Thursday, December 28, 2006

looking forward to 2007.

I had a great Christmas. The 'flu eventually went away. I am now about to venture out to my studio again, I need to do a little spring cleaning.
I recieved my official invite back to the art festival in Tunisia, and I'm looking forward to it. I have already emailed my acceptance.
I have been outlining my goals for next year. I have decided I need to do some Irish landscapes for the American market. When I have some done I will try to organise another show in the US. I enjoyed my last one, and hopefully it will be profitable too. I want to work on a few ideas between now and the spring, but come spring I'm going to make a few trips around the country to paint a few plien air studies to work from. I also want to organise an exhibition of my african works this year so I'll have to work on that also. I'm looking forward to the new year. I think it will be a good one for me. I am going to try to keep my painting simple this year and not over analyze it. The quick simple Tunisian paintings worked well. My still life works always do and I keep them simple, so why am I having such difficulty elsewhere....I'm trying to achieve something I'm not ready for..I'm getting too 'arty' instead of doing what I do well.

I wish everyone a Happy New year, and I'll see you all in 2007.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I am feeling a bit better again, I will have to go to my studio today, just to check for post though.
3 days to Christmas and loads of little jobs to do. I'm glad I didn't leave any commissions until the last minute!
I came across an old exhibition catalogue yesterday, from my first show in a public (not commercial) gallery, in 1996...ten years ago, time flies. It was a novelty to be paid to exhibit and not rely on sales to be asked back :lol: I must scan some of the illustrations in later, they were two colour reproductions....full colour was very expensive back then. I have one of those paintings left at home, all the others were sold after the, no commission, It paid for another foreign painting trip!
I am organised gift wise.....I have been for ages. Even so I have lots to do and I am not going to get out fishing before the New Year I don't think. I must be getting better, I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms from the lack of fishing.

I am just going to wish you all all the best for the Holiday season and I'll see you again (virtually that is.) in the New Year. MERRY XMAS!

Monday, December 18, 2006

I am still sufferring....I now have totally lost my voice with laryngitus or something similar. I did go and visit my studio earlier today though to check for mail etc. I found this along with bills in my mailslot..a lovely little watercolour Xmas present. It cheered me up.
I am full of aches and pains still so I don't expect to be painting this side of the new year with Christmas so close. I am almost to miserable to type this post, but I feel guilty not posting for long periods....even if I don't really have anything to post about! I will post again before Christmas so I won't wishh you all a good one yet.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It has been another day of Gales and storm force winds. It must be nearly 3 weeks of almost constant gales by now. The weather has been terrible. I found it difficult to keep the van between the lines on the road coming home with the strong gusts. I sort of weaved my way home, and, it was hard work driving.
Today I got most of my little jobs done though. I need to do a few more things tomorrow, including pick up a dehumidifier to put into my studio. I think the studio needs drying out, there is a bit of dampness, also it should help dry the paint. I also have an angling club committee meeting tomorrow evening. I am busy busy busy, without getting much's not exactly disorganised, but all the little chores stack up when you are laid up for a little while. Maybe Friday. (unless its good fishing weather)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Yes, I'm sort of back. I was up in the studio on Saturday, but I've done very little work since. It has taken me a few days to recover from the weekend. I was due to go fishing today, but called it off, both due to the weather...gales and rain, and my not being in the best of health. I hope to get into the studio later in the week, but I have been working on designs for a wood cut in the meantime. It is more or less ready for the final sketch.
I really was knocked for six with the 'flu. Hopefully thats it for the year though, and I'll be fit and healthy for Christmas. I have a couple of little jobs to do tomorrow, and I may not get into the studio until late or not at all tomorrow. I am busy elsewhere on Thursday so Friday may be the first chance to get back into the studio, however I am not really worried as it is so close to christmas. I am not exactly likely to get stuck into anything particularly mind blowing between now and then anyway. It is a case of carry on experimenting for now.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I'm feeling better..

I am not fully over the 'flu, but I'm feeling better. Obviously I have not done a lot of exciting things since my last post. I hope to go to my studio in the morning, I have some work to do.

I have the photos of the big Pike I caught on the 20th of November.

this is it not quite in my big is lying in the water, resting before I picked it up to have the photo taken. With the net over it's head it lay quite calmly. I then picked it up and Noel took a quick snap...but he missed my head...
I'd quite like to go fishing soon, but I'd better wait a little while..

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Poor me...

I still have the 'flu. Ergo I'm not really able toregale anyone.....but I will be back soon...

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Dropping in...

I have been steadily working away without producing much of note. I have a couple of bits & pieces on the go. I'm also working on a woodblock, I need a couple done for next year and I really need to figure out exactly what I want to do before I start cutting.
The weather is grey and wet, though it is early morning (8.00am) and it looks like it might be brighter today. I hope it stays that way for a few days I really hate the grey days.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I caught a nice pike today.

I was out at Blessington with Noel. I had a fish of about 10 lbs within 2 minutes of starting...I was still setting up the second rod! I cast out the second rod, rebaited the first again and cast it out only to have another run on it while tightening up to the bait. I hooked the fish and after a spirited fight including a bit of tail walking landed it...21lbs weight....I didn't get another run all day, but I wasn't too dissapointed.
Noel hooked and lost one good fish but that was all.
It was nice to get a decent sized fish again.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Another week ended..

I got very little done this week, although both paintings are ready to go to the gallery tomorrow. I managed to get into the art ireland exhibition for a few minutes but I didn't get time to go round the stands, just catch up with some friends. I'm spending the next few week-ends (between now and christmas) playing the big cahoona, you know the one in Red and ermine.....
I hope to get few bob put away towards next years trips.
I may start a couple of still-lives next week, the diptych I started isn't working out and I need to leave it for a while. It needs a fresh view.
I think if I start a still-life painting I may be able to take it a bit further than a full rendering of the objects. If not I will work on some winter landscapes in a week or two when the leaves have fully fallen. I will need to find some interesting trees. If I do the paintings might be interesting enough for me to be happy with them. I did a nice little painting of Galway Hookers during the week, it was quite abstract, worked in acrylic lain in by painting knife. I will put up a photo later in the week. I think I will sell the piece through ebay too, just to guage the interest in it as it is still a once-off painting and can only really be sold as a study unless I decide to do a series of works in the style, which at the moment is still only a possibility. I would like to move on from where I am, but I still think I should do it carefully. I have to remember that change is not always for the better and that the act of painting the subject should dictate the style and not the style dictate the painting.
I'm confusing myself now!!!'s late. I really should be going to bed.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It is a miserable dull wet day. There is no wind, heavy low cloud, heavy/steady rain and I'm miserable. I went up to the studio earlier but just couldn't get moving. I am now back home It is 2 pm and I need the light on to see the keyboard!
I went fishing to Maynooth fishery yesterday...the weather was much better..I caught 11 and lost a few more. I hooked and lost two double figure fish during the afternoon. The first one was almost beaten, I was considering in which gap to net it when the hook came out. At least I'd had 10 or 15 minutes fun with it. The second decided it was an exocet after I hooked it. It didn't run at all, it just leaped about 3 or 4 feet out of the water 9 or 10 times before the hook pulled/fell out. I was using small spider patterns (short tied) size 14's and although all fish were hooked solidly on these flies to two big fish had obviously been too heavy for the hook-holds. I was smashed up by another fish on the take, the only break I had all day though and lost a couple of fish earlier on skinny buzzers....none of which hooked and landed fish, which is why I switched to the spider patterns, the fish were not really interested in the skinnies.
I enjoyed my days fishing..and needed a break after the weekend carousing in 5star surroundings..It's hard work partying until 5am! even though you can fall into the lift to your suite. C'est la vie...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Wednesday's fishing wasn't great...I got the only pike of the day and it was small. The fact that we were buzzed all day by the air-corp helicopters picking up and dropping off the army boys playing soldiers around the lake didn't help. The cost involved in these 'games' must be enormous. 4 choppers will burn a lot of fuel for a day and to be honest the lads could probably have run from a to b quicker than the whirlybirds were picking them up and dropping them off 3 or 4 hundred yards away....picking them up again and dropping them off at point a again half an hour later..
enough for now, I have to go...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I have been busy without doing much. I spent Monday running around. I spent today packing and shipping a painting, also delivering another for a charity auction that I support every year.
Apart from that I have done some work on my current (the dyptich) but I have not really done anything to be happy about as I am a little lost with it.
I have done a little experimenting with the acrylic mediums, but I need to do a lot of evaluating befor I decide whether to carry on.
I am going fishing tomorrow. I phoned Noel this morning to find out if he had any plans for tomorrow--- he had-- he was going fishing, I wouldn't let him go on his own....well not when I want to go too!. We are going back to Blessington for more hardship. Hopefully we will find a few Pike this time. On thursday I have to organise myself for the weekend in Mt Wolsley, Carlow. 3 days...and nights, luxurious splendour. There is only one fishing.
I might take golf clubs and stroll around the championship golf course, I haven't played a round of golf in 3 years. It might be a little long for me though, and there is always the prospect of a little drive to the River Barrow for some pike fishing.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

