Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Well I enjoyed Sunday mornings fishing, but the catch rate was poor..I came 2nd with only two fish...
Sunday night I came down with a stomach bug. That knocked me out all Monday.
The good news is I'm fine again today. I spent a few hours in my studio working on the Florence painting. I don't have updated photos though as I neglected to bring my digital camera with me. I will take one in the morning before I start work for the day.... I'm going out tommorrow evening to a Poker Classic, it should be fun, but I may not have time to write anything in my Blog before I go as I have to leave quite early to get there on time. If not I'll upload the pics on Thursday..

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Stages 3 to 5, hotel castri painting.
I started this morning by blocking in the rest of the garden area with thin washes of blue/greens.

That was followed by ground washes (with thinned down paint) on the pathways and gravelled areas.

Stage 4 entailed the canvas being turned upside down, so that I could lay a blue wash on the sky area without the blue running down across everything else. Obviously with the canvas upside down the drips just fall off the top of the canvas instead. When the sky area had dried enough I turned the canvas again before laying a second wash over some foliage areas and altering the pathway on the right. A second layer was also layed over tyhe gravel area.

For the 5th stage I have laid some colour onto

some of the buildings, and laid foundation paint on the hills behind.

I also altered the center foreground area, removing the portion of the tree and leaving just the grass area showing. Portions of the buildings have been tweeked also, generally helping the whole to gel, notably on the left hand edge. I also added more defined colour to other foliage.

This stage has now lost a lot of the freshness that the painting had, but the darkness is needed to allow me to add lighter brighter shades after.

I will leave the painting now until Monday. I have a fishing competition tomorrow...It is to be held in Maynooth fishery, but it is more for fun and a 'get-together' prior to our fishing season starting on March 1st..and our club AGM. in February.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I started to block in areas of the painting today.....

I put the foundations for the red roofs and the red tile paving area on the bottom left and added a few hints of green around the right hand side of the garden area. I need to put in a lot more green foliage in the large area left in the center before the painting will look balanced though. Time caught up on me as I re-drew the boundaries to the right leaving me room to put a coloured line vertically up the canvas (as a glimpse of a shutter) rather than let the white wall edge the painting because I felt it may leave the piece looking unfinished. I didn't want to have to colour the wall other than adding the shadows, just to keep within the general feel of the scene. I may leave the colour until the piece is nearly finished to allow me to see how it works without it though. I have altered the vertical line of the paving to the bottom left already but after looking at the photo I think I will change the horizontal line also as it is too level.

I'm almost chomping at the bit to get back to the studio to continue working on it, but I better not....she who must be obeyed has other ideas...so I'll leave it until the morning, but I guess it will be an early start.

I haven't felt this keen to work since before my illness (almost 2 years ago) and I know it will only be a one-off piece, unless I go back of course, but I have ideas about it. It is not going to give me a series of works for any kind of show, but, it has given me the drive I've been lacking. I know the painting will be an experiment, already I'm changing how it will be structurally, and I'm determined that how I paint it will be as my fancy takes me...even if the style changes as I go through it. It is a painting for ME personally anyway, not for critics, or, from a selling point of view, the viewer, if the painting ends up too busy or totally unstructured it ends up that way. It's my canvas and if I make a total b**ls of it I can always re-use the framework and spend $60 on more canvas to cover it with..it's not the end of the world.. but World watch out I'm back, and I'm feeling good about my work again..

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Memories of Florence..

Here is the view from the Hotel window in Florence, as I promised....

You can see part of the gardens in this photo too, I don't have a great pic of the gardens due to most of my photos being badly exposed. The light in the sky gave a false reading to the light meter in the camera leaving me with clear sky photos and dark almost sillouette type objects/buildings in most of the pics. Others are misty looking, I'm not 100% sure why, whether the film was at fault, the development, or the camera/cameraman. I was using film that was almost out of date, so that could have something to do with it.

