Tuesday, December 29, 2009

River Walk - Big Firs

So I got a facebook page up and sorted for my art yesterday. Now you can follow my posts on fb, if that tickles your fancy.
I consider myself to be fairly techie minded but I was almost driven to drink by the process (at least earlier in the day than usual) but I succeeded in the end - a small triumph for woman kind. (click here to see the triumph!)

I did this one yesterday, another painting in a series on the big trees up at Powerscourt river walk. It’s drawn from some photos I took of the same group of massive trees.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Chuckie's in love

Truth be told I was dreading Christmas Day this year. We sadly lost my Nana in July and as she usually comes to my house for Christmas lunch it was always going to be a hard day. But it went off ok,
with the usual scramble to get mothers and mother in laws sitting down and the criss cross of dishes over the table. The days after have been filled with walks and too much telly, and chocolate. So not bad in all.

I did get to paint after all on St. Stephen's day and chose to revisit the two chucks from brook lodge. There's something Christmasy about that cadmium red background.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chicken Soup for the Soul

And so it's Christmas...

The paints are all put away so no more posts for a little while. I am ok with that now but will probably get itchy fingers come St.Stephen's Day. I've a little more baking to do then I head up north first thing in the morning (2hr drive each way) to collect my in laws. I'm hoping that the below freezing temperatures and last minute Newry shoppers don't hold me up too much.

I've sent my poor mum off into town (she was going anyway.. really) to hunt for a couple of those lovely bright brushes that my teacher Kevin uses. I'm so excited.

Today's painting is taken from another of Maria's photos and really looks great viewed from the other side of the room. Kind of says it all eh?

Happy Christmas

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cock of the hoop

This one is from a photo taken by my sister during a visit home this summer. We had lunch at a place called McCreddin Village at Brook lodge and this cheeky chap was strutting his stuff about the place. He even came into the pub at one stage.
Anyway I hope this will be the start of a kind of collaboration of sorts with my sister who is a very talented amateur photographer.

Posts may be a little on the scarce as Christmas is descending fast and (never mind Santa) the mother in law is coming! In my case this means much tiding to be done and some baking. This is alarming as my house looks like a giant has picked it up, shook it and placed it back down where it was.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

River Walk Trees

Back to the river walk today. This is the second painting of almost the same stretch of road up at Powerscourt River Walk. It was just starting to rain and the sky seemed so low it felt like it was touching the tree tops. Although it was morning the light had that kind of twilight quality to it. These trees are absolutely amazing. The oldest must be a couple of hundred years old and although I'm hopeless at estimating height, maybe 60ft tall.

Speaking of Twilight I brought my 10 year old to see the movie last night. Apart from the delightful overuse of young men’s torsos everywhere I was struck by how the film makers pulled off the constant “twilight” that the town of forks is set in. Made for lots of moody scenes of what we call here “a soft day”. It felt just like the river walk.

I have come across a new (to me) daily painter from Germany who is blowing my tiny mind. He is Edward B Gordon and you can see his daily work here. I think I’m a kind of groupie artist. A bit like finding a new band when you were 16, I come across someone I love and I pour over their work and look at it again and again. Eventually I move on but in my mind I will reference back to their work or pop back to their blog or book or whatever to remind myself of what I learned.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

River Walk Firs

This painting was based on some photos I took this week up at Powerscourt's River Walk.

Sometimes with digital cameras the photo of the painting can look somehow better than the original but in this case I think it's the other way around. I have to say that I'm very fond of this one.
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Yesterday was a big day for us as my mum, who is also an artist, was playing 1st violin at the National Concert Hall as part of the "Blow the Dust off your Trumpet" programme. It's a fantastic programme that encourages older people to pick up their instrument that they may not have played for many years and become part of an orchestra. Their months of rehearsals culminated in a festive concert that played to a packed out auditorium.

Here is a photo of mum with fellow musician Dennis who is 79 years young and originally from the republic of cork.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I've fallen in love....

Yes, I've fallen in love....  with a paint brush.

with the perfect paint brush!. Long handle, bright. No marking but I guess it must be an 8.

But as is often the way in great love stories, it belongs to another. As it happens, it belongs to Kevin, the Artist who takes the painting class I go to and I must have taken it with me after class on Tuesday last.

Now I've turned into a sort of pantomime Schizophrenic in my head. Any decent person would get it back to him as soon as possible but its Christmas and there's no more class until mid Jan. He lives about a 40 minute drive away, surely too far to drive for a paint brush! I could post it but, in the Christmas rush, I’d be worried it might get damaged or worse, god forbid, lost! Then neither of us would be happy. Of course it's possible he hasn't even missed it. But really, if that’s true he couldn't possibly deserve it. I've been down to my local art shop and there wasn't any that could hold a candle up to it. Of course there wasn't!

