New Abstract Ink Paintings- Triangles

Stained Glass Abstract I, Ink on Paper, Emily Boylan

Triangles are a motif that I return to quite often in my abstract ink paintings. I mentioned in an earlier post that a customer had told me about a painting that had a special meaning in Feng Shui- it was actually a painting with mountains that were deep red triangles. I was painting them out of a fondness for the geometry of the triangles, as well as the simplicity of the shape, but I was really fascinated when she said that because they were red triangles they could be used in Feng Shui in an area of her home to do with fame and career recognition.  I hadn’t really painted red triangles properly again- and that was two years ago- until now.

Pink Hills Watercolour, Ink on Cotton Rag Paper, Emily Boylan
Pink Hills Detail

From my own reading I found that red is a fire element, and that triangles can also be used as a fire element, so I’m guessing that it is thought to have double the effect if you use both aspects together. I am not an expert, but I think that these shapes can actually be used in different areas to attract intensity in that corresponding area of your life.

Pink Triangles, Ink on Paper, Emily Boylan

Now, I must confess, whilst I love reading other meanings, especially within a philosopy like Feng Shui, I mostly paint triangles because I like to, and because their simplicity allows me to showcase the beauty of ink and watercolour, which is my main passion in painting. Still, when I move to my new home I am tempted to consider adding these shapes to some of the custom artworks I make for myself, to see do they have any effect!


Atypical- Review of Netflix TV Series


This is my first television review for the blog, and I have picked a show which I feel is very special, it is called ‘Atypical’ and is currently available to stream on Netflix.

SPOILER ALERT: Some spoilers for the first episode!


Atypical is a new Netflix series about the life of an 18 year old boy who has been diagnosed with Autism. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Rappaport as the parents lend not inconsiderable charisma and experience to their roles, whilst Keir Gilchrist is note-perfect as the main character, Sam.

From early on, despite a short, not much more than half hour episode length, the series packs in a hefty amount of family drama, fledgling romance and marital strife, which assures the viewer there is plenty of material to sustain the short eight episode run.

Sam’s main storyline revolves around his desire to pursue a romantic relationship. Meanwhile, his sister Casey, a notable athlete, is pursued by a boy with a dubious reputation. This allows for an interesting juxtaposition between the progression of a ‘normal’ teenage relationship and the challenges that Sam faces in connecting with girls. An aspect of Sam’s story that I think works very well is showing his own point of view (the visual thinking, the racing thoughts running in the background), as well as how strange his behaviour can seem to those outside his world, and also how much it impacts him when people reject him because of his apparent difference.

Because I’m older than the teenage audience that the show might most appeal to, it is possible I wouldn’t have tried it had it not deal with the subject of Autism (though Jennifer Jason Leigh, and her luminous performance is another strong selling point). This series is addressing an issue in which I have personal interest, but I do believe it could appeal to anyone looking for a family series which has heart, depth, humour and charm in spades. They don’t make series of this quality, with this level of chemistry between the ‘family’ of actors that often. To my own memory, a show I would draw comparisons with is probably ‘My So-Called Life’, especially in the sense that if you started watching for the teen storyline, the parents’ dramas will win your interest, and vice versa.

One other thing the series does especially well is the examination of the way in which Sam’s diagnosis, and his needs have affected his parents marriage. Seeing Elsa and Doug’s marriage face challenges, I was left wondering why it has taken so long for a show to tackle such a relevant issue, which is affected millions of people and yet goes largely unacknowledged in mainstream media. We hear a lot about the lack of supports for children diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, but rarely do we talk about the people at home who are doing the most, and what supports there are out there for them, for their marriages and for their own lives, so that they can continue to give so much to their children.

When Elsa sabotages a rare dinner date, and attacks Doug for not ‘liking’ Sam, and not spending as much time with him as she has, we begin to see the strain these two characters have been under, and the ways in which the situation has pitted them against each other. For Doug’s part, Rappaport manages to convey such depth of emotion, with so few words, that we are left in no doubt as to his true affection for his son, and also as to the pain it causes him that so much distance has grown between himself and his wife, who in the process of learning how to fight for her son’s wellbeing has forgot to turn off that aggression in other situations, to a degree where it does not serve her well.

