Artist takeover- Helena, Seonaid + Holly

By The Black Box

Due to the venue being closed can we not have our regular exhibitions in The Green Room, instead our exhibitions will be moved online.

During the lockdown, the staff of the Black Box have unleashed their creativity to make some  pieces of work and we want to share them with you!


My name is Helena. I have found myself painting more than ever during this strange time and I honestly don’t know how I would have coped without this outlet. Painting is therapeutic for me and has enabled me to find a state of calm amidst all the bizarre changes of the last 6 months. My art is completely grounded in the natural world, which acts as an endless source of inspiration to me. I work in traditional watercolours and today I will be sharing with you my art practise.

Image: ‘Tread Softly’ – watercolour on paper


I have been painting ever since I was a child and my focus has always been turned towards the natural world. Now, as an adult, I seek to show its importance in all of our lives and how our futures are intertwined and interconnected. Some of the paintings I will show here were created during lockdown when reduced human mobility brought the natural world into even sharper focus for me. I found myself reflecting on our relationship with nature and how human activity affects wildlife. I see our futures as being interdependent and that’s what my work tries to convey, with the human elements becoming immersed in plants, trees and fungi. It would be wonderful if through this period of crisis we could see the importance of reigning in our expansive lifestyles and rediscover the need of a healthy environment for our own well-being and the future of the planet.


.Image: “Within Reach” watercolour on paper

“Fruit Bat” watercolour and gouache on paper


My process begins with observing my surroundings closely and taking lots of photographs to include in my work or gathering botanical elements and painting them into my compositions, usually in quite a surreal otherworldly manner. I am fascinated by old botanical and natural history illustrations and how they float in empty space, which really draws attention to the subject and creates endless possibilities for composition, which I really enjoy playing about with. Documenting the process of my pieces coming together is a great joy to me and you can see here how gathered botanicals begin to feature and change the direction of the works.


I would like to make more art in the future that has important environmental themes and messages, art for change that focuses on the impact of climate change on our natural resources and wildlife. In the meantime I am planning to take part in a month long online art challenge where I intend to create a watercolour painting everyday for the month of October. I am hoping I will create an interesting mini body of work during this time and really push my ability and creativity.


The piece you see here was created as a response to “Our Planet Week.” I chose to illustrate the illusive Grizzly Bear. Animosity towards bears is age old and these beautiful creatures face troublesome times with forest destruction and if the practise of hunting and poaching doesn’t come to an end. I have included the symbolic Gingko leaf here as an emblem of strength, hope and peace as they are one of the world’s oldest living fossils. Gingko trees have endured on earth for millions of years with barely any change. They have survived three mass extinction’s and their leaves have been used to track climate change today.


Thank you for taking the time to delve into my art process with me! Feel free to have a glance at my website where I sell stickers and prints of my work and there is also a full portfolio of illustrations. Follow me on instagram where I will be posting lots of new watercolour works in the coming weeks.

Thankyou to the Blackbox for having me!


IG: @alpineayita





Hi! My name is Seonaid Murray and I have always loved colour! And Painting! From a very young age! See photo of me age 3!

I still love colour but most of the time I am creating sounds on my Saxophone these days or facilitating a Music Workshop as I am a Community Musician!

Here I am busking in Limerick a few years ago!

I am ‘Outreach Officer’ for the Moon Base Projects – run by The Black Box – but when I get a minute I still love to paint!

I would like to share some of my work with you today – starting with some Pink Creations!

Here are ‘Feather’, ‘Lemons’ and ‘Pink Flower’!

Feathers are cool – and I love when one floats down beside you – this painting is a black feather drawn in chalk on top on pink paint – lots of it!

I was on holiday a few years ago – seems like a lifetime ago now and took a photo of a lemon tree – and later sketched it on top of – you guessed it – more Pink Paint! I love pictures that pop!

And finally – ‘Pink Flower’ – I just imagined this one – it would be amazing if you could come across a real-life flower that was human sized – maybe somewhere in the Jungle?! This one is oil pastels.

Did I mention that I play the Saxophone?! And the Piano. I love how the Saxophone looks – it shines in the light and there are soooo many buttons! A while ago I decided to paint a few! I love Jazz and in these next 3 paintings I was imagining a late night Jazz club with some  beautiful sounds floating into the night – probably in my favourite Jazz Club which is ‘Smalls’ in Greenwich Village, New York City! I used to live in New York and think about it a lot!

Here are: ‘Saxophone 1’, ‘Saxophone 2’ and ‘Piano.’

They are all made up of brightly coloured paints and chalks. I hope you like them! Go listen to some Jazz!

The next couple of paintings and oil pastel Creations are both inspired by a holiday to Cadaques in Spain. Salvador Dali lived there and I visited his house – it was amazing! We arrived very late at night and the taxi drive was very steep through these beautiful Spanish Mountains! We were too late to check in to our accommodation so we slept out on the sun loungers by the pool! That is the inspiration for ‘Cadaques Sky’! I think I saw the most shooting stars ever that night!

I wanted to share these next paintings as they are pretty funny! I painted them quite a few years ago – a long time before I had ever heard of ‘Moon Base’ but I did a whole series of them – imagining the Moon in different contexts! And now I am ‘Outreach Officer’ for the MOON base Projects! Pretty Funny!

Finally I wanted to share one of my favourite paintings – I love layering paint and texture – and having fun with colour!

And I have started to ‘organise’ my paintings as I have gotten a bit older! Here are 2 Framed Colour Shots – that my Mum has back at my family home in Donaghadee…….

I hope you have enjoyed my Instagram Takeover! It has been a lot of fun! Some of my favourite painters are; Howard Hodgkin, Rita Duffy and all of the Impressionists! I love listening to Music and Painting and often when I am playing Music I imagine different colours for different sounds – here I am playing with ‘Crazy P’ last year – channelling Yellow!

I have put together a playlist for you of some of my favourite tunes! Enjoy!




Hello  I’m Holly and I usually work behind the scenes as the Admin & Communications officer of the Black Box but  I’m going to give you a little insight to what weird artsy  stuff I do!

Before working at the Black Box I was a photography graduate of the Ulster University doing the BA HONS Photography course. My practice and work usually explores relationships, nostalgia and the fragility of them but also photography as an object.

My influences come from a range of different ideas, films, images and artists. Here are some of my all-time favourites artists and some newbies that I have taken influence from or have just generally enjoyed their work and ideas

Matthew Brandt, Alec Soth, Walter and Zoniel, Broomberg Chanarin, Erik Kessels, Angela Deane, and of course the greats like Nan Gouldin, Frida Kahol.

My current work in process which you can see in the Black Box’s website with the online exhibition and in Self Made’s newest zine is created using old photographs and bleach- This process is something I briefly tried out during my time in university but at the time it didn’t work with the idea and concept of work I was exploring then. I have had the desire to physically manipulate old photographs doing this has helped release trapped emotions in a creative outlet while making something strangely beautiful and haunting- which my technique and working with the bleach works well to convey these ideas and emotions.


As this is a work in process the concept and image may change so, to see more of my work and what I get up to follow me on Instagram or check out my website of previous work and exhibitions





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