Thursday, December 17, 2009

Almost Christmas...

I have everything organised. But I have been a little lapse in posting here. I suppose I have been quite busy (with everything except painting) but I will try to post more often next year. See! I'm starting early for New Year resolutions LOL.
I have about 6 weeks left in my Web-design course, so that will keep me occupied until the end of January. I will get back to painting seriously again in February, just as the light starts improving again. I am looking forward to it at the moment, I've been missing my studio time- but not enough to give up the occassional day's fishing....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December has arrived....

I am still very busy with the web-design course, along with the couple of exhibitions running. I need to leave work into a third exhibition on Saturday. This will leave me without 'new stock', at least framed stock anyway. I have one or two I can get framed if someone is looking for work in a hurry, but most of what I have is just what is on the website now, and there are a few of them sold too. I raided the studio for three of the older landscape works last week for another group show I was asked to put work in at the last minute. I think they were expecting me to put some of my recent work in, but to be fair, if they wanted new works they needed to allow time for framing of the few bits I have left.
I seem to have work in nearly every group exhibition this Christmas! I guess the new work has gone down well where it has been shown.

Life is Good.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Healthy sales in the pre-christmas market. My new work has been well recieved.

The group exhibition has been going well, half of my pieces sold within 24 hours of the opening and I hope a few more will go before the exhibition is over.
I leave a few more works into another group show tomorrow. If it goes as well as the other I will be very happy. My new work has been received very well, with lots of interest in a quiet market. Sales in general have been down, but my works have sold very well, with further buyers who have shown interest in some of my pieces still to come back to make their purchases according to the show curator.
It has been a pleasant surprise, as there was always the doubt, in that dead fish were not an ideal subject matter to garner sales in a hard market. On the other hand, the old motto still stands true, Quality sells! And the fact is I was happier with this work than I have been for a few years, I feel I am back from firstly my lay-off due to ill health and then further strife with the studio in Marlay Park.

Leaving the studio was the best move I could have made, since then it has improved and lightened considerably. Looking back the latter works from the Marlay studio were all very dark and depressing. Since I moved into the new studio by the pond my work first brightened, and then became free-er and less contrived, I have now come back to more structured work again, but I have managed to keep the life and energy within it.

I am looking forward to 2010, and the promise of a very successful year, both in output of work and sales.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Time marches on, the pre-christmas shows have started. I have collected some work from my framers to go into a group show next week. The work looks very well in the frames I chose for it. I am hoping some of them will sell, but one problem with the Christmas group shows is that they usually have twice as many works hung as would be normal. As a result they can look very crowded and my work is not particularly bright and brash enough to stand out at first glance. I am exhibiting five altogether, they are from my fish series, all square in shape ranging from 10 inches up to 18 inches. It will now depend on how and where they are hung, hopefully they will be hung in proximity and not split up here and there as can happen when the people hanging are trying to squeeze extra numbers in.

I am still progressing with my web-design course, but not really able to do much work in the studio. I am hoping I will get a few commissions after Christmas. I usually do in early January, and my web-design course finishes in mid February, just in time to let me get stuck in to any commissioned work that comes in.

I am going fishing tomorrow, I need a day's R and R. The weather is going to be wet and very windy again though, but still, the fresh air will do me good.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My new website..

My Angling website has gone 'live'. I finished it and uploaded it to the server.
I haven't changed the content as such, but I just replaced the tables with CSS and a bit more design with the images and layout. I also have a full page image on the index page which will switch into the content homepage automatically after 5 seconds (If the link isn't clicked beforehand). All work was done purely with raw code using plain notepad.

I've finished playing with the site for now and it is a lot cleaner than the older one. I am now considering re-working my art gallery site, and replacing the template I am currently using with a completely new build.

If I've any sense I'll wait a while first..... LOL. Well at least until we start using dreamweaver.....

....but who said I was sensible?.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Time is flying by, It's a third of the way through November already. Sadly the web-design course is taking up so much of my time I am not getting time to paint. I have almost finished revamping my angling site though. I will probably upload it in the next week or so. I built it the hard way, using nothing but code, both htm and css.