From the wilds of Connemara to still life paintings...

I worked on the Connemara painting in the studio today. I have repainted the sky and I'm fairly happy with it now, I still think I need to put a warmer glaze on my mountains in the background though as they are just a little too far back. Apart from that I did some work on my diptych and then stopped due to a run of visitors...both bored and Interested ones.
The weather was bright and sunny today, but the temperatures have fallen. I need the heater on in the studio now. Soon the paint will be slow to dry too. It is near the time to start painting still-lifes again. I might do a series of small paintings so I can keep working on a number at a time allowing them time to dry. At least if I do a number of small still-lifes I can sell them a little cheaper and hopefully I may be able to earn a few bob from them in an area where my works can be sold a little cheaper. Still-life paintings are similar to studies in that I am painting what is in front of me much more realistically and I don't tend to drift abstract so much when painting either them or portraits. I cannot go down the 'painting a day' takes me too long to paint but I will try to do one or two a week in a smaller size over the winter. I have been invited over to Serbia next November, and I am hoping to go to Tunisia in September, all of which costs money, so I really need to try to get a head start on earning some...I will have to try to organise some exhibitions somewhere also. I have started working well again, I need to start selling a few too...
I bought a few more acrylics and acrylic mediums on Thursday, so I'll do a little experimenting with them over the next couple of weeks, with the idea of doing a series of more stylised/abstract works for something a little different. I prefer my more abstracted landscape paintings to those that are more realistic..they are more defined in a way, they are certainly more me. I don't want to become an 'Abstract' painter, I am a 'Painterly' artist, and wish to be seen as a painter, as much as an artist, and for this you really need to produce recognizable landscapes and still-lifes, concentrating on the brushwork and 'marks' as much as the actual painting. I believe this is an important part of my work and I am afraid of losing it if I go too abstract- or it might be that I am still afraid of the idea that many "abstracts" are just interior designs rather than art and do not represent anything other than eye-candy colour splashes which I feel gives abstract a bad name as an artform.

All that said I am still in a state of flux with my work. I am not the same as I was before the start of my health problems (pre 2000) and certainly not since 2004 after my second episode. I need to break away from my old comfort zones and start developing new ideas, my Tunisian experience has helped with this also, helping with new ideas and opinions. My work may need to loosen up a little to create more 'feeling' again. The recent works, those from Tunisia, worked well, these in the main were painted more loosely. This is another reason I want to try some small quick still-life paintings and acrylic experiments. I can do these without huge material costs, and if I am not happy with the results I can scrap them.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Busy, busy, busy...

this is the painting so far.
I need to do more work on the sky, I have been moving it around already which is why it looks so messy. The painting is 24 inches by 30.

The scene is titled incoming tide, connemara, obviously it's a connemara scene..LOL.

I have to sign of now but I'll try to get back later.

I'm back again. I'm working on another painting of Lough Corrib too. This one is a diptych based on my study of Rabbit Island, it is in a wide landscape format. I am looking forward to seeing how it pans out, but it is on the back-burner while this one is coming along so slowly. I cannot really concentrate on two difficult paintings at once. Since both are using a lot of blue I don't want to get waylaid by one while working on the other...thats why I made a mess of the sky in this one...I thought I'd use up some blues, and painted over most of the sky before I realized it wasn't really working with the hills and I needed to mix a warmer tone.

I'm off to the Pub now for the 'Lads night out' so I'd better get showered and changed.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Early Christmas shopping...

I have been busy today. I went shopping for my wife's Christmas presents. They are wrapped and hidden away, ready for the day. I am not normally this organised, but while I had the cash I put it to good use....added to the fact that I knew what she wants and knew where to get it. Now if I can get a few early shoppers up to the studio........
I wont be back in the studio tomorrow, and I didn't go today as it is a bank holiday here, not that it makes a lot of difference to me. I had hoped to get a lot more done with my Oil before I go fishing on Wednesday, but that wont happen now unless we decide not to go to Sligo in the morning. I'll have to be busy painting Thursday and Friday to catch up.
I am on a high at the moment, still feeling that I want to paint...not as frenetically as when I got back from Tunisia, but keenly all the same. The financial success also is a great incentive to work. Add the fact that I have 15 clean bright new canvases awaiting me in the studio I know that I can get stuck in if I want and produce. That is assuming the 'juices' start flowing....the world awaits my newest creations.....that reminds me, I must update my website/gallery with some new work as soon as I get it done....I may upload the Tunisian work anyway in the meantime..

Sunday, October 29, 2006

things are looking up...

I have the computor working again...for as long as it lasts....
I will nurse it along for a while. I have had a fairly good week this week, I started off on Monday with my finances at a low ebb, but by the end of the week I was 'safe' for another couple of any earnings before Christmas will be actual earnings and not needed for bill payments. I am sure a few other bills will appear though...they usually do.

I have been working on an oil painting, it is slow going...I had forgotten with the acrylics...but it is going well. I may try to photograph it during the week.

We hope to go to our cottage in Sligo on Tuesday, we haven't been up to it at all this year and we need to check up on it. I am seriously thinking of putting it on the market and liquidating the asset. It is on 2.5 acres with a stream bordering it, set in a sheltered mountain valley, it really is a lovely area but I can't afford to do up the cottage at the moment and it needs work doing on it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

PC problems......

My PC. has crashed again...... I'm on a borrowed laptop. I fished a pike competition on Sunday and failed to catch. I have been busy, and I still didn't get to work on any paintings. I have been to the vets with one of the dogs. The groomers with both of them. Today I stayed at home and did some cleaning, tomorrow I will try to get some photos off my PC...if I can keep it going for long enough. I spent a full day taking photos and sorting out the balance ready for a disc for a gallery, then the PC crashed. I am hoping I can retrieve them before it goes again, I think there is a problem with the ram, the computer is 6 years old. 'till next time....

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A busy week, and getting busier....

