Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Two watercolour landscapes of Sicily

Normally when on holiday I tend to sketch the people, but the landscape of Sicily kind of got under my skin. It's pretty amazing. I got some photos, but my partner Dolf got many more, and much nicer. And he's the photographer in this house, that's for sure.

Prickly Pears, viewed from the patio of the Agriturismo place we stayed very near the village of Joppolo, which is quite close to Agrigento. I believe prickly pears are considered an invasive species, but you can eat the fruit, it's supposed to be very sweet and good. I was kind of fascinated by these plants. 

Sicily has loads of ancient ruins, and Segesta was the first lot we visited. It's located on two adjacent hills - one has the ancient Greek Temple, now with fencing around it because after nearly two millennia it's a bit unsteady, and on the opposite hill are the remains of a city, currently being excavated, and a Greek amphitheatre, with the most wonderful view of the valley below as the backdrop to the stage. Definitely worth visiting. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Some details of the big painting

I've received some requests to post up some more detailed bits of my enormous painting Truth Universally Acknowledged, so here are a couple of them.

This detail includes a quote in the very middle there from the late Maeve Binchy's novel Scarlet Feather. One of the reasons why I like her work so much is because of the dialogue. Apparently Maeve Binchy liked to listen into strangers' conversations on public transport, and had an ear for a particular turn of phrase. The text in the two upper corners are collages of newspapers, probably the County version of the Limerick Leader

Another bit - and I really had to do the Photoshop thing to get the actual colours again, which was odd, but however - another collage from the newspaper, and then a quote in pencil 'must be {...} want of a'.  This is the quote from Jane Austen that I used to give the painting its name: 'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife', which is the opening sentence to the classic Pride & Prejudice

I also used quotes from Marian Keyes, Guus Meeuwis who is a Dutch songwriter, and a traditional Irish song. 

It's a big painting. If anyone wants to actually take this thing off my hands and off my kitchen wall, please come with lots of money, as artists DO have bills to pay.

And bring a big van. This thing is BIG. 

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

First post of 2014 - Paris and Porto

I have to say I miss travelling. But between economic circumstances and the acquisition of two adorable cats, travel is now on the back burner. But I do think about the places I've been to, and the people I've met. 

 This sketch was done in Paris, in the district of Jardin Des Plantes, which is not really on the beaten track, despite being within 20 minutes on foot from Notre Dame de Paris. It was lovely there, however. If we go back, I'll find us accommodation there.

These two drawings are from Porto, in the north of Portugal. There's a really nice market in the city, and I found it by chance while just wandering around, and across from the main entrance was this patisserie/bakery type of place, and when I looked closer I saw they had tables at the back and served little meals in there, so in I went, and spent a happy couple of hours sketching. Mirrors along the walls! So I could sketch the reflections, which was easier in the sense that I could see the faces, and also I wasn't making anyone self-conscious by staring at them.

While I think of it, I did a watercolour sketch on location in one of the parks in Porto of an elderly gentleman, and he was so kind as to hold the position for me, I just gave him the piece when I was done. 

I liked Porto. I liked the way the city wound along the banks of the river and on out to the sea, and the beaches there are magnificent. I'd go back, I'm not sure my Other Half feels the same way. 

Anyway, my plan for 2014 is to finish one art piece a week - it might not be a painting or a drawing, but that's the plan, finish one a week. I might end up working on several, but what harm. The work itself gets the subconscious and all the rest of it moving. 

Please also visit my Tumblr account.