Friday, March 31, 2006

Fly-tying and competition times

I did some more work en plien air, in the garden today, until the wind picked up and started blowing the easel over that is....oh the trials and tribulations! After returning to my studio I sat at my Fly-tying bench and tied up a few spider patterns and bead-head nymphs for my fishing competition on Sunday, it is the Leinster river championships- qualifier for the National championship & International team selection, I really should be out practising, but I don't bother anymore, if I get it right I'll do well, if I don't I won't. At this stage I've enough experience to know what should work and what won't...added to the fact that I don't have the same drive to win as in my youth (been there, done that.) I prefer to enjoy my fishing now rather than work at it. I still have a fair chance of winning, I'm just not going to figure in the favourite's stakes anymore. There were years when others would be watching to see where what and how I was approaching a fishery, they don't now-a-days, it is somebody else's problem- keeping their hard work and practice to themselves-
I am glad I succeeded at the top level, but I don't miss it now. One of the problems fishing competitively, as in other sports, it is hard work. It takes much time and comitment, so much so that it ceases to be a 'sporting' endeavour, it becomes work-enjoyable work, but work none the less. I reached the stage where I wanted to be able to go fishing and enjoy being out there, see the wildlife, the views and the beauty again. They had got lost in the drive to succeed, the need to be prepared, to win. Now I can go out and not worry about catching fish, but enjoy being there.
These days I enter the competitions to take part and possibly do well. If I do great! if I don't it isn't the end of the world, I've done it before, but I don't feel the need to do it again. I would like to do it, but not to the extent that I'm willing to give it the same commitment I used to.

These are some of the flies I tied up.

The bead-headed ones are designed to sink quickly and to keep the flies deep in heavy flowing water. The others are designed to fish just below the surface.
I will possibly fish others on the surface but I have plenty of those already, I didn't need to tie more up.

Incidently the flies are actually only about half the size of the pictures, but if I didn't re-size them the pic wouldn't really be much good due to the lack of detail you would have.

Tomorrow I have to go over to Blessington to help put the club boats on the lake...I may even do a little fishing while I am there...although I really should do some river fishing I feel I'll be fresh on Sunday if conditions are hard.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Dog days..

Another lazy day! I did some running around, (& earned a few euro too). My wife then took me Grocery shopping....'nuff said- end of any chance to do some painting. I'm off out Greyhound racing tonight for the Lad's night out...I bought two 285 cm flyrods, complete with lines, reels etc. in Lidle today for 35 euro each...ideal for beginners to use! and I get a few of those booking trips with me. At 35 euro I am not worried about the rods/reels/line being damaged or broken so it was great.So I got a bargain as well as earning I'm off out to lose some of the H.E.C.* on the dogs...

*hard earned cash...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Another garden painting.

It was a beautiful day today. I spent much of it in the walled garden beside my studio, starting another painting. The Blue sky and sunshine really lifts ones spirits....I almost found myself singing while working's just as well I don't sing...I can't!.. I haven't a photo of the piece, I didn't want to photograph it yet, but I did take the big Castri Window painting outside and take daylight photos of it. I have uploaded them as they seem a lot clearer than the last ones.
I'm off to a meeting tonight so I am rushing, but I had an enquiry about commissioning a painting for a retirement gift for a company exec...fingers crossed it will come to pass

Monday, March 27, 2006

I left my van over to the workshop to have the work done on it this morning. This afternoon I hopped on a bus into town and visited a couple of art supply shops. I bought 9 canvases with a 3 for the price of 2 offer...with my Artist's 10% discount it made them very reasonable. It is about time something went right, I've had a lot of upsets in the last couple of weeks. I am hoping my van will be ready sometime tomorrow. Obviously I did no work in the studio today. I may get a taxi up to it in the morning, or I might wait until I have the van, I think it's going to be another wet day.
I hope I can get working again soon as I'm getting very down again between this and that. I need to produce work I'm happy with to cheer me up, it's a hard life when the creative juices are absent.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

I stayed away from the studio today, I just couldn't face going into it knowing the likelyhood of being hemmed and hasseled by Market stalls again. It is a pity, but to be honest the sad fact is they are driving me away from my studio. I am not able for the hassel. While it means I'll be fresh and happy on Monday when I go up rather than still seething and annoyed like last week, I am missing out on my chances to work and possibly sell when the courtyard is busy. The other side of it is I'm raising my blood pressure sky high, getting no work done anyway and not being able to recieve visitors either, so in effect by not going up to the studio I'm not really missing out on any 'business' .

