One more of our milky way taken from Sugar Loaf, looking out over the hill towards Greystones lights below. That looks like Pleiades consolation (I could be wrong) there hovering the milk way, looking like a ring of diamonds leading the way as her flowy dress floats in a cosmic drift below..
I am ecstatic
This second capture I had a bit of extra fun with. Thinking of one of my favorite movies I’ve watched over and over Fire in the Sky. I will take my camera out to the woods next and brave the solitary darkness.
A glance at our Milky Way tonight. Its been a while since I took my camera to the stars. I am overwhelmed to say the least and reminded again.. at how small we really are. I am so inspired again too. I saw the rings of Saturn tonight with Galactic Wicklow (check them here btw – https://www.facebook.com/Galactic-Wicklow-281251289188731/ ). I am so happy to have finally seen Saturn and its fine bangles and Jupiter and its stormy silenced belts.. No words.. none..
I joined the small group of wonderful people tonight on the Sugarloaf where the sky was just lit up with stars, satellites, star-clouds and clusters, nebula too..and then there was Andromeda.. All my childhood wonders came flushing back about our universe and it is still a wonder.. I could go on..
Re-working ‘Torso’ which began last year in early 2019, this is one of 3 paintings I have re-visited in the past few months. In this first video below I am sharing some of my thoughts on what I was up to before finishing the painting a couple of days ago.
The figure has emerged again which can be said for most of my recent work. I think it comes from the under drawing where I recall the curvatures that I see in the landscape a lot of the time. I don’t want to pin it down as being what the work is though because there are many things I think of when drawing. I try to be as non-objective and as free and expressive as I can at the drawing stages at the beginning of the work.
Shared Space (Revisited) Oil on Canvas, 40cm x 40cm x 4cm 2019 – 2020
Revisiting this work from last year with new ideas and new found colour expression. You could say I just painted over it but its still there beneath and very much still alive to me.
‘Shared Space’, revisited and finally finished. It was one of those paintings where I thought was done.. However, for the past year almost and particularly recently, it kept catching my eye as it lay around the studio, being moved out of the way to make room for new works on the go. I was thinking with each glance that it needed something else, but I wasn’t quite sure what.
I went back to it over the past week or so and it somehow ended up here at this more colourful and brighter place. Its like the work now holds two paintings on its surface. The one beneath made the final layers of colour, marks and textures possible, I just went with its demands. It has become a better and more real ‘shared space’ to my mind and I hope its left enough of its former self to peep through.
Every so often I revisit a painting that resonates unresolved in the back of my mind. Here is ‘Lush’ forming a conclusion of sorts. Inspired by the warm summer sensations of a mid July and the colours that it brings. Tree stumps amongst an array of beauty and colour, where the foxglove dominates for a space in time till it deteriorates in a sort of empathy towards tee stumps.. and the rings of times are suddenly apparent.. Live the brightest moment until the stars re-align..
Here is today’s studio session where I am continuing one of a number of works on the go at the moment. This painting is because of Comet Neowise.. Sometimes I just get the urge to mark cosmic events however little or large its significance.
This is a painting from 2019 that I am revisiting. Where I have come to in my current ongoing series of work began in 2019 and my style is constantly evolving. Colour has become something I really want to bring into the work especially lately in these COVID dark times. Colour has become something I want to express through more and more. I want to bring a lot of colour and brightness to my work as a way to deal with current times.
This painting titled ‘Someone Was Here’, is part of an ongoing way to deal with the idea that we are only borrowing the universe.
This is a small part of how a painting I painted 2019 came about. It was mostly on my phone so apologies for the low quality in parts. I have recordings of other recent work in progress from my camera that I will be putting together soon.
Here is my painting, ‘After the Rain’, 40cm x 40cm x 4cm on extra fine canvas (my favorite surface to work on right now), it is painted in oils and cold wax. I make myself my own cold wax medium from unbleached bees wax and turpentine. I prefer to make my own as part of the process and I like to make different batches from time to time, according to my needs and preferences.
