Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Follow-up from Nenagh ...

Well, they sent me a letter ALREADY, saying that they are not going to include any of my stuff for this group exhibition. I was only there on Thursday, and the standard letter must have been sent yesterday ... wow. I suppose they already had the works chosen. Pity nobody said so when I was there.

De nada. Stradbally in County Laois is a set-up I prefer anyway. I don't expect to hear from them for another few weeks.

What else?

I think it's going to rain, I'd better go mow the front lawn. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Jetske the Tiger: Painting of a Face-paintee ...

This one is larger than life, 120cm x 90cm and oil on canvas, and taken from a photo of a little girl who had wanted to be face-painted. I did it about 10 years ago, as part of my art college explorations into the nature of the mask.

The only reason I'm putting this up is because I spent yesterday face-painting little kids at the Limerick Animal Welfare Sanctuary, and I was just too knackered to post anything up last night. Thanks to Jaap and Jetske who were cool with the whole face-painting thing. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nenagh and Stradbally

Today I had the car, so I went off to visit two arts spaces I'd been curious about. One was in Nenagh in County Tipperary, the other was in Stradbally, County Laois.

The Nenagh one turned out to be in a theatre, in a building that had been renovated during the boom, and many cool original features were retained - I love that. The story is that there won't be any theatre performances during August, but the people running the centre want the space to be used, so they are holding a group exhibition and selecting artists for it. I left them a disc and my contact details, and if they invite me to participate, I will.

The other space in Stradbally County Laois is for visual art, with studios and a kiln, apartments for artists, an office, and exhibition spaces. It's in the town's old courthouse, and the building has been very cleverly renovated and extended around a pretty courtyard. The old cells had been converted into visitors' toilets! There's also an Art Library present, which I didn't see, but I will next time. It's one of the nicest dedicated art spaces I've seen for a long time, and something of a surprise too. I left them a disc as well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Getting back into the swing

It's a bit scary, picking up a paintbrush when you haven't painted for a while. I had an acrylic one I'd been meaning to work on, and I got into it today. I won't look at it again until later on today, or tomorrow. And I started on two others. One I like.

I have a bunch of oil paintings to be finished too. Or just reworked. Or simply painted over. :-) Haven't ruled out a series of landscapes yet. Or another street festival series.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I've also uploaded some pictures onto the Irish-Art.com website, and my own paintings are here.

I'm also looking at art fairs again, I'd love to get to the big art fair in the RDS in Dublin, and have yet to see how much it will cost me. I'm waiting on the e-mail from the organisers. It used to be prohibitively expensive to do it, but given the current economic recession, I'm kind of hoping that the rates have gone down in line with artists' incomes. It is the best art fair in the country, and thus the most expensive.

The Internet is great for getting views, but it would be nice to get out in public and talk to people, find out what they like. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pen drawing of a man sitting in FNAC in Barcelona.

That time again .... I'm still posting up images for every 100 new unique visitors. This week I've have over 200 new visitors, and many others who've been before. Welcome and welcome back!

I got one of these pens with a very fine tip for drawing - doesn't work with watercolours unless the watercolours are already done and dry, unfortunately - but it does make for a lovely crisp line. This gentleman was sitting having a coffee at a table near me in the FNAC shopping centre in Barcelona, Spain. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A word about the day job

Every other artist I know has to have a day job in order to be able to live - be it a teaching, running a gallery, working behind a bar, working in publishing, whatever. My job is publishing related - I'm a proofreader and translator.

I kind of fell into it. When I lived in the Netherlands, I taught English to people who worked in various professions and industries, and writing was and is a major part of their jobs - they needed to be able to deal with clients in English too, so I found myself working with them on reports, correspondence, manuals, etc.

Then I was contacted by a student in the University of Groningen who was completing her translation diploma, and needed a native speaker of English to check over texts for spelling, grammar, tone and style. This was in 1995 and I still work with her. Between the two of us, we've done everything from translating songs and poems to rewriting instruction manuals that were drafted by people whose first language was not English. And everything in between. Of course, I have also worked for several other agencies and even a couple of publishing houses.

I never know what to expect in this. Needless to say, I've learned a fair bit about a lot of things. Come across a lot of stories behind inventions and technical developments. Encountered some pretty interesting people along the way. And it does filter into the art.

Of course, sometimes I get incredibly lucky and get to work on a text relating to art or culture, I recently worked on a book by a Dutch author relating to art and art history, which was fascinating. One of the great things about the Internet is that you can always find images relating to what you are working on if you are prepared to search them out, so I do enjoy the visual part of this job too. But obviously I cannot use those actual images in my art, as there are copyright issues involved.

No, it's the words. I love the whole notion of 'false friends' in language, how a word can mean one thing in one language, yet a very similar word can mean something completely different in another language. A classic example of this is the English word 'sympathetic' and the French word 'sympathique' - an English speaker unfamiliar with the French language can be forgiven for wondering who died if they hear a French speaker say 'he is very sympathetic'. Many's the time I've had to explain to a Dutch person that you cannot say the word 'toilet' in America, and that your house as no 'backside', but you do, and you're sitting on it. And then there was the time when a man from the former German Democratic Republic, very keen to impress this Irish lady travelling on her own, told me that 'the train is retarded' when it was merely delayed (followed by a discussion on the French 'en retard' and the English term 'mentally handicapped').