So Kevin if you’re reading... Yes I have it, but I love it and am looking after it so well that I'm sure it loves me too. Is there any chance of a mediated solution or must we flee the jurisdiction to be together?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lemon Tea

Regardless of the painting itself, I think the method of pre mixing in strings was a great sucess. I did end up straying away form the plan of clear colours made with as few ingredients as possible but hey lifes not all about rules eh? Much happier with the purples now - added a little sap green to the alizarin & ultramarine. I wanted viridian but had none left.

I'm trying to be cool and mature about this but truth be told I'm very excited. I have a new follower. That makes a global count of two! I'm sure she won't mind me mentioning her name. She's Diana Marshall another daily painter. Her animals and landscapes are fantastic. Check out her blog here

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pre Mixing Colours

Well not much painting going on this weekend. But lots of
christmasing, is that a word? Why am I even asking, of course it's
not. Anyway, tree up and decorated in that manic way that seven
year olds favor. We've also been out for a birthday brunch, another
year for me and as it happens another Santa’s grotto for the girls.

When we finally got back I was looking at some demos and theory on colour/hue, tone/value. So in starting a new painting this evening I laid things out differently.

Here's a photo of my palette.

The colours themselves aren't great but what I am trying to do is to pre mix a "string" of colours (say about 4 or 5) for each area of colour. Each in the same hue but a different tone as it goes along the string. I'm also trying to use little or no white or black and to look at using complimentary colours in the shadows and neutrals.

I had real trouble with the purples, in fact it's a lot harder than you'd think. I seem to have trouble either seeing the colours as they are or in making them up but once I've got the basic colour its ok to get the tones from there.

When all your colours are mixed "one" should be able to see a harmony of colour on the palette! Can't say I can see much of that. Also "one's" colour should be clear and vibrant without the effect of the white and black interfering....as they do! Although, I confess to using a fair bit of white in the yellow for the flesh of the lemon. Anyway, I guess I won't know if this way works any better or if I have completely missed the point until I paint up the picture.

Having talked about this now I'm suddenly feeling under pressure. If it's awful we'll just never mention this again alright?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Coliemore Harbour

Coliemore Harbour in Dalkey. Family stomping ground for both my mum and dad.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Squeezing the orange

So called because of course it's budget day today. Seems like they are  intent on squeezing every last drop from us. I spent a couple of hours listening to the budget schpeel on the radio as I painted this one. Can you tell?
I had trouble with the reflection of the oranges in the cup. Not sure exactly what the problem is. Suggestions/offers of help welcome!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Red Onion and Avocado

Today’s offering with the slightly 70's theme of avocado. I did this one at my painting group this morning and there was good craic (that's Irish for Fun - for you readers from abroad!) to be had. I lot of Artist's say that it's a very lonely profession so I suppose painting together with others offers the kind of connection that one might get "at work" with colleagues. There's a shared focus and even our own brand of "shop talk", not to mention the endless donations of yummy things to nibble as we work.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Don't worry, It'll turnip

Ok, I'm sorry, that title is truly awful! But hey sometimes these things just pop into my head and I just go with it.

By the way, apropos of nothing, I thought I would mention a new book that would be a great stocking filler/gift. Why, cause one of my aunts features in it. I have alluded to my talented family of artists etc. but that is only the half of it. The women in my family are to say the least extraordinary. There are too many stories to bore you with but this one in particular refers to my aunt Claire Power. Now, she likes to walk the hills around wicklow but she is no serious mountaineer. If fact I was aware vaguely that she was doing a walk for charity earlier this year and as I was leaving my mum’s cottage one day I asked over my shoulder “where’s Claire doing the walk?” Mount Kilimanjaro my Mum replied. In fact it turns out she was the oldest woman to climb Mount Kilimanjaro without oxygen ever!

Now that in itself is pretty amazing but on her return she decided to visit her doctor. The reason, she said, was that when she reached the summit her legs gave out. Ok, so if I ever reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, in my late 60’s, without oxygen, I think I’d forgive myself some wobbly knees but not this woman. It turned out she had bowel cancer. You will not be surprised to hear that she is winning the fight against that particular challenge too and with good grace and humor.