Oh well I'm going fishing tomorrow.....

Friday, March 24, 2006

smiles and rain

I am back from my trip up North, teeth fixed and polished. Today I was going to go up to the studio but it is so grey, wet and miserable I didn't bother. Mainly because I would be relying on a lift there and back. My Van won't be sorted until Monday or Tuesday. It is 5.30 pm here now and the rain has stopped and it is at last brightening up, but the day has been wasted...I have done a few jobs around the house and cleared up a couple of chores but I don't feel like doing much today. I will go to the studio in the morning, and hopefully be able to get in and out of it without being hemmed in again..If I can I'd like to start another painting in the walled garden, but the weather will probably be unsuitable. I will take a picture of the last one if I remember. I am still thinking about the big canvas..

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ups and downs of a day.

I went to start my van this morning and my battery was flat again. (The new one) Obviously my alternator is caput, but there was no warning light on my Dashboard to tell me it wasn't working!! I bought a new battery last week needlessly. Now I've to spent 350 euro on a new alternator. I got a neighbour to try to jump start the van but the battery was too flat. I needed to get to the studio to meet a client today. Luckily the neighbour offered to drop me up to the studio, so that saved me getting a taxi-cab. The client arrived early/on time so I went into the walled garden and finished the painting I had started in there the other week as it was quite pleasant today, sunny and not too cold. I am happy with the painting..but I don't have a photo of it yet. I had just returned to the studio (about 2 pm.) with the finished painting when Noel phoned. "It's a nice day isn't it" "fancy going fishing?" a walk home, or go fishing....
Noel collected me half an hour later, collected my fishing gear and off we went to Blessington Lakes for the afternoon. 3 lovely fish later, about 6.15 we decided to come home. A satisfied Artist/Angler included...I don't even mind having to get the Van sorted out on Friday now, (I'm off to the Dentist tommorrow) a good 1/2 days fishing was just the tonic I needed.
Aint Life funny?

Monday, March 20, 2006

A large canvas and being creative with my Art....

I bought a few canvases this morning, two 24 by 18's and a deep-edged 40 by 32 inch canvas also. I feel if I work on the larger piece I will be more creative. You are forced to think, phsycologically anyway, when working on a large expensive ground. I spent the rest of the day planning a painting for it....unfortunately I haven't come up with anything interesting enough.
If the weather improves, or a least if the wind and rain stop tommorrow I may look outside for inspiration. If not I feel another still-life may be in order.........
A week in the sun would do wonders for my creative streak...but alas, I can't really afford another 'holiday abroad' at the moment, and added to that, it is still a bit early in the year even for the Med.
I saw a nice view of the mountains on the way to Newcastle/Adamstown this morning while dropping the dogs off for their hair-cuts, but the light had changed by the time I was coming back and it no longer looked as interesting, that is another one of the problems with Irelands weather...
Incidently, I still haven't been fishing.....there must be something wrong with not fishing, means I'm ill. Maybe during the week...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Under seige again