I have been busy with more mundane tasks this week. Gallery visits, not to view but in an effort to organize exhibitions. I purchased some canvases paint etc. today, and as usual overspent! I now need to photograph my African works tomorrow and put them on disc for one of the galleries. I need to organise printing of cards and a catalogue of recent work (if I can afford it. I may try some bartering....) as I am out of business cards and in dire need of some kind of catalogue of work. More expense of course.
I have a couple of meetings for the angling club over the next few days also so I am going to be too busy to paint for this week. We have our bus outing for Pike fishing on Sunday too. I will be raring to go on the painting by Monday though. I may try to get some done on least I'll get some planning done.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I did not do well on Owel for the Last two days of the season. Noel caught a few fish though! I rose lots but the only fish I caught were small. Many of the fish were coming short and just nipping at the flies. I tried everything to cure the problem, one fish between 3 & 4 lb came up 5 times and still didn't commit to the fly. I even tried dry fly to entice fish to actually take instead of swirling at the fly only to have them literally roll over the fly to drown it rather than take it in their mouth!!! EXASPERATING!!!
In the last hour of the final day, (I had returned one takeable fish after the first 10 minutes, only to find the fish adopted the previous days dalliances after) I only had a few small fish taken and about 12 others playing with the flies, so I put up two dries again. Within ten minutes I rose a good fish, struck him and pulled the hook out almost immediately...I'd forgotten how small the hook I was using was...and that was it for the year.
Oh well there is always the pike fishing and a few trips to the rainbow fisheries......
Now I need to get back to work.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's Hot!.....not the weather, the painting..

Here is the painting mentioned in the previous post. I have kept the foreground minimalist. I like the heat in this painting. The effect I wanted is definitely there. I am also happy with the tonal effect created between the distant mountain and the sky. I have not done any more to the other work yet though.

I won't be back in the studio now until Friday. I am fishing for the next two days, the last two of the trout season. We are spending them on Lough Owel. I hope the fish oblige, we decided against Ennel or Sheelin tomorrow as the forecast is for strong breezes and the bigger loughs might be a bit rough. Gales were forecast for this evening and tonight, but as yet they have not come, I hope they aren't around tomorrow.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Work in progress.....

this one is about 31 iches by 29 inches, acrylic on canvas.
I am not sure about it yet though. I think the sea is too heavy, although I may just cut down the sky area as in the second photo.

Aside from this one I am working on another piece. I am happy with it as far as I have got. I now need to work on the foreground which I want to keep minimalist. This is goint to be the hard part......I will have the urge to do more.....

Tomorrow will see the resulting work, I hope! Tonight I am going to go back to this painting. I may just play around with it on the computer for an hour or so and experiment the lazy way.....just so I can be clear with what I want to do.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A pleasant days fishing on Lough Owel

I enjoyed yesterdays fishing trip. We fished Lough Owel, mainly over towards the small pumphouse shore. I caught a lovely wild fish of 2.5lb within two minutes of starting. It turned out to be my best fish of the day, though I did come out of a bigger one. I ended up with 6 fish in total, two of them over 2lb (1kg) and although the fishing wasn't spectacular there was enough movement from the fish to keep interest high. I feel if there had been any natural fly on the surface we might have had a good day. Flies that caught were daddy-long-legs, olive bumble, lght olive bumble and a claret hopper. The only other fly I tried was a golden olive bumble but I felt this was too bright for the conditions (bright) so did not fish it for long. The weather was scattered showers, bright spells and a nice south westerly breeze, creating a good wet fly wave on the windward shore where we were fishing. Temperatures dropped in the evening though ending sport early.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Another painting....and more fishing

Here is the latest painting acrylic again. This time I concentrated on the sea. The colours and the way the surface developed wind lanes created the interest. I may need to do more work with it. The other painting is still sitting there, the sea is similar but more heavily painted and the landscape is more defined. It needs a lot more work though.
I am going fishing again tomorrow. I haven't decided where yet but we will probably end up on Lough Owel, just to allow Noel to find a few fish hopefully. We only have another couple of trips before the season closes, tomorrow and then two days next week. Hopefully we will get a few fish.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Noel and I went to Ennell again yesterday. There was not a lot happening though, I did manage to move four fish, two of which took the fly, both were undersized though (one only just at 13.5 inches again). All bar one fish came to a daddy-long-legs, the one that actually took came to a dry fly. In hindsight I should have stuck to dries for the rest of the day, but the fact that I was moving fish with a top dropper makes it difficult. The other fish came to a small claret hopper.
Today I spent some time in the studio. I have another painting almost finished, but I'm not 100% sure about it, it still needs work. I will look at it again tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Two more paintings....

I did this painting (30 inches by15) in a similar way to the other palm tree. Loose with painting knives and charcoal. It has worked in the way the first didn't. The colour balance in the photo is not great, due mainly to the fact that the photo had to be taken in the artificial lights of the studio. I put the rising moon in the painting, it was one of my memories from Monastir, watching the moon rising redly as the sun set. The advantage of timing, a full equinoxial moon and close to the equator. The moon also reflectsthe golden colours of the dates and the yellows of the palm frond stalks. This created a nice balance of colour while allowing me to keep the height of the palms prominent.

The second painting is the one I had started yesterday. It is very reminiscent of one I painted in Monastir, it is 30 by 20 inches.

Both paintings are acrylic again, I may start some oils on Thursday. Tomorrow I have a business meeting in the morning and I am heading up north for the afternoon so painting is not possible.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Painting fast and furiously....

It is going very well, another one finished, and I am well into another, the plan has been done for it and my darks are blocked in, tomorrow will see it finished also I think.

This painting is different in that I liked the shapes that the coast formed as much as for the landscape. It creates a bold impact by design without any brush work in the painting. To be honest it did not take a lot of work, it came together very easily. I needed to do a small alteration in my greens but that was all. The aloes in the center may need a little work as they seem to lean to the left in the photo, so I will look at them again tomorrow.
The view is looking towards Monastir from the headland with the prayer hut on it. The aspect is looking from a height down and accross the coastline. I am glad of the acrylics at this stage, the fact that they are drying so fast is allowing me to work at pace while the output is good. I will start some oils when I reach the stage of having to work at ideas and paintings, but I'll stick to the acrylics for now lest the flow cease. I am driven to work at the moment. Today I suddenly realised it was late and I hadn't stopped for food.....I was engrossed in the work, a feeling I haven't had in nearly 3 years, since before my health problems. It's a nice way to be. Happy at work, and happy with the work. Long may it last.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ennell is difficult as usual, but I have an enjoyable day

Lough Ennell was kind to me. I had plenty of action from the start with fish moving almost immediately and keeping interest high. Most of the fish in the morning turned under the flies or followed them without taking but I moved eight in total in the first four hours so I was kept keen and alert. I eventually got one to take the fly and he turned out to be 36cm long, the limit was 35.5cm......just over instead of the usual just under size!!. . We moved area for the afternoon and I moved seven more fish, catching four of them, 32cm,34cm, 34.5 cm, 35cm, all just under the 14 inch limit.....aaaaaaaaaarrrggh! I finished early so I could get back to Dublin Airport in time to meet/collect Christine who's flight from Kuala Lumpar got in at 7.30 pm. so I wasn't at the weigh-in ( I left my fish with the weighing steward) after the competition officially ended at 6.30. There were only 9 fish weighed in for the competition so I came in the top 9. Obviously with 30 to qualify, I did. As for the successful flies, olive bumble, golden olive bumble, daddy-long-legs, green bumble & sooty olive bumble....yes it was one of those days, I caught on everything, nearly everyone else caught on nothing! That's life, and fishing for you, sometimes you have the luck sometimes you don't. Interestingly enough the bigger fish were turning under my flies rather than taking them though...but at least I was managing to get fish to move all day, many anglers didn't see any fish at all, some fishing within 20 feet of our boat all afternoon!! (watching me hook up on a regular basis).....OH...I hate that!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Two work-in-progress paintings..

