the artist in some way – they are women she has known since childhood or met at the gym, mothers of her children’s friends or like her in that they are also self-employed mums who are trying to build a business at the same time.

Northern Irish female Artists – One of 12 Female Portraits by Aly Harte

You can find out more on her website www.alyharte.com

Emerging Northern Irish Female Artists – Fiona Finnegan

Fiona Finnegan is an artist working in Belfast who investigates folklore, myths and ideas of the paranormal in her work. She creates a sense of mystery and unease in her work, which is inspired by photographs from the Internet. It is difficult to associate a time or place with her images which gives them a touch of the timeless, as well as a very surreal quality. They could be anywhere or nowhere.

Emerging Northern Irish Female Artists – Pyramid,’ by Fiona Finnegan

The artist mostly produces images which are set at twilight, favouring the in-between times, further creating a sense of the uncanny. When she includes figures they are often hooded and hidden in shadow, and it is unclear what exactly their purpose might be. Paintings like one below ‘Ancestors,’ or ‘Vigil,’ are a case in point. Finnegan likes to use oil on wood which adds to the dream-like quality of her paintings.

Emerging Northern Irish Female Artists – ‘Ancestors,’ by Fiona Finnegan

You can discover more about this fascinating painter here:


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Emerging Northern Irish Female Artists

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for following my blog. Your support is appreciated.

  2. cheriewhite says:

    Such beautiful paintings! Thank you for posting.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words!

      1. cheriewhite says:

        You’re very welcome! 🙂

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