Monday, November 29, 2010

Two New Life Paintings

I spent four hours on this life painting of Aine and then I left it for fear of losing any freshness that there was in the brushwork.
I'm very lucky to attend an all day drawing session, but the diminishing natural light in these winter afternoons means that the subject looks very different than they did in the morning session.
I am always tempted to keep reworking the tones and shadows as the daylight fades and the artificial light becomes dominant.
All in all I think it's best to start a new piece if possible.
So I did the study of our other model, Rubén, holding a broomstick in two hours under over head spotlights. And, although I usually prefer natural light, I found this effect quite striking.

Knowing when to leave a painting or an illustration alone is a constant difficulty. The great thing about the life room is that it imposes tight time constraints on you, and what any good artist learns from that will hopefully inform the other types of work they do.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner here in Dublin on Sunday ( I know we were early!)
The menu, inspired by a fair amount of Pilgrim research, and with vital contributions from our guests, included savory butternut squash soup, roast turkey of course, sweet potato topped with marsh mallows, various nutty stuffings, venison casserole, followed by pecan pie and various goats' cheeses (the first Pilgrims had no cows).
We did drink wine although the Pilgrims, and their Wampanoag guests would most likely have been downing beer.
Among our thanks-givers were my very dear friends who modelled as Jonathan Toomey and the Widow McDowell, who are now happily married with a lovely daughter. Mrs Toomey makes a mean pecan pie.
My wife Barbara did most of the cooking whilst I opened the wine and, using up two leftover pumpkins, carved a grumpy Wampanoag warrior and a Pilgrim who looks a lot like Guy Fawkes.
May I wish a very happy Thanksgiving to you all, especially to my American friends.

Friday, November 19, 2010

90 Minute Study of Giuseppe

I took photos at thirty minute intervals during the painting of this study of my pal Giuseppe.
The photos are with a camera/phone so the quality isn't great, but I do like the idea of recording the process.
Not least because I will have a record of the lovely loose brushwork that gets obliterated as the work continues.
Giuseppe has agreed to pose for me one of these days and to let me film the whole procedure. I will then chop it down to a nice size for youTube and I'll post it up here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two views of Sophie

I've posted this painting of a rear view of Sophie before, but I recently got a hold of a jpeg of the drawing that my friend Oisin Roche did from the opposite side of the model. It is always fascinating to see two artists' different approaches to the same subject, but this one is doubly interesting for me as Oisin included a pretty brilliant portrait of me in the background of his picture.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rolling Sun Book Festival

I'm going to be in Westport this weekend for the inaugural Rolling Sun Book Festival
I'll be giving a presentation at the library from 2 to 3pm and later I'll be showing some pictures and signing books 5.30 pm at the Sea Sky Shore gallery.
I haven't been down to the west in more than a decade and I can't wait to see Westport again.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Candlewick Book of Fairytales

I'm always chuffed when I find that someone has taken the trouble to scan images from my books to share them on-line.
I found a whole bunch from The Candlewick Book of Fairytales on a Russian site and, as I am just now in a Fairy Tale frame of mind I thought I'd post some of them here.
The book came out in the mid 1990s and did really well, but unfortunately it went under several different names in different territories. I'm still very fond of it, and my thanks go out to the Russian blogger who scanned the pictures.
большое спасибо

The Frog Prince

The Six Swans


Hansel and Gretel

Beauty and the Beast

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Rather Patrician Nude

Here's a recent male nude.
This model, John, had a wonderfully patrician look about him I thought. It would have been great to have painted him in a toga.