Wednesday, September 26, 2012

On research

Sometimes you have to investigate things that you don't find particularly interesting. Lately I've been thinking about all I know about a particular sport - soccer or European football - and realise I know shag-all about it. I've never been all that interested in it. I've never understood the whole tribal fan thing, the notion of following a team and attending all their games, and being uncritically supportive, and even getting drawn into fights, riots, and other unsavoury things attributed to football fans who are inclined to hooliganism.

(I don't mean to imply that being a football fan automatically means you're a football hooligan. On the contrary. I have a lot of respect for loyalty. But people who follow blindly and don't think, those people I want to kick until they wake the feck up. You were given a brain. Use it.)

 Sadly, what with the media being what it is, the nasty side of football is what is brought to my attention. Nasty messages to players on Twitter, for example. Or fans chanting things like 'you couldn't score in a brothel'. Or the bane of all sportsmen and women: allegations of taking drugs to enhance one's performance. It's very easy to forget the hours and hours of training professional sports people have put in in order to reach the level that puts them in the national teams. They pay a price for that, and okay, the salaries for some of those guys - and yes, it's only really the men, women footballers are not recognised or rewarded in the same manner - are astronomical, but still .... What they do for their art is overshadowed by what they earn for being famous, and the focus that's on them through the media. It's a sad fact. Even I've heard of David Beckham, mainly because of his very media-savvy wife Victoria, a former Spice Girl. But I don't know much about his football.

So, as part of my investigating this thing of football, for which the media has pretty deadened my enthusiasm, I think I will look into the history of the game. I mean, I've had practice in my day job researching things I normally wouldn't have heard of, or wouldn't be interested in. Sometimes you need to bypass the bright colours in the sunshine and check out what lurks in the shadows. Dig some dirt. Find out something you really didn't care to know. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pen sketch: Waiting for the flight

According to my notes, this drawing was done in a small airport (thank you Ryanair) outside of Barcelona, but not Barcelona Airport itself. Departure lounges are full of people sitting around and snoozing slightly, especially early in the morning.

The Art on the Rails in Limerick City was interesting. Prices varied from so-so to totally outrageous, the quality of the work varied also. While I didn't sell anything - and I wasn't out to sell, but just to get work seen, selling would have been a lovely bonus - I did get an invitation to hang work in one of the city centre galleries. Nice. Will go sort that out soon.

I have also been thinking about the Milk Market in Limerick, and wondering how to go about organising an art fair in there. Attempts have been made to do a weekly art fair, when a monthly one would be better in Limerick, if it's staggered with monthly art fairs in other places like Ennis, Cork, Galway, etc. And then it would be better to try and maintain a certain standard of work ... no, I think I'd leave that to the people who like doing that kind of thing! I'll just go and do what I need to do and continue to make more work.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A busy enough week

Lots on this week that I'm involved in.

First up, the 11th Roches Street Art Festival in Limerick City. I love this idea, the traders of this busy Limerick city centre street got together to hold an art festival to raise funds, and exhibit the works in the shops and shop window. 25% of the money earned from the works sold goes to Headway, the brain injury charity, and to the Milford Hospice. My paintings (landscapes all) are in Electrical Rewind and Universe of Nails.

The other thing I'm doing this week is take part in showing art on the railings of the Peoples Park in Limerick city, which is organised by the No. 1 Pery Square Hotel and Brasserie, and takes place on Sunday 16th of September from 10 am to 2 pm. I'm hoping it won't rain ... I'll probably bring 8 to 10 of the people paintings because the landscapes are in Roches Street and will hopefully help out the charities there. The people paintings tend to generate conversations, which I enjoy, and possibly some sales also. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Three more from the 2010 Sketchbook project

It's nice to look at these sketches again. That was an interesting project, and I might do another one with them, I only wish the sketchbooks were actually a lot bigger. 

While I like doing people, looking at what's in the hedgerows here is interesting. Anyone who grew up in the Ireland and in the Irish educational system was inflicted with WB Yeats; however, in later years I came to appreciate his genius. I'm not the only one, many musicians have gone and set his poems to music. Christy Moore, who is an Irish institution at this stage, did a wonderfully haunting song made from the exact poem on his album Ride On during the 1980s. I knew a band in the Netherlands called Fling that set Yeats' work The Fisherman to music, but I'm not sure how well that worked. The Fisherman is wonderful, but has a deceptively simple rhythm that is meant to be recited, I think, and not put to music.

The page below is a pencil drawing of a whitethorn branch with the autumnal berries. You can easily make out what the poem on the right is: The Song of Wandering Aonghus by William Butler Yeats. 

This image below is from a couple of months later. We were experiencing the worst winter in Ireland in many, many years. Because the climate in Ireland is pretty mild as a result of our location in the middle of the Gulf Stream, we don't generally get very cold and snowy winters. But 2010 - 2011 was the exception. I was housebound for three weeks, could not go anywhere. And our pipes froze, but thankfully the central heating continued to work. On the cold, bright days, it was lovely - I went out walking with my camera several times and got some pictures like the ones below, which I used as part of this Sketchbook Project.

The top photo has a layer of tracing paper over it and that shape and lines of the plant are simply traced in fine black pen. One of the things the whole sketchbook thing does is bring you back to the line, and what you can do with the line. That is one advantage of working in a small format. 

This piece is simply the very cropped photograph of a corrugated metal roof covered in snow printed out on ordinary cartridge paper, and then the text printed on it again from a Microsoft Word file. You can see the reference to where I got the text on the lower right-hand side. Not a sketch in the traditional sense, but it does everything a traditional sketch does, it outlines something, provides just enough information to get one started on something else. And it reflected the general mindset of the people living on the road where I live at the time, which, after the first couple of days of that weather, was basically 'how much longer is this going to last?'