Two more works, but both are works-in-progress.

This first is an experiment, painted in acrylic with painting knife over a fixed charcoal sketch. I have also used gold dust and sand to give interest in the foreground. Somehow it is just not me. I don't know if I will develop it, however I like the loose work on the Palm fronds. I may need to loosen up the painting on the other areas.

the second work is acrylic again.....I'm making good use of them Francis!....the sky needs work.
I am finding the acrylic good for getting my ideas down fast, I will be doing a lot more work-ups in the acrylic, and will probably do the finished pieces in Oils. I will be doing a lot of sketching tomorrow as I have collected my photos this evening and I want to produce some ideas while the landscape is still fresh in my mind.

On another note I will be fishing the national Qualifiers on Saturday. I don't think I have really much of a chance though. I have had no practise at all. Added to the fact that the competition is on Lough Ennell and we have had high winds all week, the forecast is also quite bad for saturday, I think the water will be a little coloured and not really suited to the areas I normally fish. However we will see what saturday brings. I cannot wait for the weigh-in though, the competition ends at 6.30pm. and Christine's flight gets in at 8pm, and it's a 90 minute trip back to the airport. It will be a case of hand in my fish, hop in the car and head off.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The first Tunisian painting off the easel

This is an acrylic, 30 inches by 15 inches. Although it is not totally finished, there is not much more to be done to it other than some finer detailing on the prickly pears. I will leave this until another time though. I need to collect my photographs before I get too detailed as my studies only give an impression of the greener pears that I painted. I have photographs of the ripening pears though, and can use these to finish off.
I am happy enough with this first work, it is similar to my Algarvian pieces, but the coastal landscape is very similar.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Oh no...the holiday is over...

Today I taught a new Art class this morning. It went quite well. After that, I had to deal with paper work and bills. I recieved my electricity bill...not too bad, and another final demand for water rates from the Council....I wouldn't mind if I had water in my studio, but I don't and have informed them so on at least 4 occaisions!!
I then had to go to the bank to lodge cheques, go shopping for food etc for the house, Christine is still away. Now my day has gone, and I still have to buy art materials and organise the developement of my photos from Tunisia.
It will take all tomorrow morning to do that. I may get into the studio in the afternoon.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I am back from Africa....

...Tunisia is a beautiful country. I was met by an exquisite sunrise....this was followed by an arial display by the migrating swallows as they dipped over the hotel swimming pool, getting a drink. It is amazing how you leave Home having just noticed the lack of summer birds and find them again in North Africa. It makes you feel right at home. Speaking of which, the organisers of the Art festival, and most particularly Nejib, did just that. I was met at the airport and greeted like a long time friend, and now I know I am one.

All the Artists I met helped create a very pleasant festival. I have come away both stimulated and with a new sense of confidence and purpose. I have at last shaken off the doubts about my work and creativity, I know I am able to do what I want to do, I know what I want to do has relevance and also that I am like most artists, rarely completely happy about my work. For any of my contemporaries, hello, thankyou for your friendship and I will be in touch soon. I learnt much from my colleagues, all who had different views on our world, we see the same things in differing ways, but we all found a common goal:- our art, and the need to create art.
I must admit, my lack of linquistic skills was a little off-putting at first, but with the linquists going out of their way to translate for those of us that required it, and the fact that my long forgotten school days french came back over time made conversation interesting and inspiring.
Artists struggle to survive the world over was ouir common theme! I also spent time with other stragglers the second week, and when we slowly shrank as a group I came to the realisation that we were more than just a group, we were friends......a pleasant thought.

A little about the programme...It was wonderful, but a little short, the second week allowed much more creativity and dialogue. I think this is being rectified for next year, four or five days makes a world of difference when creating art. The organization left nothing to chance...even down to the producing of sea-sickness pills prior to a short boat trip...yes every little detail was considered. After the main festival was over, those of us left were looked after and checked for any problems daily, a doctor called when one of our number was unwell, ferrying to the airports (even at 4am.!), and we were all wished goodluck the evening before our departures by members of the organising committee. Above and beyond duty!
I will leave you with a few photos of Tunisia for today.

I am tired and jet-lagged.

Until tomorrow or Tuesday..

Friday, September 01, 2006

This time tomorrow I will be in Tunisia, so I probably won't post until I return on the 18th. I am fully organised and looking forward to starting work. It is going to be an interesting experience working with other artists again. I will tell you all about it next time I post......BYe.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

3 days to go before my flight.....
I have bought the paint etc. I needed....I got a shock, it's a while since I bought cadmium yellows...the price is high, I'd forgotten that they were series4 in the winsor & newton artists colours. I am fully organised now, I just finished packing. Camera, paints, brushes, palette, all padded and surrounded by clothes in the case. I am a little worried that my palette will get broken, it is a lovely aged mahogany one and I'd hate to have to get a new one. It's like a comfortable pair of is moulded to me..and I hold it like a second skin.

here is a photo of my palette...on a very untidy high level computer desk that I use for my paints, jars, dirty rags, brushes, pliers (for stuck paint tube tops) and all other sundry items. The lower area that the tower/printers etc would normally sit in is full up with sketches and drawings etc. I find the desk ideal because if there are children in the studio(with parents only) I can lay the palette on the keyboard/mouse-pad tray and slide it in under...the result no enquiring fingers in wet oil paint...LOL. I am happy enough...and surprisingly organised!
All I need to do before I go is pack my toothbrush....oops I forgot- I packed a new one.
All I need to do is mow the grass, wash the dogs and all the other chores that need doing before a two week dissapearance.....

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I went to the fishery at maynooth today to help out with the clubs Kids competition. It was HARD work!..I took hold of two total beginners about 10 or 11 years old and taught them to both fly cast and fly-fish...both were doing great after a few hours. Only 8 fish were caught, the biggest at 48 cm was caught on a dry fly, (klinkhamer) by one of my two charges....all his own work too, casting and hooking included....mind you the fish when it took carried on going and hooked itself...cest la vie...the outcome one very happy and committed angler added to the ranks!!
We finished off with a Bar-B-Que and prize giving....all 24 anglers got a prize, even though my second charge had to be called up from the lake to collect his, he was still fishing away trying to catch his first fly caught trout.....
It is great to bring new blood to the sport, many of the anglers in the Kids competition are friends kids, nephews, grand-kids, grandkids friends etc. who come from a non fishing background too. All in all a rewarding day.

Friday, August 25, 2006

8 days before my Tunisian trip....I've still to get fully organised. I am fiddling around, Lazyitis is a big problem! I'm not motivated to do much of anything, as I'm working outside the studio for these two weeks.... I'm doing holiday cover...... The timing is perfect, a week & a half paid employment prior to my galivanting off....Something always turns up.... It must be the fact that I'm lucky...
But I am totally knackered after a days work. I'm left with no energy for anything else...
I will try to organise myself over the weekend...

Monday, August 21, 2006

I've been fishing again. Noel and I went to lough Owel as we heard a few fish were starting to be caught. The information was that fish were being caught around the Tyre and the small pumphouse....they were right!
I caught about a dozen, and we got loads when we trailed flies behing the boat motoring between drifts.... We had drifted over a mark (shallows just offshore) and I'd got two small fish and missed another good fish too, the drift was onto the shore, so with the strongish wind I needed to start the engine and motor out quickly...obviously the quick and safest way is to leave the fly line trailing until you move away from the shore... when I did it I got 3 fish on my team of 3 flies almost immediately (withing 20 feet) all around the pound and a quarter - pound and a half mark. This kept happening although with single fish, even in areas we weren't rising such an extent that I was worried in case my rod got pulled overboard by a decent fish..
Painting meantime is not on the menu...I am not going to go into the studio now, I just will organise myself and do other bits and pieces prior to travelling. I also will spend time with Christine as she leaves for Kuala-lumpur and Korea before I get back so we wont see each other for a month.

