Friday, May 17, 2019

Enjoying the sun on the Campo in Siena

How bright were the colours under the Tuscan sky that June, when we spent a few days in Siena. I loved visiting this hilltop city, which almost died because of the Plague way back in the 1400s I think it was, or maybe a bit later ... So many lovely buildings, tiny streets, and very interesting people. The Sienese contrada marchers were out in the early mornings in their mediaeval clothes and their drums, in support of the horses and riders who would represent their city districts in the Palio horse race that takes place in the Campo every year. But as the day warms up, they go home and change and go to their jobs, and the Camp is then taken over with sun-worshippers like these people.

Here's a memory of that time, a small, simple pencil drawing completed in vibrant watercolour. These drawings are simple yet tell so many stories, evoke so many memories, each different for every viewer. For me, it's the narrow streets of Siena that open out into vistas over the surrounding countryside, and the warm stones of the Campo where people love to congregate.

If you find yourself remembering a holiday in Italy long ago, and would like to see more works like this, email me at orla99913 [at]

Be in with a chance to acquire unsual and distinctive works like this and support a living artist at the same time - visit my page on Patreon.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Reclining nude - charcoals on coloured paper

I found this drawing in one of my big portfolios, and I had clearly put it away and forgotten about it. I'm pretty pleased with it, it was a long pose. Do you like it? If you do, I've made it available as a print on Fine Art America. Feel free to visit the page and see what else you like.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Another landscape - Drain near Kilkee, or Ode to Groningen

I learned so much about drawing and painting in that time I lived in Groningen, the Netherlands. Okay, at the time I was very much focused on the human figure, but I was luck in that the tutors kind of left me alone to do my thing and came over to offer critical input - and by critical input I mean constructively critical, in the sense of 'you might like to try this and see how that works for you'.

This little landscape is one of two I made in 2018 based on the landscape just south of Kilkee in County Clare, and a local gallery there has indicated they like them.

Groningen, incidentally, is the name of the city and province in the north-east of the Netherlands where my Dutch significant other hails from, and while there are some slight elevations there - known locally as 'terps' (artificial) and De Hondsrug (natural), most of the country is quite flat. The 'dykes' are earthen barriers built to keep the sea out, and in the Netherlands the dykes are straight (!!!) and you'll see lots of drains, and canals and locks and interesting bridges because the inland waterway system is still quite active in the Netherland generally. There are lots of smaller 'polders', areas of land reclaimed from the water. What it comes to water and engineering, you can't beat the Dutch. The huge flood barrier at the mouth of the Rhine is incredible.

If you like this painting, it is currently available through DraĆ­ocht Adare from 1 May 2019, and either Agnes or Andrew will show it to you. 

A nude I found and decided to share

Well, I found several, actually. I decided to investigate making on-demand prints and have created an account in Fine Art America, and here is the link for anyone who is interested:

If you like this, or indeed any of the other images, you can choose your print size or medium to suit your home.

Am mulling over the idea of doing prints of landscapes as well.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Company of Absence, triptych - all the pieces together

Yesterday I spent some time tidying up photos to post onto my Saatchi page, and the one photo I don't yet have is a photo of the three parts of the triptych put together, but then I remembered the one taken and shared by my cousins Blawnin and Rayleen Clancy. I found it, cropped it and realised that it didn't have the data required in it for the Saatchi crowd (long technical thing, but it does mean that I will be putting the canvases together and photographing the entire thing myself at the earliest opportunity), so I'm posting it here:

My late father had many, many friends. One of them was a poet named Michael Coady, who wrote a beautiful poem that caught the atmosphere of the funeral so well, entitled Company of Absence and it's in his anthology One Another, published by the Gallery Press in 2003. My father was a bit older than Michael, in fact he had been apprenticed to Michael's father when a teenager, and had looked after baby Michael when asked. Michael did say that my dad had encouraged in him a love of the written word, and Dad did the same for me too. I vividly remember at age 14 trying to learn off No Second Troy by Yeats for school the next day, my Dad coming in from the farm smelling of the cows, asking me why I was so annoyed, and then reciting the entire poem from start to finish without any prompting. He knew all of Yeats' poems.

Dad knew hundreds, if not thousands, of songs and stories, and took them with him to the other side, where no doubt he's entertaining the Afterlife generally. Michael was aware of this. So honouring him by writing a wonderful poem was really, really special. You could say that this painting is a visceral reaction to that honour, as well as something that marked a special point in my own personal grief. The last three lines of the poem are quoted on the painting.

I've posted the three panels on Saatchi Online, if you wish to view them individually.

Part 2 is here.