I wouldn’t like to give away too much more of the plot, but suffice it to say this is a rewarding and enjoyable programme which is well worth your time. If you’ve seen it yourself, please let me know your thoughts in the comments (although no spoilers for later episodes please, I’m only on episode 3 myself!)


Buddha Watercolour- Feng Shui and Art

Cherry Blossom Buddha, watercolour, Emily Boylan, 2017

I became interested in Feng Shui and Art after a customer of mine told me about the meaning one of my paintings had in the philosophy of Feng Shui. Feng Shui is not a Buddhist practice, though it is popular in China, where Buddhism is the most prevalent religion. I found out that not all buddhists practice Feng Shui, although some do, and the buddha is used as a symbol within that practice.

This is an area that I have heard about for a long time, and Eastern art has always been a strong influence on my painting, because I am drawn to simple, strong lines and minimalism.

As I read more about Feng Shui, I saw the relationship with buddhism and the way that the buddha figure is seen to represent many things, including peace, and prosperity in this school of thought. Cherry blossom petals are a subject that I had painted before (see below) so it seemed natural to me to include them with this Cherry Blossom Buddha painting, especially given the colour scheme. I chose a golden green for the robes of the Buddha because to me this is a colour of new growth, like new shoots and leaves that spring up on a tree branch


In my research (which is only beginning, so I still have a lot to learn) I read about other symbols you see in ‘Feng Shui’ art, such as Koi fish and Peonies. Peonies, like the ones in my Pink Peonies painting above, are a symbol for love and romance, however they are such a strong symbol of passion that some practitioners of Feng Shui would not place them in the bedroom of a long-married couple, fearing that they might lead to an affair.

Koi fish, a symbol of abundance, due to how quickly fish can multiply are believed to be most beneficial when pictured in groups of nine, although pairs are often found,  (symbolising marriage)and the traditional means of depicting them is in a stream. I was lucky enough to visit some real Koi fish in the San Francisco Japanese Tea Gardens this past May.


Above is a photo I took of the Koi in the tea garden pond. Apparently in Feng Shui, the black Koi fish is said to neutralise bad luck- so it’s lucky I managed to get one in shot! There is a handy site Feng Shui and Fish where you can learn a lot more about Feng Shui for decorating, than what I touch on in my article.

I’m moving to a new home soon, so it is really fascinating to me to study Feng Shui and see if I can apply any principles from it to my new home. I do believe that the things we surround ourselves with have an impact on our minds, so it is a practice I am looking forward to learning more about. If anyone can recommend some good books to me about Feng Shui as it relates to art especially, I’d love to here from you either in the comments or by email.

Best wishes for a lucky week!


Welcome to my blog!

Hello, and welcome to my blog!

This is a new space for me to share some news about my art work, insight into my process, inspiration and some custom projects that I work on! I’ve created this blog to go along with my new website

My name is Emily and I am an artist from Dublin Ireland. I paint in watercolour, inks and acrylics, and I look forward to sharing some of my work and hopefully meeting other artists and art- enthusiasts online. I also love reading craft, pop culture, cookery and interior design blogs, and hope to share some of my best finds online here.


For my first blog post I decided to share one of my recent paintings, this one is entitled ‘Blue Whale and paddle boarder’. Whales are one of my favourite mammals, and I have so far been luck enough to participate in two Whale watches- one in Monterey, California and another leaving from Boston, Massachusetts.

Whales can be difficult to photograph as often only a small portion of this large creature is usually above the water. For this particular painting, I wanted to capture the whale from a high angle, so that you can see through the water, and I also added a person on a paddle board for scale. I have read about and seen videos of paddle boarders coming extremely close to whales, and can only imagine that it is an incredible experience.

whalep2Even though the whale is large, powerful and heavy, the feeling I got from being out on the sea with whales is that they are also very gentle, calm creatures who would never attack without reason.

I also have enjoyed following the story of the 52 Herz whale, because there is something beautiful about the idea of a whale singing in isolation for decades hoping to attract another whale who will understand him.

Please stay tuned for more updates to my blog and new site, and I look forward to hearing from you!