Painting as Performance


In hindsight I should’ve written this as soon as the event happened but better late than never!

In March I was privileged enough to be asked to paint at the launch of a new Bang and Olufsen speaker (bonkers right?!).

My aim this year is to say yes to as many things as possible (and there are a few things coming up that I need to post about but they remain secret for now) and this is one of those new adventures.


The space at the Silo District at the V&A Waterfront was amazing so getting a chance to paint there was quite a surreal experience. (Nothing quite like spending three hours painting next to an Aston Martin and some very fancy electrical equipment, you’ve never seen a painter be so careful with the water for their brushes).

If I’m honest the concept of doing this event was terrifying. I am not an extrovert and don’t actively seek out human interaction so this was very much outside of my comfort zone, and is also why I absolutely had to do it.

The funny thing is that actually, once I got to the space and set up there weren’t any nerves at all. Considering this was essentially a three hour performance that was quite remarkable.

Most of the guests just stood and watched as I painted to the music that was playing but slowly people started coming over and asking to talk. Some just wanted to chat about art in general or ask a bit about my background but a few people really wanted to get into details, and do you know what, it was amazing! And everyone was genuinely lovely. I think sometimes working alone can allow doubt to creep in and having people who have no obligation to come and talk to you actually want to interact and have genuine conversations with you about what you love is an incredible feeling.

The two paintings I ended up making were “Surge” and “Quest”. The piece with the circle is “Surge” and was the one I worked on for most of the evening. “Quest” happened in the last 45 minutes of the evening and just sort of happened in a flurry of painting. Am so happy with both of these pieces and you can actually find them both for sale at StateoftheArt.

Another thing that makes me very happy about this event is that all parties involved decided that proceeds from the sale of one of these pieces should go to charity. I chose Tears Animal Rescue (you can click the link to see their website) as animal welfare is something I’m incredibly passionate about. So, if you purchase “Quest” (with the swallows) you can know that there will be money going to a very good cause.





At the very end of the evening, once most of the guests had left and it was the Bang and Olufsen team, the caterers and me still painting away a lovely gentleman came over to me.

I had just added the second swallow and was trying to decide if it was finished or not. I asked him what he thought about adding a third bird and his response was just wonderful. He said he felt two was perfect, that it was like they’d lost each other and had just found each other after a long time of searching, that it looked like an embrace of lovers. Then he walked away.

I was quite moved by this response, he’d read something so beautiful out of this painting so the brush went down and that was that. There was no way I was going to change what he’d seen.

So it turns out I love live painting.
It’s amazing how much you grow when you take a breath and take the plunge.

Liffey Joy