Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Crashed again

My computor crashed again...woe is me.
At least I had most files on backup.
As you can gather I'm up and running again.
I may even have time to write a Blog tommorrow.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Are all families like this?

I was thinking last night, the only time I hear from my family is if they want something, or, at funerals and weddings. Unless I do the contacting no-one else picks up the phone or sends an e-mail, unless it's from my younger brother- he sends an e-mail of photo's of himself and his family twice a year and I come between H & J in the listings....he writes two lines, attaches the photos and then sends to all in his address book. I havent heard from my other brother in months. I phoned the last 3 times we spoke and I'm feeling a little peeved that I haven't been contacted at all over the Summer. I can forgive the Aussie he's a long way away, but P is only an hours drive away and is in Dublin for meetings a couple of times a month.

It's funny really, they say 'Where there is a will, there are relatives' it must be because I'm a "starving" $$$$$/££££ to leave....mind you I'm a long way from dead yet I hope.
I'm off to my Mothers again on Saturday evening, she is having a Bar-B-Q as it is her birthday today..HAPPY B'DAY MUM.... I will see the relatives/family there I am sure. I got a phone call yesterday from Dave, my best man (years ago) I hear from him far more often. (OOOOps forgot to return his call, I'd better do that now.) The reality is your nearest are often the most inconsiderate, but would we be without them?

I am consoled by the fact that at least no-one is looking for anything at the moment. Do you know what I mean?. The favours are often couched in phrases or offers like 'I have a job you might be interested in'...translation: I need some-one dependable to do this job, but, the pay is slave wages that nobody in their right mind would work for and it's not worth the hassel.
I still find it hard to say No! but I'm getting there. Maybe I should go to therapy. Maybe I'm just gullible or a sucker? I don't mind doing favours, but I do mind people who wont come out and ASK!.

I am off to a childrens fishing competition on Saturday morning, running around to give assistance, tips and hopefully measure a few fish (so they can be released) for score keeping. It is part of the angling clubs calender, and that is the kind of work I enjoy doing as the Kids are the sports future. In the meantime I'm going to get a good days work in tommorrow in the Studio.

I feel like painting.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A big wind clean-up and packaging.

I spent my morning cleaning up after storms last night (120 km per hour winds). All my baskets pots and tubs were blown over and around. Tall plants flattened and broken.
The clean-up took a while. I then spent the afternoon packing some paintings for shipping, and then sending them off, I'm on my way out now for a meeting.
Tommorrow I'm occupied with meetings for this and that so it looks like Friday is the first chance I'll get to paint. Working as a full time Artist isn't all painting you know! I'm working on a few Ideas though, I'm going back to water..........It must be the Angler in me.

This blog will get back to normal/abnormal in a week or so, or at least as I intended it to be, a documentary on my work. I just need to settle in to work first.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Oh it's a hard life....Honestly

I went fishing to Lough Owel near Mullingar yesterday. Noel and myself fished hard all day and hadn't even seen a fish by 6.30. At 6.35 we had a fish each in the boat. It's a funny old world.
We ended up with 5 trout for the day, following a hatch of green buzzer which lasted for an hour and a half. We fished until 10 pm. so I was late home hence no blog yesterdy folks.

Today I wandered through a few galleries and soaked up the paintings that I liked. I am still at the cross-roads work wise. I am not altogether sure where I am going with my work. I find I am strongly drawn back to painting more water, yet I spent the last 18 months doing that one way or another. It obviously isn't finished as a subject yet. I'll keep you posted one way or another.........

But back to today, I then wandered around until 5.30 and came home,I am now going to watch football on the TV. as I said....It's a HARD life.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Another Restful day, playing with water

I spent this Sunday visiting my mother. She has a garden pond that is constantly topped up by a hose coming from a stream. Well that is the normal Idea, except the dam on the stream had sprung a leak, thus allowing the water level to fall below the level of the hose so the pond wasn't topping up. Now the pond leaks, so no flowing water means the level of the pond creeps lower and lower. This equals panic. Panic equals me going down to sort out the problem.
I sorted out the dam by repairing the leaking area, used a pump to clear the air-locks in the 150 meters of hose, and, after a long day, left the water tumbling into the pond. Happy Goldfish.Happy Mother.
I wonder why I never have time to do this and that around the house/garden etc.?
One of these days my time won't be mapped out by who needs me to do what.
How come no-one ever says "what would you like to do?"

