Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Charlie in the winter sun

And here's another picture of this little man .... because I can. Yes, he is gorgeous. Yes, he is funny. Yes, he does bring me mice. And rats. And on occasion, a bird. Usually already dead. But not always.

Sweetest little schnookum ever. 

Today's road trip: Glen of Aherlow

I hate snow. But I like it like this: when I don't have to actually deal with it, but can admire it.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Burren Series Random Network

When I chose the title of this, of course I was aware of what a 'network' is: there's the network of people, or the network of cables, computers, companies, technical stuff. And now here, it's the network (or not) of the lines in the rocks - or it could refer to the people as well.

Gone to a good home. 

Burren Series On Black

The reason I called this one On Black is simple: the base colour underneath was black - an experiment. This entire series of paintings was started out as layers of colour, here black, then red and copper and gold, all in thin layers so the colours underneath could shine through, I like the effect. And the great thing about acrylic paint is how quickly it dries, which meant I could work on a few different paintings at the same time.

I think this one is the most abstract of the lot, actually. Hm. I like it. Glad it's gone to a good home. 

Burren Series: Clints and Grykes

I sent this one off to its new home recently. It's one of 11 little paintings I did of random people in the Burren, walking over the clints and grykes, or strange elongated gaps in the rocks there. The really amazing thing about those gaps? Each one has its own little ecosystem, with plants and flowers you wouldn't readily expect to find there, including alpine plants, and plants that are unique to the Burren too - so you can't go picking flowers unfortunately.

It's a strange lunar landscape, you either love it or hate it. And another thing about the Burren? Vanishing lakes. Seriously, it could be there one day, gone the next. After a lot of rain, water gets collected at the surface of the ground, but because there are so many clints and gryke and holes in the predominantly limestone rock, and so many small caves underneath, the water subsides. It's kind of mad. And of course led to lots of myths and legends in the area.

I'm thinking that I might go look for parts of the Burren that are less visited by humans, and see if I can get some shots of goats or sheep or cattle, maybe, or if I'm VERY lucky, I might get some foxes or pine martens in there. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

At Three Castles Head

I often feel a little sorry for tourists, especially the ones that sign up for whistle-stop tours around the highlights of a country or a city - they see the famous beautiful places surrounded by other tourists instead of locals, and remain insulated from the true culture of the place they are visiting. In many cases they don't speak the language.

Three Castles Head on Mizen is not one of the very famous places in Ireland. I had never heard of it until 24 hours until I visited it. You go down to the end of Mizen Head - not the lighthouse complex perched on the cliff, the other end - and you leave the narrowish road that can just about handle two-way vehicular traffic (with care) and go onto a genuine narrow and twisty country road, that goes up and down in the rocky landscape. Personally I would think twice about going down one of these in any vehicle larger than a medium-sized car, and I would ixnay a camper van absolutely. And taking a coach down here is out of the question. You get to the car park, and go through the field beyond to beside the farmhouse - which has a very good café, I've been told - and put your three Euro per person into the box, and follow the well-worn path through the fields and up and over the hill. The path veers right, it's kind of rocky, but beautiful, and a few minutes later you see part of the lake, and then you go around a smallish hill, and you see the remains of the castle keep. Three towers still stand, hence the name Three Castles, and the structure is sheltered from the worst of the wind and sea spray by being located in a dip below the cliff edge. The lake you've already seen extends from the base of the castle wall right down the valley to the very edge and is held in by a pile of rocks - it's believed to be artificial, and built around the same time as the castle, the mid 1300s.

It's a beautiful valley, and hidden, and you need to allow a good 20-30 minutes to get there from the car park, but when you get there, it's 'wow'! We sat out of the wind, took photos, and enjoyed the wonder on each other's faces. I think it would be a nice walk for parents with active youngish children, and I don't imagine it would be an issue if you wanted to bring your dog, but he'd have to stay on the leash - this is a sheep farm, first and foremost.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Photograph: Ventry strand, County Kerry

Taken in mid-October 2017, and we were absolutely blessed with the weather! This was during the first visit in 25 of Dolf's niece Linda, and we were pretty lucky with the weather, all told.

