Thursday, June 30, 2011


I was particularly pleased with this drawing for the main character, Issa, in the new book I am illustrating, as I made it without reference, and I think it is pretty convincing in the figure's anatomy and emotion.
I made a half-hearted effort to get models for this book, but I really wanted to do another book, like A Christmas Carol, that is drawn primarily from the imagination.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hell on Earth in Tipperary

Many thanks to Steve Richardson for this in situ photo of my Hell on Earth poster advertising the Irish Examiner.
This one was in Tipperary.
I think the setting, on a shabby wall in a typical small Irish town is a particularly apposite for this image.
I can't help wondering what local folk on their way to mass might make of the poster.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Lot of Heads at the RHA Summer Fête

I had a great time drawing all afternoon at the RHA Summer Fete.
Una, Emily and I were joined on the day by another of the Thursday life artists, Dorothy Smith.
Most of our models were children, who sat very still for the fifteen or twenty minutes we needed, and we all managed to get some nice work done. Emily even did a lovely portrait of one of my own kids.
Although my young sitters were great, I was still very happy to get to draw a few adults too.
Angel (above), the Arts Convenor from the UAC, was just lovely to draw, and I was delighted to meet Eoghan Kerrigan (below), a young artist who I'm sure will have a great career in illustration or character design ahead of him.

Many thanks to Bernadette for her great photos of the day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The RHA Summer Fête.

I did a couple of quick portrait heads of our models at the life session yesterday.
This one shows Amanda, who had white dreadlocks when we met her last.
It was good practice for tomorrow when I will be drawing portraits at the RHA Summer Fête..
Thursday buddies Una Sealy ARHA and Emily Scott will also be on portrait-drawing duty.
It looks like it should be a fun event. Here's the blurb;

"Planning what to do this weekend? Don't worry about the weather and come and join us for our Summer Fête. (all indoors) this Saturday 18th, 3 - 7pm. A family fun day with music, face painting, childrens workshop, RHA cake stand and much more. Just €10 for adults & children go free. Please come along and support our Summer fundraiser."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Giuseppe Reclining

I take photos at each break during life painting to show how my process works, but also so that I will have a record of when a picture was working best.
I have observed that I, like most of my Thursday drawing buddies, tend go past a stage when our pictures have a freshness and economy about them.
We have a good long session with one pose, and I think it's in an artist's nature to keep working on a piece as long as we have a model sitting in front of us, and of course we are always hoping to improve things.
The problem then is that all you can really do is to add more and more to the picture. More detail, more definition, more paint.
Having a record of the process is really useful so that you can tell at what point you should have left the painting alone, and then maybe next time you will recognize that point and leave off before the picture becomes laboured.

This series of pictures of a painting I did of Giuseppe illustrates the point well.
It seems to me that apart from a little work I did on the the face and body, there is nothing I added in the third, forth and fifth stages that helped the picture at all. In fact the solid green and blue areas detract quite a bit.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Two New Life Paintings

Here are a couple of recent life paintings of our new model, Grace.
She is a great model with a lovely timeless look about her.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hell on Earth

The folks at Chemistry asked me to do another poster advertising a forthcoming series of articles in the Irish Examiner newspaper on the clergy in Ireland to-day.
They wanted a picture that looked like an old master painting but with a crowd of people in modern dress who are about to burn a priest at the stake. The scroll was my idea. What a fun brief!
Unfortunately I had a really short time to create the picture, so I developed a technique that is half oil painting and half Photoshop. I was very pleased with the result, which should start appearing on poster sites in Ireland next week.
Many thanks to all my friends and relations who volunteered to model for the crowd, and especially to my pal Giuseppe who was perfect as the priest.