I built the header image in fireworks, but I have built the hotspots for the links in the image using pure code. The fish is the near 7 pounder I caught late last year, I have another composite image built for my index page but I don't have a copy of it on this computer to upload.

I have a few paintings to collect from my framer this week, they have to be delivered to a group show at the week-end, it will be nice to have a few exhibited, it seems ages since I had an opening.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I am back from our weekend away in Connemara. We stayed in the beautiful surroundings of Lough Inagh Lodge near Recess. We had a great time, both touring around Carna and Cashel, Clifden and Renvyle and wining and dining in the hotel.
Here are a few photos of the area for those that don't know it.
Lough Inagh.
The West CoastLough Inagh Valley
Dubh and I near Carna
Lough InaghBallinahinch Castle














Friday, October 16, 2009

I am still keeping busy with the web design course. I can almost operate Fireworks without using the manual now...LOL. We start on dealing with Dreamweaver next week...and html/css code.
It's funny, I managed without all the bells and whistles for years, but I notice that the new browsers are not showing my angling site properly due to the outdated way it operates, so I need to learn the new techniques and css.

My dog is sulking because she is being left alone all day while I am at the course. The goldfish are nearly jumping into the studio to get their food when I come home in the afternoon... so much for Mr Dependable... LOL. the critters don't know what is going on. I guess they will have to get used to it too.

I need to drop some works into the framing shop this week for a group show in North Dublin in November. I spent last night deciding which works to send. Unusually I was trying to keep the numbers down instead of wondering what would go with what. I have a few little series of works after this years endeavours. But still no landscapes....Oh! for a dry summer!.

I will probably not get a lot of painting done over the winter (other than any commissions I get pre Christmas) with the coursework but I can still go back to my sea-bream when the course is over. In the meantime I'm getting my creative fix from fireworks/photoshop.

I'm going to sign off now, Thursday's Lads night out was postponed to Friday....
order one for me...I'm on my way.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dreaming of dreamweaver.........

I am very busy taking a web design course in Adobe cs4 at the moment. I am not getting much time to paint, let alone post on my blog. I decided to do a course in web design to allow me to upgrade my angling site, which I built 10 years ago with a decade old system. It badly needs re-doing.
To be honest at the moment CSS script etc. is all new to me, but I hope to be up to date by February when the classes finish.

To be honest I was not even competent on photoshop, or similar programs. I use paint, but that is about all. (There is no substitute for a brush and paint. )
So I am in the middle of learning the ins and outs of Fireworks at the moment prior to moving on to Dreamweaver.

As I get more up to date I will probably have more time to post to my blog, and, more importantly, paint in the studio.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

More about fish, and my paintings

I am busy,busy,busy.... working on my new sea-bream paintings. I am having fun with the concept and playing with my paint. I bought a new brand of oil paint from the art suppliers, it is artist quality but it contains much more 'filler' and is much cheaper to buy. This is allowing me to work with thick paint and even some knife work, which I have not done in years. I am refraining from showing the photos of this new work for the moment, since I am experimenting at the moment I am not sure if I will show them.

Because the works are much more stylised I am able to work from my earlier fish studies, and some reference photographs without the need for the actual fish on a plate. I may change my mind later and repaint the fish more realistically, or I may even take them further into abstraction. Yes, I am having fun!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fish, and fish...

I'm back after my weekends R&R. Mind you the fishing was hard work. We had bright sunshine and no wind at all on a shallow clear lake. Almost 30 anglers only caught 3 fish for two days. Modesty forbids me to mention who caught the biggest one :)



And speaking of fish I have been working on one of the fish paintings derived from my previous posted ideas. It is coming along but it still needs more work. I need to go to the artists supply shop tomorrow to get more canvases to continue working. I have plenty of canvas, but no stretcher bars or stretched canvases. I'll keep the pics coming as I gather momentum with the works.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Playtime on the Computer.



