Artist Derick Smith from Kells.

Luan hosts National Drawing Day workshops with Kells artist Derick Smith

Luan Gallery in Athlone presents two drawing workshops with exhibiting artist Derick Smith from Kells to mark National Drawing Day on Saturday. Supported by Creative Ireland and Westmeath County Council, they represent an opportunity to introduce Smith’s exclusive series of mixed media works 'The Soul of Matter', currently on exhibition at Luan until 19th June - which demonstrates the artists’ careful attention to materials.

He will deliver a workshop for students and one for adults to demonstrate the various properties of paint in a playful and explorative way. He will also guide students on how to achieve certain creative effects including building up texture and thinking sculpturally and how to document the research.

Explore non-traditional mark making techniques using acrylic paint, Derick will illustrate and carry out practical demonstrations using acrylic paint in non-traditional ways. He will use well known contemporary artists as an example and demonstrate how they created their works using existing and custom-made tools. Participants will be encouraged to try these techniques for themselves.

The workshops are available to artists and non-artists alike. The student workshop (teenagers, young adults) will take place in Abbey Road Artists' Studios Community Space on Saturday 21st May at 10.30am until 12pm and the adult workshop will take place in Luan Gallery from 2pm to 3.30pm. Participation is free but booking in advance by email to is essential as places are limited.

At the National Gallery of Ireland, visitors can enjoy a packed day of events, including ‘A Wonderful World of Illustration Seminar’ as part of International Literature Festival Dublin. A dynamic panel of three celebrated artists and illustrators – author and picture book writer Olivia Hope, illustrator and storyteller Ashwin Chacko, and picture book illustrators and artists Shona Shirley Macdonald and Lauren O’Hara – discuss the creative possibilities of drawing and illustration. Artist Eileen O’Sullivan leads a free sensory-friendly drawing workshop, suitable for children of all ages. In the Gallery’s Shaw Room, artist Fintan Mahon will lead a free life-drawing session for adults. And the Gallery's collection and architecture can be explored on a free sketching tour. No artistic ability required, just a willingness to get creative!

People of all ages and abilities are encouraged to find the joy in drawing on 21st May 2022, with something for everyone, experts and beginners alike. Now in its 18th year, the annual event will see the National Gallery gallery joined by over 70 arts centres, galleries, museums and libraries across the country to celebrate drawing.

A list of participating venues, the schedule for the day at the National Gallery of Ireland, and drawing activities and resources can be found on a dedicated National Drawing Day hub at

The Soul of the Matter

The Soul of Matter is the first exhibition curated by the new gallery curator and coordinator, Valeria Ceregini, and it represents an opportunity to introduce Smith’s exclusive series of mixed media works which show the careful attention of the artist to the base materials. His research is focused on the basic elements that make art accessible to everyone.

This new cycle of paintings explores the materiality of paint as a substance onto itself. In so far as possible, references to external concrete objects have been eliminated (with the exception of titles) in an attempt to frame an interaction with colour and form which is not hinged upon comprehension of themes, ideas, or other times or places. What then can the present experience of being offer in the way of a deeper understanding of the human condition, if anything?

The exhibition aims to stimulate the visitor to engage with the colours, their essence and materiality featured in paintings, works on paper and on clay. All of these pieces - made exclusively for this exhibition - will be directly connected to the gallery space to create an interaction between the artworks and the surrounding environment which is going to activate the vibrancy of Derick’s palette inspired by Mannerism masters.

This solo show aims to also attract people with no knowledge of contemporary art to be impressed by the bright colours and the use of paintings beyond traditional flat surface as the paint is collapsing and dropping down over the frame. Derick’s paintings will fit the exceptional exhibition space as an installation making new dialogues and interactions with the light and environment.