What about a little calmness? Every visual artist has a story to tell, some are self-taught, some went to art college straight from school, others like Marie Simpson from West Belfast went to Belfast School of Art as a mature student.

What was the result? Oil paintings of the sea.

Not any sea, the seas she loves to paint are very specific, they are not Ballyhornan beach waves or the  Strangford lough tides, they are West of Ireland breakers.

Marie did staycations before they were mandatory and is obsessed with waves, which shows in her painting. Her first solo exhibition was in Arts for All, North Belfast, and now she’s an Engine Room Gallery regular (59 North Street) which opens its Christmas group exhibition on 20 November (though everything is subject to change at the moment).

The Duncairn’s Take 2 online arts magazine’s next broadcast on YouTube is scheduled for Saturday 21 November 8pm. in the meantime you can watch episode 2. I really enjoyed Kat Little in particular.

I love the fact that there are different art centres that I can rely on for their specialist knowledge. In The Duncairn’s, Ray Griffin has his contemporary folk  music knowledge and in Portico in Portaferry’s, Neil McClure has his classical music knowledge.

Portico livestreamed their first online concert last Sunday. Both art centres are former church buildings as of course is An Chultúrlann and it’s great to see these building revitalised.

I often sympathise with the staff who are trying to manage the dynamics of such art centres with all their spinning plates and the retraining they have gone through to make this all happen with livestreaming, filming  or whatever technology they have chosen to use. How this all pans out in the future is anyone’s guess. But it does make art accessible for many people. 

Have you seen any of the Belfast Film Festival yet? Or Docs Ireland? All of their viewings have gone online but I admire them for trying their best to get us back in the cinema.

I really enjoyed watching the short documentary competition and thought how rare it was to see such an eclectic mixture in Ireland from, ex-prisoners’ talking about an escape from Mountjoy prision by helicopter to roadside evangelists,  how the Maine lemonade business is run and the lives of Traveller women. The festival continues with a mix of free and pay-to-view content.

Outburst Queer Arts also did a quick pivot with much of their content by having their films available on Queen’s Film Theatres online player until the end of the festival.

OUTBURST: Festival frolics online and on buildings

OUTBURST: Festival frolics online and on buildings

There are some great outdoor building wrappings down around Smithfield.

John Baucher at PsSquared Gallery in Rosemary Street published his observations about wild flowers in inner East Belfast, it is not something that immediately jumps to mind. But he’s processing his lived experience and using his art as the tool to reinterpret his surroundings.  John is one of the members of the Vault artist’s studio’s and has his film selected by the Ma'cs Noli Timere, it Will Pass call out earlier in the year.

Vault artist’s studios are located at 4-84 Tower Street. A group of over 100 creatives, they are determined to run their Vault market in early December, which last year was the closest thing in Belfast to Camden Market.

It will be by ticket-only to restrict numbers and limited capacity details are on their website.

As well as having an online shop they have just opened a real one on the Newtownards Road initially to open Fridays and Saturdays stocked with prints, cards, t-shirts ( including those made in conjunction with Belfast design week and Us Folk ) and all sorts of creative products. Prices from a fiver up. 

I feel for The Fenderesky Gallery in North Street. When they moved there, they incorporated a cafe on the ground floor. Then all the cafes were closed! It currently has a changeable group exhibition called ‘Drawing the Unknown’ with pieces unframed by many  established artists and is open Friday and Saturday or by appointment with official opening Saturday 21 November 2pm – 5pm. It has a nice selection of work all the same size. Abstracts, figurative, landscapes it’s all there and you can still have a coffee to take away.

Ulster Museum currently states it is closed until 27 November but there is a photographic exhibition in Botanic gardens outside the tropical ravine. The Golden Thread Gallery has made a call out to artists to send links to their websites, offering over their social media channels to promote their work in this odd time we are living through. If you are interested, details are on their website.

Francesca Bondi and the online gallery 545 have launched their Christmas group show which includes Trina Hobson and Alacoque Davey. 

Finally The University of Atypical continues with it’s ‘Interludes’ updating Deaf people about what is happening in the culture sector in both Irish and British sign language. I hope this service continues to perform the vital service to the Deaf community, it comes out every Friday on Facebook and Vimeo.

Love and light. Bronagh.