When I was 17 I spent 3 weeks in this area for Irish College. Great fun. We'd spend afternoons on this beach - glorious.

And a few years ago we went on a little boat excursion of the Blasket Islands from here, which was marvellous, and I'd really recommend it. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Many figures

These days I'm far more interested in capturing the nuances of body language and movement than capturing a likeness of someone's face. I love watching people react to places like the Burren, how they take in its strange beauty. I don't like 'posed' subjects, I prefer to see them as they ARE, rather than a version of themselves they would like to project.

I made I think it was 11 little square paintings I called the Burren Series - somehow my titles end up sounding like they're from a catalogue - and will be posting them on here over the next while. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Ballyheigue Strand, incoming tide

Not sure if I still have this one - I did send one off with a lady we knew in Texas in 2015. Must have a good root through my portfolios.

I think this was the day we were caught by the incoming tide, and we could either stumble over the large stones and rocks in the fading evening light, or climb over the dunes and find the road back to the village of Ballyheigue, which was what we ended up doing in the end.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Snow on the hill during the 2010 Big Freeze

Gosh, amazing what a little bit of delicate Photoshop tweaking can do .... the colours are more intense than in the original shot.

In the intervening years, two windmills have been built on this hill. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Burren series: Clints and Grykes

This little one was included in the exhibition I had in CB1, Limerick, and will be winging its way to its new home tomorrow.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A black and white shot - Mizen Head wild flowers

Another result from having forgotten to check my camera settings and subsequently playing around with Photoshop. But I love the shapes of these flowers, I know full well they are weeds, but still.

Scroll on down.

I know that photographic artist Man Ray experimented with exposures and other things when developing film and prints, and I'd love to know what he'd made of the possibilities offered by digital media.

Below is the colour version of the above shot I ended up with. The sky was unbelievably clear that day - for Ireland - and it was very sunny and warm. This was the same day we went to Three Castles Head and I had forgotten to change my settings back to the bright outdoors after I came out of the buildings at the lighthouse complex there. Still, the best way to deal with a mistake like that is to make it into an opportunity for something else, in this case playing with Photoshop.

Still prefer the B&W version above, though.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wild lilies in Ballinskelligs graveyard

You travel to the west of Ireland, these things are EVERYWHERE. Often near the famous fuchsia, which also grows wild in the west of Ireland, and blooms in the summer and autumn.

My mother - a great woman for the gardening - gave me a clump of these things several years ago. Now they are in several places in my garden, and some have even transplanted themselves to the grass verge across the road. I like that. I think it would be wonder to have these lovely vivid flowers all down the sides of the road in summer and autumn. You could have daffodils in spring, like they do on the road out of the city of Cork up to the airport - there must be a million daffs there, easy.

Doing some Photoshop doctoring today. Will probably share a few more photographs over the next few days. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Burren series By The Water

This little one measures 20x20cm - tiny!

The exhibition ends today, at 5 pm. I'll be taking it down on Tuesday next. I need to take better photos, this was taken with my phone, but I'll get some better ones next week, of the whole lot. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Digging .... and finding old photos

I generally don't paint buildings, but often photograph them and subsequently forget I did so until many months or even years later.

These are from 2016, from a road trip Dolf and I took to Allihies, and along the way we stopped off at Kanturk Castle for a look around. What a magnificent building this must have been in its heyday.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Works being made for an exhibition in Limerick city

The exhibition will be in CB1 Limerick, right in the city centre, and I'm currently finishing the works ... all in acrylic as it happens, which is a good thing as it dries fast and I'm hanging TOMORROW. That's Monday 13 November.

I would have hung them yesterday (Saturday) but I woke up one morning during the week with my face and neck all swelled up - not painful, but I looked like a pufferfish. Or a chipmunk. My doctor examined me and diagnosed paratitis, a swelling of the salivary glands, not very common but can happen when a body is a bit run down. As I'd had a month or so of short nights, this was no surprise, although why I couldn't have got a cold like a normal person .... Anyhow, I was told I could be contagious to other vulnerable people for a few days and that I was to take it easy and go on a course of antibiotics. Happily my face and neck are no longer like a big round full moon, but I'm going to be a bit puffy-looking for a few more days. What I got is related to the mumps, but I had the mumps as a child, so ...