I have been playing for a few hours... I never really considered working in 'paint' (as on the computer) but I had a couple of workup drawings that I wanted to explore in colour. I was sitting at the computer and decided to draw them on the screen. Working this way makes it easy to change hue and tone. It's a lot easier than over painting areas. (But not as much fun or satisfying)
I ended up with these few pieces. I then created a few composites, and varied them slightly. I had come to an impasse as to where I wanted to bring my fish paintings. I think I have discovered where I wish to go.





Now I need to decide if I want to try and work the ideas as woodcut prints, or in oil paint, or again maybe both.
























Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Well, we still have plenty of rain.



I have been tied to the house for an extent for the last week as Dubh has had to have an operation at the vets. Because of this I have to keep an eye on her when she is not wearing the plastic collar to stop her biting out her stitches. She doesn't relax or lie down with the collar on, but winges and whines (throughout the night) so I don't get a lot of sleep either. We will have to wait for the results of her tumor biopsies. Hopefully the vetenary surgeon managed to excise it all if it is malignant.



Dubh is not just a dog, she is more like a child, but with more tendency to have cuddles and not let you out of her sight than most children.



She is lying on the sofa beside me, snoring away, looking cute and quite comfortable. I know that if I stand up she will come alert immediately, just to make sure she doesn't miss anything. I have my work cut out to stop her jumping off/over the back of the sofa in an effort to catch up with me... She has already pulled a couple of stitches, and vetenary bills are expensive......

Meanwhile...








I managed to get into the studio yesterday, now things have settled down a bit. Dubh is quite happy to spend time in there with me while I work.

I finished off another piece, Filleted Fish II. 40 cm square, oil on canvas.


I now have to decide whether to carry on with the series or take a break from it. I will be away for the weekend, so I'll make a decision when I get back. I have a busy week ahead so I won't get much painting done anyway, unless I get the weather and time to do some studies while on my travels. I am going up to Northern Ireland tomorrow, I have meetings on Thursday. I have another meeting in Dublin on Friday morning, before I head west to Mayo again.

I have to go now, I am due at my framer's I need to sign one work before he finishes off the framing as it will be behind glass. He has the others ready for me now.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Update on my lino cut prints.


I finished the second ex-libris lino-cut, the one on the right obviously since I already posted the first one. I have sent them off to the Museum in Serbia, and now I can get back to my painting again.
I am still working on fish.. mainly sea bream, but I am nearly reaching the end of my journey with them. I may just finish off the works in progress and move on to something else.
If the weather improves I am still hoping to get some landscapes painted en-plien-air, to re-work over the winter. However this is less and less likely due to the inclement weather we have been having. This last month was the wettest August yet. We have had between 150% (east) and 250% (west) of normal August rainfall this year. Hopefully we may get an indian summer and a dry warm September so I can get out and about.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Ex-Libris print is ready for the impression stage.

I have two draft print runs from my lino cut Ex Libris
The first is a two colour printing entitled The written word.


The background is made up of the written word in 11 languages.
The second layer is a design based on prehistoric writings and designs on some of our neolithic monuments, with script and ecrit reinforced. I opted for these as they are from the two most widely used western languages, English and French.
The second draft includes a third colour impression of a stylised quill pen. This was my intended design, but I think it is far too busy to work. For this reason I will probably go with just the two impression piece.
I have been using standard watercolour paint for the printing rather than the block printing watercolour
as I wanted to control the colour better. However I had a little problem with the
printing process when dampening the watercolour paper prior to impressing the lino-cut. (note the blurring on the second picture) I have used dry card for the two colour impression which seems to have worked better as far as a sharpness goes, however the edges have not come out clean in this one. I will try a varied level of dampness on the watercolour paper before deciding which paper to use for the final prints. I will also rework another design to send off, along with this one. I am more relaxed now that at least one is finished, as the second is not neccesary, but optional.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Slow work...

I still need to work on my Ex-Libris prints. I am just not happy with them as they are. I hope they will be come together soon as I am leaving other work aside to carry on with them.