Friday, August 18, 2006

2 weeks to go......

I find I'm at a loss today...I had started working well, I've done (almost) another koi painting, but with the concerts in the park etc. I don't feel like carrying on at the moment. Mind you this year the events office of the promoter have given us passes into the events. Much appreciated, especially by Eoin, he was looking for a ticket to one of the concerts anyway. The weather is quite grey at the moment too, added to that I'm not 100% fit, My breathing is bad again and I have an upset stomach to boot, I don't really want to do anything much.
Today I went through all my paint etc. to see what I need to stock up on before I go away. I need crimson, cad. yellow deep and a tube of Oleopast/ liquin impasto. I could do with some more cobalt blue too, but I should have enough for the two weeks. I am at the organising stage....but I need to watch pennies also. It would be easy to spend on materials etc., but I will need some cash left in my pocket when away, plus some in reserve just in case of any emergencies..
It has been a quiet summer sales wise.....probably half the reason I can't get into producing......I need stimulation, both visually and financially...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A very good day in the studio..

Rather influenced by Claude Monet, but thats the way it's turning out. I suppose it's the waterlillies... the painting came together well though, and quickly.

I may rework it in a few days, but I don't think it needs anything.

I am going to have to look at a series of paintings with Koi and goldfish after I'm finished with Tunisia. Water and fish go well with me....and I enjoyed this one immensely. There again I usually do when they go well..

Sunday, August 13, 2006

approaching Autumn...

I think summer has gone. Autumn is definitely here. The temperature drop is very noticeable. I'm dressed in warm clothes, two layers thick. I think it is nearly time to put the central heating back on. I spent the day working in the house, and now (at 7.30 pm) I'm exhausted. It is time to put my feet up..but now I've stopped work I feel the coolness, I'm not quite cold, but I'm not warm either.
I had an itch to paint today, but I have messages to run tomorrow, if I still have the itch on Tuesday I will probably go into the studio and start work on something......there is a little pond scene buzzing around my head.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Noel and I fished Sheelin yesterday, We rose about 6 or 7 fish apiece. Noel managed to hook and land one small fish. I managed one fish about 2lb late in the evening. Conditions were difficult for fishing with strong blustery winds. We had lots of rain, and overcast conditions, but the fish were still coming to golden olive bumbles on/in the surface. The fish were not interested in flies below the surface, and were more drowning those on the top rather than taking the flies. Very similar to Sunday, but with less frequency. I am sure the lake will turn on fully soon though. It is enjoyable fishing all the same because while you are seeing the fish rise you feel you are going to get them..It is much worse when you see nothing for the day..
Painting/work wise I had a trip into town today with Christine, other words I did nothing again....roll on Sept the 2nd..and Tunisia.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My studio is in the middle of a building site for the month of August with the new courtyard surface going in. The concerts will be on and work on the stage is due to start soon also. I am not too bothered though as I don't intend to do much work anyway....I'm waiting for Tunisia to get the creative juices going...Droooool...
I am seriously considering a trip back to Sheelin tomorrow, but I can't really afford it, sales are very slow and I need to find a few bob for my trip abroad.
That reminds me .... I must tax my van...more expense...definitely can't afford another trip...(boat 10 euro, petrol for outboard 8 euro, deisel in van 35 euro = 53 euro for the day). These high petrol/oil prices are really hitting hard too.
I'm now getting depressed.......
I think I'll stay home and do some work in the garden instead.....

Monday, August 07, 2006

Lough Sheelin turns on for me.

I fished lough Sheelin yesterday, conditions were good, warm overcast (a little rain--but a little rain never hurt anyone) with a nice wet-fly wave. I fished a team of wet flies on the floating line these were a small size12 golden olive bumble, a size 12 greenpeter and a size 14 fly which I kept changing on the point. I would have changed the greenpeter but I had been told that it was the working fly, and it had risen my first fish... I moved at least a dozen and a half fish for the day, quite a few of them small though. I hooked seven trout in total, 3 of which I lost while playing them. I landed 4, between 1.25lb and 2.5lb, no big fish though. The three I lost would have been between 1.5 and 2.5lb also. A lot of fish either rolled over the top dropper or porpoised over it, great visual fishing. Those that porpoised over the fly were there when I struck, those that rolled over weren't, so I assume they were just drowning the 'fly'. That happens at times. The fish that took below the surface were just pulls, and none stuck, leaving me to assume they were not really interested in taking the fly but were nipping the tail as such since most came two or three times at the fly. Although I only ended up with four fish, it was a very pleasant day. The fact that I was constantly moving fish all day made it both interesting and rewarding, added to the fact it keeps the concentration up for when that 'monster' appears.....even though it didn't I had a great days sport. I'm looking forward to the next trip.
It's a pity Noel missed it...he is away for the weekend, I had to suffer alone...LOL.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

August starts off better....

I fished the competition on Lough Owel last night. Conditions were very blustery, with a big rolling wave coming into Doolans shore. I took Noel up into the corner by the crannog, where it was quite calm with a light wave. I managed to get two fish, best just short of 1.5 lb (.675 kg). There was a better return on the competition too, 17 fish returned in total, 15 anglers catching fish compared to one fish last week. Hopefully fishing will continue to improve. I am going up to Lough Sheelin tomorrow, hopefully the fish will be moving there too, Noel could do with one, he blanked again last night but he was in good company again. I am spending time working on the house at the moment so I'm not doing any work in the studio....I'll go on saturday for a rest.....I know I'm fishing tommorrow, but I'll have a days work done before I's the middle of summer we don't go out until the evenings.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I am due to go to Sligo today, we intend to go and visit our cottage near Geevagh. I assume it's still of these days I hope to get stuck in and do some renovations. It is a standard three room traditional rough stone cottage standing on 2.5 acres with a small trout stream bordering it. It needs running water, plumbing, rewiring (started) and new windows & doors...but on the plus side it's bought and paid for and is increasing in value all the time. We bought it prior to my first collapsed lung, when I was much fitter and able to do most of the work myself. I'm hoping I may get that full fitness back and do some of the work, or we may decide to sell it as it is and look abroad for another holiday home. The cottage is just down the road from both lough Allen and Lough Arrow so was ideal as a base for my fishing, while at the same time is still only 20-30 minutes away from Boyle and Carrick-on-shannon, both hives of interest to non anglers as is the nearby lough Key with its forest park. I have photos somewhere but I'll have to look for them...mind you if we do get there today I'll take some more. At the moment we are watching the weather, rain is looking ominous, and there isn't much point going up in rain as it is a long drive, and in the rain can prove very tiring. So I'm just waiting for a weather forecast..

Saturday, July 29, 2006

I havent done much this week. I fished the competition on Lough Owel, 70 anglers caught one fish....enough said. I don't know what is up with Owel this year it is just not fishing. There was Greenpeters up (large 4-5 cm sedges) and the fish were not even interested in them. I have to go again next wednesday evening...the club are fishing the competition again to try to get a result so they can give a few prizes...
We have rain today, but we do need it. I am about to head off to the studio, but as I have a 70th birthday party to go to tonight so I probably wont get a chance to update my blog this evening.
I was at Patricks last night for a family get together. It was enjoyable. I don't think we as three brothers had such a good time for a long time....
...there were a lot of one liners flying was Patrick by the end of the night, Dominic kept topping up his glass...(I was safe, I was driving.No drink, mind you I think I had a few pints of forgive any double letters, it's the shakes you know...) I feel like painting so 'bye for now...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I spent most of today visiting galleries, one of which I hope may start selling my work. I need a wider audience, sales are too slow. I find I am too often chasing my tail trying to get money to pay upcoming bills. I really would preferr to have a month or two behind (or in front?) of me. When you are financially sound it is a lot easier to work, and/or concentrate on the business of painting. I have lots of paintings, too many in fact, now if I was running short that would be another problem....but one I'd love to have.

