Saturday 27 December 2014

Artist's amazing life on canvas Trumps his old career as banker

Published 20/07/2014 | 02:30

Michael Hanrahan at his studio in Ennistymon with his paintings of the President’s visit to the UK
Michael Hanrahan at his studio in Ennistymon with his paintings of the President’s visit to the UK

When Michael Hanrahan took the plunge into early retirement from his job as a bank manager to pursue his dream of becoming an artist, he had no idea what lay in store for him.

But since he crossed his career Rubicon in 2006, Michael has travelled the world and painted portraits of US President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth during their visits to Ireland.

Now Michael has been hired as the artist-in-residence at US billionaire Donald Trump's recently acquired luxury golf resort in Doonbeg, Co Clare.

He told the Sunday Independent: "It's very exciting - little did I know a few years ago what would happen when I chose to pursue my dream."

From September, Michael will be catering to the artistic needs of Trump International's growing, high-end clientele at Doonbeg.

"They have a lot of American visitors and they're not always golfers, but are interested in the area and the scenery and the beauty of Doonbeg.

"So a lot of guests had begun to ask about art and that's where the idea came from," he says.

Michael has already completed eight paintings at Trump International in Doonbeg, which will be exhibited at the hotel next week.

The artist admits he has yet to meet 'The Donald', but says he is looking forward to the day when their paths cross and to possibly have the billionaire sit for his own portrait.

"I hope to meet him soon. He has made a huge investment in Co Clare and seems to be planning to spend a lot of money and create a lot of jobs, which is great for the area. It's a magnificent place and it's good that he has recognised that."

Michael says guests at Doonbeg over the last few weeks have been enjoying the novelty of an in-house artist painting on location.

"Some days I set up with an easel and the artist's smock and many of the guests are just amazed that someone would be trying to capture the scenery on canvas. It's going down very well," he added.

It is not the first time Michael's art has been recognised and applauded by the rich and famous.

In August 2011, Michael's painting The Queen and President McAleese at the Garden of Remembrance, was accepted into the British Royal 
Collection at Buckingham Palace.

And Michael's painting of Barack Obama during the US President's visit to his ancestral home of Moneygall, Co Offaly in 2011, now has pride of place in the White House.

"It's amazing the power of art. I never thought when I left banking after 37 years that all of this was possible."

Sunday Independent

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