Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Snoozing near the Tower of Belem, Lisbon, 2010



I love when it's warm and sunny and people fall asleep in the shade, they are ripe for the drawing, haha! I had plenty of time to draw this couple in the foreground, and then I just doodled the people at the back in there.

I never get any people reclining drawings in Ireland, unless it's with a model posing. Most of my drawings from Ireland are of people sitting or standing.

I need to get a few framed for a group exhibition, so I might use this one. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Nude in pencil


I haven't posted up any nudes in a while, and am pretty sure I have several ones to be photographed. 





I miss life-drawing, but I would LOVE to get male models for it. It's very very hard to find them here in Ireland. Oh, I did get a charming character who was perfectly willing to pose nude for me for as long as I wanted, and my 'payment' would be in the form of a long massage. I turned him down, obviously.

(Subtext: EEuw. Creepers looking for a quick grope are NOT WELCOME.)

In the meantime, the mild weather means that I'd better go plant stuff in my garden while I can, and this afternoon I'll be assisting Dolf Patijn on a food photoshoot for charity, and this evening I'll get on with my own paintings. His Facebook page is here, by the way.

Thanks to Limerick Printmakers for their life-drawing sessions. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Looking at each other

I was sorting through one of my portfolios of works on paper to see what was what and found several images I'd never posted on here, several more to be photographed, and a good few that I can decide to work on further - on not. 




This one was a sketch made very quickly in Italy, either in a train or on a vaporetto, I have a feeling it's one from Venice, and later painted up.  

Thursday, January 14, 2016

David Bowie

I had big plans to write a lot about culture and post that up this week, but then on Monday morning we all woke up to the shocking news that David Bowie had died.

You younger scuts born after 1990 simply might not realise how significant Bowie was to anyone growing during the 1980s. His breakthrough single was Space Oddity, and even though it was released and was a hit in 1979, it does NOT sound in any way dated. The music itself was layered, beautiful, and powerful, and the lyrics were descriptive, sad yet joyful at the same time.

Then Bowie went off and experimented with his look, most significantly the notion of androgyny, sexual fluidity, and identity. He rather famously said that he met his first wife Angie when they both had sex with the same man - I've no idea how true this is, but they did have a very open marriage for the decade they were together. There was the character Aladdin Sane, with the shock of red hair and red lightning bolt across one eye. Ziggy Stardust, with the big circle on his forehead. There was the Thin White Duke, which corresponded with his time in LA and some serious cocaine usage. Then there was the move to Berlin and an attempt to get away from the drugs with The Man Who Fell To Earth. And the Pierrot clown from the Ashes to Ashes video - amazing song, amazing video. And who hasn't seen Jareth the Goblin king? Because without Bowie, the film Labyrinth would have been, well, a lot flatter. He also experimented with being 'normal', but his sheer genius made him the ultimate outsider. And it could be said that his last great character was Lazarus, presented to us posthumously on the album he released mere days before he died. It's kind of fitting.

The great songs and the great characters developed together, played off each other, kickstarted new themes, ideas, songs. It's no secret that Bowie's career in acting also influenced his own 'characters' he played. He was a true Renaissance man: a musician and singer, a songwriter, a painter, a very shrewd businessman, an actor, a fashion icon, a cultural icon, a drag artist of sorts, a pusher of boundaries, a visionary. Bowie predicted just how ubiquitous the Internet would become, and how it would change the relationship between celebrities and their fans. He also was one of the first musical artists to release albums over the Internet.

I think it's kind of true to his nature that he continued to make music and art right to the end, even though he knew he was dying. His music was part of the soundtrack of my growing up, we all knew the words to many of his songs, so obviously I've listened to Bowie quite a lot over the past few days. It's been emotional.

Goodbye Starman, have a safe journey home.


This gif was created by UK artist Helen Green, and is entitled Time May Change Me

Friday, January 8, 2016

Still life in pastels: Squashes.



I got a bunch of little squashes and started drawing them. I've got a few done, and want to do some more, it's a nice activity to do once in a while, basic still life studies. And squashes have the most wonderful stripes, patches, textures, and subtle variations of colour, not to mention the maddest of shapes. And you can eat them afterwards (if they're still good). Red Kuris are delicious in a risotto with spinach and pine nuts. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

A beautiful video by Amelia Caulfield


This was shared on my Facebook page and while it's a bit sad seeing the flood waters in people's houses, you have to admire the angles and way of using light and movement in this wonderful short film by Amelia Caulfield. Enjoy, and please share. 

Happy New Year!

In brief:

Good things about 2015: 

1) I got to know the people who run Gallery Revival in Moneygall, and now exhibit with them occasionally. They are on both Facebook and Twitter, if anyone is interested in following them.

2) I also got to know Rosaleen of Quay Arts in Killaloe, who is very keen to exhibit my paintings, and has a seriously large space in which to do it.

Bad things about 2015:

1) Losing my dear friend John McNamara to cancer in April. Still missed by many, but I like to think of him in HIS heaven, which would be comfortable on his sofa in his beautiful living room, watching all those he's loved and left through his television, with occasional visits from those who passed before him, and as many delicious chocolate eclairs and delicious things he loved to eat as he wants. He was the kindest and most generous of friends, and would not like me going on about him too long, so I will leave off talking about how I miss him and instead talk about I envisage for my 2016.




I have been thinking of a way of linking my different subject matters together in one exhibition, and again I come back to the idea of a book of my own. As I am the artist of all these works, I'm the common denominator, but I need a way to link them. Otherwise viewers don't connect this:



with something like this:


or this:


because they are all rather different.

So I have come back to the notion of a book. Because I read a lot, I have so many favourite passages from great works of literature, and of course my favourite ones involve interaction between people and vivid descriptions of, well, anything, but landscape always resonates.

I might also need to get some older paintings off the canvas stretchers and into nice frames. So we shall see.

In the meantime, may you have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016, wherever you are.