Friday, September 25, 2009

RUA Annual Exhibition

I was lucky enough to get a couple of my paintings into the RUA Annual Exhibition this year.
One is a nude study of clown Johnny K, and the other is The Man in the Purple Suit.
The exhibition is at the Northern Bank in central Belfast from the 2nd October.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Life Painting of Giuseppe

Giuseppe is a terrific Italian model who can really hold a pose.
I was very happy to have left this painting with some nice blocky brushwork still showing, rather than over-working it as I have been known to do.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Two Self-Portraits

Here's is an interesting comparison of two of my self-portraits.
The first was done when I was twenty and the second twenty seven years later. Boy that makes me feel old!
I obviously spent a lot more time on the first one, and I do think it's a pretty good drawing, but although various parts are well observed, I don't think the face quite fits in the head properly. The second is a twenty minute sketch, and I think I prefer that looseness and immediacy.
Away from the technical side, it is with very mixed feelings that I look back on young PJ starting out on his artistic career, so full of potential, and enthusiasm. And to compare him with the older man who has experienced all those years between the two of them.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Books '09 Festival

I was scheduled to be artist in residence for the Books '09 Festival at the National Gallery of Ireland.
Unfortunately, it looks as if that won't be happening.
I had been asked to do a large oil painting in the atrium of the gallery during the two days of the festival. It was a scary prospect, but I agreed to do it. Unfortunately, some of the "powers that be" at the National Gallery must have feared that I might go bonkers and start splattering oil paint all around me, so they stipulated that I was only to use dry media.
Whilst I was still happy to do what I had originally agreed to, alas I was not in the position to do a crash course in pastels, and I didn't think chalks would create the desired effect. So that residency is not going to happen this year.
It's a great shame as it would have been nice to create something in such august surroundings, and I think the pressure of working in public might have pushed me to do some good work.
I might yet do a talk of some sort with slides, and I will post details if we can arrange something.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Poison Glen, Donegal

I chanced upon this video by Enya, which was filmed in a beautiful and rugged part of Donegal with the very intriguing name, The Poison Glen.
I know the area pretty well, as for several years, I used to spend New Year's Eve there with a friend whose house was right at the end of the glen. The view of the lake from her house was very inspiring, and I based this illustration from Marie Heaney's "The Names Upon The Harp" on it.

It's nice to hear Enya's magical music, and to be reminded of "Na Leatha Geal M'óige", the bright days of my youth.