Residency : Jim Feeney - September, 2010


For the last few weeks, Jim Feeney has been a constant figure in the Connect studios, focused, applying paint and finishing touches on a beautiful portrait, before starting the next painting.

Feeney is a ‘regular’ of Project Ability, he has been coming to Connect for the last eight years. ‘I’ve tried it all, drawing, pastels, pottery, watercolours, but I always go back to painting. Oil mostly, that’s my favourite medium.’

Jim is the fifth artist to undertake the one-month residency pilot programme that allows artists to come in five days a week for a full month and access the varied equipment on offer. “I applied for the residency because I really want to paint, I like to have the time and space. I’d paint eight hours a day if I could. I find myself very, very, very restricted the rest of the time.”

It has been over three weeks since Feeney started the residency, he is now starting his final week. “I find the residency good, very good. And I have been able to use more technical things, like the projector, thanks to the help of the staff. But I get frustrated too, as I know I’m on schedule. My mood is going down as the end approaches. I will have to re-adjust.”

When asked if he had a plan or schedule for the residency, he said: “Yes, I had sort of a plan, but I am not good at planning! I’m more of a spontaneous person, there’s not enough time in the studio to follow the plan! I have a structure, it’s like the bones, and I just put the flesh on as I go along.” In the last month, Jim Feeney worked on ‘Allison’s portrait’, a beautiful painting with vibrant reds, and spent the last two weeks exclusively on another portrait representing the daughter of the woman in the first painting. As we speak, the second painting is just finished, and Feeney is starting a piece representing a dancing duet. “I can feel the excitement running up me! This is the best part, putting oil on the pallet!”

Was the residency worth it then? “I would do another one in a heartbeat, I love painting, I used to draw all the time at school but had to stop when I started working for British Rail. When I got unemployed, I went back to it. I love it, it keeps me deliciously deranged!” he says with his dead-pan sense of humour.

Jim Feeney is a painter and has exhibited in a group show in Kelvingrove as part of the SAMH project. He then found out about the Trongate studios and has been involved with Project Ability ever since. His work will be exhibited in January 2011 in the Project Ability Gallery, alongside the five other artists that were part of the residency programme.





Images: Allison's portrait
Allison's daughter
Artist at work
'Dancers II' work in progress