HER name has appeared in the pages of the Limerick Post many times but scribing is not Louise Harrison’s only talent. Most recently, she put down the pen to pick up the brush and let her pictures paint a thousand words.
After painting her way through Covid, Louise, from Ballinacurra Road, had three paintings selected for showcasing ‘The Secret Garden’, a major exhibition coinciding with three artistic stalwarts in the Kilkenny artistic calendar: the Kilkenny Arts Festival, Thomastown Creative Arts Festival, and Alternative Kilkenny Arts.
“I was delighted to have paintings selected to be included in this exhibition. I was so happy I went,” she told the Limerick Post.
Louise won many local, national, and international prizes for her artwork while in her teens. At the tender age of only 13, she won a trip to the UK for her, her parents and art teacher, Ursula O’Meara, where they met Baroness Flotilla Benjamin.
“There had been talk that Philip Schofield (TV presenter) was going to present the prize – I had a crush on him at the time, posters on my walls – but he couldn’t make it. But Floella was lovely.”
Louise grew up in an entrepreneurial home where everyone was involved in the family business.
“Dad was a gemologist and diamond specialist. My parents were a great team. They opened their first shop on Little Catherine Street in the 60s and the business grew from there.
“This gave my brother John and myself a great work ethic, to always strive for excellence in whatever we do.
“John continued in the jewellery business and owns JFH Jewels and Noriko pearls. I’m currently working with his wonderful team in Limerick designing and hand-making pearl jewellery. In fact, I wore a pearl necklace I made to the exhibition. ”
Just before lockdown, Louise had returned to study art full time at Ennistymon Art School and sold many paintings through her social media pages.
Prior to this, the Renaissance woman worked as a professional soprano, appearing with the Limerick Panto Society and as an entertainer at Bunratty Castle while earning her BA in English and Music and MA in Ethnomusicology at Mary Immaculate College and University of Limerick.
In what spare time she had, Louise also recorded and toured with Anuna in Europe and the USA, performing on television in the US for St Patricks Day – all while juggling her own wedding business, performing at ceremonies throughout Ireland and helping couples find music and musicians.
Having lived and breathed Irish music and culture for many years, she expresses her love of the Irish landscape by blending observation and imagination in her paintings.
“Art has always been in the background. Any chance I got, I would be painting or sketching. But lockdown gave me an opportunity where all other distraction was taken away and I could just concentrate on painting.
“It’s a bonus that people like what I create. I am very grateful for my customers.”
‘The Secret Garden’ exhibition is open daily from 11am to 6pm until August 20.