This is one reason why I haven't posted recently, as I am getting behind in my work. I hope to print the latest lino-cuts tommorrow, and hopefully I'll be happy with the effects. I will post photos when they are done. In the mean time, I'm off out this evening....lad's night out so I'll keep this short.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I haven't posted for a while, I have been rather busy. Work is still progressing slowly, and I am stuck in a rut regarding my Ex-Libris print. I just can't be happy with what I have got, so I may have to rethink my ideas totally and time is getting short.
I have had to tidy my studio up today. I was trying to work and kept finding I had no space! I still have two glory hole corners that need sorting out, but at least I have enough room to work! m I have other commitments all next week so the art will have to wait, hopefully my ideas for the ex-libris will improve in the meantime.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Of fish....

I have been busy with a painting of sea bream over the last while. I am still not happy with it but I will continue with it though, because I know the painting will get there eventually. I had started with the Bream looking like bream (on a plate). Obviously this wasn't going to work since the fish do look different in water, and light reflects differently.

I then reworked them and at this stage I have over-painted the fish four times, each time altering the balance between the fish as they are, and how they need to be for the painting.






Top, Sea-bream, unfinished


middle, Sea-bream, finished study.


bottom, Goldfish fry in my pond.







And speaking of fish, the fry in the pond are coming on in leaps and bounds. Today the fish are spawning again for the fourth time that I know of. I have at least three stages of fry in the pond at the moment. You will see two or three different sized fist in this photo of them, and there are more tiny pin-fry evident to the eye (less than a quarter of an inch, .5 cm)

The older fry are almost an inch long now and are happily shoaling in the pond, and ignoring the adults presence so I assume they are now of a size that makes them safe from predation.



Sunday, July 12, 2009

It has been a while since I last posted here on my blog. Mainly because I haven't really had much to say about my work. I am still working away, not really getting to grips with anything. I am at a cul-de-sac with my ExLibris ideas. My painting is not coming along as I wish either, mainly because my mind is more on the printwork than on the painting.


I spent the morning retrieving small goldfish fry from my pond and putting them in nursery tanks.... anything to avoid work. Now I am here typing a post on my blog. I have already cleaned and scraped the build-up of paint on my palette, reloaded it with fresh paint, added oil etc, it is ready to go.........

....but I am not.


My studio is in danger of getting a thorough spring clean at this stage........[shock-horror]


I think I may take the rest of the day off. I am likely to do little or nothing anyway. It is hot, heavy and thundery with regular heavy showers which doesn't help either. I will leave you with a photo of the latest finished work from the Maltese series. Oil on canvas, 90cm by 70 cm.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another Ex-Libris invitation.

I have been invited to take part in another international exhibition of Ex Libris print. It is in Serbia again, but this time it is part of a museum collection rather than last years Biennale. Obviously they were enamoured by my work at the Biennale, although I didn't get awarded any of the prizes.

I will work on the design over the next few weeks, and then I can start cutting lino blocks by the end of the month.

Working with print is a nice change occasionally too, My painting has been going well, so I can afford to take a little break and work on the print. I had considered trying an etching, but to be honest I haven't really got the experience in the method to do it without a few practice pieces.
I will post the working sketches here, and the final prints.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I have been busy again. I have finished my commission works and now I am back working toward my show later this year. Yesterday we drove out to Howth, a fishing village in North Dublin and I picked a few fresh fish up at the market to continue painting them. I have forgotten to buy more canvas though, so the fish have had to go into the freezer. I'm hoping to get canvas tomorrow, if not Monday will have to do. I had to travel down to Limerick and back today, so that ruled out a visit to the art supplies shops.
I came home yesterday evening raring to go paint my fish..... like a child with a new toy, but alas I only have large canvases left in the studio, and they are just too big to paint little fish. I am looking forward to working from them next week though. It's nice to get stuck in to work that interests me,-- but it is also great to have the commission work coming in.

Some of the fish we bought have seen the grill instead of the studio, being fresh it was beautiful. I didn't even feel guilty about not painting it first.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

yoyo weather systems...

1 week later and it's now back down to 9 degrees centigrade, a drop of up to 18 degrees from last week. It's accompanied by heavy rain and some flooding, just normal summer weather... :(

Work has been going well, but I have stopped with the dull cold wet conditions....I'd need to wear wellington boots to get down the garden at the moment....

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Excitement in the fish pond.