Luckily I was just finishing my involvement with a major project in my day job, and even then they could delegate a few other things to other people - I love working with considerate project managers.

But back to the works: these are 20 cm squared and very affordable. There'll be some larger ones. Most will be unframed. All are square. I didn't want them to be either landscape or portrait format, they are neither one nor the other. 

Exhibition will open on Tuesday 14 November, 11 am to 4pm daily, and until 7pm on Friday 17 and 24 November, and runs until 25 November. 

Looking forward to meeting you!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Photo as a result of playing with photoshop

Have had a pretty busy couple of weeks, lots of text work which of course pays the bills, and then a week of visitors which was lovely - got some great shots with them in it, which are going to be paintings I think - and then back to work again. And because I have committed myself to an exhibition in Limerick city centre in the second half of November 2017, I'm still busy making the work for it. Little pieces, mostly. I've already blogged about the work in progress.

But the image above: just a photo for now. An up close and personal shot of the mussels on the rocks on the beach at Saint Finnian's Bay, County Kerry, from where you get the best shots of the Skellig Islands in clear weather. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

White Bull

Another one made recently, from a photo taken in County Clare, near one of the old castles there. One of those darkish, sleepy summer afternoons that may or may not herald rain. We were on a road trip with our Dutch nephew Lars and just kind of bumming around, taking in some sights. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

More new work - Sirens

Over the past couple of years I've been all about painting what I WANT to paint, when I want to paint it - be it still life, people, landscape, or combinations of the above. I see something - a scene on the street, a poem or other piece of writing, a photograph, or an object, and my fingers get all twitchy and I think about how I'd like to paint it. So that's what I do now. And some paintings I do again, in a different format, with different light. Like this one:

This is from a photo taken by Linda Mortensen (then Patijn) and I keep going back to it - apparently she snapped it before the three girls had a chance to pose. They were so young and so beautiful ... I keep thinking of them as Sirens. The Sirens of Inch Strand! An older painting of the same one is here.

It's a little painting, just 30 cm on each side. I will be including it in my next exhibition in November, which is in Limerick city centre. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Some work in progress

Today I've been working on little squares of paintings, about the size of tiles. I'm doing a series of people in landscape ones, allowing them space to move around in and be themselves, as it were. So far they are very simple, but vivid. I'm reminded of the pen-and-ink illustrations done by Louis le Brocquy in the book The Táin, which my father bought when I was a child but didn't read to us because it's a bit adult in places - but the drawings were wonderful.

Here's one:

Remember, it's not finished, and this is a really rough photo taken by my phone. But I already like it. Hm.

Incidentally, the book above was based on an ancient Irish legend known as the Táin Bó Cúailinge, or The Cattle Raid of Cooley, and was written by Thomas Kinsella. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fun times making new paintings

I really shouldn't be blogging right now. I should be in putting the finishing touches to some paintings I started last week and I want to submit to a group exhibition this week. Here are a couple of shots on Instagram.

Sod it. Here's a picture of Tina and Charlie warming up the couch for us.

A new painting: Dawn

So the plan was to make four new paintings, then I saw I had another I wanted to finish and was working on FIVE of them at the same time, and realised I wouldn't be ready unless I left it at three, as I had to print out the submission form in order to complete it, and then scan it to email it, which due to one computer not having the right software and the printer refusing to work on wifi, required me to unplug from computer and plug it into my laptop .... 

Anyway, drama aside, the three paintings got submitted in the nick of time and I got a confirmation, so let's see if there is any comeback from it. 

Here's one of the three:

That's Charlie, not so much admiring the dawn but looking out for something small and wriggly he can hunt down, bring in and offer to me for breakfast, and then kill. Ah cats. 

The two I didn't finish I will get back to. Have to say the original is nicer than this digital file. But then that's probably down to my rushed photoshop editing. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

On the Steps of the Duomo, Florence

I am wondering how it happened that I never posted about this particular oil painting. But it is now back home again, and I will wrap it up and put it away.

