Sinéad Ni Chionaola


I was born in Co. Waterford to a family which valued music, art, literature and, languages. When I finished school I studied in The Crawford College of Art & Design, in Cork. During my time there my influences included Impressionism, Rothko, Hughie O Donoghue, and Brian Maguire.

One of the defining moments in my early career was when I visited Russia in my final year in college. The experience of seeing the real work of Matisse in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg had a profound effect on my artistic process. In his painting ‘The Dance’ the subject matter shows how he is influenced by his predecessors. His interpretation of the subject matter uses stylized figures, sparsely painted in bold and vibrant colours. This painting freed me from the constraints of representational art.

In the early nineties, fellow artist Carmel Cleary and I decided to organise a national touring exhibition. This exhibition started in Ireland, and, visited other countries before it finally reached Adelaide in Australia.

I applied for an artist in residency for the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada. Being immersed in and surrounded by nature in the Rocky Mountains was another defining moment for me. I discovered the joy of doing very quick sketches of the fleeting landscape from the over-sized window of the train which transported me from Vancouver to Calgary.

Recently I have had an opportunity to fully embrace the online experience during lockdown, I updated my website and increased my online visibility. I receiver a Trading Online Voucher to upgrade my cv for e-commerce. I participated in the Artist Support Pledge. It was created to provide support for artists in a time of crisis.

Part of my online experience has been receiving an award of special Recognition Category for Excellence in Art. For my painting ‘On Pause,’ This was curated by and celebrated the 10th Anniversary of 2020. My career as a visual artist has spanned 35 years. My work forms part the OPW collection, and private collections in Ireland, Europe, Switzerland, and America.

TV Appearences: In 2003 The Irish television company TG4 interviewed me about my art residency in Co. Kerry. In 2007 The RTE interior design show Showhouse featured some of my paintings. TG4 approached me and interviewed me for Mol Scéal @TG4TV 2019 video story hub from #TG4

Reviews & Articles: The Irish Times, The Independent, The Sunday Tribune, Examiner, together with local papers in Ireland, Australia, and France.

I have always been inspired by the beauty of nature and the movement and energy of water. I create vibrant abstract expressionist paintings. Over the years to express something specific I have introduced figures into my paintings. The themes are connected by water: light and colour, movement and memory, a sense of presence in a moment in time, and the physicality of the paint in the studio.

Artist Statement

I am a visual artist based in East Cork, Ireland. I grew up in the coastal town of Dungarvan. Co. Waterford. Nestled between the Sea and the Mountains. Surrounded by nature in all its forms: flowing rivers, ebbing seas, and thunderous waterfalls. Each one possessing energy, dynamism, and inspiration. My father was a native Irish speaker from the Ring Gaeltacht and my mother loved Irish so we grew up speaking Irish at home.

A few years ago my life changed over-night. I had to create something new in the ashes of my broken life for myself and my children. In the process, I questioned everything about my life including my voice as an artist. At times, life was been grim, but I relied on my optimism to keep going. Painting became my antidote to grief. My optimism allowed me to create work which is authentic to me. I find light, energy, and beauty in the every-day.

Over many Winter mornings, driving the back roads to school, I noticed the trees painting their black silhouettes against the rising sun. My daughter took photos which I used as a reference for a series of paintings. During the first lockdown. I walked every day, it was good for my soul. I started to look with renewed attention and appreciation at my locality. I parked my car at the side of the road and painted the landscape. I went to my local beach and painted there as the sun was going down. I caught the colour reflected in the sky and the sea. I wanted to capture the memories and essence of the places in my work.

In the studio I layer acrylic paint onto the canvas. I use a variety of brushes, a palette knife, and water to blend and spread the paint. I render the natural colours of nature and create my vivid interpretations. I allow the paint to guide me, to be spontaneous. Overnight the paintings dry. With subsequent layers I tend to be more cautious, seeing what I want to retain, omit, emphasise. Titles for my work come to me as I paint and listen to music. I use photos as references for my paintings and preparatory drawings. When I am ready, I draw on the canvas with paint or pencil, sometimes freehand and occasionally with a grid for guidance. My paintings are manifest memory imbued with energy and positivity.

Past Work: A project by Greywood Arts – an online journal about the creative process issue #2. My artwork was shown digitally on the screen at the ARTBOX.GALLERY in Zurich. 



Instagram @sineadnichionaola_0682


Membership: Backwater Artists Network
Shopping Basket
Scroll to Top
Skip to content