Laying eggs in the weed
I have been working away for the last few days. However I have been sidetracked today though, my Goldfish in the pond have been spawning all day. They have laid a large amount of eggs amongst the weed and blanket weed around the edges.The eggs are about 1.5 mm in diameter, and hopefully in a week or so a fair proportion of them should hatch out.






Fish eggs.

I will have to try and net them out of the pond though. Gold fish are not adverse to eating little fish. I will try to remove a lot of them into a smaller tank, upstream of the main pond, and leave them there until they get a bit bigger.

None of the fry survived last year, I had three left at the beginning of winter but they have not appeared this year, so I assume they died in the cold weather. Either eaten or from lack of microscopic food. The fish spawned very late last year because of the cold summer (about September) so the fry were very small to overwinter.

The painting has been a little slow..

I am working on two commissions and they are proving a little difficult, mainly because I want to get back to my fish paintings. However the two commissions are needed fairly soon, so needs must.

I am waiting to hear back from the venue for my Maltese show, but I suppose they are busy with other things, but I would like to know if they want some more larger works than I have suggested. I'd like to firm up the date also, so I can book flights etc. for the opening.

In the meantime I'm going back out to enjoy this weekends sunshine, this is proving to be a scorcher, 24-25 degrees C. A big change from 10 or 11 last week.!!


This is a video of the fish charging around, the cock fish chasing the hens to start them spawning. Those at the edge resting are all spawned out.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I'm back to work now. My sunshine break and weeks fishing over. I have now got the garden under control and I can get stuck in to painting. I have been doing work up sketches at the moment for two paintings, tomorrow I have to do other chores though...collecting payments, dropping into the framers, collecting materials and other run-of-the-mill general business operations.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm just checking in. I am trying to get a good start on a new commissioned work before I head away. The buyer needs the painting finished for just after mid June. While not exactly a rush job, if you take out the half of May I'm away for, it could be a rush to finish and dry the work. In the meantime I am just getting over a chest infection, and luckily the antibiotics seem to have cleared it up in time for my trip to Spain.
We have decided that we are just going to soak up the sun on a beach this trip, instead of trying to cram more culture in. I'll need to be rested for my fishing the following week anyway. :)

Ok! I'm off to work now.............

Thursday, April 30, 2009

May is around the corner...

The end of another month.  It has flown by again.  I have been quite busy in the studio overall and work has progressed well.  I will be away for half of May between my trip to Spain and my upcoming ten day fishing break. This will mean I won't get much chance to complete any more paintings as I'll need to look after other aspects of business before after and between trips. Consequently I probably won't post here much next month either.  You will know why though....

In the meantime I'll leave you with another painting,  oil on canvas, 19 by  22 cm.
Sea-Bass.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Computers down, paintings up...

I am not on my own computers at the moment so I am still unable to upload pictures. My studio desktop is not communicating with the wireless base station for some un-explained reason. My laptop's power chord is kaput, and I'm waiting for a replacement to arrive. Therefore I'm borrowing C's laptop to post. Work is progressing, I am still working on fish themed work, but I am also working on other pieces for sales/commissions. Business has picked up a little recently, which is just as well since I have a few bills coming due, van insurance, week-away-with-the-lads-fishing, a need for New brushes, some canvas, paint.....ah well! easy come easier to go as they say.....what they forget to mention is money has a habit of being more Hard to come by, easy to go.

I had a nice surprise yesterday when I learned three small works had sold. They were in a venue that while I hadn't forgotten about, were not expected to start selling for a month or two.
They now want more works, and since they are all of a standard size have said they will organise the framing of the pieces.

Another pleasant little chore for me. Consequently, this will be another short post....things to do, people to see..and painting to be done.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I have been busy enough painting recently, but I need to do a little office work this week. I have a couple of galleries to visit also. I am slowly catching up with myself this week, but I need to do a lot more before the end of the month. I need to focus a little more.

