Friday, May 31, 2013

"The Country of the Young: interpretations of youth and childhood in Irish culture"

The Four Courts Press have just published this very interesting book:"The Country of the Young: interpretations of youth and childhood in Irish culture"
I was honoured that Kelly Matthews (co-editor with John Countryman) asked to use a detail of this rough I did for my Children of Lir stamp for the cover.

Here's the blurb:"Throughout the history of modern Ireland, cultural representations of youth and childhood have served as focal points for discussions of social and political issues. Topics for the essays in this collection range from Famine-era women’s autobiographies to filmic portrayals of post-Good Friday Northern Ireland; from considerations of Patrick Pearse and Máirín Cregan to Anne Enright and Claire Keegan. The result is a complex and provocative view of childhood experiences in modern Ireland, and of the ways in which youth and childhood have been interpreted in the work of Irish writers, politicians, dramatists and filmmakers."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Apotheosis of Norma Desmond

I was delighted to be asked by my pal Olivier to contribute to The Movie Show, an exhibition of artwork inspired by great films which will take place at the Galerie Daniel Maghen in Paris.

I chose Sunset Boulevard and being very keen to avoid a literal approach to the piece, I ended up referencing religious iconography whilst trying to get inside the fractured reality of Norma Desmond in the final scene of that great movie. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Portrait Sketch of Des

Here's a series showing the process of a recent two hour portrait sketch I did of Des.
I'll be giving another portrait sketch demo and workshop at Kennedy Art on the 8th June.
It's booking up so contact Kennedy's if you would like to join us.
ph  + 353 (1) 475 1749 

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Nightingale and the Rose

There's a very interesting article on Katherine Langrish's excellent Steel Thistles blog about 'The Nightingale and the Rose' by Oscar Wilde.
Mary Hoffman writes about her fondness for Wilde's poignant tale of love and sacrifice and Katherine has illustrated the piece with my illustration from "Oscar Wilde: Stories for Children".

Also on Steel Thistles, the Fairytale Reflections by a really interesting series of guest authors are well worth poring through.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Pencil Sketch From Life

I tend to try to make my life drawings and paintings looser these days, but I came across this pencil drawing I did a while ago and was very happy with the greater level of detail I had achieved.
This one is similar in character to the pencil sketches I do for my illustration work in that it depends on line and careful shading to show form rather than the more painterly blocking in of light areas that I do with my paintings and charcoal drawings.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Workshop at Kennedy Art

I had a lovely day on Saturday doing my demo and workshop at Kennedy Art in Dublin.
Our model was an old friend and it is always a pleasure working with her, and the group of students attending were a terrific bunch.
Every one worked hard and achieved very impressive results.
You can see the progress of my sketch above but unfortunately I didn't get to spend as much time on it as I would have liked. I ended up adding the dress and backgound afterwards as well as fiddling a bit with the contrast.
I never recommend working on a piece after the model has gone, but then I'm not great at taking my own advice.
I am doing another workshop at Kennedy Art on the 8th of June where I will get to spend at least two hours painting.
It's already booking up so contact Kennedy's if you'd like to come along. 
ph  + 353 (1) 475 1749 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Busy Arty Saturday!

I've got a busy day tomorrow with my portraiture workshop at Kennedy Art  followed by our open studio event here at La Catedral which is part of Visit 2013. (I'll be on hand between 4 and 6pm).
I've got about thirty of my paintings up in the hallway including these portraits of Reuben, Molly and Tony. 
These are all life paintings but for me they tick the boxes for portraiture too.
By the way, my class was over subscribed so Kennedy's have scheduled another portraiture workshop with me on the 8th June.
Contact Kennedy's if you'd like to join us for that one.
ph  + 353 (1) 475 1749

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Three Hour Study of Darren

I've been thinking a bit more methodically recently about my life painting process coming up to my portraiture workshop and demo at Kennedy Art this Saturday.
On the basis that a picture is worth a thousand words I am showing the process of how I painted this study of Darren over a three hour period at the RHA recently.
The pictures were taken at half hourly intervals.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The North Wind

I've been illustrating a lot of stormy seas recently for the book I am doing now for Candlewick Press.
It's a subject I am continually drawn to.
Here's one from an earlier book of mine, "East O' the Sun, and West O' the Moon".
It shows the North wind carrying the "Lassie" to the castle that lies East O' the Sun, and West O' the Moon. 
You might  just be able to see the Lassie on the North wind's shoulder.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Visit 2013

I am putting together a wall of life paintings in the hall outside my studio for Visit on Saturday 11th May.
Visit is a city-wide open studio day. 
In Dublin City, artist’s studios old and new exist in a variety of buildings including industrial warehouses, Georgian buildings, converted stables and former shop units. You might not be aware that the building on the corner or down the road from your house is actually a hub of artistic activity. If you have ever been curious about what goes on inside an artists studios, Visit 2013 is your chance to find out! 
You are welcome to come an visit us La Catedral Studios and The Back Loft.
Most of the artists, including el Presidente, Anthony, will be here from noon till 6pm and there should be a great atmosphere. There is also the added attraction of Feel Free to Jam, where musicians are invited to bring their instruments and jam around our piano at the back Loft.
I'll be rushing up to the studio after my portraiture workshop at Kennedy Art, so I will be here between 4pm and 6pm. 
I hope to see some of you then.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Two Portrait Sketches

Yesterday at life drawing I got in some practice for my upcoming portrait sketch workshop at Kennedy Art. This tighter than usual study of Molly took about four hours.
Then I did a quick portrait sketch (2 hours) of Des.
With his powerful body and those granite features Des can look very stern and a bit scary when he's posing, but in reality he is a sweet and very gentle man.
Thanks to my pal Blaise Smith for inviting me along.