Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Snow Queen

This October Andersen Press are publishing a new edition of my version of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.
It was originally published in 1993, so I think it was overdue for a re-vamp.
Andersen have completely redesigned the book and I have digitally reworked the image of the Snow Queen on her throne for the new cover.
I had always wanted this to be the cover image, so many thanks to Klaus, Beccy and everyone at Andersen for making a little dream of mine come true.

West Cork Literary Festival 2009

I'm doing a couple of events at the West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry next week.
I will also be exhibiting a selection of original art at the Maritime Hotel in Bantry.
There is a great line-up for the festival, and Niamh Sharkey will also be exhibiting original paintings.
I hope to see some of you there.

Friday, June 26, 2009

"Horses and Tortoises, Stories from Africa"

I was very honoured to be asked by Katy FitzPatrick of the Hugh Lane Gallery, to launch "Horses and Tortoises, Stories from Africa".
Here is a picture of me with a very talented bunch of authors (including my old friend Siobhan Parkinson on the far left) illustrators and organisers at the launch in the Sean Scully room of the gallery.

"Horses and Tortoises, Stories from Africa" is a collection of 10 short stories for children, written and illustrated by women from the African Women’s Network, with assistance from writer Siobhan Parkinson and artist Felicity Clear. The project is part of the Hugh Lane Gallery’s community programme, and the purpose of the book is to provide a resource through which Irish children can learn about traditional African culture. It will be sent to every primary school in the country, as well as to libraries, but won’t be on general sale – unless a publisher takes it up. Enquiries to Katy Fitzpatrick, education curator, tel: 01-2225553.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Daniella," Female Life Drawing

It was a nice change to do a life drawing rather than a painting of Daniella.
Some of us were chatting afterwards about how important it is to understand the anatomy of the human body to do a good life drawing. Of course there are many different approaches to drawing the figure, but for me, when I'm doing a drawing like this, the underlying structure is almost insignificant. It's all about the light, and shadow, and the texture of whatever is before me.
That is not to say that you treat your subject as if she were a pile of pillows. No, the interaction in the life room should ensure that the model is always respected as a person, and treated in a professional way.
For me, that is where a small element of portraiture becomes crucial. It takes the exercise onto a different level from a still-life drawing or painting.
A good understanding of anatomy is essential however, for a representational artist or illustrator when they are creating a figure from the imagination. A great example is John Watkiss, who was at Brighton Art College a year or two ahead of me. John's knowledge of anatomy is extraordinary. He has since created comic books, and gallery art, but you would be most familiar with his work, albeit indirectly, through his inspirational studies for the Disney movie, Tarzan.

Friday, June 12, 2009

"PJ Painting Bruno" by Blaise Smith

A couple of weeks ago at life drawing Blaise Smith, included me in the background of his drawing of our young model, Bruno.
I was painting away very intently in my dungarees, and luckily I had no idea that Blaise was drawing me or I might have become a bit self-conscious.
As well as doing a lovely figure drawing, I think he captured my concentration very well in just a few strokes.
It's also really interesting to see two renditions of the same model from different angles, each tackled in a very different way.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Technique of Illustrating Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘Fairy Tales’

The National Gallery of Ireland has been given a wonderful gift of of ten superb original colour illustrations by Harry Clarke (1889-1931) which were executed for Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Fairy Tales', published in 1916 by Harrap & Co. in London.

The jewel-like colour illustrations, all in pristine condition, have been in a private collection since the 1920s. They were recently purchased and presented as a gift to the National Gallery by Lochlann and Brenda Quinn.

As part of the Gallery's Summer Lecture series celebrating the acquisition of these wonderful illustrations, I will be giving a talk on "The Technique of Illustrating Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘Fairy Tales’", with particular regard to the Clarke paintings of course.

Tuesday 16th June

Talks are free and take place in the
National Gallery's lecture theatre. No booking required.
For information, contact Education: 01 663 3505

So if any of you are up and about in Dublin early next Tuesday, do come along.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Stony River Farm Blog

For any of you who are aspiring writers, I can really recommend Susan's Stony River Farm blog.
It's always really entertaining and very informative on competitions, grants and outlets where writers might get published.
This week she has everything from links to a first novel competition, to someone who's looking for stories in 55 words or less.
And lots of personal and funny stuff too.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Life Painting of Angelique

Here's another life painting.
In this painting of Angelique, I tried hard to keep a very harmonious colour palate.
It's a slightly awkward pose, but I'm pretty happy with how this one worked out, especially in the way the light falls across the model's face.