Sheila Richardson

Sheila Richardson graduated from Limerick School of Art and Design in 1990 with a distinction in painting and went on to complete an M.A. in Fine Art at the University of Wales followed by a career teaching in the U.K. Currently based at Contact Studios in Limerick, Sheila is also an art therapist at University Hospital Limerick having graduated with an M.A. in Art Therapy from Crawford Art College in 2014. Her recent work has centred around research in the ?eld of the psychology of art and the process of creativity which in turn informs her painting.

Hunt Museum

The Earth is Feminine


Collage and acrylic paint on paper
30 x 30 cm

I am a ‘Sheila’ (Australian Slang) and I am called Sheila by name. In a sense it was intuitive to respond to the ?fteenth-century Sheela-na-Gig from Caherelly Castle, Co. Limerick in the Hunt Museum (HCM 033). It presented me with an opportunity to creatively re-assert the feminine to its natural place. Our individual psyche is always situated within a cultural, collective context. And this painting of Psyche emerges and sees the light of day, coincidentally and unexpectedly, in parallel with a new exhibition at the Crawford Gallery of Art, Naked Truth: the Nude in Irish Art. This work also coincides with somewhat of a revival of the ?gure of the Sheila-na-Gig: these ancient stone carvings are now becoming more accessible through updated websites, new books and an interactive map created by the Heritage Council ( This old, unashamed and enigmatic ?gure from the past is a relevant point of reference in the context of a patriarchy starting to crumble (Lyn Mather on Sheila Richardson’s 2018 exhibition, The Green Road: Painting Psyche).

Limerick Museum

The Loss of Loved Ones


Acrylic paint on board
30 x 30 cm

Black lace was only ever made for mourning in Ireland, whereas it was very fashionable to wear in the rest of Europe where it was widely fabricated. The image of the female ?gure with mourning lace (LM 2005.0071) resonated with my own experience of grief. The painting entitled, The Loss of Loved Ones is part of a suite of paintings which glimpses my personal pilgrimage, the landscape of transformation and how losses ?t into the bigger picture of life, including struggles and major adjustments. The painting traces a rare encounter and invites the viewer to meditate on their own experience of loss, and how to ?nd personal mourning.