I recently entered an art competition with Voluntary Arts Ireland called put your best pencil forward and was lucky enough to have two of my drawings selected for exhibition at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery. The exhibition opened yesterday and will run for a week until the 18th of December after which it moves on to Derry. Here's a picture of me with my daughter Rachel standing with Fiona Kearny, Director of the Glucksman and Robin Simpson, CEO of Voluntary Arts.. and yes that's me in the hat. Long time readers of the blog will already have seen the drawings entered, both were done at meetings of the Cork sketch Group at the Franciscan well.
If you are in the vicinity of the gallery do feel free to drop in and have a look at the amazing entries of all works displayed by all the artists at this exhibition.
drawing class with excellent life models free tea and coffe and a complimentary buffet. I recommend
it to anyone looking to improve their figure drawing. The session is well well lit and attended by an accomplished tutor by the name of Stephen Lourdes. There are a variety of poses and drawing times, starting after warm up with several five minutes and some ten and finally finishing on a twenty minute pose. This practice of adhering to a short amount of time tends to help focus the artist on the essentials and provides a good challenge to try and get an acceptable representation of the full figure within a limited period.
Yesterday Sunday 30th, I met with my painting friends for our monthly paintout, as usual it rained down cats and dogs.The group met inWalton Court Manor. A very beautiful building owned and restored by Paul and Janis Rafferty. Paul suggested due to the rain that we comeinside to paint. He showed us some of what truly is an amazing building and told us to paint wherever we liked inside the manor. A very generous act which I am very grateful for. We set up our easels in various parts of the house and began painting our subjects warm and dry outof the rain. Softest outdoor paintout I was ever on. Thank you Paul :)
Above is my version of the main stairs which Paul explained had to be totally rebuilt
This is a step by step description of a portrait in oils of my friend Lawrence Humphrey, painted and displayed with his kind permission. Lawrence is a portrait artist himself and I believe has painted more portraits than I have eaten hot dinners so I wanted this to be as good as I could do.
The work itself took several stages to complete. The first was a drawing of Lawrence in order to become more familiar with his face. Doing this helps me find any problems I will encounter in advance and allows me to time to consider them before I begin the painting, even though the sketch is done separately it will provide a good reference during the painting.
The drawing helps me recognize the dominant features in the model and during the sketching process I have become more cognizant of the face. With the rough sketch done I then begin creating a new work in oils on a canvas.
The sketch now begins again but this time with a bristle brush and a wash of burnt umber oil. In this early stage I am just generally trying once again, to place the features I felt were important and maintain their relationship to each other in order to achieve likeness. Once I am satisfied with their proportions and relationship I then wash in very thinned color. In this case I am placing on the canvas the color shapes with cadmium red and cadmium yellow washes.
At this point the portrait is beginning to take shape, the main light and dark shapes have been established, I am satisfied with the features and their proportions and the painting is starting to gain presence, this is the point where I feel the painting is starting to take on the illusion that you are looking at somebody and not just a painting. Of course there's still plenty of room for a change here and there if need be. I let the painting sit for a while to tack up, a week or two will do it.
Now I can work a little more on the shadows and lights and try enhancing some of that sense of presence. A portrait like this could be continued ad infinitum but I like it with it's roughened look where the colors still provide some enjoyable agitaton for the eye. I am glad to say that having seen it Lawrence himself is quite pleased with it also.
Here's a pleinair oil from Roberts Cove on the south coast of cork. It rained all through the working
of this, I even lost another umbrella, the third this year. As I left the beach with my painting safely secured in the waterproof painting box the sun came out and the sky turned blue... just like it had never rained at all, good old Irish weather, you have to love it.
This is a pencil study of detail from, "Saint Nicholas of Myra saves three innocents from death,"
by Ilya Repin. I mostly used Derwent pencils 9H, 6H and B for this, with a layer of oil pitt over it.
The paper I used was Daler Rowney cartridge pad which has a nice weave, it becomes quite noticable after working on it for a while with the lighter harder pencils, placing the marks and removing them in a continual process to build up texture.
When I am trying to create the effect of material, such as St Nicolas cloak I use the lighter pencils which are much harder, to indent the paper with a pattern which suggests material, I then wipe this with a putty rubber, the surface of the paper which has not been marked is now raised very slightly above the rest. I continue this over and over, marking and wiping and gradually the paper changes to actually having a roughened texture. Once I am at that point I begin work on it with softer darker leads and it becomes quite easy to give the impression of cloth.
I had the good fortune to spend some time in Donegal recently and managed to squeeze in some pleinair work, I had to be fast though, to capture anything in oil, as there was literally only minutes between rain showers. This is an impression of the town of Dunfanaghty from the beach, with the outgoing tide and the rain clouds rolling in again.
On sunday march 11th, Cormac Mehegan kindly opened the exhibition of my paintings and drawings in gallery Frida in Youghal Co.Cork. A total of forty five works have been displayed, all of which have appeared on this blog at some stage or other. There was a large turn out for the event and a good day was had by all. The exhibition will run until April 5th. You can see the event here.
Anyone reading this blog must surely think I'm running short of headings lately
with introductions such as chicken, cat and pig but it's really just an exercise in
generating inspiration. I draw every day, sometimes all day, if I'm not going to be
busy with a paintbrush, but often beginning work seems to be the hardest thing. Once the
engine is turning of course, theres no stopping it... it's just to get that beginning....
The previous three sketches and one, yet undone, are based on the chinese
characters for prosperity, good luck, joy and peace which is yet to come.
I decided to give each one an animal interpretation and then draw the result.
So the symbol for prosperity was assigned to a chicken, good luck to a
cat and joy to a newly born pig... Not profound I know, but a nice simple trick all
the same to keep yourself working while the muse is busy painting her nails...