Hand painted Scenes of the 'Old Country' on Remains of a Family Mill

Artist Barbara McDevitt is finding a way to keep many of Ireland's old
landmarks alive.  McDevitt creates hand painted ancestral slates from
pieces of an aging family owned mill in the north of Ireland.

She returned to her ancestral home several years ago to discover a
family owned mill in the town of Carndonagh, County Donegal.  The mill,
a stone mammoth of a structure that stands out like a forgotten keep
against the lush Irish countryside, had fallen into disrepair, and the
hardened slate that made up the roof had begun to fall to the ground.  
With an artist's eye Barbara saw more than the neglected bulwark of a
once thriving mill.  



Picking her way through the thatched roof cottages that stand guard in
front of the mill building, she began collecting the rigid shards that once
made up the roof.  After packing up a small collection of the material and
returning to New Hampshire, USA the nearly forgotten and weather worn
slates were transformed to bear scenes McDevitt encountered on her
journeys across Ireland, both real and vicarious.

Coats of arms, castles and cottages are emblazoned across the rigid
canvasses.  Painting oils on canvas since the late 1960's creating the
slate treasures was begun in 1996.  

The pieces actually are sometimes very large.  They are broken up with
a hammer and sometimes chisel. Every piece is hand picked for the
design that will emblazon it.  Different sized slates, formed almost by
chance, inspire different works.  A long, thin piece may lend itself to a
sprawling landscape, while a short, jagged piece may one day display an
ancient Celtic castle.  Smaller pieces have been used many times for
Family Coats of Arms, usually by special order.  Very popular at craft
shows have been small lapel pins depicting small Irish scenes.

Many of the paintings are of small cottages surrounded by rock walls and
ancient landscapes.  Some are based on photos McDevitt took on her
trips to Ireland since 1989.  Others are from photos taken by friends and
family members, some of whom still live in Ireland.  It is those family
members who now collect and save the fallen slate.
Permanently
attached to back of
each slate
Coats of Arms with
Legend-click to
enlarge
Beautiful photo greeting cards that can be personalized inside with up to 500
characters of text.  These and others can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Available on Fine Art America two of the ancestral slate paintings digitally altered
with part or all of an Old Irish Blessing on them.
The story of the Ancestral Slate and Irish artwork
Lapel pins - Click to enlarge for a
better view