I arrived at my studio to find it hemmed in by Market stalls again. The excuse was 'There is a van in the way' It wasn't my Van so why should I have to suffer?
I really feel I am being bullied and Victimised by the Market. My studio is the only one being interfered with. It is constant, persistant intimidation. When I complain I am treated with cat-calls from some stall traders. The Organiser is never there, and when she is, she is very unconcerned about my point of view.
I am going to have yet another face to face about the situation, along with a letter stating my case, which I will CC to all I can. If that doesn't work I will go the legal route.
It is affecting my work. It is impossible to be creative in situations where you feel both uncomfortable and annoyed. I was not able to paint, and yet I was looking forward to getting down to work in the studio this morning. The upshot was I came home again after an hour of fuming, knowing I was not going to be able to work no matter how long I stayed. I did have to go back later though as I forgot to unplug the heaters etc. when I left, due to my annoyance. The whole situation is irritating and un-neccessary, there is plenty of room for the market stalls in the center of the courtyard where they are supposed to be. We (the tennants) were told the stalls would be in the center of the courtyard and our units/entrances would not be intefered with when the Saturday market was proposed.
I really feel like giving up the studio with all the hassel. Saturday is the one day where I might make a sale from my studio...but only when access is open. I feel it is not worth the trouble at the moment. An unhappy studio is worse than no studio. You can work without a studio, but you can't work in a situation that upsets you - and the creative process- and I am finding the situation very stressful. Over 8 hours later I am still stressed. I watched the Rugby International, Ireland beat England but I found it didn't even alter my mood. I am both depressed and irate. It is eating away at me. I know I should shrug it off, but I'm too upset to do it.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day..

I haven't been fishing, and I don't think I will be's bitterly cold. I have a Turkey in the oven for dinner. I am looking out of the window at the willow tree in next door's garden, it's in full flower with the 'pussy-willow' flowers, they kind of fit the hail and sleet showers.
The light outside is harsh, cold & white even though the sky is grey. I think there is snow on the way. There are no birds around the garden. There don't even seem to be any at the bird feeders next door. The birds must be huddled somewhere for warmth, out of the Easterly wind. It is amazing how even the red roofs look cold in the light. Everything has a pale wan aura. It is not that grey colourless effect of a wet day, it is quite bright, the colours just have no warmth in them.
I wonder where spring is?
I am just going to vegetate today. I'd watch Television, but there is nothing (of interest) on.
I have a couple of books to leaf through though.

I may go fishiong on Sunday, we have a club competition on the Blackwater, but I don't fancy the chances of catching much, but there is a nice snug hostelry maybe..........

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I am not a happy camper...

The battery on my van decided to die today....67 euro for a new one and that was at trade price. The said battery had shown no sign of problems, I started it this morning with no problem at all. It started again half an hour later. I collected stuff and dropped it off, went to start the van again and zilch.....after a jump start and a check on the battery connections I ran the van for a half an hour. switched off, and battery dead again....
I got a cheap 9 euro wing mirror that will keep me going until I find a decent one in the same motor factors though.

I also had to cancell my fishing trip....snow is snowed today as well, but if we get snow falls in the midlands it could get dodgy for driving home tommorrow evening, so caution prevails...I might nip down to the river tommorrow afternoon for a half an hour...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I'm tired..............

I've just dropped in while waiting for my Pizza Dough to rise....I'll be going out later, we moved the lads night out to tonight instead of tommorrow night because with Friday being st. Patrick's day the pub will be busy, we really are becoming old codgers..LOL.
I managed to get most of my chores done...checks lodged and written....lamp in my vans headlight, (I still need a wing mirror) I popped into the studio just to check all was well.
I'll have a busy day tommorrow, catching up on the few odds and ends I skipped today to catch up on the jobs I needed to do......It's a never-ending

I am looking forward to my fishing Friday. I need a break. Long structured days take some getting used's the fact that you have to be there from X to Y and for if you go somewhere for 30 minutes, and you get delayed you are under pressure to get back on time. With Dublin Traffic DELAYS are the rule, not an exeption..
It is a dreary day here in Dublin, low cloud, drizzling rain and dull I havent missed much painting wise...I find it hard to work when it is like this anyway. I'm off out to buy my Lotto ticket now...I might get lucky...

Monday, March 13, 2006

Artist? not at the moment...

My week is planned out for me...I won't manage to get into the studio at all. I am covering for a friend all week again.. He has just buried his mother, 3 weeks after his father died..added to my friends demise yesterday it's hard to the upshot is I'm otherwise employed for the week, well until friday anyway, and I'm going fishing on Friday, it is St.Patricks day. I have a few things I need to do, and I can't even get time to do them this week!!
I need to send a list of work for an exhibition. I've to post a receipt for a painting I sold. I have to lodge a check (my grant check) and pay the rates bill (4 figures!). easy come easy go....

