Joe Sweeney, from Burtonport, Co. Donegal, was my uncle’s father. He was in the GPO in 1916. I wanted to contribute to the 2016 commemorations in a meaningful way – I’m very thankful my uncle and cousins gave me his photo to enable me to paint this portrait – happy too they approve the result.
I knew his skin tone and hair was like my cousin’s, and they tell me his eyes were blue. There is a previous portrait which was enormously helpful too.
As it was a black & white photo I was working from, I chose the colour palette for the clothes.
With green tie, gold collar button & white shirt, he is wearing the tricolour.
The tie was smaller in reality as was the fashion, I’ve made it larger for dramatic effect. I chose to depict the suit more chunky than it was too, to give the appearance of thick Donegal tweed.
The photo I worked from was taken around the time of the first Dáil, he would have been in his early twenties.
Here’s a link to the Donegal Daily with more information (0pens in a new window). http://www.donegaldaily.com/2016/03/09/rosses-community-school-to-honour-easter-rising-hero-joe-sweeney/