Ah! the mysteries of life are never ending.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Lazy Summer Days

It was one of those days, I popped up to the studio via the art supply store. While I was there the sun was shinning, the concert preparations were going on with sound checks etc. and I found it impossible to work. I decided to come home again.
I've just spent the day sunning myself in the Garden, lazing away the day.
BLISS! I really must do it again soon.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Helpful BIG business.

Last April I sent Paintings over to a Gallery in Memphis for an Exhibition coinciding with the 'Memphis in May' festival. Fed-ex quoted 262 euro , when I arrived with the paintings I was told 700 euro and they would have to go surface frieght, (and arrive 2 weeks too late for the show) I sent them by Airmail with the post office 270 euro. (They arrived 3 days late for the opening they got lost at JFK but thats another story already documented on abc news 24(US))
I needed the unsold paintings collected from the Gallery in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. the home of Fed-Ex so I asked for another quote over the phone. 262 euro. So I set up an account with Fed-ex and they went to collect the package, the same story, 700 euro, by freight. This is twice Fed-ex quoted 262 over the phone and tripled the price on arrival. I said NO! (as a poor Artist would). I am left wondering is it Fed-ex's Policy to under quote to get the customer? maybe if a fed-ex representative reads this they will give us an answer?.
I then rang around other courier companies to discover costs were going to be 700 -1500 euro to get my paintings back in good condition.

As a Full-time Artist I obviously couldn't afford that kind of money to bring them back. To cut a long (no pun intended) story short, I contacted Dhl customer services to see what assistance they could be. The upshot of this? they are collecting my babies (paintings) next week and delivering them back to me for 225 euro. So a very BIG thankyou to Caroline and all in DHL Couriers.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Marlay Park Concert in progress

I have been busy on my concert creation, the work is 12 inches square and coming along nicely.

I will take a few more detailed photos in a day or two, but you can see the general Idea.
The first concert is tommorrow and the second is on Saturday so I'll not be in my studio for a few days. I prefer to work in peace and quiet, or at least out of major decibels anyway.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Why? why not and will you.

I had one of those conversations today, You know the one.
Will you:- blah-blah.......No I can't.....why? ......I have other plans....what?!.....cant you cancel it.......No........why won't you......etc. The same person would not lift a finger to help you if you were drowning. But, if you are not available to do a favour........whine,whine,wheedle,whine...

It took almost an hour to say NO!. In the meantime the calm serenity of the studio dissappeared, 5 minutes of reflection/meditation didn't repair the damage and an afternoon was wasted. I now have to hide away tommorrow so I'm not accosted again . I sent the offender off to seek the help from some-one else.....who is out of town at the moment.

Because I have a large Van, people seem to think I've nothing better to do than operate a free courier service.
Mind you, I am getting used to it after 20 odd years. The questions are no longer ignored, I've developed smart sarcastic answers to them. Other Artists will know them well, they include, When are you going to get a proper job?/ Why don't you work for XYZ?/ Isn't it a nice Pastime? the latter also comes under the list of Asides the great unwashed retort, such as It's a lovely hobby/ I dabble a bit myself/ my granny goes to classes but she doesn't sell hers, they are good./ you want that price for a picture!!/ and the all time classic " that scene would make a lovely photograph"............. the mind Boggles.

