I have been a member of Backwater Artists Network for the past eighteen months which I find very supportive personally as an artist, and informative on a whole range of art related topics. backwaterartists.ie/join-us/backwaterartistnetwork . Brian MacDomhnaill is the organizer of BAN and is very committed to us members and to ensuring that all members are kept in the various info and creative loops.

We ‘meet’ on Zoom every two weeks to catch up on each others work, art news locally (generally Cork city and county), nationally and further afield too. We had our first exhibition in Cork and online in November 2020. Please see https://visualartists.ie/events/a-moment-before-lockdown-backwater-artists-network

I have recently joined a new and vibrant collective called Nuacollective which has artists from various parts of the world with the majority being from Ireland. Started last year by artist and super organizer ,Eamonn Shanahan, we have already had our first online exhibition called Equinox with the work of many of us on show www.nuacollective.ie. We also have a podcast talking about the exhibition so do check that out. There are more podcasts to come on various topics of interest to the diverse range of artists involved.


This mixed media drawing and print is in the current Equinox exhibition online at http://www.nuacollective.ie . It is for sale unframed, including postage , for €150. I used some of my own homemade charcoal, graphite powder and printing ink on found paper to try and give a sense of the ‘animal’ activity that occurs at the time of half light, that is at dawn and at dusk.

Weekly blog



My exhibition goes on apace at the Blackwater Valley Makers. Here is another drawing from the exhibition called Starling. It is of a mummified bird we found in an abandoned cottage near our home. I brought the starling home and decided to put it in my exhibition as it is beautiful. So if you would like to see it in the flesh (well not really as it is mummified!!) my exhibition is ongoing for December at the Blackwater Valley Makers, Pearse Sq., Fermoy and is open daily 10am-6pm. There is an audio component at my exhibition too with birdsong, river sound etc.

Thank goodness I managed to finish my portrait commission on time. I will post the image next week once it has been received by the recipient.

I hope you have a joyful Christmas and a peaceful New Year. And thank you for visiting my site!

Starling, charcoal, pencil and print on paper

Weekly blog


Hi, I am currently working on a portrait commission for a friend and hope to be finished this week.

Inge van Doorslaer ( friend and fellow artist) and I have just completed the third video in the Crawford Art Gallery’s online Lonradh at Home series, see crawfordartgallery.ie/lonradh-at-home.If you have not yet had a look at the Crawford’s online resources, do give it a go, as there are lots of art activities for all ages available. Besides Lonradh at Home, there are also eleven short videos called Creative Cocooning which were made over the spring and summer, which can also be checked out at crawfordartgallery.ie/creative cocooning.

I was a bit self conscious last week as I was asked if I would like to do a staff profile for the Crawford Art Gallery website, but of course I responded in the affirmative and my sweet(!) mug is there for all and sundry to see……. I mention the infamous artist from Cork, James Barry and his even more famous/infamous niece Margaret Anne Bulkley aka Dr.James Barry in the question and answer section – very intriguing story altogether…………

Hoverflies and rocket flowers

oil pastel, charcoal and graphite on canvas pad.

Another of the drawings from my current exhibition at Blackwater Valley Makers, Fermoy, Co.Cork.

Until next time, have a good week.

Weekly blog


Hello everyone

Almost a week has passed since my exhibition We are one opened at BVM (Blackwater Valley Makers) in Fermoy, Co.Cork and I am delighted that one of my drawings sold – Garden. Unfortunately due to the pandemic I cannot have a comments book and I do value peoples reactions to my work, especially as this exhibition is quite different to my previous one, Memory is grey, portraits concerning memory loss last year in Cork. This current exhibition is very influenced by the ecoliteracy course I did online with inspiring eco-artist and scientist Cathy Fitzgerald during the spring. Please see Cathy’s website haumea.ie. The added element of a soundscape in the exhibition is I think an interesting departure and I’d love to hear people’s opinion of this. So if you happen to be in or near Fermoy do call into BVM and have a look and let me know on social media what you think. There are plans afoot to have a very short video made re the exhibition and if this happens I will let you all know. Please see below for another drawing from the exhibition. ‘Til next week…..

Araglen River tributary 2, homemade charcoal, charcoal, graphite and photograph on greaseproof paper. €200.

Weekly blog


Hi everyone. My solo exhibition at Blackwater Valley Makers in Fermoy opens tomorrow and runs for the month of December. It is called ‘We are one’ and concentrates on our relationship and interconnection with the natural world from which we spring and to which we inevitably return. I am posting my artists statement here and a few of the images and will upload the remaining images over the week. Please let me know your thoughts re the work. Thank you.

Where the air is clear

Artist’s statement

We are one

The first drawing of the exhibition is of my mother’s elderly hand outstretched to cradle a falling autumnal leaf – which signifies for me the deep relationship and interconnection between human beings and the natural world and the many non – human beings that inhabit it.

