Monday, July 20, 2015

Once Upon A Place

Artists often borrow from or pay homage to the work of other artists. 
Some artists also steal other people's ideas simply because they haven't the skill or imagination to originate their own.
I hope it is always clear when I make a visual quote from another person's work that it is done with the utmost respect for the original artist, and for valid artistic reasons. 
Here, for example, is the cover of  Once Upon A Place, edited by Laureate na nÓg, Eoin Colfer and illustrated by me.
Most of you will have noticed that the figure on the rocky foreground, is a visu
al quotation from the best known painting by Caspar David Friedrich, "The Wanderer Above the Mists".
The stories in the anthology, Once Upon A Place, are set not only in different places, but also in different periods. I hoped to hint at that variety by showing a boy wearing modern dress but posed as in Friedrich’s two hundred year old iconic image. It was also my way of my way of saluting one of my favourite paintings.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Progress Report On My Mosaic For The Bascilica in Knock, County Mayo

I spent a good part of last year making a design for what will be a huge mosaic on the wall behind the altar of the newly refurbished Bascilica of Our Lady of Knock.
I took the design over to Travisanutto Mosaics in Spilimbergo, Italy a few months ago and the experts there have been enlaging my design up to the full 14 metre square size.
I was back in Spilimbergo this week to see how the scaling up was going.
In the drawing room at Travisanutto we are starting to get a sense of the scale of the mosaic by looking at the cartoon in sections that show the full width.
Ginnasio was good enough to pose for me when I needed to fix up this character's clasped hands.
Here's a close-up of one of the very first areas of completed mosaic.
Fabrizio and his team (including Giovanni, in the foreground, and Giannasio in the distance) laid out the cartoon at the town gymnasium so we could view the full size image for the first time.

Having the "thumbs up" for the full size cartoon the team at Travisanutto are now ready to start making the mosaic itself. 

Here are some of the smalti (coloured glass pieces sourced in Murano, Venice) to be used in the foreground of our mosaic.
The team at Travisanutto will be working hard to complete the mosaic in time to transport it to Ireland in February next year.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Great Portraiture Workshop

There was a great atmosphere at my workshop on Saturday.
Our model, Michael, has a very characterful face and very striking colouring. 
He brought out the best in all of the artists there on the day.

My next portrait workshop at Kennedy Art will be on the 4th of July, but I am doing one at the lovely Corn Loft Centre in Wexford before that on 20th June.
I look forward to painting with some of you soon.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Life Drawings at the United Arts Club

    I am delighted to have a few life drawings in Brian's latest group show at the United Arts Club opening later tonight the 7th May.
    I used charcoal in the top pic and wax crayon and chalk on the lower...both were drawn on Ingres paper.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Lincoln Family

I was priviledged to be asked to supply illustrations for Rosemary Wells' emmensely moving story about Abraham Lincoln and his relationship with his family, “Lincoln and his Boys”. 
I did a great deal of research and background reading about Lincoln, and I travelled to Springfield, Illinois with Rosemary to visit the Lincoln home there, and to get as much authentic visual reference material as I possibly could.
I came to see Lincoln as a hugely likeable and admirable figure. In Rosemary’s story he is laid back and relaxed with his sons, Willie and Tad, a funny, indulgent father more than the granite prophet we know from the Lincoln Memorial.
Abraham and Mary Lincoln were shattered when Willie died in the White House from typhoid fever in 1862, and it is no surprise that when Tad also died young, a few years after Lincoln’s assasination, Mary Todd Lincoln was utterly unhinged by grief and depression.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Upcoming Portraiture Workshops

I'm looking forward to a great workshop at Kennedy Art this Saturday.
That one is booked out, but if you want to come along to my next workshop at the Back Loft on the 25th April, please click on this link

Monday, March 23, 2015

Emma As Olympia, In Stages

I always like to photograph my life paintings at various stages.
It is useful to chart your progress and to see where sometimes you might have gone wrong.
Very often it can also show you the point that you probably should have left off painting, which is always difficult to call.
Here's a set of Emma posed as Olympia. (please excuse the green tinge some of them have)