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!

painting of stormy sea on the Sky Road in Galway

The Sky Road is a little loop of the Galway coast that we drove around on New Year’s Eve. The sea didn’t have waves, it had explosions. The sky didn’t have wind, it had WIND. The coastline could probably have been better described as a battle-line, and somewhere in the middle of it all were a few rocks. And on one of the rocks was a tower. And it wasn’t falling over.

T’would make one proud to be an engineer.

Sky Road

painting of Giant's causeway

Landscape of the Giant’s Causeway or high magnification electron micrograph of the surface of a tooth?  Without a scale bar it’d difficult to tell, but sure there’s only about 10,000,000 in the difference so let’s not worry about it.

The Giant’s Tooth

dark acrylic painting of falling snow

Any chance of a bit of snow? We’ve had everything else in the last week so I’m hoping for great things. Merry Christmas!

White Christmas?

painting of sunrise from space

I recently started a new job with Enbio, a small Irish company who make protective coatings for the European Space Agency. There may not be any dentistry involved but its certainly in keeping with the spirit of ART; using clean, simple techniques to make materials that can withstand whatever space can throw at them.

New Day

painting of wind-blown leaves in Dublin city

There’s nothing like a windy night to clear away all those dangerous piles of leaves…or at least move them around a bit. If you don’t know why leaves are dangerous, see last week’s “Reserves“.

Mine Sweeper

painting of leaves on a tree in autumn

Leaves are the single greatest threat to cyclists in Ireland; as slippery as ice, far more common, and always sneakily piling up in the corner of the road. Even now, after weeks of sliding around the city, the tree outside still has a few held back to throw at me. On the plus side, they look quite nice.


painting of Dublin's smokestacks from Sandymount beach

Dublin’s iconic smokestacks and the windswept shores of Sandymount strand make for a great escape from the city streets.

Chimney Sweep

painting of sunset in Victoria harbour in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Victoria harbour has a fantastic combination of bold skyscrapers and hazy mountain back-drops like nowhere else I’ve seen. It’s all the better when viewed at sunset from the roof of a boat. This was just one of the highlights of a great trip thanks to the IOM3 World Lecture Competition. Any young materials researchers should get involved in this competition immediately; anyone else might want to consider becoming a young materials researcher.

Victoria Sun

abstract acrylic painting

Unsustainable (by Muse) is both a great song and one of the best descriptions of the 2nd law of thermodynamics I’ve heard. That is quite an achievement and just goes to show that there are other places to find a bit of science in your art.