Back to today anyway, I spent the day drawing out my painting, and re-drawing it on the canvas....a long hard days work as it turned out. The detailed drawings are quite difficult when trying to keep everything in reasonable proportion. I have to admit I squared up my canvas to transferr my drawing onto it, it would have been too hard to do it freehand on that scale.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Large Project in mind..

I enjoyed my Fishing yesterday, I managed to catch nine, although it was very hard work. I have been busy in the studio, building a canvas from scratch (by hand) today. It is 84 inches by 56 inches. I used 3 by 3 timber for the frame-work, I placed a strut in the center of the longer sides for support. The canvas has ended up square thankfully, as the large hand built ones often tend to lean slightly and end up as parallellograms rather than rectangles after the canvas has been stretched over them. Now I have my canvas made I will have to get down to work on it. I am going to paint the view I had out of my Hotel room in Florence...It had to be seen to be believed, I could see the Doumo while lying in bed. I left the shutters opened and went to sleep looking out at the skyline, with the buildings lit up, and awoke to see the sun striking the Dome in the mornings. A pleasant way to spend time in a hotel. The Hotel (Hotel Castri) had beautiful gardens too, full of statues, citrus trees- oranges and lemons, two fish ponds, one like a grotto the other a circuar formal one. My room over looked the gardens too.
I must put a photo or two up for you...I promise..

Monday, January 23, 2006

I had quite a busy day today, I had to post off some work. I then went into town and browsed through some art supplies shops. I picked up some canvases, a lenght of primed canvas and 3 16foot lenghts of 3 X 3 timber to make a large stretched canvas with. All this had to be taken back to my studio, getting the 16 foot lenghts in up the stairway was fun!! I didn't get a chance to start building the large canvas though, so that is a job for wednesday, I was too tired by the time I was ready to start and I knew I'd probably make a mistake in the cutting out of the stretcher pieces, so caution prevailed.

I am looking forward to my fishing tomorrow. I hope the fish are feeding well, I'll enjoy an easy day fishing wise..

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A Beech Tree in Winter........

Here are photos of the Beech tree painting.
The piece is quite simple, but I think it is effective.
Oil on Paper
16 by 12

Below is a detail, hopefully showing the variation in the darks.

I spent the rest of the afternoon busily scraping dry old paint off my palette with a blade.... Hard work, but a long overdue job. I can start fresh next week.

On Monday I must get canvas and paper first. I have to post two paintings off to the US. also, so i'll not get to the studio before lunch anyway. I might spend time making up a couple of large canvases for the afternoon and leave the painting until Wednesday..I'm fishing Tuesday.....
Tomorrow I've some jobs around the house to keep me occupied...

Friday, January 20, 2006

I spent quite a bit of time today at my fly-tying bench..I've a hankering for fishing. I have arranged to go with Noel on tuesday, it will give me something to look forward to for a few days..lol. The weather forecast is good for the beginning of next week. I tied up lots of new 'buzzer' patterns, ideal for the small still-water fishery.

I also did a little work on an idea for a painting, stemming from the woodland study. I'll revisit it tommorrow and refine my idea a little more.

This afternoon I listened to a programme on the radio advising students who intend to study fine art next year as to their Job prospects....ha!
There was very little new information....all artists interviewed told the same story...Poverty, part-time jobs to support themselves.... lack of funding. The message was clear, teach full-time or suffer.
Suprisingly a lot of the students taking up the art college places now are mature students who have tried mainstream work and have either decided it's not for them or have put enough funds away to allow them to take up art..
I suppose someone with a business background might find it a lot easier to survive as an Artist, but I would probably say that a business attitude is exclusive to making good art...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

My Studio in an unusually tidy state...

I spent time tidying my studio again. Hence my work table has no brushes in jars etc. my palette is empty and the painting on the easel is the one I was working on two days ago. This is of the working corner of my studio, the three works to the left of the easel are the ones that came back from Florence. That is why the studio got re-organised...