My Own Brother..the younger one who never had to struggle for anything, ( lucky? you could drop him out of an airplane and he'd land on his two feet, probably in a new pair of shoes!) even had the cheek to ask why I didn't get a proper job. By the way for those that require an answer....I spent 4 years in college to paint not work in an office....
It's the only Profession where you get a degree to work for less than the minimum wage.....
but as my tormentor realises...when you work for nothing, you'll never be unemployed.
PS. I'm still thinking about S.O.B., Any philantrophists out there want to finance a few good Artist's Parties, we'll even let you join in.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Good Day's Work, and a surprise visitor

I did it!
I actually managed a days work..It is hard to start when you've been away for a while. Even more so when I can't just find something to create that spark. I was rummaging through sketches, seeking the one that lit the fires of creativity.
After an hour I glanced out of the back window of the studio, this is the view that I normally see:-

But the construction of the stage (for the weekends rock concerts) was well underway and the scaffolding was almost fully up. That gave me the idea for a painting. I was in the studio for the last concert, Oasis, because Eoin my son was at it and I was giving him a lift home. I remembered how the spotlights shone out into the darkness over the crowd. Using this image and contrasting the normal peace and quiet of the park with the beat and sounds, lights etc. created by the concert I started creating a painting of the concert.

This is a rough idea of what I am doing as I did not have a camera to show the work in progress.

It is an image built on the computor so obviously the colours are very flat but you can get the Idea of what I am trying to do. I'll show an illustration of the work when I am happy with what I have done.

I was working away sketching out my Idea when I had a surprise visit from another Artist I hadn't seen in 7 or 8 years, so we had a pleasant afternoon discussing art and common aquaintances, (gossip!) amongst other things. The other Artist is in the process of moving studio, she has spent a number of years working from home but is finding it increasingly difficult now her family are getting old enough to get into mischief!. Finding a studio that is affordable is almost impossible, anything within 90 minutes of Dublin is at least 750 euro ($1,000) a month, plus insurance, light, heat, etc.

Working away in my studio I don't have the interaction with other Artists that I'd like, but I find many of my Artistic friends and colleagues that once worked in group Studios, or the City centre areas beside coffee shops etc. where they could meet, have had to move outside Dublin to continue. The few I know still in Dublin are mainly those of us who have been established in the suburbs for a number of years, but we are dissapearing fast.

We were discussing a group studio which has moved out from Dublin to Wicklow, seemingly because the Artists could afford to buy/rent houses outside Dublin but not in the City. The upshot of this trend is that the Bohemian lifestyle of Artist's is dissapearing from our culture, Artists are becoming more of a Rural occupant, less bohemian more vegetable patch self-sufficient type, more likely to be feeding the chickens in the evening than discussing Art around a Cafe or Pub table. A sad state of affairs.

Maybe I'll start an Organisation S.O.B. Save our Bohemians.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Fishing, not catching.

Well I'm back from a fruitless days fishing..........thats why they don't call it catching. Mind you a bad day fishing is much better than a good day working. My morning was not very productive either, I had to lodge to the bank and make a few phone calls so I didn't get up to the studio at all.
I'll make up for it tommorrow with a long day at the I'm off to bed now...'night-night!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A day of rest!

Another Sunday almost over. How restful they are....Gardening, Window cleaning..including our LARGE conservatory, and all the other chores around the house. I haven't worked as hard all week!!...and I mean ALL week was less work!! I am shattered! It is amazing what damage a little rain can do with warm weather and a garden. The weeds seem to grow like the triffids in the film.... our nastirtiums had covered over about 12 feet of patio area too. It took me half an hour to find the pot plants in amongst them, so I had to attack them with shears. My lawnmower kept telling me to get a tractor and make Hay instead of cutting the grass.(jungle not lawn) least the weeds in the lawn help keep it green, the moss turns brown in the heat very quickly.
As you can gather, I'm not a keen gardener, but Christine won't let me put the garden under concrete and water...more water than concrete of course.

I still have to re-do my pond, it sprung a leak last year and has been dry for 6 months. I filled it in with rubble so I could turn it into a patio area and move the pond up near the house and conservatory. Christine has decided I should re-do it down the other end though, and leave the lawn area, so thats a job for next year...A big earthmoving monster with a mechanical digging arm is called for, I am going to do the job right!...paddling pool is nothing! next time my friend the heron paddles in my fish pond he's gonna sink. I am going 5 feet deep and increasing the area from 18 by 14 feet to 20 by 18, plus a nice streamy area with a big flow instead of the little waterfall we used to have.

