Friday, October 28, 2011

Sarah: Painted from Life Using The Zorn Palette

I have been trying to pare down and simplify my life paintings in many ways such as the use of larger brushes and starker compositions, and more and more through the means of a limited palette.
The purpose of limiting the palette is for me mostly to do with attempting to achieve a harmonious colour scheme, where my mixed colours are all in the same family, rather than being taken straight from tubes where they might jar with each other.
This is to do with the inherent flavour of that each tube of paint has. And with developemnts in science there have been dozens of new colours created that we can choose from.
Some colours are acidy, some are are intense or full bodied (yes, it's a lot like discussing the taste of wine) but mixing them together can be artistically perilous unless you really know what you are doing.
I choose to work with only a few pigments so that I can concentrate on other elements of the picture.
Anders Zorn (1860 – 1920)was a tremendously vigorous and talented painter who is often compared to the great John Singer Sargent. Zorn was famous for using a very limited palette of white, black, yellow ochre and Cadmium Red. Obviously he used additional pigments when necessary, but I was interested to try a painting using the famous Zorn palette.
This sketch of Sarah is the first result.
I think I need a lot more practice with this palette, I particularly missed having Cerulean Blue to cool down some shadows in the flesh.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rubén; A Portrait Sketch

Here's a portrait sketch of Rubén that I did recently.
I was painting him life-size which I do fairly rarely, and Rubén's new number one buzz cut made it surprisingly difficult to establish the shape of his head, but I was fairly pleased with the result.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Two Faces of Sean

Here are a couple of recent life paintings of a new model named Sean.
After completing the three quarter length study above, I made this quick portrait sketch below.
I was struck by how different Sean looked from these different angles.
From the side he looks a wee bit pasty and out of condition , whilst from the front his face was square and rugged and he appeared to me like a beefy GI or a wrestling star.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Joanna: Progression of a Life Study

In preparation for my talk at the RHA, I put together this series of shots showing the progression of a life painting of Joanna.
In terms of composition and resolution of the figure I think this is one of my most sucessful life paintings.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Adventures in the Life Room"

This Wednesday, 12th of October, I will be giving a talk at the RHA titled "Adventures in the Life Room", in which I will be discussing my passion for painting from the live model.
Alas I don't have too many adventures as racy as this book cover to relate, but hopefully it will still be be stimulating artistically.

The RHA Autumn series lectures are open to the public and will be held in the Friends Room of the RHA starting at 6pm on Wednesday evenings.
The lectures are free.
The RHA welcomes a suggested donation of €5 per lecture, which can be made to our donations box in the foyer.
Prior booking is not required for the lectures, early arrival is suggested to ensure your place.
If you require further information or have any questions about the lecture series, please contact the Academy Co-ordinator, Ciara Timlin, phone 01 6612558 or email

PJ in Westport

I had a great time down in the West, as always.
Many thanks to everyone from Mayo libraries and Westport Arts Festival for the very warm welcome and great hospitality.
It was a thrill to see my poster up all around the town....they even had it on t-shirts.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Westport Arts Festival Poster

Here is the vertical version of my poster for the 2011 Westport Arts Festival.
I am heading down to Mayo for a few library events as part of the nationwide Children’s Book Festival, and am looking forward to catching a few arty events in Westport while I'm down there.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The National Library of Ireland's Prints and Drawings Collection

Someone contacted me recently about a picture that they had seen in the National Library of Ireland's Prints and Drawings Collection.
Under the directorship of the wonderful Dr Pat Donlon, the NLI acquired a large collection of my original work, which they have added to over the years. Pat was very keen to get hold of preliminary drawings and unused paintings from right at the start of my career.
The ink line drawing pictured here is from "WB Yeats: Fairy Tales of Ireland".

Monday, October 3, 2011


Here's a shot of me spouting off at Brian Gallagher's launch last week at the UAC.
That's Brian looking slightly concerned about what I might say about him.
Beside Brian is the Arts Club's Angel Loughrey.
You can see more shots from the opening by Mario Sughi here.

One of Brian's wonderful Sgraffito pictures was this drawing of Keshet.

I like to show the same model as interpreted by different artists when I can, so below is a shot of the painting I did of Keshet on the same day. Just behind my easel you can see yet another version by Eugene Conway.