I was born in Venezuela to Hungarian parents. Then we moved to Texas. As a child I didn’t speak English until I was in school. I moved to Ireland in 2001 and I lived in Dublin.

I was a full-time artist. Then I moved to Budapest for four years and I moved back here again after.

I had been in Paris for a few months and I came here for a weekend with my sister.

It was lashing rain, I was on the train to Galway – it sounds crazy, it probably is – I said: “Oh my gosh, this is where I’m supposed to live.”

Krisztina Rozanich is a shepherd and an artist.

I live in Thomastown, it’s just south of Kilkenny city. I love this country. I’ve been here over 20 years and I’m looking at getting my Irish citizenship because I don’t want to live anywhere else. This is my home.

Animal lover

I grew up in a very big city but I’ve always loved animals. I didn’t grow up on a farm, I knew nothing about sheep.

I saw sheepdog trials when I was a teenager and my mouth just fell open. It was just the beauty of them working together. As an artist it was just visually stunning

When I moved back here from Budapest, I had a couple of sheepdogs and I taught myself how to train them. I learned from other people and I got experience. I learn from making mistakes and I make a lot of mistakes, but I keep making mistakes and I keep learning from them.

Krisztina Rozanich with her dog Grace competing in the 2021 Irish National Sheep Dog Trials at Killalee, Fossa, Killarney, Co Kerry. \ Valerie O'Sullivan

Collies were bred to work sheep. So then I got fascinated with sheep and I got myself a few sheep of my own. The more I worked with sheep the more interested I became in them. I started working on farms and I’ve been working on farms ever since.

I think my first big lambing was on a farm with 1,200 ewes in Wicklow. I was hired really as just an assistant lamber. Really just to feed the pens, but there were 1,200 Lleyns and Lleyns are very prolific, so it wasn’t long before I was having to pull lambs. That just got me hooked.

I was working with racehorses, broodmares, for the last five years as well. I had to stop that after a few accidents so I decided to go back to art and see if I could make a living at it. I had gone away from art a little bit because I had gotten a bit tired of the gallery scene.

I see my life as very seasonal. In the spring time I wouldn’t miss a lambing. Then I usually work for the OPW as a tour guide in the summer time. Hopefully in the winter and spring months I can do my painting. That’s how I’m hoping my life goes.

Art therapy

I was told that I always drew as a child but as a child I wanted to be a veterinarian. I got terribly sick when I was 15 years old. Just being told you had a life-threatening illness, I didn’t know what to do with my emotions. So I started drawing and painting.

I’m a big believer in art as therapy because I couldn’t really voice my emotions as a 15- or 16-year-old, so I turned to art. That’s probably when I decided that’s what I wanted to do. I went to university and I studied fine art painting. My paintings changed a good bit over the years but they have always been inspired by the landscape.

I do expressionistic paintings now. They’re landscape based. They’re not an actual representation, there’s a good bit of emotion and imagination in them. As well as that, I’m a very good draughtsman. So I do portraits of dogs. It’s a very technical thing and then on the other side I do very expressive landscape-based paintings.

Out of university I worked for two different potters for years and helped run a gallery. When I moved here I had just sold a big painting.

Ukraine painting

Every year I do a couple of paintings of sheep after lambing. A lamb with a yellow jacket caught my eye a few weeks ago and I just snapped a couple of pictures.

As an artist what struck me was the jacket with the yellow and the shape of it. The shade of yellow was exactly the same as the Ukrainian flag. I saw it straight way. I was looking at it and I said, I just have to do a painting of this.

I’d been trying to think, what I could do to help Ukrainian people? I donated clothes, toiletries and money, but I wanted to do something more. So I thought I’d paint this and raffle it off.

Tickets are available on www.idonate.ie/raffle/strength and the money will be donated to the Irish Red Cross.

What’s going on in Ukraine is very personal to me. My mother is Hungarian and they escaped in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution. They had nothing but the clothes on their backs. They had a family sponsor them. My father’s family left Hungary after WWII.

I’d be very sensitive to what goes on in Syria and Afghanistan too, but to me Ukraine is really personal as an eastern European.

Eastern Europeans – whether it’s Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania – we have a lot of cultural similarities. They’re kind of our brothers. We’ve all been under the Soviet Bloc.

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