While it was hanging in the In-Spire Gallery in Dublin, one of the people who saw it told me that he loved the dynamic in it, and the young man's laconic attitude. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A little sketch made at Fanore Strand

A friend put me on to this medium, and I love them. I like the tension between the medium and the textured paper too, this was on the watercolour paper I bring everywhere with me. 

Almost abstract, no? You can make out the sand and water in the bottom half, and the rocks in the middle and then the sea and the mountains and the sky. Fun to do. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Making the most of lemons: A happy accident with photography

Last week when we had a young Dutch visitors over, we went on a few excursions, including one to a place I'd never been: Mizen Head in West Cork.

I counted 7 fabulous beaches, lots of mountains, some amazing wetlands, incredibly lush vegetation - located right in the middle of the Gulf Stream, so obviously lush and colourful - a very cool signalling centre and lighthouse accessible by footbridge, and one Star Wars location on Brow Head.

We went for a little walk to Three Castles Head (go to TripAdvisor for my review) and I honestly did not realise my settings on my camera were set all wrong, and my shots that day were much too exposed.  But I set about salvaging what I could with Photoshop, as I can still use a lot of the shops for paintings. But there were a few that made for marvellous images anyway, and here's one:

So yeah, a happy accident. Click on the image, all the white is the wall of the building in the signalling centre for the lighthouse at Mizen Head. It was a glorious, sunny day - just my luck, if it had been the usual morose, sombre weather for Ireland, they'd have looked a bit more normal, and I would probably have seen in the viewfinder that something was wrong. But when you get lemons, use the lemons. 

Another image I played with: 

Fun to do, and some lessons learned, the first one being: always check your camera settings before snapping. And perhaps I should look into getting the glass cover of my viewfinder replaced. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Charlie and daisies and a link to framed works.

Here's a ling for you to follow to see examples of my paintings and drawings looking all pretty in their fresh little frames!

This will take you to page in my Google Drive I've made accessible to others. Enjoy.

And here's a picture of my lovely tomcat Charlie, watching something moving at in the dark at the end of the garden.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Novohal Cove

So we went on another mini road trip, this time to east County Cork and found this very pretty cove called Novohal Cove which is grand until you start walking on the treacherously slippery rocks .... quite dangerous. And then there's a section of the cliff that is signposted as 'could collapse at any time', so, yeah .... While we were there I did an oil past sketch of the bit of cliff I could see from the lookout point on the left (there was a path up to it, and a great view into the neighbouring cove, which is only accessible if you're a rock climber or a sea bird) and Dolf got quite excited because he thought he spotted some sea eagles, so while it's not a great place to bring kids, it's pretty special ....

I'm thinking I might do a painting based on this photograph. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Lough Gur Fern

I was looking through some works and decided to bring this painting back to Draíocht in Adare - we all like it, and everyone who sees it thinks it's kind of sweet - plus it's probably the best example of my own gaze, that I mentioned in my previous post: A man and his child just out enjoying the shores of the lake, the child playing with a bit of fern she'd pulled from the forest floor.

That day we went there was a Sunday afternoon and a lot of locals were out enjoying the autumn sunshine. I would imagine that Dad here had his hands full with the little girl, as little kids and large bodies of water can be a dangerous combination, and there were swans on the water that were simply fascinating .... 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Reflections on my recent solo exhibition in In-Spire Galerie, Dublin

When I walked into the gallery and saw how Dino had put the exhibition together, something inside my head went ping! I hadn't seen them all up together in such a long time, especially this particular combination of works. Before seeing the pieces together like this, I would talk about the process of making them, and why I like to sketch people and paint them bigger. But however Dino chose the works, and put them together, I found I was thinking about them from newer, fresher angles, and below are some of those thoughts.

Life meets are meets life meets art 

Past and process
I sit and watch and sketch. After my intensive study of anatomy in the Kunstencentrum Groningen's Life Drawing and Portraiture classes on Friday nights, I was able to capture the basics of the human form very quickly in pencil. I had wanted to do it because to me it's a basic skill that artists should have, and I loved the challenge of it. So I took it out of the studio and, instead of working with a (nude) model, I went to sketch people sitting at tables in cafés in conversation, friends, lovers and families, co-workers, people travelling, people waiting, reading, talking on the phone, walking along, listening to music, eating .... the list goes on. If they were still for 10 seconds, I would start drawing them. I used a hardback sketchbook, and still have many of those drawings.

