Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Female Form

Here are a couple of recent life paintings of female models.
I often elect for a rear view study, especially if I don't have a long time with the pose. That means I don't get involved with the business of attempting a likeness and can concentrate instead on describing the form, the skin tones and the way light falls on the body.
I also like that the anonymous rear view is more evocative of womanhood generally than of a specific individual.

The prone study above (which I set) was the cause of a certain amount of debate about where the boundaries might be perceived to be between eroticism, sensuality and titilation.
My position is that I am not happy with the idea of boundaries in the first place, and that a good life painting can work on many levels, eg as an artist's practice piece, a portrait, an exploration of the human condition, and even as a kind of up market pin-up.
I don't think that we should be coy about the fact that we are working with naked human beings, and that sexuality is an issue, but for myself, I am probably most pleased when we have a model who's looks or shape do not conform to any conventional notion of beauty.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Wise Woman from Catkin

Here's one of those illustrations that my mother posed for a number of years ago.
She modelled as the Wise woman in Catkin by Antonia Barber which I illustrated in the mid-nineties.
This was a key picture for me in many ways because it showed me I could handle more naturalistic scenes than the fantasy work I had previously done.
It certainly pointed the way towards the work I did on The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
The other models were myself, and Niamh, my girlfriend at the time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Artist's Mother

I've just noticed that the models in the last two posts have had very similar poses. Here is another one again with the hand supporting the head.
This time the model is my own beloved Mother.
She has modelled for me many times over the years when I've needed to take photos for characters in the books, but this is the first time she has sat patiently for me whilst I have painted her from life.
A still pose like this naturally brings out the thoughtful or even the sad side of a person's character, but I'm happy to say that my Mum still has plenty of laughs and fun as well.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Giuseppe Enthroned in the Life Room

Here is my painting of "Giuseppe Enthroned in the Life Room" that will be in the RUA’s Annual Exhibition this year.
The exhibition takes place at the award-winning Ulster Museum from the 15 October to the 14 November 2010.
The museum is fantastic and hopefully the exhibition will be worth seeing, so come along if you are in Belfast during the next month.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Life Study of Jim

To get back to pictures.
Here is a piece that I did of Jim, one of my favourite models from the United Arts Club drawing session.
Jim has a terrific burly physique and an imposing presence as a model. (I always thought he looked a bit like Henry VIII) In the bar after the session though, he's a charming, fun kind of guy with a great fund of anecdotes.
This was done at the first long life session I had attended after years of frustrating short (max 30 mins) poses, and it was great to get a chance to use my oil paints rather than drawing with pencil or charcoal.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

'I love the challenge of helping to tell a story with my pictures'

Here's a little interview that appeared under the above title in yesterday's Irish independant.

Monday October 04 2010

Award-winning P J Lynch, arguably the most influential Irish illustrator, was recently short -listed for the 2010 Bisto Children's Book of the Year Awards for his illustrations on 'Lincoln and his Boys' by Rosemary Wells.

Having worked in the business for 20 years, PJ has certainly noticed changes in the type of children's books now being produced.

"There are so many more picture books for children now, from very traditional work to the funkiest computer-generated imagery. Whatever the illustrative style used, the books which children love are the ones with great characters and great stories.

"That's why the books that AA Milne and Roald Dahl created with their illustrators EH Shephard and Quentin Blake will stand the test of time."

PJ started illustrating because he had an interest in folklore and the Irish storytelling tradition.

"One of my early tutors in the 1980s was Raymond Briggs, who was then breaking the mould of children's books with his comic strip-style creations of Father Christmas and The Snowman. He inspired me to focus on picture books rather than advertising or editorial illustration.

"I liked the idea that my books might be enjoyed by any age group, so I have always been careful never to patronise my audience, and I try to get right into the emotional heart of each story I illustrate."

After 20 years, PJ still enjoys his work.

"I like to think that I'm still learning and developing with each new book I do. The thing that always excites me is a terrific story, and I love the challenge of helping to tell that story with my pictures. I'm always trying new techniques, and I'm very keen to do a book entirely created in Photoshop on the computer."

PJ applauds the work being produced by his fellow illustrators and children's writers in Ireland.

"It's tremendous that so many Irish writers are doing really well internationally, and there have been quite a few new Irish illustrators breaking through in the picture-book market recently.

"There's a great vibe and a genuine sense of camaraderie when Irish writers and illustrators get together and, although the book trade has suffered through the recession, I think there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful for the future."