Latest Painting and News
I am delighted to be invited to join 19 other artists in the 13th Forgotten Coast en Plein Air event on the Gulf of Mexico coast of western Florida where I will be chuffed to meet some of my painting heroes. This 10 day festival in May sets out to highlight aspects of a beautiful and unique environment and a way of life in danger of slipping away. This year, the theme will be the built environment. Of course, I am looking forward to having great fun, doing loads of painting and learning from other artists whose work I have admired for a long time. But it is also marvellous, to hopefully be able to contribute something to an important cause. I hope to learn how one of the major USA plein air events is run so successfully over 12 years and to forge some new links with Ireland's own Art in the Open festival.
Plein Air South is an open outdoor painting convention, with an emphasis on
teaching, rather than 'The Forgotten Coast' Invitationa paint-out but it is held in the same location, a small; coastal town called Port St.Joe and starts the day after the other finishes. Many fellow artists from 'Forgotten Coast' will be staying on and demonstrating as part of Plein Air South, so I expect the painting party of the previous ten days will continue and hope to spend an extra couple of days gaining knowledge from an impressive 'faculty' and sharing information about Art in the Open.
In January 2018, I took a lease on a large studio space which was formerly a grain store at the Old Mill, Castlebridge. The aim is to host a life-drawing group there on Wednesday evenings and currently there is also a Portrait Club with clothed models on Thursday mornings. Occasionally, there will be all-day painting sessions with the model and also weekend workshops with guest artists. See the link for details if interested in joining us as artists, tutors or models.
In September 2016 I went on a painting trip to Achill in Mayo, on the west coast of Ireland. This was a long-standing wish to breathe in and try to paint a landscape that has inspired generations of Irish artists.
The island is surrounded at every horizon by majestic cliffs or gentle mountains unless you are looking out across the pounding waves of the Atlantic. There is a strong sense of being on an outpost, at Europe's westernmost edge. Inland, are the peat bogs, very few fields and sheep roaming unconfined. The peat, with its dull, hardy grass is scattered with heathers and leaves rich, dark brown scars where it has been cut for turf or where streams the colour of black tea run through it. Above all, is a heightened sense of the elements, the drama of history and the shock of being alive.
Painting from Life
One evening every week I take part in a life-drawing session with other artists at the studio of our friend, Tom King in Castlebridge. Usually, there will be a series of short studies in charcoal, conte crayon or pencil followed by a long pose with an opportunity to paint or complete a longer study lasting about an hour and a half.
Some great models do their best to help us find interesting poses and by holding the pose for quite a long time. It isn't easy. On this occasion our usual model wasn't available and thankfully, American Ed Barker stepped in for us. Sometimes, this may be all the painting I get to do in the week so, for me, it is very important.
Mother of the Mountains. Oil on Canvas, 20" x 30". This was painted from reference photographs after the tragic earthquake in Nepal in April 2015. I am not sure if it should rightly be called a figure painting or a landscape as, in addition to the beautiful faces and exotic costumes, it is the clear cold light and the effect it appears to have on colour which mainly drew me to this theme.
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