Connacht Forwards Coach Jimmy Duffy is a well known face in Irish Rugby. He played for Connacht, the Barbarians, Ireland U-21s and Ireland A. Did you know that he’s also a gifted artist? We spoke to Jimmy about his passion for art and how he finds time to paint with such a heavy schedule.
Have you always enjoyed painting or is it a more recent passion; are there other artists in your family?
I’ve always enjoyed painting. I have sketched since I can remember, in pencil & pastels mostly. An early memory would be an image of Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketchbook I saw in a movie. A leather bound, yellow paged catalogue of ideas. I loved the mystery of the image, and funnily I carry a similar one around to this day. I stopped painting to pursue a professional rugby career, and began to paint regularly again about five years ago. My mother began to paint a number of years ago also.
You grew up in the West of Ireland – do you think the landscape influenced your artistic style, being so close to nature and the ocean?
Definitely, my grandparents are from Connemara. My grandmothers family home is situated in the Glencoaghan, overlooking Derryclare Lough. It is a very special place, and my father would bring us most weekends to explore. It holds many fond memories. I am also very fortunate to live close to the sea. The Clare Hills, and Galway Bay are thankfully views I encounter every day.
Do you find painting an escape from the discipline of coaching?
Very much so. The hours in coaching are long, and games can be an emotional rollercoaster. Painting helps me to detach and refocus. It gives me balance and I always feel fresher after painting.
How do you fit painting into your busy schedule or do you paint only when you’re inspired?
A bit of both. Initially I only painted when I had time, now I make time. It is hugely important to do things for yourself that give you satisfaction. You are always the better for it, and those close to you will benefit also.
Do you have a painting on the easel at the moment? Can you explain your inspiration behind it?
I have just finished a heavily layered oil painting. It’s called ‘Draíocht san Fhuinneog’ (Magic in the Window). It is an interpretation of an emotional event between two very special people in a special place, viewed through a window. Like any emotional event, they mean what they mean to those that matter. Something that I will happily never forget. I’ve tried to capture the scene and emotions in colour and texture. (This painting will be available for sale just before Christmas 2020 – please email us for more details.)
Where is your favourite place to paint?
I prefer to paint at home. I co share a space with my son. 50% Lego and 50% art studio. He has a very clear demarcation line. I daren’t cross it. It is a good space and caters for both of us comfortably.
Which artists have most inspired you and why?
I went on a school tour to Holland in my early teens and was fortunate enough to visit the Van Gogh museum where I first saw ‘Garden at the Asylum’. From that moment on I was hooked. I am fortunate that my job allows me to travel quite a lot, and when we’re away on tour I try to visit as many galleries and museums as I can on my downtime.
The two stand out influences would be Claude Monet particularly ‘Soleil Levant’, ’San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk’, and Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild. To this day the styles and colour composition of both painters have been a major inspiration.
Do you listen to music when you’re painting and, if so, what type of music?
I like to paint late at night & in silence. I love how peaceful it is and like to have nothing to distract me. I listen to music throughout the day and my playlist is a mix of multiple genres.
If you were to paint an Irish rugby player who would it be & why?
As a coach you try to remain calm and detached from the emotion of a game. I would probably try to capture some of those feelings from a supporters, or players perspective. It is good to stand back and appreciate how much sport means to people. That would be an interesting project.
Do you have any plans for an exhibition in the future?
I had been asked to consider holding one in Galway this year, but due to the current situation that idea is on hold until it is safe to do so.
Luckily for ArtClick followers we have some of Jimmy’s new paintings available for sale : click HERE for more details