Monday, October 12, 2009

Art Cards



          I have long been fascinated by the idea of  ACEO’s  and have intended for just as  long a time to try them out. This last week-end having spent entirely in the studio, the first  time for a long time,  I actually produced a couple, between work on a larger canvas.

DSCN3243-1I really enjoyed doing them and have every intention of painting more. On a purely commercial basis,in these days of recession, I suppose it makes sense to produce small paintings that are affordable to all. I think I will produce some limited edition prints from them and put them on my Etsy shop.  

In the last few weeks my art classes have restarted after the summer break. I am constantly amazed at the amount of interest there is in learning to paint and once again my classes are full, long may it last.                      

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Along the rocks"

The weather in Ireland is atrocious at the moment, so I thought I would show a picture that I painted a few years ago on one of the few days that we had sunshine. We have had so much rain this summer , I'm surprised we haven't all got webbed feet.
Went to the studio yesterday with great intentions, but like all good intentions, they fell by the wayside and I ended up flitting from one unfinished painting to another and achieving nothing.Does this happen to anyone else?

Friday, August 21, 2009

From my office window.

Pages from my sketchbook: From my office window.

Not only do I seem to be blocked as far as my painting is concerned I also seem to have problems with my blogging. The sketch above was done from my office window, there is a small stand of trees where I have bird feeders, some mornings the light through the trees is amazing, but trying to capture it is another matter.
I am going to spend the whole of this week-end in my studio in the hope that I might finish one or two of the many paintings that I have started over the last couple of months. It would be great satisfaction to just finish one, hopefully I will post the result on Monday. I really envy those artists involved with daily painting blogs, where do they get the inspiration from all the time and the discipline to keep doing it?

Monday, July 13, 2009

I don't believe a month has gone by

I can't believe it's over a month since I posted anything to my blog.For some reason, I have felt totally blocked as far as painting is concerned and this seems to have followed through to my blogging. hopefully this will be the start of a new lease of life.
My art group had a mini exhibition in a local hotel, while it wasn't the best venue ever, we sold a few paintings, which we didn't expect, and the hotel asked us to provide some paintings to display around the hotel as well, so its a good advert if nothing else.
Since the last time I posted I have been approached by two other galleries to show my work, so things seem to be looking up all of a sudden, all I need now is the inspiration to paint!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Back home

While I have been home from Poland for more than a week, I have'nt yet knuckled down to painting, although I have been running my classes, so I will have to be satisfied with a photo taken in Poland of White Storks nesting . It was a joy to see the tolerance with which these birds are treated, even to the extent of nesting poles being erected for them where there were no suitable chimneys; I doubt that they would be given the same consideration in Ireland.
What a beautiful country Poland is, it reminded me of my childhood in England when the farming methods still allowed wild flowers to proliferate in the meadows and there were butterflies and grasshoppers everywhere. presumably being a member of the EU will soon change this, and intensive farming methods will take over as they did here, with the resultant weed killers and insecticides being used liberally, to the detriment of the flora and fauna and ultimately to the detriment of our own species.
On the art scene , I have been approached by another gallery to exhibit my work, so on the marketing side, things are looking up, although on the actual sales side the recession seems to really be biting, it is even affecting the sales of prints. I suppose this is no wonder, people really seem to be worried about spending on non necessities . there have been recessions before and we got through them and I am sure this one will be no different, but I think it is important for people to try and remain positive, difficult as this can be.

Friday, May 15, 2009


I'm not the most prolific of bloggers but I will be even less prolific for 10 days from the 19th of May. I am heading for Poland on a birding holiday, with 3 friends. Poland has been on my list of countries to visit for along time and I hope to find lots of inspiration for paintings.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Hot Stuff" Watercolour on Arches paper.

Another of my watercolour attempts that I refound recently and decided to finish. Don't think it came out too bad, but have to admit, I will never be a master at watercolour.

The weather is being it's normal depressing self, every time we get a hint of sunshine the wind whips up and the rain falls, but I suppose we will never die of thirst. Even more depressing than the weather are the constant reports of doom and gloom from our politicians, news media, and just about everyone you talk too, you would think we had never seen a recession goes on.

