“It’s good to get in touch with that inner child that sometimes gets buried...”

EMMA CONNOLLY catches up with artist Deirdre Cichosz to find out about her latest body of work, ‘Whispers from Seas to Trees’, which she has just released
“It’s good to get in touch with that inner child that sometimes gets buried...”

Deirdre Cichosz, a landscape artist who lives near Minane Bridge

A CORK artist felt so guilty when buying tubes of paint that would ultimately end up in landfill, that she turned to nature for more sustainable solutions.

Deirdre Cichosz, a landscape artist who lives near Minane Bridge, said because nature is her muse, it’s important for her to be in harmony with it.

“So, a little while ago I gave up buying tubes of paint and started to buy dry pigments, free from toxins and additives, and I mix them with a natural oil like walnut oil or linseed oil.

Deirdre Cichosz, a landscape artist who lives near Minane Bridge
Deirdre Cichosz, a landscape artist who lives near Minane Bridge

“Recently, I have also been digging my hand into the ground and gathering clay along the coast and river banks, which I grind into beautiful earthy tones of pure pigment. It has strengthened my connection to and gratitude for nature,” she said.

Deirdre, who works under the name DeeCi (pronounced DeeChee), just released her latest collection of works, on July 8 - which is also inspired by her love of water and swimming.

And she’s not one of the ‘newbies’ who discovered the ocean during lockdowns either!

“I have always been drawn to water. As a child I used to fill the bathroom sink with water to the rim and dunk my head into that little underworld... a vast ocean!” she said.

And when the country was under 5km restrictions, Deirdre was lucky to be within easy reach of Fountainstown or Rocky Bay.

“Like so many other people, it helped me immensely during that time. Water really offers so many healing powers,” she said.

“I have a wonderful little group of women who I sometimes swim with. When the occasion arises, all four of us venture to the coastline at night, on a full moon, for a skinny dip, which are so liberating. Feeling the cold water on bare skin is wildly exhilarating and just so natural and beautiful.”

Deirdre’s new collection is called ‘Whispers from Seas to Trees’.

“Each piece literally has little whispers from earth to canvas, from seas and trees. I have made my own yellow ochre and tones of brown from clay I found along river banks and the coast; and black from driftwood and fallen branches of oak, ash and birch.”

She said the experience encouraged a much slower and meditative process: “I think we all need to slow down a little and I hope this collection is a portal for the viewer, to escape into a quieter place of natural beauty and to connect with their own inner wild.”

Deirdre studied in the Crawford College, after which she rented a studio in the city and worked as a commission artist, with a few exhibitions here and there.

One of Deirdre's new paintings.
One of Deirdre's new paintings.

She went on to teach art to adults and kids in a family resource centre.

“I then started a family and the art process changed again. My canvases and sketch books quickly filled with little handprints and colourful scribbles, I was a full time mother and loving it!” she said.

Her boys are now aged seven and eight and Deirdre said, as they got a little older, she decided to start painting for herself again.

And it felt incredible!

“It was like I had been connected once again with my younger self, but with a new enthusiasm, an eagerness to explore it all again,” she said.

As soon as Deirdre decided that painting was what she wanted and needed, “everything sort of fell into place”.

She’s busy creating custom pieces of art for clients, she is represented by The Boathouse Gallery in Kinsale, and she also sells her work at the Blackrock Sunday market. “I am also delighted to share that I have been invited to do an art residency for the month of October in Newfoundland, Canada. It is a very exciting opportunity for me and a chance to dive further into my art process,” said Deirdre.

She’s quick to point out the support from her husband Pawel who is Polish, and has been living here for 15 years.

Artwork by Deirdre Cichosz, a landscape artist who lives near Minane Bridge
Artwork by Deirdre Cichosz, a landscape artist who lives near Minane Bridge

“He is my rock and always gives me a critique on my work when I need one! Our dream is to move to West Cork and have a studio and a workshop side by side. Pawel is wonderfully creative and has a flair for woodwork. So, it’s a beautiful dream and we can’t wait to one day make it our reality.”

Reconnecting with her younger self was her turning point – and Deirdre encourages others to try and move into that space.

“It’s good to get in touch with that inner child that sometimes gets buried beneath the daily demands expected of us.

"When we reconnect with that part of ourselves, we can discover what it is that we are here to do. What our passions are, what we ultimately enjoyed doing, and then take steps to achieve those desires.

“There are a lot of clues as to who we really are and what our purpose is. I would advise anyone to go inwards to move forward, to re-ignite a passion that made them feel alive, joyful and truly happy. I feel so grateful that my boys get to see me follow my dreams. I hope it will inspire them to one day do the same.”

•Whispers from Seas to Trees is available to view at www.deeciart.com. You can follow Deirdre on Instagram at @deeci_art

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