During my final year in college I also discovered photography, specifically candid photography. I had already seen photographs taken by Dolf Patijn (my life partner who himself is a great photographer) and Pat Barry (a friend from way back when we were in UCD) of people in city streets, random people out and about, getting through their days. I learned about New York photographer Nan Goldin and her visual documentation of her life and loves in 1980s New York, and I saw a television documentary of British photographer Martin Parr, whose candid photography is amazing. I was struck by the power of the snapshot, and how his particular medium - photography - is so amazing for capturing details that the photographer doesn't notice until afterwards: a stain on a dress, a fly in a drink, or a dynamic between figures in the shot, which is what I am drawn to when drawing and painting: cropping, compiling, inserting text sometimes, removing or playing down certain details, highlighting others.

I've been drawing and painting impressions of people for much of my life, even before I went to art college and my tutor Mark O'Kelly zoned in on my interest in people-watching. After I finished at LSAD I continued to make big paintings of people, and it's been over 10 years, and it's only now I am starting to understand what it is I have been painting - and not consciously striving to capture. So this exhibition in In-Spire was a retrospective and finally I'm beginning to understand what I'm seeing and why I like people as subjects in this manner.

The Big Three

What's the story?
I present a tableau of figures - people I have observed in public - and they are doing ordinary, everyday things: having coffee, sitting staring in the distance, rummaging in rucksacks, admiring a view, reading maps, eating pizza, enjoying the evening breezes coming in off the sea, checking messages on their phones, reading. There's no start of the story presented, and no finish.  Yet I have found that the viewer, the spectator, someone I might never have met before who is viewing the works for the very first time, they pick one of the scenes, and say 'this one looks like ...' or 'this reminds me of ...' and then they finish the narrative based on what they see in my work, and their own experience and memory. I want them to speculate on what they see, I like that memories are triggered, and that there is a natural reaction to whatever they perceive is suggested in the works. I had one man who was convinced I had met his daughter and painted her at some point in the past. Another very visceral reaction from someone else was 'I don't ever want to see that thing again' - a true and honest reaction (the painting in question has been very well received by many others). And there was one piece that had a quote in it that was highly suggestive of domestic violence, and it was hanging in an arts centre in Northern Ireland and I was asked to remove it because it triggered some very upsetting memories for one of the women working there, which taught be to be careful with some of the texts I added to the pieces. I want people to think, and be reminded of whatever, but dredging up memories of being assaulted in all kinds of horrible ways and calling it art, that doesn't sit well with me. That particular painting has undergone some change.

The tableaux of figures in the paintings are relatable, is my point. These aren't people posing for a camera or to be drawn, they are on the street, in cafés, in the train, watching films, eating ice cream. It's not the traditional artist-human subject relationship, it's purely observational. The scenes are not 'staged' like in so many painting compositions, they are things you don't normally really see in paintings, they are merely 'snapshots'. That said, it often happens when I'm sketching people that a child in the group notices me and comes over and asks what I'm doing. Of course I show them, and often they get Mum and/or Dad to come over and look, and it's usually fine because I'm not doing lifelike representations, just sketches, and if they are hanging around a little longer, I offer the child some paper and a pencil to make his or her own drawings if he/she wants.

I've heard so many different stories in the reactions from my paintings and drawings. So many. Many of my paintings are quite large, so in a way I'm wondering if I'm playing into a sense of fiction, triggering imagination with that too? The only way to explore that option is to see how smaller works are interpreted, so I will be transferring the idea, but not reducing it - I prefer the word 'condense'.

German I do believe? Portugal vs Brazil (World Cup Soccer) Not included in exhibition.

My gaze
I am interested in watching people and their interactions, capturing their dynamic with each other, expressed by their gestures, or lack thereof. They're not passive subjects in the sense that they don't even know they are subjects most of the time - they're not models I've hired, for example, to do my bidding. I see them, sketch and/or snap them, and I'm done. Most of the time they don't even notice me and if they do, they ignore me.