Being an Artist, it's nice to be able to stand in the breach at short notice for friends in need, it is good for that purpose this relatively unstructured life... and it's not abused by friends........

I am also in the middle of organising opposition to the new fishery bill proposed by the govt. It is almost the fishing equivalent of taking all the local authority football grounds/parks and giving them to the highest bidder to run at a profit as they see fit, Ignoring the fact that children use them free of charge and they are used by the poorer members of our society because they are affordable, and charging Golf/country club prices for their use. At the same time giving the pollution control, now run by the fishery boards, over to the worst offenders, local authorities.
More on this later...I've to word a proposal for debate at a political meeting.....

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Quiet Sunday

I did little or nothing today. I heard this morning a friend died of a heart attack on the Golf course earlier in the morning. I would have said he was as fit as a fiddle, he certainly seemed to be. That's life I suppose. We spoke Friday, and teased each other as usual, both of us fully expecting to do the same again either this week or next...
It makes you think..

Life is Fragile.
Yes it was wet and windy I did a little touch up on Castri window...and then I signed it.
Yes it's finished.

I had a coffe or two, checked my mail...I got my grant check from the Dept. of culture....hooray....and a Rates bill from the council....there goes most of the grant check...
At least I don't have to worry about paying the rates this year...I came home early and watched the Rugby International, sorry Scotland we stuffed you.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I have been all over the place for the last 3 days, I collected my mother wednesday morning, had my wing mirror smashed by a hit and run driver on the way..I didn't get time to get his as he was speeding too fast..It could have been worse he could have done a lot more damage.
I am having difficulty getting a new one. It is difficult driving the van without it too, there is a large blind spot with just the rear view mirror. I'll have to try a few breakers yards next week...a mitsubishi original is very-very-very expensive....

Moving on, I have been helping out a friend since wednesday lunch time, and on top of that I had a meeting on wednesday night, the lads night out last night, and I am just in the door now at's now 7.35 pm...and I'm exhausted..I am not really used to Physical labour any add to that late nights and early mornings and I'm shattered.
I am looking forward to the studio tomorrow, first day since tuesday....I don't think the weather will suit the garden painting though we are due high winds and rain..I got a new mobile phone today, a Nokia 6230i, complete with camera and more forgotten camera problems, ha ha ..of course I will have to figure out how to use it first....there is always a down-side, I am not exactly techno minded.....I'll play around for a while to figure it out as usual..If ALL else fails, I'll read the manual..I'm off to play with my new toy now..

Monday, March 06, 2006

A pleasant spring day..

It was quite pleasant out today, so much so I ventured into the walled garden in Marlay Park to start a plien-air painting,

I only really got the foundation washes laid in though as the paint obviously was going to be very slow drying. The photo is both of the work and the view I was painting. I will upload more detailed views later in the week, assuming I get the weather to continue with the painting, both of the garden and of the work....the painting is on an 18 inch by 14 inch canvas incidently.
I'm looking forward to spending a few hours in the walled garden over the summer..I will try to capture some of it's recreated borders and Kitchen gardens throughout the year.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

another visit to the soap-box...

I spent today preparing an application for an Artist's Residency programme.
The putting together of ideas and proposals is time consuming. I don't get a lot of practice at it either, as I don't often hear about these type of programmes. It is the lack of interaction with other artists again. We miss the old 'Art Bulletin' that the defuct Artist Association provided. The lack of communication between artists and arts organisations is a problem. It can be difficult to get on everyones databases, and even if you do, getting left on it during updates, or getting included in mailings/notices is still hit and miss.