The weather is very warm and humid, I am fishing a competition on Owel tomorrow, Patty Doolins memorial. I like to support it, Patty was a great friend to many of us, always chatting, giving tea after a long cold day, asking about friends and often helping with information. Jack is great, but Patty was different, and I'm sure Jack misses her greatly too.
The competition is a great social occaision, very few are really worried about results, we fish it in rememberance, rather than avarice for the prizes...mind you the prizes aren't exactly life changing....

Saturday, July 22, 2006

It is another beautiful day today...and the sun is out again, (it was a little overcast this morning.

I have been up in my studio today, there was a bit of a barney this afternoon. One of the stallholders accused a traveller/gypsy of stealing from another stall and foolishly started a shouting match, using very abusive and degrading language.....before he knew where he was, items were flying at his head. He was very foolish in his the time the security staff arrived, all they could do was keep the peace...the stallholder if he pressed any charges was leaving himself open to a lawsuit for abusive and racial assault, added to the fact he had physically grabbed and manhandled a teenage girl, leaving himself open to a counter charge of assault!
I am not surprised, some of the stallholders forget they are not a law unto themselves...our traveller families travel in large groups...and are not afraid to react with violence, and often are a law unto themselves, in that they are extremely difficult to track down if charged with an offence, living a nomadic life and often dozens of 'family' members have the same name, serving a warrant is almost impossible.

My brother Dominic arrives into Dublin tommorrow evening, along with my niece Laura, all the way from Melbourne, Australia. They are arriving to lovely warm weather, this is our best summer for a long time with near record temperatures. I have a brown lawn...all the grass is dead and burnt! I have been watering my pot plants and a little on my shrubs etc. but the lawn can be re-seeded and will come back but I am aware of water shortages down the road, we have had no rain and water levels have gone from high to normal in a matter of 3 weeks, they could be low within a week at this rate. It is very noticable when you are fishing on the lakes. Last week we were scraping rocks that were over a meter deep a week before!
I tied a few "fish food" dry flies today, little scruffy dry/emerger patterns for use in bright sunny and calm conditions....I think I'll be needing them next week!
I will be fishing a competition on wednesday...not particularly seriously but all the same I like to have the means to do well. I was at my bench (fly-tying bench) in the studio tying away and before I really realised it I had tied 2 dozen.
They all look good too, the fish-food look is a nondescript fly that could be half-a-dozen different insects, and sits lightly in the surface, representing either a hatching insect, a drowning insect, or even a landblown other words it looks like food to any fish looking up at the surface and can often catch the opportunist feeder out of no-where when there is no particular rise or hatch on.
As you may gather, I'm not really painting at the moment...otherwise I'd be to busy to tie flies!

I need to get focused.

on painting, not fishing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Another scorcher of a day. I spent the morning in the studio, but by 2pm I had wilted and decided to call it a day. I got quite a bit of work done though.
Tomorrow I am only working until 1 pm anyway as I am heading off fishing in the afternoon. The forecast is for heat with cloud cover, we should get a good sedge hatch in the evening.
I am half thinking of popping back to the studio this evening, but I think it will still be like an oven. At least the paint is drying quite quickly, although the humidity is still holding some of the moisture/oil back. I must look for my digi camera the camera on the phone doesn't really take great photos when you look for detail up close..I know it is around somewhere... as you will see the pic is very grainy and out of focus..maybe the cover/lens is getting marked/greasy or some other fault/blemish...
Though the more I look at the photo the lousier it looks...

Monday, July 17, 2006

It was a glorious day again today..Sun blue skies and HEAT

Here are the cover and article from the Arts & TV section of the Echo. The cover was reproduced on the front page in a small format too.
They are nice photos, taken in the walled garden, the study on the easel was from the Spring and doesn't relate to the leafy trees now though, but the photographer wouldn't have wanted to wait while I repainted it...LOL.

As for Saturday nights Party..........................
I'm over the hang-over...just about. I was very delicate on Sunday. Obviously it was a good party. We left the car and got a taxi home sometime in the early hours. When I got up on Sunday I knew I wouldn't be able to drive down and collect the car for quite a few we left it until the evening. I wasn't fit to do much else either, so I spent today on the garden and doing a few other jobs that didn't get done. I made my way to the studio about 3pm but it was like an oven, the temperature is in the high 20's even now at 8.30 it is 23 degrees centigrade and humidity is up at 43%.
Who needs a sauna?

I love the sun, but I prefer a dry heat to the humid weather we have....still at least it's warm and sunny. The fishing would be lousy though...

Friday, July 14, 2006

I fished Sheelin Wednesday afternoon, and managed to lose my first fish again. I hooked a second and had difficulty keeping it out of the weeds below the boat, the fish was determined to get into them. I had it hooked on the top dropper so there were two trailing flies to snag up if it got deep into them. As the fish tried to get down into the weeds a big pike slashed across his rear half, and the trout came up like a rocket...and didn't seem to want to get back to the weeds again! I wonder why. When I netted it, the trout had half a dozen deep gashes from his anal fin up across his flank. These were about an inch long and at least half an inch deep and the fish was bleeding so badly I didn't return it. It weighed 3 lb 5 oz and was 50 cm long.
My picture was in the 'Echo' again yesterday, two in fact and a nice little piece about me and my upcoming Tunisian trip. I may try to scan it into the computor over the weekend. I have a party to go to tomorrow night, so I probably won't get a chance tomorrow after I get back from my studio. The photos are of me in the walled gardens at Marlay, working on a painting.
I'm a handsome Devil so I am..........

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I took part in another stocking at Blessington today. We released 1500 rainbow trout again. The stock fish were in perfect condition, even the pectoral and dorsal fins were undamaged. Now we have to hope they don't all dissapear into the black hole that is the middle of the lake as the last ones did. Noel and I are going off to Lough Sheelin again tomorrow, unless the weather is unsuitable. If it is bright and windless we might just go and give some of the new stockies a few lessons and keep them clever. Noel isn't free until the afternoon and the stockies will have settled well before then. Some of the lads were connecting with a few before we left the lake this evening. I took herself out with me...she spent hours chasing non existent rabbits, followed by a few sand Martins...they keep flying past oblivious to barks etc....and had a bit of a paddle. Now she's beside the computer, snoring away, happy as larry...if a little scruffy (burrs, seed pods, bits of leaf etc. in the coat) It is not worth the bother brushing her, she will be as bad tommorrow...

I am seriously thinking of starting to paint again, I am beginning to feel both guilty and an itch. Who knows next week I might be raring to go...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

the second batch of studies for sale

Here are the other studies I am selling off...

