Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I have a few friends who are great photographers, and this is taken from a photo by my friend Pat Barry, who is an old school photographer, in that he does not use computer technology to develop his film and make his prints. With the cigarette almost out of the picture Cigarette Smoking Man was the natural title. One for the fans of the X-files.
Aside from the old monastic site that includes the leaning tower and the little church perched on the riverbank, Pisa has very little to recommend it. It's a tourist trap, pure and simple. Yes, they have a regatta every year, and while that would be fun to see, it wouldn't mean you'd want to spend longer in Pisa than necessary. We did a day trip to Pisa by local train from Florence, and it took about 2 hours each way.
It was a very hot day, and people who didn't want to pay the extortionate prices to go into the various monuments clustered in the shade of the buildings. It was kind of funny watching them move slowly in a semi-circle with the shadow of the tower. I spent the hottest 2 hours in the museum that's right beside the leaning tower, literally under the bit that's leaning - so if the tower ever does keel over, the museum is toast.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Included in an exhibition in March 2010 in the Mad Art Gallery, 56 Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin 1, Ireland.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Addition: This paintings is one of six of my little ones that is included in an exhibition in the Mad Art Gallery, 56 Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin 1, Ireland, to start on 25 February 2010.
Friday, May 23, 2008
I have always loved making drawings and paintings, and REALLY wanted to go to art college when I was 18 and finished with the Irish Leaving Cert. However, that didn't happen; instead I went to UCD and didn't do any drawing or painting while I was there, but still had a pretty good time. But I missed the artwork, I missed making it, and eventually did get back to it. Between getting back to it and actually going to study it properly, 9 years passed during which I did a lot of anatomical studies at some great courses in the Netherlands on a part-time basis, and had some small exhibitions there also.
Then I joined a part-time Post-Leaving Cert course in Newcastle West, County Limerick, Ireland, and out of curiosity went to the Open Day in Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) which is part of Limerick Institute of Technology and currently housed in what was a Magdalen convent, so it's full of ghosts. Anyhow I walked into the place and realised that I wanted to do this, so I applied and went straight into the Painting Department - which meant some serious talking to Bob Baker, the then Head of Painting.It was hard work and a major change of mindset, but I loved it, and I am so glad that I went and did it. I graduated in 2004 and since then have exhibited several times in Ireland, including once in Northern Ireland.My paintings and drawings have travelled, they are now on 3 continents - several are in private collections in Ireland, with one in the Law Society of Ireland's own collection and in Limerick County Council's collection. A few also made their way to the United States, and are in private collections there. And finally, there are some in China, on permanent exhibition in the 411 Galleries in Hangzhou City.
I love stories. My Dad loved to tell stories when we were growing up, and both of my parents fostered a huge interest in literature in all my 4 syblings and myself. I drive my significant other around the twist with speculations about people I don't know at all, and and 2003 he said it's something to do with my very active imagination ... so he suggested that I use this as a resource when making paintings. I thought hey, what a great idea ... and went on from there. But I love going around with my sketchbook and camera, sitting down and watching people interact, and attempting to catch this.
When I go to make an actual painting on canvas, considerations to do with composition, form, emphasis come into play, and I get a little excited by the paint, which is why I much prefer making larger pieces. Sometimes I add bits of text as well, but not too often - this largely depends on what's going through my mind or what I'm reading when I'm at this stage of a work, so it is perhaps a little time-dependant. But the most interesting part for me is how people react to the paintings - they say things like 'Have you met my daughter? You must have, you've painted her' or 'That painting reminds me of something ..' and they'll want to talk about their take on it. Stories generate stories.
This is why I have decided incorporate a story-collecting aspect into my next solo exhibition, which is taking place in the Thinkk Creative Gallery on Cecil Street, Limerick city, from May 30, 2008.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Update 5 December 2011: This drawing has been framed and is now on display in the Blueberry Gallery, Ennis Road, Limerick city, Ireland, along with 4 other landscapes of mine.
Updated 5 December 2011: This piece has now been framed and is on display in the Blueberry Gallery, Ennis Road, Limerick city along with 4 other landscape pieces of mine.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Two in a Crowd, 2003, oil on canvas, 120x120cm
It was the light captured in the photo that made me want to explore the way the paint would handle it. This painting was exhibited privately in the Central Bank in Dublin, Ireland.
But I'm not happy with it, the child's face on the left is not working, so I'm going to rework it.
Monday, May 12, 2008
From a photograph taken in Rome in May 2006. It was the woman's dress that made the photograph, it's always some little detail like that .....
The sun was going down, it was getting cool again, and people were starting to think about going somewhere for dinner.
You can't actually go into the fountain anymore .... more's the pity because it looks like it might be nice on a warm day. They say that if you throw a coin into the fountain, you will return to Rome. A nice myth.
Since visiting Rome and seeing all those places, I have read Lustrum and Imperium by Robert Harris, in which various places in Rome are mentioned. Sometimes you kind of wish that time travel was possible when you're someplace like Rome, or Pompeii. It would be really something to go back in time and experience what it was really like living there.
I've been to Italy a few times now, and love it. This is also small, 40x40cm, and one of a pair based on a series of sketches I took while on a day excursion to the hillside village of Fiesole, near Florence in Tuscany. Dolf and I were enjoying the shade around the Roman Amphitheatre in the village, and happily there were also some young artists on some kind of summer school, and they were busy doing sketches of the surroundings. Now I like doing landscapes, but I like doing people better ....
Fiesole II, 2007, oil on canvas.