I am happy to say that I have also donated this painting recently to a silent auction online where all proceeds go to a wonderful charity, Friends of the Coombe. Bidding is currently live at the InsideOutHomeshow if you are interested in owning this painting while also helping the great cause.
Here is a small new work, untitled for now. Sometimes I paint these smaller ones while I am working on a larger scale painting. They help stop the over thinking and allow a sense of release when moving between the small and the larger scale
My latest painting, hung as diptych but can be separate.
I just finished this diptych yesterday. It was a troublesome one and took longer than other paintings to get to a place I was happy with so I hope the time and work paid off. I started it early in the COVID19 lockdown and I just wanted to paint something large scale away from the small works I hade been doing. It turned out that I wasn’t able to get the type of canvas I wanted in large size due to stock limits and lots being sold out in the art shops, so I decided to get 2 100×50 canvases and put them together as a diptych. It’s been years since I did one and it’s an interesting way to paint and try make 2 work together. I probably should have titled it ‘social distance broken rule’ thinking of it now in a funny way 🙃
They came to a good place around the time comet SWAN was soaring through our cosmic skies hense its title. I often title paintings to mark astrological moments or events in our solar system and beyond that coincides with a piece of my art being born. So here is ‘The Solar Wind of Comet SWAN’
Here are my 3 tiny paintings I can finally reveal that I donated and sold at Lavitt Gallery Cork and Sol Art, Dublin, for this year’s Incognito 2020 in aid of the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation. Delighted for the success of the exhibition, all who took part and especially for the children who need it the most.
I don’t know who the buyers are but I hope they are happy with their purchase.
Here is a small piece on a painting I did in response the poem ‘Among School Children’ by W.B. Yeats. It is part of an exhibition of 115 invited artists by Hamilton Gallery, Sligo to coincide with Yeats Day celebrations this June 13th.
Among School Children, by W.B. Yeats
I walk through the long schoolroom questioning; A kind old nun in a white hood replies; The children learn to cipher and to sing, To study reading-books and history, To cut and sew, be neat in everything In the best modern way—the children’s eyes In momentary wonder stare upon A sixty-year-old smiling public man.
I dream of a Ledaean body, bent Above a sinking fire, a tale that she Told of a harsh reproof, or trivial event That changed some childish day to tragedy— Told, and it seemed that our two natures blent Into a sphere from youthful sympathy, Or else, to alter Plato’s parable, Into the yolk and white of the one shell.
And thinking of that fit of grief or rage I look upon one child or t’other there And wonder if she stood so at that age— For even daughters of the swan can share Something of every paddler’s heritage— And had that colour upon cheek or hair, And thereupon my heart is driven wild: She stands before me as a living child.
Her present image floats into the mind— Did Quattrocento finger fashion it Hollow of cheek as though it drank the wind And took a mess of shadows for its meat? And I though never of Ledaean kind Had pretty plumage once—enough of that, Better to smile on all that smile, and show There is a comfortable kind of old scarecrow.
What youthful mother, a shape upon her lap Honey of generation had betrayed, And that must sleep, shriek, struggle to escape As recollection or the drug decide, Would think her son, did she but see that shape With sixty or more winters on its head, A compensation for the pang of his birth, Or the uncertainty of his setting forth?
Plato thought nature but a spume that plays Upon a ghostly paradigm of things; Solider Aristotle played the taws Upon the bottom of a king of kings; World-famous golden-thighed Pythagoras Fingered upon a fiddle-stick or strings What a star sang and careless Muses heard: Old clothes upon old sticks to scare a bird.
Both nuns and mothers worship images, But those the candles light are not as those That animate a mother’s reveries, But keep a marble or a bronze repose. And yet they too break hearts—O Presences That passion, piety or affection knows, And that all heavenly glory symbolise— O self-born mockers of man’s enterprise;
Labour is blossoming or dancing where The body is not bruised to pleasure soul, Nor beauty born out of its own despair, Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil. O chestnut tree, great rooted blossomer, Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole? O body swayed to music, O brightening glance, How can we know the dancer from the dance?