Banana Trees Uganda 2003 16X12 oil on paper

View from Sippi falls Uganda oil on paper 16X12

Abstract ripple dyptich study oil on paper 20X12

Marlay Park 2004, after the summer concerts
Oil on canvas sheet 16X12

Wicklow featherbeds, titled 2nd visit with cloud
oil on canvas sheet 16X12

stream study Oil on paper 16X12

Fungus study oil on paper 16X16

Saturday, July 08, 2006

studio painting studies for sale

Water study, stream oil on paper 20X16

reflections oil on paper 20X16

pond study oil on paper 18X14

Rose hips oil on paper 16X12

1 pond study, oil on paper,24X20

Ugandan Hillside oil on paper 12X12

studio window,flowering cherry oil on canvas sheet 15X15

Kerry landscape oil on canvas sheet 11X15

Beech tree oil on paper 16X12

No luck fishing, Press coverage and I'm having a studio sale

I fished lough Sheelin on wednesday. It was a good fishing day, warm breeze, a good wave, nice steady wind lanes, but, no fly life and no fish to be seen. We never had a hint of a fish for the day. A dissapiontment after my last trip.
That said, I still enjoyed the day and I fished hard all day...I was expecting a fish even though none appeared. It wasn't one of those days when you felt you were wasting your time half way through.
I was up in my studio today, Christine came with me....I had to tidy the studio a little bit....she I have a press photographer coming in Monday morning to take some photos for an article that will be out next week-end I think. The article is about me and my up-coming Tunisia trip. July and August are great publicity wise...there is very little news, the papers are always looking for something vaguely interesting to write about, and at the moment that's me again... :)

I think I may have to sell a few Oil on Paper studies as I need to be sure I have some funds available in September. This coming month I have road tax due, a rates bill due, on top of the usual studio bills of rent etc. that are always on the horizon, and I need to have a few bob in my pocket come September, I don't want to have to count pennies when I am away. I am unlikely to spend a huge amount but it is nice to be able to spend if you want to. I also will need to invest in a few tubes of paint and a few new brushes as I am running short on a couple of colours and quite a few of my brushes are showing signs of wear.
I may list a few of them here later, I took photos of some today as I am considering blitzing either ebay or an email shot to selected people for a few quick sales. It is an ideal way for collectors or would be collectors to obtain paintings cheaply as these works don't go to galleries and only normally get sold through the studio visits. The studies I don't think interesting just get destroyed in clear-outs so numbers are kept limited.

Monday, July 03, 2006


I haven't been writing for a few days, mainly as I have little to write. I spent Saturday morning in the studio....well 2 hours anyway. I came home to watch the world cup match. I shouldn't have was a lousy match.
I spent the weekend on chores, ie gardening, cooking dinner, washing, get the picture. Christine came back from Cork on Sunday evening with food poisoning.. so she's not well obviously and therefore the weekend was pretty dismal. I was up in the studio this morning, but did little of consequence, I had two visitors, neither of whom were interested in spending money as well as time...c'est la vie..
I came home early to see how Christine is, and to post off a painting to Belfast. At this stage I can't be bothered to go back today so I'll spend a little time with C (although she's not good company at the moment) and do some more design work on a job I have creating a LOGO.. I don't do many design jobs, but it's great to get the odd one, they pay better than creating art....and are easier to do. I am almost finished, I have 6 designed, now I am whittling them down to 2 coloured plus one black and white, for final work before sending them across (via email) for approval/choice. Then comes the fun part....I send the invoice...charging by the hour, and copyright sale fee..

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lough Sheelin is kind to me...

I had a great day on Lough Sheelin. There was little doing for most of the day, but at 4.30 I hooked and lost a trout of about 3lb...I knew I was likely to lose it though as it kept shaking it's head, so I knew it was lightly hooked, and eventually the hook pulled out during one of it's runs. Ten minutes later I rose and landed a fish of about 1.5 lb on a wet Daddy (crane fly) After another 15 minutes I had a follow to my tail fly, a pearly invicta, and on seeing the bow-wave of the fish I stopped the retrieve and momentarily later the fish took the fly and I hooked it. A beautiful wild brown trout of over 3.5 lb weight. We never saw another fish for the day.....but I wasn't to bothered. It was great to get to grips with the couple of good fish, and all in the one drift, on different flies.

I took a quick photo of the bigger fish, my glasses and size 10 boot (lol) for scale...It was a lovely golden colour rather than the normal silver of the limestone fish. I measured it also 49 cm. about 20 inches with a tail like a shovel.
I've had my luck today....poor Noel never even moved a fish in the other end of the boat, while I connected with two crackers!.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I had a trip up North yesterday. The first thing I noticed was the 'watch-tower' overlooking the border from the top of Feede mountain has gone! It has been replaced by a tricolour. Another step in the peace process up north. While I won't exactly miss seeing them, I hope they leave one or two as they are a part of the history of the northern Ireland problems. The placement of the tricolour is a little dig at the Unionists...I suppose in a Sinn-Fein/ IRA stronghold it was to be expected but I personally think that putting a flag where the watch-tower is not exactly in the spirit of integration and accomodation. However as always I enjoyed my trip up. I find most of the people of Northern Ireland are generous, warm hearted and outgoing. The craic as they say, is as enjoyable as it used to be down South before our prosperity led consumerism took hold....nowadays here it is how much you earn/own that links you and determines your social life rather than the old style mix of background that was common. I find that the People up North are still like most Anglers, ready to talk and have a laugh....totally unfased by economic-class divisions. Mind you in the North religion is a taboo subject, but who discusses that anyway...mind you politics is also dangerous ground too, but I don't have a great deal of knowledge about that area either..but the general conversation is always pleasant and fun-loving....and not as narrow as that amongst what is catching, who isn't, who is, where and when...then we tend to drift into tall stories etc...

Speaking of which I'm off to Lough Sheelin in the morning...Today I did fetching and carrying in the van, and a little bit of washing machine recycling after...I drove around in circles trying to find the right bring center for it though.....aaaaaarrrrrggghhhhhh!!!!!!

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I am full of aches and pains. Backache, muscle pain in my calf and thigh muscles among others. I am hobbling like an old man.
I spent much of the afternoon/evening in bed.
While I was there I watched two world cup matches....niether was much good. The Portugeese game though was a disgrace, nasty bad mannered and cynical. There should have been a red card for the second foul on Ronaldo too....setting out to injure another player should not be tolerated. Aside from this rant I don't really have much to say, I'm too miserable to say much, I just heard the kettle switch itself off and I only got up to make a cup of something 'Bye.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The weather has improved, my demeanour however has not!!
Yesterday the oven door decided to come apart, so I spent half of today getting bits to fix it and it is now more or less fixed. I need to wait for a silicone sealant to dry before putting the whole thing back together. I will go up to my studio tomorrow. Hopefully there will be a few people about in the courtyard. I could do with a sale. I will try and work while I am up there. If not I bought a few boxes of hooks today so I can do a bit of fly tying anyway. I am considering going fishing, but I still have a few things to do, and I have to go to a Bar-B-Q tomorrow evening instead of the competition on the blackwater, so it is looking unlikely in the near future unless I escape on Sunday. I have the trip up north on monday, I have to collect & deliver and install a washing machine for a friend on tuesday so wednesday is looking like the earliest day available. I wonder how I'd be if I had to work a 'normal' 5 day week! I'm off out into the sunshine now.....gardening needs doing...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Summer is back to normal

Rain, High winds and cold! It wouldn't be too bad if the wind was kinder and we could fish, but we have had full gales for the last two days. I hope the wind drops soon...I want to go fishing.
I have done no painting...and I don't intend doing any this week...
I am collecting an Aunt from the airport tommorrow, my Mother is coming into Dublin and leaving her car at my house while I drive her to meet her sister at the airport and then they come back to my house before going on to Wicklow...obviously my Aunt is staying with my Mother in Wicklow..
I hope the weather improves for her too, but not too bright....warm overcast and light breezes will be perfect.
......So would a few Art's very quiet on the business front, my Tunisia spending money is in danger of dissapearing into studio costs at the moment, my bank account needs an injection of funds, it's funny how things are always up and down. It is probably one of the reasons I don't feel like working. It is harder to paint when you don't see any rewards...monetary as well as artistic...both would be welcome, but a few quid to spend on new materials always give you that little lift, and a few canvases to have fun with....
I might try a sales drive next week...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pallas Lake, Offally