At the juncture, I would like to point out that I've made a few total bloopers myself, in the Dutch language. I was talking to my (very religious but delightfully open-minded) Dutch in-laws about my father and how he became a 'reformed smoker', only this didn't translate too well as 'gereformeerde roker', and they were initially a little insulted as they were 'gereformeerden', or members of the Dutch Reformed Church. But once this was explained, it was fine.

It's the lack of epistemology when it comes to words or symbols that keeps us and many archaeologists preoccupied - didn't it take the relevant scholars 20 years to decipher the Rosetta Stone? For this reason, I like to include text in my paintings, and in other languages, because I never know who is going to read it, and if they are even familiar with it. I have painted some works with the Czech language in there, and of course with the language of my own country, Irish.

This brings to mind a song I learned from my father as a child, which he learned in India when he was stationed there during WWII as an engineer for the De Havilland aircraft. I don't know what the words mean, and neither did he, but he loved the melody and picked it up very quickly from the local people, as he loved to sing. If you are from India, and are familiar with this old song, I would love to hear from you. If the words are rude or offensive, I apologise in advance - I don't know what they mean, for me it's a song from my childhood. The words sound like:

Galig gingo geeng
Go bossy by na
Go dinneh by na
Go dinneh by na

And when I figure out how to record it on software, I'll make a link for the melody. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Painting, walking, pilates, and more ....

Today I got down to it and prepared some boards for painting with acrylic paint, and worked on one acrylic on board that's been languishing for a while. Am just going to lash into it, as my college friend Donal used to say. I also did some work on five watercolour drawings, not all of them are done yet, but I find that the less-is-more approach works best with them, especially if I've managed to record something really interesting in the drawing.

And off I went for my brisk walk and then pilates, was just looking at pictures of myself taken a few years back and thinking it's time to lose a few kilos again. Moderation in food, lots of physical activity, and plenty of toning for the middle.

And while I was walking, I across Christina Aguilera on my MP3 player. Talk about vocal gymnastics, that woman is an incredible singer. In a way it's a pity, because now is an era of The Look, the voice is not nearly as important. Lady Gaga, herself another great singer, has raised the bar for The Look of things in a major way, not a bad thing in itself, and Christina Aguilera is not lacking in the looks department herself, but her strongest talent is her incredible vocal range and ability, and people seem to forget this. She makes me want to get back in there and start doing scales and things, but of course she's a whole different level ... I can't help thinking how much fun it would be to have a Burlesque flashmob someplace in Limerick some evening with that song that ends the film .... the energy, the glamour.

Anyway. Back to reality. Shower, shampoo and off to run errands. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Today's job: Taking pictures of pictures

Today I am taking pictures of pictures - either scanning smaller pieces, or photographing larger pieces. I kind of have the tendency to shove works on paper back into the storage portfolio as soon as they are dry instead of setting them up to be recorded. So now I have to do a fairly substantial pile of the things - but at least it means I will have lots available to post on here.

And another thing on the famous list is handmade books, which is a good idea for many of my drawings as I have so many of the same format, and they tend to fit in themes of travel and countries. I recently spent an enjoyable morning googling techniques of making handmade books, which triggered a whole lot of other ideas - books of original watercolour landscapes, anyone? Ahem, I have to go make the things first .... one step at a time.

I'm pretty sure I'm heading for books and illustration anyway. So let's see what happens. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Study of the artist's hand

You could be forgiven for thinking I'm a man - I do have rather large hands, and because I type a lot, work in my garden, paint, draw, and use my hands a lot, I'm not really into anything other than basic manicures. I'm right-handed. I keep my nails short. I've never worn fake nails. I don't wear rings because my fingers break them, but I do like nice jewellery.

This was done with a very soft B8 pencil.

This has got to be the shortest time between posting images up EVER. Thanks for that, ArtFortune.com!


Am absolutely delighted with the amount of traffic I've received over the past few days. Welcome to the latest country Myanmar, and hi to the latest visitor for Malaysia. If it keeps going like this, I'm going to have to get a whole lot of images ready to post on here ....

Anyway, jobs for today: look into alternatives to Adsense because it seems such a shame to have all this traffic and not be able to benefit financially from it; do some actual painting; contact a potential new exhibition space; scan some images and work on a story that's been germinating in my head. And do some ironing. And proofread a text for a friend. Actually, I'd better do that first before I forget.

See, I decided to tackle one thing at a time on my famous list. Don't worry, friends, I'll keep you all posted.

Wishing you all a happy and productive day. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Two Seated Men in the Park by Belem, Lisbon

Gorgeous place, Lisbon. With lovely parks and places to sit in the shade and have a coffee and a sandwich.