My inspiration came from a vision and sensation I had of floating dance in a nostalgic wonder of life and time, from the extract,
‘O chestnut tree, great rooted blossomer, Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole? O body swayed to music, O brightening glance, How can we know the dancer from the dance?’ by W.B. Yeats
I painted 4 different works in response to the poem until I was happy with what I came up with so chose this. From the words in the last verse, I got the sense of the flashing of time and what was or could have been, looking back on a long life lived. The faded rings in my painting are in response to time and nostalgia, they recall the rings of a tree and how they tell it’s age or of a passage of time.
I wanted to bring a certain delicacy and sense of soft movement to the work. The paint is layered above loose under drawings and marks in pencil and charcoal. The pastel colours of pink and yellow among the bright whites lean toward the delicacy and innocence of young children as they blossom and grow. The reds are in response to memory of love and what never came to be with Yeat’s unrequited love for Maud Gonne. The blacks and monotones are leaning toward ‘death nearing’ and are also expressions of light and dark abstracted.
I hope I have not gone too deep into my ideas, thoughts and visuals provoked in the making of this work. I truly enjoyed painting and translating my visual imagery, of the wonderful words of W.B. Yeats, ‘Among School Children’.
The exhibition will be hung in the gallery from June 13th for the full summer season and available online at Hamilton Gallery, Sligo. Here below is mine.
These are the other 3 unselected paintings were I was looking at different parts of the Yeats poem.
I’ve been revisiting this painting the past few days and as each time I looked at it, I felt it needed a different conclusion , especially because of the direction my work is going. I am more at ease with its development so I think this painting has come to a better place now…
Some close up detail included in the images and a small video below.
Photos are only from iPhone for now and the lighting is not good in the studio today. .
New Stitches, 2007 An oil collage on canvas in 70cm x 70cm x 4cm
I’ve been clearing out and reorganising my studio space and I came across this old painting from ‘Urban Trail’ series from 2007, when I lived in Limerick city for a few years. I was surprised to see some old techniques that I seem to be using again but in a different way in my current work. It’s amazing how old tricks sneak back into the work in small ways.. inspired..
The beginnings of a new work. Quick rough sketching and mark making with pencil. The drawing is an opportunity to be expressive and free. They are inspired by my walks and trails I map as I walk. I am also inspired by the rocks and boulders that I come across scattered in the landscape of the Wicklow mountains. Through line and shape I try to bring a certain order to the drawings with layers of thickened oil paint mixed with coldwax or with thin washes of transparent colour. I love the element of surprise when I peel back some of the thickened layers, where the drawing is revealed or washes of colour. .
This is a small snip of today’s recording of a current work in progress. It is a diptych in 100 x 100 cm (or both at 50cm x 100cm) that I am working on. They can live either together or apart I am hoping, at the finished stage.
I forget to hit record sometimes between stages as the painting progresses. Sometimes I want no distractions at all and recording a work in progress can take from that solitary need that most artists can only work in. However I am trying harder with this one as I feel it is good to look back on a video piece from time to time to simple learn from it. I have some other works finished that I recorded, so I will get working on getting those put together for anyone who would like to see my process, which is new enough to me.
This piece I am working on is a play on colours I have chosen so far, that really lift the spirits in this current COVID19 atmosphere. I am still at the early stages and it will be more defined as the work progresses. So more to come!
The music was written by me from back in July 2016, in better times I suppose. I am not a musician or even a piano player by any standards but I love using the piano as another way to express, just for myself. So don’t judge me! I love to sit down to it and just start on a key and when I find one that appeals to me, I start playing until something emerges and go with it. It all depends on my mood. In a way it is not too dissimilar to how I paint. Music is another passion of mine but clearly from a hobby point of view. This short piece was recorded on my iPhone while it was placed awkwardly on my piano as I played.
Here is my finishing stage from today’s session in the studio, shapes are taking form and I am starting to see a way onto the next stage here, so I look forward to tomorrow! Its just a phone photo so I’m sorry about the fuzziness.