'Talisman for the Soul' by Sylvia Hill

Artist’s Statement

“My works concern man’s spiritual connection to nature”, says Sylvia Hill.

Coming from a rural background and living all her life in rural Co. Wicklow, Ireland, Sylvia has a natural affinity and lifelong fascination with nature especially wild plants, flowers and animals.

“My work begins with observational drawings from nature and the nude. The finished pieces often come straight from the unconscious – a place we still cannot logically explain. Using Mark-making, Colour, and Texture, I allow ideas, memories, myths and free association to influence me in aiming to create a spiritual object in itself.

Art seems to me to be the state of the soul… the soul is all sacred. The soul of every biped on every place on earth. Only the upright heart has its own logic and reason is free.

Quote from Artist Morris Louis.


Sylvia Hill is an Painter/Print Artist who grew up in Co. Wicklow, Ireland, and continues to work from her studio there.

She trained initially at Grennan Mill Craft School, Kilkenny and later studied Fine Art at Dun Laoghaire College of Art 1989-1992. She studies Print – Etching with Blackchurch Print Studio in Temple Bar. Sylvia has been selected for exhibition in many highly competitive national shows such as Iontas Sligo, Eigse Carlow, Monaghan Open, Nua Art Gorey and the Greenstar Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray. In 1997 her work was selected to travel to Paris for the Irish “Artists Book Exhibition” from Wexford Arts Centre. She has been awarded artists residencies at the prestigious Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig 1995/08 and Cill Rialaig in Co. Kerry 1997. Since then Sylvia has been developing her art and exhibiting in local and national exhibitions. Her last highly successful exhibition was at The Crow gallery in Temple Bar Dublin in 2008. Next exhibition is planned for 2012.

She is a Professional member of Visual Artists Ireland.

Teaching: Sylvia has worked for the VEC in Wicklow and runs art classes for children and adults.

For art classes please use contact page here on the website.


The Inspiration and the Unconscious:

“Look into the stains of walls or ashes of a fire or clouds or mud or like places, in which, if you consider them well you may find really marvellous ideas” , Leonardo Da Vinci.

“Today we are searching for things in nature that are hidden behind the veil of appearance…we look for and paint this inner, spiritual side of nature”, Franz Marc.

My work has its roots in observational drawing. These drawings of plants and the human figure evolve over a period of time. My work comes from the unconscious and just as the very nature of life is a mystery so is man’s spiritual relationship to nature. The unconscious mind has often got answers but if we try and analyse and logically formalize the unconscious thought/image, we throttle and break it. The unconscious has always been a rich source for the artist, musician and scientist.

I have always liked the English Neo-romantic artists such as- Graham Sutherland/John Piper also the Symbolist artists-Redon/Moreau. I have always loved Kurt Schwitter’s Collage work, Howard Hodgkins, and Barbara Rae for colour. Irish Artists that I follow are Patrick Graham, Jack B Yeats and Nano Reid.


“A painting is as much an experiment with paint” , Picasso

“Painting is a kind of personal archaeology, searching the depths”, Le Brocquy.

The paint is applied deliberately accidentally/intentionally with knife/brush directly from the tube. In working in this way I can draw attention to the physical nature of painting. Mark making and Colour are for me often intuitive. I use coloured grounds and glazes in my work.


My work mainly comprises Framed Etchings and Oil Paintings on Board. The various print-etching techniques range from a Dry-point where you draw directly onto the plate to Aqua-tint - the use of a type of dust fused to a plate and then varying times are applied to plate areas via acid bath and Carborundum – the use of metal filings applied to plate to create texture in a print. Another form of Intaglio printing is the Collograph print. This form of printing is very akin to collage.

Relief Printing would include lino printing, and wood block printing – these forms of print use any piece of wood traditionally fruit woods or lino in that case. The block of wood is carved into with sharp metal instruments with different heads to create different marks. Then the Block is painted traditionally or inked up and a print is taken.

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