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 came about on the top of Scarr mountain a few days ago. Looking out over the valley and onto the distant hills and forests. I followed the line of trails with my eye like a virtual map in front of me. Trying to work out my surroundings and where I was in relation to what I saw.
Plein air drawing in charcoal on cotton rag paper.
My trails, my ventures, my paths, my presence. It calls to mind a sense of living and where I’ve been in life up until now. Time has no presence, its hard to comprehend sometimes.
Plein air drawing is something I am doing a lot more of lately. It has no comparison to drawing in the studio. I get a sense of place in the studio and I work from memory. The studio forces me in to draw without a subject in the room and work from memory. When I draw out in the open, something else happens. It allows me to connect in the moment and respond there and then when something that catches my eye. In the studio I recall those moments but to bring back an image of my interpretation unlike a captured photographic image, reinforces a strong connection to the landscape and how I see it.
The direction I want to go with my work is to give space to the painting. It needs more of a way in and an outlet. Out of curiosity I attended this years ‘Speed Curating’ at Get Together 2019 and I gained some good advise from some of Ireland’s top gallery curators. I know most of my strengths and weaknesses and with some been pointed out to me is reassuring and encouraging. Only good can come from constructive criticism and I will make relevant decisions to constantly build and improve my work. I am excited to see where it will take me.
My art is my response to nature and the surrounding landscape. My thoughts often drift from what’s on this planet to the wonder beyond our greater universe. Something that I feel needs no explanation but is always part of the work. . .
I have been doing a lot of plein air drawings lately out in the open landscape. I want express through these drawings a sense of atmosphere in the landscape I have been surrounded by. I am abstracting what I see and also what I don’t see. I am really enjoying expression in an abstract way through these drawings.
Transferring this onto canvas is a very different experience and I see the drawings more of a study or observation for painting but in a non analytical way, similar to visual note taking of what I want to express on canvas. These drawings and sketches have surprisingly helped me push abstraction in a more free and loose way. Like gestures of the memory of a place or thing or sometimes neither a place or thing.. It just feels right and I am more excited than ever to be in my studio painting and painting, probably for the first time ever..
I am painting a lot of new work and I will share these here on my website in the near future. Come back again soon if you’d like to have a look.
I am working off this quick sketch I did yesterday out in on a hike. I am also mixing in different elements from video and pictures I took on my phone for brief reference. The colours and movement in the landscape are so vibrant these past few days