BY SEÁN P. FEENY
A WEST Donegal-based teacher has turned her artistic hands to a brand new venture, working as a makeup artist in her spare time.Monaghan native Eilíse O’Hart is a very popular teacher at Rosses Community School in Dungloe where she has been teaching arts and crafts for six years.
Eilíse’s decision to train to be a makeup artist was something that happened gradually over many years, she said. “Makeup was something that I had always been interested in. “I loved looking at the new season trends and colours and I loved experimenting with different products and brands. My love for portrait painting, and studying faces in general, also had a huge influence.
“Over the years I have done make up for my friends for their big nights out and I did a few brides who were family and friends. I always wanted to pursue a career as a make up artist over the years but the time was never right.
“I decided to do my training with Siobhán Boyle in Sculpt Cosmetics in Letterkenny. It was hard work and tough travelling to Letterkenny after a full day of teaching for my training but I really enjoyed it.”
It was always Eilíse’s plan to set up her makeup service in the summer months when she am off school. “It’s the most popular time for weddings so it seemed perfect.
“However, I decided to get it up-and-running straight away as with makeup, people need to see what you can do and it is all word-of-mouth that attracts the clients.
“Since I qualified I have been busy which is great. I had a few Christmas party and wedding guest makeups over Christmas and I have a few weddings for 2014 which is great. I work freelance so I travel to the client’s house to save them having to venture out. It’s great being able to do it in the comfort of their own home.
“I really enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them during a makeup. There are times when you get lost in conversation with the client and I love that. It really is an enjoyable job.”
Eilíse grew in Rockcorry, a beautiful little village with great people and community spirit. “I was always interested in art and would draw on everything I could get my hands on. This included my older brother and sisters’ school books.
“My teachers, in both primary and secondary school, constantly encouraged me to enter competitions and to be the best that I could be by continuing to practice and experiment with new materials and new skills.”
Eilíse wanted to be an animator for Disney for years, but it was her secondary school teacher Mrs O’Mahony that made her want to be a teacher.
“She encouraged me so much and really believed in me. I wanted to do the same for others so I went to the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in Dublin to study Art and Design Education. With that course, you specialise in a specific artistic discipline, study Art History and also train to become a teacher. It was hard work but very worth it. I specialised in fine art painting and mainly work on portraits as I love the diversity of faces and skin tones, eye shapes and colour and expressions,” said Eilíse.
When she completed her degree at NCAD, Eilíse applied for teaching jobs all over Ireland, from Cork to Donegal. The recession had just hit and I knew I would find it difficult to get a job close to home. I was very lucky to get an interview for the Rosses Community School and thankfully they gave me the position.
“I was thrilled, but scared as I was leaving home to start a new life in a strange place where I knew no one.
“My Granny was from Teelin, so at least I had that connection with Donegal and it was always a place I said that I would love to live, so it all worked out.
“I am there six years now, which is hard to believe.”
As a teacher you have long summers and Eilíse wanted to do something worthwhile during her free time. “I volunteered in Ethiopia for the first two summers which was a life-changing experience.
“It made me see that life was fragile and short and I wanted to get back to what I loved and that was art, of every kind.
“I never had the space I needed to paint so I started to make jewellery using beads and glass which I really enjoyed. I travel to craft fairs all over Ireland to sell my pieces which is always a great experience. The Letterkenny craft and design studio stock some of my pieces which is great. I aim to really progress with my designs and start making unique pieces using resin.
“I also make hand-made cards for any occasion, wedding invitations being the most popular. I have also designed a very unique wedding gift service which will soon be available on my art website along with other creative products which will be launched in the coming weeks,” she said
Find out more about Eilíse O’Hart’s makeup business at eiliseohart.com or give her a ‘Like’ on Facebook, search ‘Eilíse O’Hart Make Up’ .