Monday, January 31, 2011

A Changeling Baby

I've been busy moving studio, and also moving house, so I have neglected the blog a bit. Sorry.
Here is another original I found during the moving process.

This picture illustrates a changeling story that was to be included in that anthology of Irish Fairy Tales that I was planning a number of years ago.
I have always though this to be a most sinister Irish tradition, and I am convinced that over the centuries the notion of a fairy being substituted for a healthy child was used as an excuse to do away with many sickly or malformed babies.
I can recommend a fascinating book by Angela Bourke called The Burning of Bridget Cleary for anyone with an interest in the subject.

Friday, January 28, 2011

For Every Child

I was honoured to be invited to join an international selection of illustrators who were asked to convey in pictures the fundamental rights that should belong to all children of the world.
It was especially pleasing that my picture was chosen for the cover of the book.
Here is a scan of the original artwork, just rediscovered at the back of my studio shelves.

Life Room

A few of my life paintings, including this one of Des, are in a group show opening tomorrow (Tuesday) night at the Bourn Vincent Gallery
Foundation Building, University of Limerick

The drawings and paintings in the show have been selected by Mick O'Dea and Donald Teskey from work produced by various artists at the Drawing Thursday Sessions in the Royal Hibernian School

The exhibition will be opened by Mick O'Dea RHA and Donald Teskey RHA
If you happen to be in the area, go along to the reception. It starts at 5.15pm but alas, I can't make it myself..... I'm still packing boxes.

The Princess and the Goblin

Here are another couple of finds from the studio clear out.
I did these very early on in my career when I was in discussions with a London publisher about illustrating The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald.
MacDonald was a very interesting writer, and it's a bit of a shame that this was another project that never got beyond the drawing board.
I had fun with the Goblins though, and will certainly revisit them at some time.

The White Trout

I'm in the process of packing up my studio for the move to my new space in central Dublin's Dame Street, just a stone's throw from Dublin Castle.
Over the years we all accumulate a lot of surplus stuff that we think will be useful one day, and it's great to finally dump a load of it, and to whittle everything down to essentials.
Dredging through to the back of my shelves I have also discovered some long forgotten pictures.
Here are a couple of unpublished illustrations for a book of Irish Myths that never saw the light of day.
These illustrated a story called The White Trout.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another Nude in Six Stages

Here's another post showing the progress of a life painting over roughly half hourly segments.
The model is Emma again, and although the pose is a bit less appealling, I think the overall composition works really well in the way that the three figures relate to each other.
Yes, that's me in the background. Anything Velazquez can do.....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Emma on Lapis Ground

The well known portrait painter James Hanley RHA will be opening a new exhibition of work from
the United Arts Club's Thursday Life Drawing Group
tomorrow Thursday 20th January @ 8pm

The venue is The United Arts Club
3 Upper Fitzwilliam St
Dublin 2

I was asked to contribute three pictures to the show, and have included a life study that I worked up a bit in the studio afterwards.

As you can see I have drastically altered the picture without changing the drawing very much.
I was trying for the kind of intense almost enamelled effect in the background that you sometimes get in Holbien or Cranach. I even used some real Lapis Lazuli, but I found that good old French Ultramarine gave a much more vibrant colour.

Many thanks to Brian Gallagher who has organised the event.
The Exhibition continues
until 7th Fedruary 2011
Viewing Mon to Sat
from 5.30pm

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Emma by the Mirror

Here's a higher resolution scan of a life painting of Emma that I showed developing in six steps before Christmas.
I will be adding this and a few other recent pieces to my FaceBook Life Paintings album.
I find it is a great place to keep an on-line record of a good selection of work.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

PJ at Offset

The film of my presentation at Offset 2009 has just gone online.
The talk is basically a review of my work and career up to that point.
Offset is a major international design and illustration conference, and I was honoured to be invited to take part in it's inaugural year.
This video brings back some very happy memories of a great weekend.
Many thanks to BrenB and the Offset team.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sophie's Back, Again

Happy New Year everyone, I hope you all had a great Christmas.
We had a lovely time, but I hope that all our Christmases won't be white in future. I really love the snow, but Ireland just isn't geared up to deal with such a lot of it.

This picture of Sophie may look familiar to some of you.
It's based on a painting I did at the life room last year, which I was never entirely happy with (see below).
For one thing Sophie's gorgeous natural colouring has always been a bit of a problem for me (I think I need to buy a few new paints just to tackle her hair). A second problem with the original picture is that the working drawing shows through in a very inelegant sort of way. I seemed to be using a lot of green back then, which just looks sickly to me now.
Nonetheless I liked the pose, and the light and the composition so I thought it might be worth doing a second version based on the first.

Creating more polished image based on sketches from the model was very much the modus operandi of many of my favourite painters of the past. However I am always worried that what you gain in polish, you loose in spontaneity.
I'd be very interested to hear what you think.