On a much happier note...I sold a painting yesterday, another of my abstracts "Spring Garden" so I am delighted and have huge incentive to paint more abstracts.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Forest Fire 2

"Forest Fire 2" Acrylic on canvas, 106x79cm approx unframed.
If you are interested in this painting you can contact me on, or

We seem to be back to winter over here, it's cold, windy and it keeps raining, but at least we haven't got swine flu......YET!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Forest fire

"Forest Fire" Oil Paints on Canvas 106x79cm approx
If you are interested in this painting you can contact
me on or

Hi all, haven't posted for a few days because I have been in the studio solidly over the Easter weekend. Luckily the weather was pretty good and there were a few visitors around so managed to sell an original and a couple of prints, to keep the wolf from the door. As you can see by the painting above I am still on my abstract kick and still enjoying it immensely. I really think this is my way forward, as I have never got so much out of painting over the last 20 years as I do now...does that make sense? I am beginning to learn new techniques, different ways to use the paint, and this is making the whole process more manageable

What I really love is that everyone that looks at the paintings sees something totally different, and guess what...they are all right, even when I look afresh I see a new story.

Anyway, we are back to the normal Irish weather today, rain , so I am heading to the studio, I had a class last night so must clear up and then will do some painting while the mood is on me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Garden

"Spring Garden" Acrylic on canvas. 120x90x4 cm unframed
If you are interested in this painting you can contact me on . For other images

Hopefully, Spring is on it's way, the sun is even shining outside the window and the light is amazing, I should be out painting instead of sitting at the computer, but I felt guilty that I hadn't updated my blog for several days.
As you can see by the picture, I am still in my "abstract" mode, and I have to say that I have never been so fired up about my art as I am now, I find it very hard to stay away from my studio, and in fact am getting up earlier so that I can spend more time there. I find it amazing,that after 20 odd years of being a realist, I have overnight become an abstract artist, but maybe thats only my opinion.
Tomorrow sees the opening of the "Clock Tower Gallery" in Cobh, Co Cork , and I am proud to say that I have paintings on display there. I am in good company , with some of Cork's finest artist there, like Cobh artist Philip Gray, sculptor Blessing Sanyanga, and Cork artist John Adams.
In my last post I asked if anybody could advise me about manipulating my blog, as I found it quite difficult to move photos etc. True to form Katherine Tyrrell of "Making a mark" fame, immediately offered assistance. Many thanks Katherine. If anyone out their hasn't read her blogs or looked at her websites, they should make a point of doing so, the wealth of information for artists on all kinds of subjects is amazing.

Monday, March 30, 2009


I am totally gobsmacked that after only a couple of weeks painting

abstracts I have sold one. The very first one I painted,the small image on the right, which I suppose is really only semi abstract was bought on Saturday, needless to say I am chuffed to say the least.

The larger image is another in my new abstract style, now I can paint them, I wish I could name them.

Tomorrow I have to deliver my paintings to the new gallery that approached me . I think the opening is on Good Friday, must check that! I am very nervous I have to admit.

On a totally different topic, I find writing posts with blogger very difficult, the photos never move where I want them to and I have problems trying to put titles etc under photos, generally speaking it is much more difficult to move things around than say my web builder. I look at other sites on blogger and they have all kinds of stuff that I find impossible to do. Does one need to know HTML code or what? or is the answer staring me in the face? Would appreciate if anyone out there could advise.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Abstraction 2

Well here's another one, I think I can definitely call this abstract. I was feeling quite proud of myself until a few minutes ago I read on the internet about a 2 year old, somewhere in Australia, turning out stuff like this, seems she's just had an exhibition and got around a £1000 a pop for her paintings. Oh well....beaten to the post again! They're calling her a child prodigy...can I be an OAP prodigy?
All jokes aside, I am really enjoying painting these and the reaction I am getting from people is very positive, so who knows, I might even sell one. My biggest problem, now that I have got over the mental block I had about abstract, is how do I name them? My imagination has'nt stretched that far yet. Any help greatly appreciated.
Theres a big hoo haa in Ireland today about some artist sneaking into two of our top galleries and hanging 2 paintings of our beloved Prime Minister naked , , showing him in a not particularly flattering light, and this being shown on the 9 pm news. Seems our ruling party are so up themselves that they think its more important to bang on about crap like this than find a way out of the considerable mess our country is in, most of which they caused! Hopefully somebody will buy these paintings and donate them to the National Gallery.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Well, what do you think of my first abstract painting. Alright , I know its only semi abstract, but for me that's a huge jump. I've been Mr Realist for so long it seems forever. I have been so tired of late with the stuff I've been doing and I desperately wanted to do something totally different. Ok I know you can see that they are flowers but at least I haven't spent days trying to get them exactly right. Unfortunately I don't think the photo does the painting justice so will try to get a better snap.
After doing this one I tried my hand at something totally abstract which I have to admit I am fairly pleased with. As soon as I manage to take a decent photo, ( I have to be the worlds worst with a camera) I will post it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Commission Finished