I may get finished tomorrow, because I'm otherwise occupied for Friday and the weekend I need to. Then I can get back to painting next week.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I have just finished a small study of a Browntrout's head. It is only 20 by 15 cm, but the piece is quite effective. I had been working on the larger brown trout painting and the light changed as clouds came over....it had been sunny this morning.... and the colour on the fish changed from olives to almost irredescent greens.
You can see the difference in colouring from the as yet unfinished work. It is still unfinished because the light keeps changing. It hasn't been helped by the fact that I really need fresh subjects every couple of days rather than trying to keep the one fish moist for a week. However catching identical looking fish can be difficult at times...
I think I am going to start doing a lot more smaller works from them, they are easier to set up and quicker to do anyway.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Springtime has arrived....

I am finding it hard to do work today. It is too peaceful and pleasant sitting in the sun watching the fish in my pond. Even inside the water draws me. I may give up soon and give in to the temptation of a lazy afternoon.

It's either that or go fishing. LOL. I may even do both.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I am just back from Barcelona, Spain. I will upload some photos later in the week, after I have downloaded them from my camera. We visited Park Guell to see work by Guadi, and also saw a few of his other buildings, including the Cathederal. There are some steep hills in Barcelona, my calves are suffering after the climbs. We stayed near Salou on the Costa Dourada, and commuted to Barcelona on the train. An interesting journey in itself.
Now I want to get back to painting.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

More work on my Rainbow Trout

I have done more work on my Fish painting.

I started off by finishing the trout's body. When that was done I added highlights and finished off the fish's eye. Finally I scumbled in the background glaze over the dark olive under painting.





I have photographed the trout's head section in close-up also to give a better view of the detail. I am also posting a selection of the work-in-progress pics below.






Friday, March 20, 2009

Painting a Rainbow trout.


This morning I decided to paint one of the trout I caught while out fishing yesterday. It was taken on a fly, fished from a drifting boat, lough style.

It is a nice silvery fish of about 1.25 kg, a Rainbow trout, grown on from fry stocked into the lough. I kept this one because it was so sleek and beautiful. It was also late in the day, so I wasn't worried about it laying in the sun for hours.




I started off by painting a quick oil paint study, rendered in about 3 hours. Painted alla prima I was more concerned with the light and colours on the fish than with the outline. Consequently the fish is a little too narrow and long in proportion. I also am not really happy with the tail shape after a long look.



The study is painted on a 35 by 25 cm canvas.





For the second work I have used a canvas 80 cm by 60 cm. I started this canvas by being much more particular in my drawing. Although this was done in paint with a brush, the sketching in was done by measuring proportions to ensure they were correct. I then adjusted the drawing slightly, to emphasise the perspective by moving the dorsal (top) fin back a fraction.

You will notice that I have taken a different angle with the second painting. I moved the fish nearer eye level to allow more of the underside of the fish to be visible.

Today, I have blocked in the background and shadow, and painted in the tail. This was important as the tail fin has started to dry out, even with regular damping. This effects the light and reflections, I also have taken some close up photographs for reference if needed. I continued working on the head, catching the colours and light playing around the gill covers, and finally I have blocked in the body tone to allow me to reposition the subject correctly for the next day so that the same area is subject to the silvery highlights.

I am not going to be able to continue tomorrow due to other commitments, but I hope to get back to the painting on Sunday. My fish will keep in the Refridgerator, covered so it doesn't dry out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The River Dodder

I painted a study of the river Dodder at firhouse, close to home.



There are areas of the canvas unworked, but I like the effect, and I have decided to leave them as is.


It is a beautiful area of the river, the weir itself used to have a carrier from it years ago, but it hasn't been used for as long as I've known it.




I took the photo of the weir with my phone while I was there.



The river itself is a free-stone trout stream, which runs from the Dublin Mountains above Bohernabreena reservoirs, down through the reservoirs, through Tallaght, Firhouse, Rathfarnham, and further through the suburbs at Miltown, Clonskea, and Ballsbridge until finally it runs by Landsdown road and into the sea at the mouth of the liffey by Ringsend. There are wild brown trout throughout the river, a fact the local Angling club is justly proud of, as they have protected the ecosystem for the last 50 years. The angling club have fought against pollution, culverting, piping underground of small spawning streams, and generally have protected and cleaned the river while in most other major cities the river systems and fishing has been destroyed.