My Story

I am an Irish artist, living in Limerick on the west coast of Ireland. My studio is in my attic conversion - which is amazing! I love having easy access to my art. I have always loved art, and it has always influenced my life. My story from the beginning: when I was young I used to draw all the time. If you were looking for me I was typically drawing! I loved it: I would sketch, draw cartoons, copy images - anything at all! I was good at art at school and really flourished when I went to secondary school under my first Art teacher.


I didn't go to Art College, I had applied but was unsuccessful. To be honest, I struggled for many years with being rejected from Art College. I think I have most definitely blocked the entire experience from my memory. I had always wanted to go to Art College. Art was my passion! So I filled in my CAO form and got accepted to do Computer Systems at the University of Limerick! Probably as far from Art College as you could get!

Refusing to do anything artistic

After not getting into Art College I put down my sketch pads and paints and sulked for years! There is no sense here - this is a completely typical artist reaction to rejection. I stopped doing the one thing that I liked doing and that would enable me to enter my flow state. Sometime during college my partner asked me to paint for him… so I did. This was a big task for me. I had to retrain myself. But it felt good, but foreign.

Slowly getting back to painting

After that I only painted occasionally - 1 painting a year! I started painting again in earnest after moving home from London and giving birth to our first son. It started as a way for me to relax and have some time to myself. Typically on a Sunday afternoon when A would go to his parents with my little one. I enjoyed it, but I was only getting back into it.

Gifting artwork

Many artists go through this stage - gifting their artwork. It is probably the first step in self acceptance of your art. For any big occasions my family and friends were receiving my art. It was a nice segway into painting more, and finding my painting skills again. This also coincided with my youngest starting preschool. After 7 years of being a stay at home parent, I suddenly had some time to myself. I happily started painting again. The painting below was gifted to my aunties during lockdown. Pre-pandemic they loved nothing more than going to Howth and getting some fresh fish. So, I painted them Howth to bring it to them instead.
Howth painting

Market stall

In November 2021, I spotted an advertisement from Art Limerick - a group of artists I followed on social media. Their advertisement was that they had space for a new artist to display work at their art fair in the Limerick Milk market, 11 days from the advertisement.

Initally - thought to refuse

My initial thoughts were to wait a year until I had more paintings and had more time to myself to paint. However, the timing was pushing me to another decision. My sister in law had just passed away before her time. When this happens you suddenly start thinking "why wait". “What am I waiting for?”. I decided there and then to sign up and see! I was not confident that I would be accepted - my internal voice doubted that I could just apply and then have a stall at an art fair! However, I got a response immediately that was very welcoming and encouraging. Thanks to Kathy Tiernan it really gave me the nudge I needed to follow through and go to the market.

Next problem: What to sell at my stall?

This was a new problem for me. I loved nearly all of my paintings (some in my opinion were duds)! The paintings had a home on my walls for my family and I to enjoy. I did not want to lose them! They were my babies. What was I going to sell at the market? A few years previously I had hand-painted Christmas cards for all my family. Thankfully I had luckily scanned in my Christmas cards, so I got them printed. I also contacted Limerick Fine Art Printing and asked them about getting Giclée prints done of my paintings. They were also very encouraging to a scared newbie! At least now I had a plan: a couple of paintings and a few archival Giclée prints of my favourites.

Nici at her first market Nov 21

Setting myself up

There was another part that I also wanted to do before going to the market. I designed my logo and a business card. I really enjoyed that - as I had not done anything in Illustrator in years. I also sat down with A and created a basic website - which he was very excited about (tech nerd:-) ). I then created a business instagram as well. This was all very exciting and distracting me from what I was actually doing. Which was standing in front of the world and saying “Yes I painted these, yes I am an artist!”

12 months before

If you had told me last year that in 12 months time I would have completed 20 paintings in 2022, plus 10 mini paintings, and 3 commissions (Bluebells, Ballyvaughan and Walking home from school). I would have looked at you with disbelief! I exhibited in ABC for Mental Health Green Ribbon Month, and the Art Limerick Annual exhibition at People's Museum. I was in the Limerick Milk Market 3 times, and in the Art Limerick Pop Up 6 times. I am now listed on New Irish Art's website.

I can't believe how much has happened in 12 months! However, it has been a really fun experience. I finally feel at peace too. It is probably about realising my true passion. It is also about doing something that really relaxes me. Why would you not want to do that!

For me it is about standing proud and admitting I can paint, and hoping people like my paintings. But if I am honest, I love my paintings and the process and want to continue for a long time! I hope you find my story interesting and continue to follow my story. I invite you to have a look around my website: view my paintings, view my prints and discover my life in art. Would you like to be part of my journey by becoming one of my art collectors? You can join my monthly Nici's Muse to hear about my latest paintings / prints, you may find your perfect piece: Join my newsletter. Living with art is one of the most insightful and culturally enriching gifts to humanity, I hope to help bring art into your life too.

Thank you for reading

Yours in art, Nici