However, I'm happy with my proposal, now I just need to collate the supporting images, organise my referees and ensure the application arrives before the deadline on Friday. If I am lucky enough to be considered it will be great, as it will ensure my financial viability for another few years. It is hard to be creative while looking at negative equity, and not knowing if your rent payment will clear the bank. These programmes are the equivalet of the old style art patron, where a commission would allow an artist to live for a year or two. These days art patrons seem to want to buy Art cheaply, while still expecting massive gains in value. The general public expect Artists to starve for their art....Van Gogh did....they forget the Rembrandts, the DaVinchis, Stubbs, Turner etc. who lived quite comfortably and sold their work for more than the average years wage. If you go to study law, business, medicine or in fact most things at third level you can expect to earn a good income or be paid a good fee for services art and you can expect to starve..or work elsewhere and try to steal the occaisional hours to paint or whatever.
I am lucky, in that my income is not neccessary for my families survival, therefor I can paint full time. The lack of appreciation though still rankles. I am a professional Artist...I want to be seen as a professional, not as some sort of wastrel, dabbling away for my love of painting. I do love my painting, but I shouldn't have to scrimp and save, or be carried financially to continue doing what I do. Culture, unlike history, needs constant upgrading, but it is as important to our heritage as our history yet we ignore those that provide it. Profit is todays god, value is seen as how cheap something can be obtained, quality is ignored. Today's throw away society is in danger of discarding heritage and culture with the other broken worn out possessions.

The Art's with the exeption of a minority (successful singers/songwriters and novelists) are falling further behind.

...Theatres that need constant bailing out if they don't produce "commercial popular" theatre. Playwrights and writers have to look at whats popular rather than relevant. We the visual artist's either have to work outside the arts or produce quick commercial work, be it design or interior decor rather than art..will lead to an artistic and cultural wasteland.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Crashed again......

I misbehaved today again...I haven't been near the studio. My PC. was playing up, a glitch in the firewall programme..Fixed eventually. I am not I.T. advanced enough to know too much about these things and end up spending hours between help-lines and knowledgeable friends to be able to sort these things out. Yet some of my friends come to me for help with their computors..?????.
I am self taught, so my knowledge is limited. I can't learn from books or in structured classes though, I never could adapt to that way of learning. I'm probably too rebellious. I like 'experimenting' my way around problems...a bit like puzzles, try this here, that there etc. I have a logical and pictorial brain that makes this method surprisingly successful!! However it used to drive teachers around the twist at times...LOL. That said I get by....

The temperatures have risen slightly, it is now just about 0 degrees centigrade, and getting milder...I might even go fishing later next week..if it continues to get warmer.

My Mother is off Gallivanting next week, so I said I'd collect her and drive her to the Airport on Wednesday, I know you probably aren't interested, but if it's down here I'll probably remember...

Friday, March 03, 2006

Well, I'm recovered after my partying...I spent all afternoon in the studio. I spent hours working on my 7ft Castri Window painting. I was adjusting the whites here and there, tweeking this and that...I think I am nearly finished though.
I had a couple of visitors about 5-ish, and they were enamoured with it...
Isn't it funny how visitors always seem to come in groups? A bit like Busses... I find problems are the same, catch one and they all want to get in the trap! I had three seperate visitors this evening..all dropping in for a chat. I enjoyed it. I really must organise an Artist's get together...
I am in need of a spending spree...a few more large canvases, or at least the makings of some.
I feel the need to paint BIG.
I have just got out of bed...It is after 11 am....Oh the decadence...We had a Lads Poker night last night....LATE NIGHT POKER NIGHT.....I have a hangover too, too many bloody Mary's...
But I am off to the studio now..I will come back this evening...promise.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It is COLD! we have had more snow, it barely got above freezing today. I am not used to the cold....and whats more...I don't want to.
I have very little of interest to say, I'm cold and miserable...I have to get myself organised to apply for a residency (closing date the 10th) and have a serious outline of my ideas...I only learnt of it at short notice so I'm starting late....
(It is worth 60,000 euro over two years though, so it is worth applying for.....2 years in
all in all I'm in a depressing mood....cold and miserable...miserable and cold......
I promise to write more tommorrow...I'm off to the fireside, that will be cheery, and I can work on some ideas... a blazing fire...(GAS these Days) ...and a mug of hot Tea....Dog curled at my feet..(usually on them, or my lap)...she likes a good fire too....