Anyway the book is Give Me Irish Heroes: 15 Reasons to be Happy

It's by Ian McKeever and it’s in bookshops now.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I have had enough of still lifes for the moment. I've been looking through old photos looking for inspiration. I really need to take some more myself but it's so dark and dreary out at the moment (yes I know it's december) that I can't get anything much yet.

P.S. here a quote I read today that got me thinking..
George Bernard Shaw said, 'Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

Whites only

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

All crashed out

I'm heading out the door at break neck speed. Have to bring eldest daughter back to hospital for more x-rays. Fingers crossed it's not a fracture. I'll bring a sketch pad to while away some of the hours. Here's one I did a little while ago. Kids and TV - perfect for sketching! If all goes well I'll be able to get back to painting tonight. By the way, I've noticed more people checking out the blog. Canada, US, Chile, Australia, Germany. If you're popping in for a peek. Welcome!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Purdy in the Pink

As I post I am defrosting my feet after standing outside supporting my daughter's school play hockey in 3 degree's from freezing. Thankfully I managed to finish this one before hand as I don't think my fingers could hold a brush for the rest of the evening!

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On the Prowl

This is the one I did late yesterday evening. Purdy on the prowl!

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

In the Pink

Ok. This is more me. Much of what I'm doing here is an excerise in learning. Brushwork, technique, practice etc. This painting feels like what I'd be doing if it was just for me, without the shoulda, woulda, coulda's.

It's been a long day and once again it was dark by the time I finished. So I'll wait to photograph the final painting in the morning daylight.

It's been a busy weekend. I spent from 9.30am to about 6pm yesterday, first at the doctor's and then at Crumlin Children's hospital with Aoife. She may have a scarphoid fracture
 in her wrist. I say "may" because after nine hours, three doctors and 5 xrays, they couldn't be sure! They gave her a temporarty cast and said "let's redo the xray's in 4 days".  Sure, I said, what else have I to be doing!


River Scene - Powerscourt

I had another go at this river scene. This is essentially the same painting as the December River one but I am learning that if it doesn't work the first time I should leave it and move on to something else. No point in going back over it. My daughter and critic tells me it's "way better" than the first atempt. All in the eye......

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

November River - Powerscourt

I had photograghed this painting last night after dark so I took another photo today. Quite a difference isn't there?
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Friday, November 27, 2009

November River - Powerscourt

Time has run out but I did get this one done. So it's egg and chips for the kids and I want to pop down to Nuala O'Toole's exhibition in Greystones. Wasn't going to go but my friend Claire shamed me into it - supporting local Artists and the like.

December River - Powerscourt

I went for a walk this morning up at powerscourt. The river was very high and it was damp, mucky and very cold but occasional the sun would pick out a piece of grass or tree bark and it was like "spotlight on nature". I took some photos but they are generally very winter like and dreary. All the same I'm going to play around this afternoon and see what comes out of them. 

What can one expect for november in Ireland. I should be just greatful it wasn't raining really! Oh, and it's just occured to me I should have called it November River. Not December just yet!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Don't Jump

Maybe I should change my blog name to "nothing for ages, then 3 in a row". No paintings since last Tuesday, then three in the same day. It's dark now and I usually wait to photograph the paintings until the morning but as I had a few minutes I thought I'd do it now and see how they come out. I guess there's some shine and also a little distortion of colour so I'll do my best to re take them tommorrow if I get the chance.

Lady Marmalade

I did get some time as it happens! I've just spent a couple of happy hours listening to music and painting. The two it seems go hand in hand for me.  In the same way as certain old songs can remind people of happy childhood summers, when I listen to certain songs, I remember how my painting was going. Whether I was full of torment and self crititisim or elated from some bit of work I thought went well.

the sum of it's parts

Well I have to laugh (at myself that is). I finished the last post saying I'd paint on regardless of my mood... Well this week I just didn't feel like painting much and didn't feel like forcing myself ! I missed my class yesterday too, due to the teacher's strike and having no childcare. So this week is the first week since September that I have only done one painting. (and I didn't post it as it was a doozy) I did the one above very quickly and I've left the still life up as, you never know, I may get a chance the paint again later. Off to do other things conected to life generally now.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Heather landscapes

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It never rains but it pours. That's four paintings in three days. I did both of these little landscapes from a photo, at a class today. The image was quite dark and moody but I also wanted to use lots of colour.

It's funny how it goes. I came to last week's class feeling very tired and not in good form and I knew that anything I did was going to be dragged out of me. Today's class, on the other hand, was a joy. Not sure if the difference shows in the results but the expeirience was completely different. I guess for the time being my plan is to paint regardless of my mood. I can always wipe over anyway right!