Residency at Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Ballycastle, County Mayo, Ireland.

A month an a half has passed away since I came back from Ireland and my memories and feelings about County Mayo and Ballycastle are fresh.

It was my second time at the Emerald Island, but it has been a completely different experience. Back in 1999 my parents, my brother and I went to visit my sister to Dublin. From there we did a tour trough the island trying to visit as much as we could within a week.

Killala´s Harbour.

Moyne Friary, near Killala, Co. Mayo.

Traveling and interacting with different places, scenarios, people and cultures around the globe has become part of my artistic process. This time, thanks to the Ballinglen Arts Fellowship I have been able to stay for a month and a half, painting and taking photographs, in Ballycastle, County Mayo and surroundings. Such a nice experience, once I got there the time seems to pass slowlyer or maybe it´s that certain things don´t matter anymore, giving you a completely different perspective of time, it wasn´t anymore about minutes and hours, time was related to sunlight, tides, rain and wind.


Ballinglen Arts Foundation.

During the residency at Ballinglen Arts Foundation I shared all this experiences with Joana KidneyJoseph Ostraff, who were artists in residency at the same time, and their families. Obviously the staff of the foundation was a plus in this experience, they have created a warm atmosphere that allows you to be focused in your work from the begining.

Joseph Ostraff, Joanna Kidney and Fernando Villena
Photograph courtesy of Nathan Somers.

On the other hand Joseph and Nuala Clarke, an Irish artist who collaborates with the foundation, were doing workshops with the surrounding schools from County Mayo. As part of those workshops they came to visit us to the studios in order to know our work and being able to speak with us about it. I was free to choose if they were allowed to come into the studio, I had my doubts about it at the beginning, but it ended being a good experience for me and I hope that for them too.

Nuala Clarke and Melinda Ostraff at the printmaking studio.

Sometimes they asked completely unexpected things and I was wondering if I understood the question properly...

and sometimes my answer was as funny as their questions.

Now I´m whiling to expose my nieces to art.

I still remember when I was a kid going with my aunt to the Museum of Fine Arts in Bilbao an how the light came trough the staircase steps.