Paintings in The ART Approach

The ART Approach is a technique in dentistry that uses simple tools and materials to repair teeth quickly, and I spent three years of my PhD researching new materials for it. ART stands for Atraumatic Restorative Technique, and the coincidence in the name was too good to pass up, so I decided to apply the ART approach to art – smaller paintings and simpler materials, but hopefully just as beautiful and interesting.

Once a week, every week, for most of a year I added a new painting, with subjects ranging from fairly traditional landscapes and abstracts to some things straight out of the research lab. The result is an interesting collection of paintings full of experiments and surprises; not many painters can use an electron microscope to look for inspiration so there’s sure to be something you haven’t seen before!










A tree? A bolt of lightning? A river delta seen from space? A branching crack seen under a microscope? Does it matter?


abstract landscape painting

It’s nice to see a bit of green around the place again… the sunlight isn’t doing any harm either.


painting of underwater bubbles in blue sea

Water is blue, and not because of reflection or scattering or any of that; it’s blue just because it is. That’s not much of an explanation though. The more scientific version is that its blue because it has an absorption minimum at the blue end of the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum. It absorbs more of the other colours and lets a little more blue through for us to see. Only a little more though, which is why you need a swimming pool’s worth of water to notice.


painting of colourful evening sky

The sky is made pretty much entirely of colourless gas, and yet I can get through the whole palette in one painting of it… All thanks to a little bit of scattering caused by those gas molecules.


acrylic painting of nanocrystals

I’m not sure if this idea comes more from watching a documentary about climbing K2 or from finally finishing college, or just from a particularly good micrograph of some bundles of nanoparticles. Either way it’s a nice painting of nanocrystals.

The Summit

colourful acrylic painting of Copper Coast in Waterford

Another great bit of the Irish coastline, this time in Waterford. It gets its name from a mining industry that is long gone, but with cliffs that colour I can see why they kept the name.

Copper Coast

acrylic painting based on weather map

A weather map from one of our recent storms, with an area of low pressure sucking in swirling winds. The pressure difference that caused all the drama was less than the pressure of a small child’s footprint, but it covered an area larger than Ireland and so unleashed a huge amount of energy. Little changes go a long way when you’re dealing with something the size of the atmosphere.

Under Pressure