When studying cultural history as part of the art college package, I remember learning about the 'male gaze', a term first coined in 1975 by film critic Laura Mulvey, which could also be applied to quite a lot of painters from well before then. Basically the theory goes that the male gaze emphasises a woman by her body and as an object of sexual desire and male pleasure, the hot heroine, and it's hard to deny the existence of such a thing when there is so much pornography available in which the woman is the key to sexual stimulation. The male gaze is based on an agreement between the artist - the man/male - and the subject - the woman, and the man is the one in control, focusing on the woman's body to make the art.

My gaze is merely curious and interested in people, that's all. I'm an observer who likes to draw, enjoys the challenge of turning pencil or pen marks into something else on paper, and there's no agreement of any kind with my subjects beforehand, so I'm not controlling their actions or gestures at all. It's all random. I'm just recording a moment.

Diversity emphasised through the common denominator
I have made so many sketches in other countries: Italy, Turkey, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain ... and while the people/subject varied in colour and in customs, so many of the gestures are the same. A mother holds her baby in her arms in Venice, a father sits with his toddler on his lap in Siena, a few metres away from him a girl checks messages on her phone, an old lady wilts in the shade on a hot day in Pisa, two well-dressed young men talk business in an Istanbul tea house, an office worker takes an extended lunch break to watch a rugby match in a Tralee café, a young woman and man in a village pub in the west of Ireland eye each other with interest as their families look on approvingly. When I made those sketches, I noted where I made them, and used these in the titles of the paintings I made - and without meaning to, started to catalogue what I saw, and where I saw it. Really, I only intended to keep the locations as titles, but the group of people in the background of Campo Dei Miracoli IV could be a group of tourists in any city on a warm day, with rucksacks, cameras, bottles of water. A handsome young man clearly enjoying the attentions of an interested young woman could be anywhere, not just on the steps of the Duomo in Florence. A pregnant woman sitting chatting with her friend while their husbands and their friends are watching the World Cup in football could be in Turkey, in Italy, in Portugal - the sketch I took was in Lisbon, as it happens. And as I look at the hundreds of drawings I have made on watercolour paper, I realise that there are some I did not label .... and can only try to remember where I made them!

Viewing platform, Alfama, Lisbon,, 20 June 2010 (windy!) Not included in exhibition

And back to the story ....
That diverse people are in so many ways incredibly similar to people from thousands of miles away kind of brought me up short. I suppose it's easy to forget that a parent's connection to their child is a strong bond everywhere you go, that such connections are what forge great stories, and by extension, the 'what ifs' and 'if onlys' that create poignant side stories that lead to fiction. And that's a huge industry in its own right, several industries if you think about it - there's the basic journalism aspect, simply reporting facts; there are editorials that involve speculation and projection based on facts as well as theories; there are novels with plots that may or may not be based on factual events; short stories that are not nearly as involved but often more memorable nevertheless; stories done in print, and in recent years as blogs, e-books, and for over a hundred years now stories have been presented in film. Stories are everywhere, they are so ubiquitous we don't even stop to consider the very concept of 'story', it is impossible to separate them from us, they ARE us. Even if they are only barely based on actual facts, they are still the incorporeal body of society, as well as the soul and spirit.

Forget money. What is money only bits of metal and paper with a value allocated to it, that is arbitrary anyway because it constantly fluctuates in value? Stories are so much more important, they are our reason for existing, they give us something to talk about, how boring would the world be otherwise? Communicating ourselves through our stories is our reason for being, and this action has a reaction and a counter-reaction ... and it goes on. Even something as mundane as gathering ingredients for a meal can be a story that people will stop and listen to, or pay to read or watch as a film. Stories are the true currency, as well as the connection between human beings. Six degrees of separation? There you go. Another story right there.

Seating male figure with his knee up, reading

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Exhibition at In-Spire Gallery, Dublin is now on.

And if you're wondering where that is and what it's like, it's at 56 Lower Gardiner Street in Dublin city, Ireland, and very near Bus Aras, the central bus station.

The last day of the exhibition is 25 June 2017. If you would like to stop by, either message me or the gallery itself through its Facebook page, which is here.