In the majority of the drawings I use the ‘blind’ approach which means that when I draw I consciously do not look at my actual drawing action; instead I concentrate my gaze on the subject matter. I like the element of surprise when I look down eventually at my paper/canvas as there is a risk involved in blind drawing  which could result in a drawing that either  does not meet  my expectations or far surpasses  them. In my drawings I aim to catch a feeling for the elements and creatures/plants I am portraying rather than to capture them realistically.  I find blind drawing an ideal drawing method for attempting to capture a sense of the essence, presence or energy of my subject. This approach to drawing helps me gain a deeper connection to what I am trying to portray and in so doing produce a drawing which feels to me to be in some way true to that which I am trying to depict.   I often use homemade charcoal and garden sticks for drawing and like the different blacks and marks they can give. I have used some homemade natural inks that I have made from beetroot, elderberries and blackberries in some of the drawings and the colours can be subtle and exciting at the same time. I use various types of paper including paper found or left for recycling in my work. I enjoyed printmaking in Art College and have added some print layers to some of my drawings.  I like to work outdoors as often as I can, weather permitting. 

I am using natural sounds including birdsong, the occasional cat, a car in the distance and the rustling of leaves and the sound of the river, which I gathered on my walks to engage another of the senses while you are looking at my interpretation of my world.

 I have also included a mummified starling which I found on one of my walks as I occasionally come across dead birds and small mammals and use them as subjects for my drawings.

I am highlighting the beauty and wonder of the world but I am also drawing the pain in my portrayal of the stream of sludgy water full of plastic items and bale wrapping. This particular drawing is paired with a drawing of a pristine section of the same river.  I have lived in rural north Cork for twenty years and enjoy walking and seeing its natural beauty. I have observed and learnt a lot from these walks and have come to know and love the area. Over the past few years I have noticed an increased degradation of streams, rivers and land in my area. I see with dismay hedgerows being butchered unnecessarily and edges of fields bordering woodlands sprayed turning grass yellow and I feel sorrow and anger at such actions.

I hope that my drawings, accompanied by the natural sounds of a walk in the countryside, help the viewer to look more carefully at the natural world that surrounds us and deepen our desire to nurture and protect it.

My drawings are at present unframed but if you wish to buy one I can arrange for the drawing to be framed.

If you would like further information about me and my work please see my website http://www.gilliancussenart.com

Weekly blog 23/11/2020

Hello. I am continuing to prepare for my solo exhibition which opens next week on Dec 2nd at Blackwater Valley Makers in Fermoy. I am currently trying to sort out the sound element and am looking forward to the kind expertise of Duncan, sound recording engineer, as I am very inexperienced in this area.

Besides this, I came across a great quote in the online journal Minding Nature in its Fall 2020 edition, “The fate of the land and humans rest in the hands of each other” by Renee Lee, Food science student at Cornell University USA. I find this quote relates particularly to one of my drawings in the exhibition that I referred to in a previous blog on 9/11/2020.

Below is a recent small drawing.

This is a blind drawing done in my garden while observing life around me. I used homemade charcoal, indian ink and monoprint in this drawing.

Weekly blog

16th November 2020

Hello. This week I have been working on trying to put together some audio for my forthcoming exhibition. Not being the most computer literate person I am finding it very challenging to date. On the drawing side I’ve been finishing some pieces. You can see a detail of one of my drawings below.

Charcoal on paper

I have joined Nuacollective, a group of approximately 50 artists who are based mainly in the Cork area– see nuacollective.ie.

It was great to hear a discussion on ecocide today on Newstalk radio around 5pm. Cathy Fitzgerald(see Haumea, Hollywood Forest) first raised the subject of ecoside legislation being introduced in Ireland at a Green Party ard dheis a year or so ago.

Weekly blog


This week I have been doing some more reading to try and increase my understanding and knowledge about the environmental crisis we are all in. Cathy Fitzgerald (see Ecoliteracy courses online,Haumea and the Hollywood Forest) recommended I check out the work of filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg. He has been making films for 40 years and has a series called MovingArt at movingart.com and can be seen on Netflix. I only watched a snippet but what I saw was beautiful. In the films Louie brings virtual nature into your own home. Those in nursing homes and unable to get out can benefit greatly from viewing them, as did I although my time was brief. He is also a very impressive and down to earth speaker.

Inge Van Doorslaer, fellow artist and friend, and I have begun making videos for the Lonradh at Home series at the Crawford Art Gallery and our first joint effort is out tomorrow, 11/11/20, on the Crawford Art Gallery website crawfordartgallery.ie under Creative Cocooning. This video follows on from a series I did over the summer months which can also be seen on the website. Lonradh is a monthly programme for people with memory loss and their families which has been running at the Crawford Art Gallery for many years.

I am continuing to work towards my solo exhibition at the Blackwater Valley Makers in December. Here is a detail from one of the drawings I will be having in the show.