I know I posted this picture recently, but this is the final version. Its oil on canvas and measures 120cm x 90 cm approx. The lady that commissioned the work arrived last Thursday, and as usual I was a bag of nerves, in case it wasn't exactly what she wanted. It was a great relief when she smiled and said she loved it !
After working on quite large pieces I find it nice to go to the other extreme for a while and work small. With this in mind I have been painting more geese and chickens on 12 x 18 cm canvas boards, I've been working on three together and they are nearly finished so will post them here soon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Images untitled, Oil on canvas board, 5x7 inches unframed.
Images for sale: €50 plus pp
Spent the whole day in the studio on Sunday, the plan being to finish the commission! needless to say got diverted and decided to try my hand at a daily painting the results of which are the two images shown. I took loads of photos the previous week end in a small farmyard in Co Clare, there were ducks, geese and chickens everywhere, with a few feral pigeons thrown in, as well as a good complement of semi wild cats that amazingly seemed to ignore all the birds.
Can't think of titles so any suggestions
Sold a painting yesterday, hurray! Maybe the recession is not so bad, mind you its the first sale since before Christmas, its hard to judge the effects really as January and February are always bad months for sales, in my opinion.
Our wonderful government are making noises about doing away with the artists tax exemption as another means of solving our ever increasing deficits, just when I thought I was finished with all that.!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Work in progress as yet untitled.

Nearly finished the commission I got before Christmas. Thought I had loads of time but all of a sudden it's March 1st and it has to be finished by mid March. Anyway , only have a few tweaks to do and I think its done. I don't really like commissions, though it would be harder to turn down the money.It's much easier to just paint, and if someone likes your work enough to buy it...great! but with a commission you are never quite sure what the customer wants.

Still in my studio...the receiver hasn't decided to evict us, as yet. Hopefully someone will buy the business, (anyone out there want a readymade business going cheap?).

Lovely sunny morning this a.m., maybe Spring is coming, though just saw the forecast on Sky and its supposed to get colder ...again. Shouldn't moan really, don't get that much cold down in the deep south of Ireland. be nice to see some sun and feel a bit of heat though, it might take everbodies mind of recession. Getting kinda fed up with the constant bad news, though I feel for the people losing their jobs, so glad I got out of business when I did.sick of hearing the politicians telling us we must all suffer because we all had it so good in the past, I think the vast majority of working people didn't make any fortunes and they certainly aren't responsible for the mess we are in, wouldn't it be nice to hear a politician admit they messed up!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Autumn Leaves, coloured pencil on black Arches paper.

Since I last posted, the company I rent my studio from has gone from "examinership" to "receivership". Not really sure what this means or how it will affect me but hopefully somebody will decide to buy it from the bank and save us all from eviction. as a safeguard have decided to build a studio on to the house, so at least I will have somewhere to work and run my classes if it all goes pear shaped.

Last week got a call from a guy opening a new gallery, asking would I be interested in showing work there, ....would I what!!!!!!!.

Just back from a long week end with my art group. we rented a large house in what we thought was its own grounds surrounded by woodland, but it turned out to be a large house in a one horse, no ...half horse town, with a big garden and one tree. the town/village was depressing but luckily not far from the coast so at least we could derive some inspiration from that. However the food was brilliant and the wine flowed freely and all in all we had a great time although not much painting was done.