....you can see the edge of a window towards the left of the photo, behind to the right there are another two windows these are also mid level one of which can be seen in the second picture.
which was taken in the natural light of a winters
afternoon, the two windows on the right face North and obviously the one on the left faces south.. but the light is quite poor without both flourescent tubes in daylight (colour 84) and the spotlights dotted around the ceiling as can be seen in this second photo.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Here a two Better photo's of the lake painting, the upper one is a general overall view. The lower of the two is a detail to allow you see the variation in the colours and tones, especially in the dark areas.

My paintings arrived back from Florence safe and sound. The Shippers had packed them well. It is nice to get paintings back safely, although I'd preferr to sell them, I'd hate to have them damaged or destroyed, they are

part of ME. My babies as it were, I've created them and I'm proud of them.... When I find this kind of attatchment to a painting I know it is finished. I suppose that is what I look for in my work, I don't get that with my studies, they are just paintings of something, what I create from these are what drives me to paint essentially.
That I suppose is what art is about.
Certainly it is what MY Art is about, the creation of an Artwork that is a thing of beauty, and, has something to say, a story if you wish, of how I perceive something or somewhere. Something that can give the viewer something other than filling a space on a wall. It has to be more than a decorative piece of furniture...

After I unpacked and checked the returnees, I did some work on a study I had done in November, it is on a 22 by 18 canvas. The Painting is of Marlay Park again, a view of one of the woodland paths around the lake again. This view is towards the pond with the Duck breeding Island in it. I think I have captured the feel of a cold damp November day as the leaves are starting to turn and fall above the holly bushes that abound under the Beech Oak Ash and Sycamore trees. The Laurel bushes have been severely chopped back, but the hollies are still running riot under the canopy, and they are all male bushes....not a berry among them.

The Beech trees produced a lot of nuts or mast this year. The Squirrels and birds had a feast.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Saving a swan and other watery doings...

On my way down to Ennell to sort out the boats I passed a police car in the outside lane of the motorway, it was warning drivers to slow down because a swan had landed on the road and was in the central reservation, obviously it was in danger itself and a danger to traffic. I had my big (3 foot diameter) landing net in the van with my fishing gear so I stopped and offered my assistance. To cut a long story short within two minutes I had a relatively relieved swan wrapped safetly in my arms. A short time later an even more relieved swan swam off up the 'real' river and I continued on my way. The job done on the boats, myself and Noel went fishing for a couple of hours, I managed to pick out two fish but it was hard work...
Back to the studio tomorrow...

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Photo as promised...

Sorry about the lack of detail, I think the camera lens was misted up after contact with the warm room while cold........ but here it is anyway.
The painting is only a 16 by 12 inch canvas though so the detailed work on it is minimal.
The darks are rather more varied than they look in the pic though.

I had a lot of visitors to my studio today so I didn't really get much work done but at least potential buyers were looking at my work. Lets face it if no-one sees the work it doesn't sell...

I'm off to Lough Ennell tomorrpw to do a little work on the angling club boats...it's long overdue, they should have been seen to at least eight weeks ago. It can be difficult organising work parties...

Friday, January 13, 2006


I forgot to take a photograph of the painting...so you will all just have to wait for the update until tomorrow evening. I haven't really done a great deal else, but I have the dates of my Mayfly trip to lough Corrib (May 20-27th) sorted. I was getting worried in case I had to take a booking around that time without confirming the dates... that is my weeks fishing..I'm not available for hire! but can't really afford to turn the job down without being certain I'm not available.
Four of us take a house for the week, two friends from the UK, and Noel and myself. I'm looking forward to it this year again, I did very well last year after my long lay-off so I hope to out-do everyone else this year. (The two UK lads are top competition anglers, one an ex England International so it's hard work to out-do them!) We don't really take it that seriously though, but we do a lot of laughing at the losers....LOL. but generally we have good fishing, take turns cooking etc. and imbibe quite freely most nights. A thoroughly enjoyable week.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I started work on a study of the ponds taken from the area of the sketch today. The weather was beautiful, the high winds have gone and we had blue skies and sunshine. The air temperature was up too so it
was quite pleasant in the Park..
I started with a thin wash of darks (Viridian, cad red and ultramarine all mixed to give the darks) this was left to dry over lunch..

