Irene Dixon

How did you get into art / have you always been painting?

My father did a bit of painting (oil & watercolour), so there were always paintings on the wall and around the house. As an adult I did art classes with Yann Goulet in Dun Laoghaire. They were very creative; we were taught to paint with a palette knife and he took us outdoors to paint. That would have been my first experience of plein air painting.

But that stopped due to work pressures. When I did a pre-retirement course (quite young), I was advised to pick up a hobby. I started watercolour classes and found Olivia Hayes, a terrific teacher. I stayed for 2 – 3 years.

Then I began to wonder if I would keep going to classes for years, or start doing it by myself. Cinnie Moran, whom I had met during art classes, encouraged me to join her, painting outdoors. We did that for years. In the process I joined the Boyne Valley group (“plein Eire”), and then the Greystones Art Group. When I joined G.A.G., there were monthly talks and demos, but no plein air sessions. I soon got involved in getting plein air into the group and we now go out every Friday morning.

What medium/media do you use?


What are your favourite subjects or themes?

Plein air, landscapes. Just outdoor painting, I love the challenge.

Where do you get your inspiration?

For me it’s all about plein-air, it’s an inspiration in itself; you get inspired by your surroundings. With experience you realise you can paint anywhere; you don’t always need a good view.

Watercolour takes a long time to master and you have to develop your technique to paint plein-air successfully. But it inspires me, rather than the other way round.

Every year I take part in plein-air festivals in Wexford (Art in the Open) and Dublin. Workshops are organised and very important artists from all around the world join in. It’s a terrific opportunity to meet with other artists.

When and why did you join the Greystones Art Group?

I joined about 20 years ago. I wanted to get involved with local people who painted. When I became president around 2014, I wanted the group to be more active. I’ve been president on and off until November 2023.

Do you take commissions?

Yes, I do.

You have produced a book, tell us about it.

I acquired a special little sketchbook with excellent watercolour paper, which tempted me to paint, instead of just drawing and sketching.

I filled the book and then I filled another book, and then I filled another book. Particularly during the lockdown periods, when I could drive out and paint from the car.

So, it made sense to put them together to create a record of my plein-air paintings during those challenging times.

This book represents my plein air paintings from 2019 through to 2023.

The book is available on and Choice Publishing.

Plein Air Diary by Irene Dixon