Bernice Guckian (b.1973), 'Little Dreamer', 2017. © the artist. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.
Bernice Guckian (b.1973), 'Little Dreamer', 2017. © the artist. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.Credit

Bernice Guckian

Little Dreamer, 2017

Watercolour pencils and pyrography pen on birch plywood, 59 x 42 cm

"Those final moments – the pause – before you commit that first mark to a blank canvas, any canvas. And within that time a great muddle of ideas, dreams, excitement and doubt. The brief stillness whilst you struggle with the endless possibilities. Then finally a leap, and the connection is made. I regularly witness my daughters at these in-between moments and I steal them for my own. Alana, the subject of this portrait, is fearless with a pencil and a dreamer for whom the page has no limits.
I often work on wood, or more appropriately, we work together. The flow of its grain documents its life story, and inspires me to share mine. We are not unlike – both flawed, layered and need room to breathe. I feel great responsibility when working with wood – I do not want to waste its sacrifice at the saw. So I pause, and wait a while before I leap."

Originally from Meath, Bernice Guckian (b.1973) lives and works in Strandhill, Co. Sligo. Bernice studied the ancient technique of pyrography — drawing with fire — which involves burning designs and illustrations on wood with a heated point. She also works in mixed media, acrylic and watercolour pencils. Bernice’s current focus is on drawing and she has attended workshops at The Model, Sligo; the Royal Drawing School in London; and is currently taking part in mentored drawing classes at the RHA School, Dublin.