It is open from noon, and there is a lovely and inexpensive cafe two doors up, so it's an ideal stop before or after lunch. Give the door knocker a good bang or two if the door isn't open.

We're going to have an artist's talk on Thursday 22 June, kind of a round table discussion, and we are inviting artists to come and participate. Should be fun! See the gallery's Facebook page for more details.

Dino did a fantastic job hanging it. And they made a video of it, and here is the final result

And of course I have to take photos to capture the changing light in this lovely historic building, it's a Georgian townhouse and very beautiful.

Taken by my phone! And there are more on my Instagram and Twitter feeds. Enjoy!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Here is no Exposition

This is not a great reproduction of a painting I sold 11 years ago through an exhibition in Limerick city, but it's the only one I have of it. It's in the US, I'm told, but that's all I know. 

I think I will be doing more of these again, random people set against a backdrop of random people. I keep finding old sketches and snapshots I've taken, all lovely little surprises. Sometimes hoarding is GOOD.

I did the necessary repair work on the paintings I'm bringing to Dublin for the exhibition in the In-Spire Gallery on 56 Lower Gardiner Street and will be packing them later on, and am bringing them to Dublin early tomorrow. Dino Notaro the curator has given me an extension for a few more days, so it will continue until the 25 of June, instead of finishing on the 22nd, which is nice. Am thinking of a little afternoon goodbye party with things for kids to do too, as the weather might not be conducive to afternoon walks on the beach. (If one could only harness the weather ...)

It was kind of exciting taking the works out and looking at them again, I'm taking several of my larger ones, all of my framed larger ones, and my slightly smaller ones, and my watercolour drawings. All told about half of my total of oil paintings will be included in the exhibition. And I'll be there myself for a few of the days, please contact the gallery itself (they are on Facebook and Twitter) to find out when exactly.

And while the section of the room is clear of paintings, I will be painting the walls and cleaning the room generally. So much work on paper .... I really think it's time to offer them for sale unframed. Hm. Much cheaper to buy, actually. Postage will be comparatively nothing .... except for the nudes. Those are big. Almost life-size.

Right. Better go and plant out my courgettes. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

News and a solo exhibition in Dublin

Delighted to be able to share that I recently sold a painting through the Draíocht Gallery in Adare, it was the painting at the bottom of this post, and Agnes and Andrew were so funny and surprised me with it, which was kind of sweet.

Am also really excited about the upcoming exhibition in Dublin, and am hoping to see some friends there too. If you're in Dublin between 13 and 22 of June, please stop by.

Here is the poster designed by the In-Spire Gallery team, using one of the paintings:

So if you're in the area between June 15 and June 22, pop in. I'll be there, probably drawing or writing or talking to myself. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Ask Your Subconscious, a solo exhibition in Dublin in June, and an image

Came across a cool tip yesterday: if you want your subconscious to work for you when you're sleeping, ask it a question in writing before you go to sleep. And just pick up a pen and start writing as soon as you can after waking up. Came up with a rather cool artist's statement this way. Will be using it for other things too.

Which leads me to the next: I will be exhibiting works in the In-Spire Gallery in Dublin in June, poster and details to follow (and I really like the poster he's come up with so far). I'm focusing on my people paintings for this.

I've also been invited to show work during a festival on the June Bank Holiday, but won't be able to be there myself.

Prague Punctum: Red Chair

And this image? One from the many on-location sketches I made when in Prague, and I think I was in a café in the Jewish Quarter at the time. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

More Russian that American visitors now ....

.... to this blog. Not sure how that came about. And this is not an April Fool thing.

Greetings comrades! Just so you know, this blog is perfectly fine with homosexual, bisexual and transsexual 'propaganda' and thinks that while traditional families are in no danger from the 'gay agenda', and if you think that it's okay to beat the crap out of a woman just because you can, you've come to the wrong blog, and sorry but your political leader is a scumbag.

As long as we're in agreement regarding the above, you're welcome to keep following.

To my American followers: I'm unashamedly liberal, and to those of you who like to spit that word out like it's a curse, thanks for the compliment. Not keen the availability of firearms, however. You all do need to rethink that.