I then worked a base colour into the highlight areas of the field grass, sky and water. Finally I added some colour to the trees in the background.

It will have to be left dry now though so I will go back to it in a couple of days.

I left a little bit of my studio in the second picture, I must take a few pics of it and put them into my Blog....even if only to show the Squalour in which I work....I'm not the neatest..LOL...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Back painting again, both sketches and oils

I returned to the Studio today and got stuck in to work eventually. By the time I cleaned off the dried paint from my palette and refilled it the day was half gone!.
I started working on the rock-pool again anyway. I am still happy with how it is going, although it is slow.....and I still need some samples!!

I looked into a jar of water and added my portrait looking out as a reflection on the bottom of the painting.

I also took a walk around the Park with my sketchbook, I found an interesting area around the pond...

Monday, January 09, 2006

I still haven't been into the studio since. To be honest I'm too knackered, I'm constantly tired, short of breath and just plain lazy. Another doctors visit due I think..........I haven't even got the energy to go fishing!!!
No news or no energy to rant.... see you soon.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

.........Paved with good intentions....

This is one of the photos from yesterday. It is a view of Dalkey Island and Killiney looking North from Shanganagh/Shankhill.
I have very little to show for my day, I took the van for an oil change this morning and then had a couple of things to do this afternoon, it's now gone 5 pm so I won't get up to the studio now.
My new year is starting slowly again.... Oh well, so much for good intentions....
I might have to go fishing tomorrow....although I am feeling guilty about the lack of work done this week......

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Oh I do like to be beside the sea side.....

Note to self "next time you go looking for rockpools check a tide time table" DOH! LOL.
you guessed it, I arrived at the seaside to find the tide nearly full, and I didn't feel like waiting hours for it to ebb......
So still no samples... but I took a few pics of Killiney Head and seaweed, so it wasn't a totally wasted trip, the dog enjoyed the walk too.
I can't upload any pics at the moment so I'll try later....

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Painting update and work in progress

Here is the painting of Kerry with the clouds repainted. I have decided it is finished. I'm happy enough with the painting now, the photograph is a bit better too, you can see the hill in the background now even though the photo quality is reduced.

I worked on a couple of sketches and did a little work on the rock pool painting. Once again it is a low quality/detail photo but it will give a general idea as to where I am thinking of going with it.

I hope to go down to the sea tomorrow to collect some samples to paint from. I want a couple of crabs, some fresh bladderwrack (sea-weed) and a few limpet shells, and I'll get a few wild mussels while I'm at it. I may even come across something else to use in the compositions if I am lucky. It is surprising what you find beach-combing in the winter, and some finds make interesting paintings...in that everyday objects are always different after a few months at sea.
The weather is forcast to be kind tomorrow...

The two red discs either side of the canvas will be crabs, the center one a brighter colour probably an anenome, or maybe a starfish if I cant find any anenomes...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A Painting of a prosperous new year.

I am looking forward to the new year, my resolution is to put more work into my blog, and my painting.... I have got too lazy over the last year, letting distractions get in the way to often. I must be more focused. I am determined to produce good work this year.
If my Oil painting is not going well I will work in other media, be it carbon based sketches and drawings, watercolour, 3D or a combination. Either way I will produce. I cannot earn a living without producing saleable work. I am an Artist. I produce Art - not excuses. Artistic temprament is a fallacy, dreamt up to provide an excuse for lack of desire to produce.

This will be my motto for 2006

happy New Year everyone.