In the mean time I do like my pot plants, I have loads of mediteranean plants like bougainvillia, Bird of Paradise Flowers, Hibiscus, Canaes etc. which grow outdoors during the summer and spend the winter in the conservatory. (I can't get the bird of paradise to flower this year though, I think they are too well fed, its all leaf growth on them.) C says I pay more attention to them than her, I tell her it's because they need more help to look beautiful. She's good at making that answer look believable, but one of these days I'm not going to get away with it.

It's 9.50 local time here and it's already dark, the evenings are drawing in fast. I'm looking out the window behind the computor screen and I can see the silluette of the birch tree at the end of the garden against the sky. There isn't a breath of wind and the sky is almost cloudless, but I can't really see the stars there are too many street lights in Dublin for stargazing, just another form of pollution.

C is going away for three days in the morning, our son is not going to be home tomorrow either, so if I go to the studio all day and come home in the evening it will just be me for dinner...I hate eating alone...No I mean it ; I HATE eating alone, I've decided I'm not going to...I'm going fishing with Noel, we will eat together on an Island on the lough..........Well any excuse to go fishing! so if there is an entry to the Blog tommorrow it will be short and late!

I have made arrangements to collect Noel at lunchtime, I can put a few hours in at the studio first...I've a couple of canvases to sand down in preparation for painting, the weave is a bit too fine leaving the surface very smooth after the priming process so I need to roughen them up a bit to give a good grip to the paint. I would hate to think of the oils flaking off from the canvas as I've seen happen with the fine detail canvas. Normally I get the coarser canvas but I bought this lot over the net and until it arrived I didn't realise it was going to be so smooth and fine.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Grinning Like a Cheshire Cat

Well, I did go to the Studio today, and even started cleaning it. I cleaned and scraped my Palette, prepared my paint and refilled the palette, that took most of the morning!.
My palette consists of 16 colours, cerulean blue, cobalt blue, ultramarine, and windsor blue, Permanent green in the three shades, deep, plain and light,four yellows, lemon,chrome,cadmium and cadmium deep, Winsor Orange, bright red, permanent alirizon crimson, dioxine violet/cobalt violet(cobalt is colder for when I use purple to cool the yellows but it is very expensive.) and of course white, either titanium or Flake, (which is now un-obtainable and I havent come across its replacement!! HELP!). Luckily I had a stockpile but it's run very low.

Enough about my paint though...We Artist's are passionate about our paint at the best of times!, incidently by preparing my paint I mean getting it to the correct consistency, thin and pliable but meaty enough to lay on the canvas...or to put it plainly mashing it up with a mixture of oil/medium by way of a palette knife. SORRY forgot I was leaving the subject.

After lunch I had a visitor to my Studio and sold a large painting. Sales from my Studio are a great bonus as I don't have to pay the gallery commission and earn a lot more for my work. Selling this way means I can afford to splash out on new brushes, that new hardback sketch book I wanted, a new pair of waders..........I might even take the Wife out to celebrate, but lets not get carried away!. I can now book my flights to the Florence Biennale in December, I started the year needing to find 6,000 euro to take part, I now have 4,000 toward it and the prospect of a 1,500 euro grant from the Irish Government on production of the receipts for said amount, (my Bank manager will let me have the cash advance, at a small cost as usual) so all I need now is 500 spending money, Registration, flights, shipping and accomodation all accounted for...Yippee!

The 'Roadies' are busy erecting a stage in the Park behind my studio for next weekend's Rock concerts and they all have thier tents and camper vans parked in the Courtyard's car-park. It is almost impossible to park our cars when we go to the studios/workshops. I had forgotton that the Concerts were next weekend, I might have stayed gallivanting for another week had I remembered...but there again I'd have missed my big sale.
I love watching the way they work though, when the health and safety officer is around they all wear hard-hats harnesses etc. as soon as he's gone they scurry up and down the scaffolding like monkeys without a care in the world, until, suddenly, the hard-hats and harnesses re-appear, 5 minutes before an inspector.