I had a meeting in Birr, Co. Offally yesterday afternoon. The meeting lasted until about 5.30pm.
I had the usual fishing gear in the van so I decided to fish Pallas Lake on the way home. This lake is stocked with both Brown and Rainbow trout. Conditions were quite good, with a few fish moving on the surface and I fished skinny buzzers on a fl0ating line. The method was successful, I landed 18 trout to 2lb, and either missed or lost the same again. In short- a very pleasant evenings entertainment!. (much needed after recent struggles to catch)
The fishing aside, work, ie. painting is not progressing at all...forget well....
I need to sort out what I want to do. These 'blocks' are of my own making. I am going to take a break for a week or two anyway. I will see what developes then.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I have run into a block again...
I tried working on the painting of my garden, but the weather refuses to co-operate!
I am tired. I'm not sleeping particularly well, I go to bed relatively early-tired enough to sleep, but I wake up at 3 or 4 am. and can't get back to sleep, or if I do it is only a quick doze and I am not getting any benefit from it. I don't know if it is weather related or not, but I am starting to feel the effects. Pretty soon I am going to get quite irrittable....or should I say MORE irrittable...LOL.....I am not sure about that spelling??...maybe I should just write Narky!
My shadow is asleep at my feet...snoring away. Christine has started calling her my 'Sticking Plaster' I can't move without her, she wants to go fishing I'd say, she hasn't been out and about for a while....and she knows I have. I might wander down the road to the river this evening, or maybe not....I am not really in the humor to go fishing even..

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sunday's competition was HARD work...and fruitless.....I spent most of today recovering from it!

We had another Mediteranean sky today, but quite a stiff breeze so I didn't set the easel up and collect my palette etc. from the studio. I decided not to go to the studio either. I did a little work in the garden then we enjoyed it for the rest of the day. It is great to have a summer. The garden is springing into colour now, the Rich red tiger lillies are in bloom along with the Roses, they create a rich vein of reds to the side of the patio. The darker red/crimson leaves of the Cannae lillies will be up soon, the flowers are bright orange but don't bloom until August/september outside..those in the conservatory are already in flower, as are my hibiscus shrubs... the Red-hot-poker's or (kniptheria?) are starting to show the flower heads, more reds/orange/yellow. I like my garden, but I hate the work it takes..that is why I use so many pots and weeding, toss the old compost out and start afresh,...mind you the watering takes me an hour at times like this with the drying breeze and heat. What the garden is missing though is the sound of running water I really must think about re-doing my pond...

Friday, June 09, 2006

I sat in the back garden this morning on another glorious summers day. The garden was so beautiful with a Mediterranean blue sky behind the Birch tree down the back that I decided to collect my paints etc in the studio and come back home to paint.

I decided to paint part of the patio area and shed with the birch tree behind. This allows me to spend time with the family soaking up the sun while working away...I was starting to feel guilty about not working...Below is the first stages of the painting... I was working from a slightly different angle than the photograph..much closer to the shed and small pond in front of it, which cannot be seen in the 2nd photo. I was detained up at the studio, organizing work for the display on Sunday and it was afternoon before I got to paint, therefore I have only really sketched in the basics and blocked in greens and darks apart from painting the second coat of the sky.

I also have a basic foundation on the shed. You will notice the sun has moved around in the painting compared to the earlier photos.

You may have noticed I didn't mention last yesterdays fishing....least said the better...I did catch roach and perch (we fished Blessington/Poulaphouca hoping some rainbows would be moving in the sunshine) but no sign of trout anywhere...we should have fished the river.. we gave up early as both myself and Noel are fishing in the Leinster lake qualifiers on sunday and a long hard fruitless evening (which was on the cards) would not have been a good idea

at least a short fruitless afternoon leaves you wanting to fish..

Thursday, June 08, 2006

It is 10 am. I have spent an hour doing bits & pieces on the PC. Outside the sun is cracking the flagstones in a cloudless sky..we are going to get temperatures 24-27 degrees centigrade today. Not our usual weather at all, and not good for fishing, therefore I am still here. We decided to leave it until afternoon and spend a late evening on one of the lakes...Where?...we will ring around and find out the best prospects later.
Now I am about to connect a hosepipe and give the two dogs a mention of bath and Dubh has gone missing all morning...(she's hiding under the table) any other time I can't get rid of her, she is always under my feet or on my lap..."bath" works better than "hot tea"(get down command, yes I'm a little nuts) to get some peace. I have to admit the dog is any little girl she can wrap 'daddy' around her little finger most of the time. After I wash the dogs I may go to the studio and start work on a painting in the Walled Gardens, it's a great day for it.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


We are in the middle of a heat's great.....but I'm not getting a lot of painting done. I spent yesterday sunning myself, working in the garden at home. Today I am off to the coast with my family and tommorrow I am due to go fishing. So as you can imagine there isn't a lot of creativity going on. I spent this morning and last night organising posteres etc. for a display on Saturday, since I won't be around the ITFFA leinsters on L Owel...that's why we are off to L. Ennel on Thursday, if we were to go to Owel I'd be tempted to charge around seeking fish for Saturday...LOL.
At least we can fish the evening on thursday, I don't fancy this hot bright sunshine with little breeze for the competition...mind you I'd say there are many others with even less confidence in the present conditions which are set to continue.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

painting away, dreaming of fishing...

Here are the two photos that would not behave /upload on my last post

I did a lot of work on the painting yesterday. It now looks halfway finished instead of barely started. I need to tidy up the foreground lawn and the rocks bordering it. The tree is an enigma, do I put in the early leaf? or do I leave it bare? At the present time I am leaving it bare, I think it is working well

It definitely say's "Corrib". I can see the view in my minds eye, the study was of a colder bay in the evening (Started Sat evening) but the painting has moved more to the morning view....anticipating a good days fishing, warm overcast with a moderate breeze........It has turned into an ANGLER'S painting!!!
LOL. If I'm not careful there will be mayflies dancing over the Alders next!
I'm on myway to Wicklow now to see my mother and her visiting Uncle..all the way from Toronto, Canada..

Friday, June 02, 2006

Lough Corrib mayfly trip painting started...

I eventually got into the studio yesterday. I went in raring to go, looking forward to attacking my large canvas, 4ft X 3ft, only to find it wouldn't take paint. The priming coat was repelling the oils. I spent the day re-priming the expensive canvas, that should not have needed any preparation. Therefore little work done other than 'blocking in. Today I had a meeting accompanying the Angling Club Secretary in the morning, so was late getting to the studio, however when I did eventually get there I found the work went well so in fact I am as advanced as I would have been with a full day as I need to let the work dry. I am painting from this study of Lough Corrib.. a view from Ardnasilla towards Inishcash and Malachy's Island.

This is todays progress....not really that far advanced, but in actual fact quite a bit of painting has been done to the sky and distance as you can see in the detail. The mountains in the distance tend to appear and dissapear naturally depending on the light/weather. While I was painting the study they appeared out of no-where-over the period of half an hour, by the time I had painted them in, they were fading into the sky fast...that is one of the problems with the west of Ireland...the light is constantly changing as is the landscape.....It is dificult to paint at times..but it is easy to see why it is almost magical, it does a dissapearing act constantly! LOL.

I will be working on the painting tommorrow, so I should be able to give a further update....I will leave with 2 photos of the the tree, the other the view...obviously the tree was moved for the study.. pics appearing.I'll try later...