Have to set my mind on work this week as I have to finish a commission I got before Christmas, its nearly finished but I got a bit bogged down with it and had to leave it for a while. I don't like commissions, they always put me under pressure, so I don't know why I take them on.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"What's in here?"
Pen & watercolour on arches paper
30x21cm unframed
Original for sale €200
Enquiries to or

Bloody cold again....sitting at the window watching the birds on the feeders....we think we have it tough!!!! There is a pair of magpies which seem to think they are Sparrowhawks, they keep trying to catch the smaller birds, so far without success, as far as I know.

Have been reading Katherine Tyrells blog and squidoo pages concerning marketing, the amount of information is amazing and incredibly useful, thank you Katherine, where do you find the time to do all this and paint? I have to admit that there is so much information there that I can't take it all in immediately and have to keep re-reading.Hopefully I will be able to put some of the info to good use.

I thought I would be recession proof now that I have retired from business, but unfortunately it may have caught up, the gallery in which I have my studio may go into liquidation within the next week or so. Being part of a larger business which has been in examinership for the last 3 months, time may finally be running out. An awful shame if it does as the set up is , I think, quite unique. The top floor of the building is a shop, cafe and gallery, while downstairs there are 8 studios rented to local artisans, also with wall space for a permanent display of paintings and prints. Maybe there is a white knight waiting in the wings !

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Winter blues

"Winter sun"
Pen & Watercolour on Arches paper
30x20 cm unframed
Original for sale €200
Contact or

The winter drags on and for only the fourth time in 30 years we have had snow in Ballycotton, have to say I am not a fan, but I suppose it does make a change from the interminable rain. Its hard to heat the studio when it's so cold so its even harder to keep the enthusiasm for painting going,when its easier to sit at home in the warm. How do people manage in cold climates where they get snow every year, I would emigrate!
I was asked by the owner of the Ballymaloe shop to do some local scenes for prints, to sell in the shop and the above is one of them, hopefully they will go well, commercial is that!

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Paris Boulevard" Watercolour on Arches paper. 28x38cm

Original for sale €300

Limited edition giclee prints available €60

With our world rapidly running into recession , how is this affecting sales for the many artists out there that do not command prices in the tens of thousands. Given that all art purchases would be seen as "top end" , is the worldwide art community turning into real starving artists or are they keeping their heads above water? It would be interesting to hear opinions.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Home is the hunter

"Home is the hunter" Pen and watercolour on Arches paper. 28cm x 38cm

Original for sale unframed @ €200.00

Limited editin giclee prints available mounted @ €60.00

Enquiries please to or

With a gale force 9 blowing and not a fishing boat out around the coast I thought I would post a picture of calmer times. This painting is based on my Son-in -law and his boat "Spes Firma" after they had returned from a trip 30 miles off shore with a good catch of Hake, Pollack and Ling.

For the last year or so I have found myself drawn away, more and more from large canvas and oils to smaller paintings in watercolour .Having never considered myself a watercolourist, I am reasonably happy with my efforts, though I realise a lot of improvement can be made. It is a huge advantage these days to be able to go online and view hundreds of other artists and their techniques, and I think that all those artists who post demo's and works in progress show a real a real generosity of spirit in their willingness to share their talent with others. With this is mind, this year I would like to try and share my limited talent and intend posting WIP's and demos from time to time.My biggest problem is that I get so engrossed in my work that I forget to take the photos and end up with a photo of the start and one of the finished painting.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all that stumble upon this blog,
I hope you find it interesting, or at least like looking at the pictures. This one is a Red Pelargonum, I think , which I believe is of the geranium family. I was attracted to the deep red against the complimentary green, its painted on black Canford paper with coloured pencils.
What is it about New Year that we start soul searching, I have spent the last few days trying to decide what direction my art should take, for the last 20 years or so I have flitted from one medium to another, one subject type to another.....when I look at some of the incredible art on line it would seem that other artists stick to one genre (is that the right word) and spend years trying to perfect it, is this the way to go?You would have thought that at nearly 60 years of age I would have had this sorted by now! Anyway I suppose it will work itself out in the end.
Having had a Christmas break from running my art classes, I am in the process of restarting them next week. I always restart with a sense of trepidation, but this very quickly wears off when I see the enthusiasm of my students, many of whom are becoming really good artists.