Come the week-end I'll need three different security passes to get near my studio, the promoters bring in their own security staff, for some reason they can't read a parking permit unless it is colour coded flourescent something or other (it changes each day) and is 12 inches by 10 inches in size. My van has a permanent permit for our reserved car-park (the one that is now a caravan park/ campsite) but it always fails to get access until you phone up and complain, then some-one has to run down to the entrance with a flourescent billboard for you.....the radio's stuck in the ears must just be for show, no-one has come up with the fact if they told the guy on the gate to let the van with the permit in the window, who is at that very moment phoning up on his cell-phone 'cos you won't let him in, in, (grammar doesn't look right but what the heck it's only a rant) some poor idiot wouldn't have to run 500 yards with an A4 placard that says 'let him in'. The mind boggles.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Fish and fishing

I am back from my fishing trip, It started with helping with a fish stocking at Blessington Lakes,

We stocked about 1500 fish, all rainbow trout. The operation took about 2 and a half hours, with half a dozen helping to distribute the fish around the lake (about 3 miles were stocked), the lake is 9 miles long formed in three arms, the lower arm is the area that is stocked with trout, the other two arms have spawning rivers entering them and are more or less left to stock themselves.

When the work was done three of us took a boat out and headed across the lake to do some fishing. After an hour or two fruitless drifting we pulled up on the shore for some food and waited hoping for a bit of wind to improve our chances as there was very little ripple.

As you will see from the photo we had the cloud cover but not the breeze. We eventually went back out for an hour and I managed to catch two fish after a change of flies, and by varying my tactics. Niether of my two companions managed to catch though so the afternoon was a bit dissapointing.

The fly that did the trick was a little jungle cock Dunkeld, fished on the point of a three fly cast, with a big bushy fly causing a wake on the top dropper to stimulate the interest from the trout which often take one of the following flies below the surface.

If not you often find you will get some fish splashing at the top dropper itself.

I am ready to go back to my studio tommorrow now. Time to do some work I think, now whether I tidy the studio or do a bit of painting remains to be seen, I will work with a brush anyway, if not the paint brush the sweeping brush will beckon!!

I'm trying to escape

I tried to sneak out for a half hour, I left herself sleeping by the computer...

The look of disgust/disdain say's it I think she's stupid? Guess who is going for a drive?

A little info on me and my family

I am married to Christine with one 19 year old son Eoin, one old Dog, a cocker spaniel and another spaniel bitch that thinks she is a daughter not a dog...always wants to sit on my lap and have a cuddle...she is curled up at my feet at the moment...snoring away as usual. I'll find a picture of her and upload it soon but in the meantime this is me on Lough Corrib returning a nice trout... the dog is at the bottom left corner butting in as usual.

Greg Long, Artist and Angler, Hello all

Hi Everyone. I'm Greg, I am an Irish Artist, (for my sins) Normally I paint full-time, but for the last 3 weeks I've been off gallivanting. (gallivanting means travelling/having fun/skiiving etc.)
I travelled around the country enjoying our unseasonable sunshine, in Ireland we usually have showers for most of the summer, then it rains for the winter and spring. I got lots of sketching done though...It was too bright to go fishing most of the time! so I don't feel too guilty but I miss my Studio and I am starting to suffer withdrawal symptoms..........

Tommorrow I am going fly-fishing for trout, It is due to rain so conditions should be good, and I should catch a few.
Saturday I have to go into the studio and organise it for next weeks endeavours...collect the post..there are sure to be BILLS, they don't stop for holiday time, and catch up on the Gossip. My studio is in the Courtyard/Haggard of a renovated Georgian country house, Marlay House, now turned into a municipal Park, Marlay Park is situated in Rathfarnham, South Dublin at the foothills of the Wicklow Hills and although only 8 miles from the city centre it is in quiet parkland looking out onto the mountains, with peacocks strutting around. I live 5 minutes away from the studio too so I don't have too far to commute!!. I will share some of my works with you through this blog, but you can see some at You can find some more information about me at, my angling website.