And the image? While no longer a Soviet state, Prague was preserved because of Communism, and I hope the beautiful old buildings remain there. But I would like to visit Russia properly someday.

EDIT: And I am just reading about what's going on in Chechnya. Gay purges? Come on. You know that's not right. What a horrible situation. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Small oil painting: In the pub

From a sketch. I just draw the people in front of me as fast as I can, and when it came to making this painting I ended up editing out the background because it just wasn't working as a painting, it was distracting from the figures, and the suggested social dynamic.

Plus I love that there's a guy in front who is not actually engaging with the main group. So it's not staged or anything. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

More playing with Photoshop: Castle at Ballybunion

Not everything works in black & white, but here's one I rather like, taken when we were last in Ballybunion. That was such a beautiful day.

And of course I have a colour version of the same shot: 

Clear blue sky, if I didn't know the peculiarities of the weather in this country, I would think it was taken in summer and not the middle of winter. In the second shot in particular, it felt like I was looking at the castle from across a river, and there's a suggestion of a romantic other-worldliness in the reflection, I wonder are there any local stories about this castle built on the tiny little outcrop of rock in the middle of the water, or the sand, depending on the tide. If the walls could talk!

Edit: Both of these shots are getting a lot of love over on, especially the coloured version. Follow to link to see more of my photos, drawings and paintings!  

Friday, March 3, 2017

Bracing walk on Ballybunion Strand

Went sifting through photos I've taken but not processed recently and found several that I will work on some more, including our day out at Ballybunion during the Christmas break. I do enjoy experimenting with Photoshop, must get Dolf to teach me a few more tricks.

Here's one that breaks all the rules: pointing the camera directly into the sun and over-exposing. Might not be 'correct', but I do like what I ended up with. I also have a black and white version saved, but like the colour one better.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Updated my works on the page.

I just updated this information, and you can find it here.

I had posted some of those images on there a few years ago and decided to review it again, and was pleasantly surprised to see how active it had become. Unfortunately my own works were archived, but they very kindly unarchived them and reposted them online with some newer works, and only then did I see that two of the paintings that I posted up a few years ago were there and I actually don't have them for sale, so I have had to e-mail Tom Hogarty who is in charge of all that to let him know ... a nice complaint to have. Anyway, PLEASE DO visit the link, and I'd love a few comments here on it ....

Oh, and thanks to everyone in the US who's been viewing my blog. Things are tense there right now, so am particularly chuffed that people there are taking the time to view the blog.

Greetings also to viewers in other parts of the world, including Russia.

Thanks to all over you, I pipped the 60,000 views mark last week and didn't notice for ages.

Here's a little watercolour drawing I rediscovered in my vast collection, another from Portugal during that Word Cup of Football (Soccer) when Dolf and I were there, so many football fans enjoying the matches on big screens inside and outside of shopping centres and other public places. So many people to draw ..... 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A drawing from our second visit to Portugal

We were still in Lisbon, and it was during the World Cup and there was yet another football (soccer) match on somewhere, and as the Portuguese are all football MAD the country kind of closed down while their own team was playing, but there were a few people who were otherwise preoccupied, like myself and these two other ladies, whose men were engrossed - ENGROSSED - in the action on the television, as was MY other half, and me, I was just drawing.

The up side of all the football: nobody played me the blindest bit of notice, they were GLUED to the television screens. Except for these two ladies. And me.

So I drew them.

And later I painted it up, let it dry, photographed it and put it away, and promptly forgot about it until I was looking for something else in my vast files of images of my drawings and paintings. A nice little surprise .... I wonder if that lady's kid is into football. He'd be about 6 years old now.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Photographs, and playing with finishes

We are blessed with digital technology, really. It has made so many things possible, including the rapid and accurate sharing of news. And photographers have much less waste, in that they don't have to go developing images in a dark room to see what they've got. And you can send your material over the internet so quickly too.

There are down sides, but I think the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Fanore Strand, in County Clare, same shot, but I thought I'd see how it looks in B&W too. It's an amazing beach.

The figure by the water is the photographer in my life Dolf Patijn, and he has taught me a lot about the art of photography. Do check out his work here.

Edit: The B&W version is getting a lot of love over on, here's the link: