Upon Small Shoulders

upon small shoulders

Ireland’s economy spiralled into the abyss as a result of corporate arrogance, individual greed and negligent governance. The burden of our shattered economy and massive debt has become our children’s legacy.

This large oil painting (7’x3’) depicts a small child sitting precariously on rusted scaffolding with the Irish tricolour draped behind her. The old scaffolding of an unfinished property development represents the remnants of Ireland’s ‘Celtic Tiger’ boom. The little girl represents the children of Ireland left vulnerable and destitute with a crippling burden to carry as a result of greed and negligence. The flag ‘our brightest colours’ is Ireland, her heritage .
Her expression however isn’t one of fear and her posture is confident and defiant.
She is captivated by something that has distracted her from her plight and her outstretched arm gestures to the viewer. What she is looking at and the meaning of her gesture are for you to interpret.

I hope you enjoy it.

upon small shoulders

You can purchase a ‘Limited Edition Giclée Print‘ of this paintings (available in two sizes and as a postcard) click here for details

My little model

Little Tia

My lovely little model’s name is Tia. Originally I had intended to use her older sister Georgia as the model. I’d painted Georgia’s portrait before (she is the pretty red haired child on my portraits page). I has the set ready when they both arrived to the studio so not wanting to miss the opportunity I took shots of both girls in a variety of poses. Tia was actually wearing trousers and ugg boots in the initial shoot but as I was probably focusing more on facial expression I didn’t really notice until I was examining my references later. I felt that she looked too comfortable in them. I wanted the child in the painting to look vulnerable and unprotected so I got her back into the studio for a second session wearing just her dress. The final image was actually a combination of a number of shots and a bit of improvisation. And yes she has those eyes and lips – a gorgeous little dote!

The Art and the Artist

This photo (with the very serious artist!) shows the scale of the piece. I had the canvas made to 7′ x 3′ a size that the wonderful artist James Mc Neill Whistler use for a number of his paintings. I wanted to produce a series of 3 large paintings that I felt highlighted the problems my country was experiencing, and I felt Whistlers proportions created the ideal canvas size. The second of the series is underway with the third in planning.

My goatee didn’t last (Mrs C didn’t approve!) and my smile returned.

Sinéad O’Connor’s new album cover

How About I be Me (and you be you?)

Sinéad O’Connors latest album.

Singer/songwriter Sinéad O’Connor acquired my painting to use as the cover of her long awaited 9th album ‘How about I be me (and you be you)?‘. Naturally I’d recommend that you run out immediately and get yourself a cd for an incredible sound and of course a stunning cover!! As an added bonus the full painting is part of the inner sleeve :).

I’ve Limited Edition Giclée Prints (and postcards) of ‘upon small shoulders’ if you’d like to get a copt of the real thing.

The perfect gift for any Sinéad O’Connor fan – A copy of her new CD ‘How about I be me (and you be you)?’ and a Limited Edition Print of ‘upon small shoulders’!


9 responses to “Upon Small Shoulders

  • Karrie Marshall

    Your painting took my breathe away…. moved me to tears, along with Sinead’s incredible voice and words. And then I read your words about the painting. Where I had seen fear in the girl’s face, you said there was none… and so I looked again. And I saw an intense interest in something greater than herself. And where I had seen a hand saying ‘don’t look, this isn’t safe’ … I now saw a hand saying ‘hush, wait… there’s something amazing here and I want to listen…’ So I would like to thank you, not only for a powerful painting, but also for helping me change my perspective.

    • Neil Condron

      Thank you so much Karrie for you comment on my painting ‘upon small shoulders’ I’m pleased that it invoked such interest and emotion, I was keen that a sense of ‘hope’ would prevail in the painting and a belief in the capability and endurance of our children despite the burden we’ve put on their small shoulders. I also wanted to let the viewer interpret whatever it is that has captivated her, we each have our own opinion.
      Having just visited your site creativityincare.org I’d like to commend you on your inspirational work. I have had an interest in puppets since I was a young boy and still have some of them in safe keeping for my grandchildren. Enjoy Sinead’s incredible music, keep in touch.

  • ashleigh ferguson

    I was stunned to see a print of your painting in a pub in enniskerry today. I’ve loved it since seeing it on sinead o’connors album cover. The child seems stubbornly independent like my own beautiful three year old. I’m so pleased that I was able to get a print and thank you so much for bringing it in on such short notice. It will be taking pride of place in my home and I’m sure will raise a few eyebrows and become a conversation piece. I love it and thank you once again

  • Upon Small Shoulders | Day One

    […] The booklet also contains lyrics of the songs, and a poster of the picture on the cover ‘Upon small Shoulders‘ by Neil […]

  • Barbara

    I hope you like what I wrote & the photo 🙂 Thanks so much for signing mine & Dad’s postcards, you really made our day xxx

  • Neil Condron

    […] Upon Small Shoulders […]

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