Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas

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It’s that time again! For the second year running we have temperatures in the minus department, considering that in over 30 years living in Ballycotton I have only seen snow three times before you will realise how significant this is. However our life hasn’t been unduly affected unlike all those poor people stranded in airports desperately trying to get home.


It’s very hard on the birds in this kind of weather so I am constantly filling up the feeders and putting out apples , especially now the likes of this fella have started to visit. Fieldfares and Redwings arriving from Northern Europe are starving and are desperately looking for food and are having a hard time competing  with the local Thrushes.

On a different theme, I have finally got round to setting up my Etsy shop, although I only have a few items there at the moment , however it is now possible to purchase my art from this source and here are a couple of examples.IMG_2234-1

Black Tulip

This is an original watercolour ACEO, measuring 3.5”x2.5”

To Purchase click here


Apple Blossom

This is an original watercolour ACEO measuring 2.5”x3.5”

To Purchase click here

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Snow again

Had a fall of snow last night which made the roads lethal and had to cancel my art class this morning because many of the class were snowed in. We just cannot handle snow in Ireland, mainly because we don’t get very much, especially in the south, but I suspect we are going to have to get used to it as this is the second year in a row. I’m sure this sounds strange to those of you who get snow every year, but if you consider that I have lived in Ireland for over 30 years and I think this is only the 4th or 5th time I have seen snow.

With the hard weather it is more important to keep feeding the birds, and it gives me more opportunities to sketch the likes of this stunning Goldfinch




Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winter Visitor


Sitting at my computer yesterday , trying to do some work, between watching the comings and goings at my bird feeders, when this fellow caught my eye. It’s a male Brambling , a member of the Finch family and a fairly uncommon , though annual, winter visitor to Ireland. I was glad to see that he is still around this morning and holding his own with the aggressive Greenfinches and Chaffinches.



I seem to have gone back to my first love, painting birds, something I decided long ago to give up because there are so many truly brilliant wildlife artists out there, and I’m not one of them. But in the end I think you have to do what you want to do regardless of how good or bad the results are.

This is a small painting of a young male Blackbird, coming constantly to the apples I put out, during the recent cold spell we had I sometimes had to replenish the stocks three times a day, so voracious were the birds.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Buenos Aries


Another quick rooftop sketch just to keep the ball rolling, considering how irreligious I am (is that a word?) strange that churches keep appearing



The entrance to La Bocca

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Buenos Aries

Been in the doldrums for a long while, finding it hard to paint and even harder to keep up the blog. Just back from a 10 day trip to Buenos Aries, a long long trip, but it has given me time to think about what I want to do and how I want to do it, and I realise once again that all I want to do is paint


This is a quick sketch I did from the balcony of my apartment, using ink and marker pens, the city is amazingly green and low rise , if that is the right way to describe it. There are very few tall buildings ,most are two story and every street is lined with trees, especially orange trees.



A couple dancing the Tango in the street in the Bocas region of the city, a great subject for some paintings. 

Friday, July 9, 2010




“Bacon’s Studio” Oil on canvas.

Tonight sees the opening of “The Old Road Painters” annual exhibition at the Shanagarry Design Centre, Shanagarry , Co Cork. If you are in the area during the next month it is well worth a look. The group, 8 strong , with a diversity of styles, has been in existence over 20 years and has exhibited every year since inception.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Finishing up

This doesn’t apply to the blog but the many paintings I have unfinished in the studio. 


I started this painting in June of 2009, just after returning from a trip to Poland. The inspiration was a boggy area, viewed from a small bridge , which I spent hours looking at in the hope of seeing a pair of Black Woodpeckers that were nesting in a tree way at the back.

The background to the painting happened fast enough but then the inspiration ground to a halt and it has taken several reworkings and many changes to reach this stage, even then I am not sure it’s finished but after protestations from several of my students to “practice what I preach”, I have decided to leave it alone…….for now.

If anyone is in the Shanagarry , Co Cork area during the month of July, myself and a group of artists that make up The Old Road Painters , have an exhibition in the Kilkenny design centre opening on the evening of Friday the 9th and running for the month, all welcome.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I’m Back(I think!)

Can’t believe I haven’t posted anything to my blog since February, where has the time gone? Have been busy though, teaching and painting, (trying to paint), going through one of those periods where nothing seems to turn out how you want it to.


This is a little sketch I did with pastels, which amazingly sold while still taped to a board. Maybe there is a lesson here….forget the  big planned works and just sketch!



This is a small acrylic I did of Cobh (Queenstown as it was called in the days of British colonialism), this was the last stop the Titanic made .

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The Fastnet Rock, again  small acrylics,…I think small is good at the moment because at least I am finishing them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Autumn Leaves" Coloured pencil on black paper.

Having got diverted from the work in progress I have been showing on the blog, I have struggled to find something to post. I restarted my art classes in the last couple of weeks and found I needed to have a real tidy up in the studio as it was getting impossible to move. It's amazing what you find! This is a small work I did with coloured pencils some time in the last two years, which disappeared in the morass of unfinished work. I also found several other pieces, mostly unfinished which I must make a real effort to finish.
Are other artists like this or are they all disciplined and finish what they start before moving on to something else? I seem to be constantly moving from one work to another, finishing some , while losing others until sometimes months later they turn up.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Work in progress(cont)

Finally got down to doing some more work in the studio, now that the ice and snow has gone , for good I hope,I am able to heat the studio enough to work.


Basically I am still only blocking in colour, but gradually I am painting in more detail and some of the dark shadows. I am using a fairly limited palette of:

Prussian Blue, Cadmium Red,Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow and Titanium White.


As the painting progresses I am thinking more and more that I will leave it as an Autumn scene, rather than Jack Frost, but who knows?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Feeding the birds


With the very cold spell we are going through ,it’s been ever more important to keep the feeders topped up for the local bird population.



                    House Sparrow. Pastel pencil on brown paper.            

Not only does this give the birds a better chance of survival, it also gives me endless hours of enjoyment watching them, and trying to sketch them. There seems to be a hierarchy amongst the House Sparrows as they queue up on a twig overlooking one of the feeders.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jack Frost

It’s been so cold here in the last couple of weeks that I have found it almost impossible to heat the studio enough to be able to paint, hence I have not worked on my “Jack Frost” painting so have no “work in progress” to show.Finally a thaw seems to be setting in , today we are back to normal with lashing rain and high winds.

While not painting I have spent a lot of time working on my website and gazing out of the window watching the birds on my feeders.With the cold spell all over Northern Europe , here in Ireland we have had a huge influx of northern thrushes, Fieldfare and Redwing and they have appeared in numbers in gardens and on feeders, many of them half starved after their long flight.   



I’ve been going through some of the piles of unfinished work I seem to have lying around, especially watercolours, and every now and then I come across one that appears finished but has been left for some reason.


This is one that I unearthed, its not a particularly good photo of it but hopefully you can get the idea. Its a place a few miles from me called “Roches Point”, which is at the mouth of  Cork harbour, hence the lighthouse.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Work in progress (cont)

At the moment all I am doing is filling in the leaf shapes without putting in any real detail. I am using a limited pallet so that I hope the painting will gel together.


At this stage I have begun to introduce  detail into some of the leaves and I am already wondering whether I will make this a painting in the “Jack Frost” series or will I leave it in the autumn colours. it remains to be seen.



Bad News & Good News

With the recession biting deeply, it wasn’t much of a surprise albeit disappointing to hear just before Christmas that a new gallery , that I had some work in, was closing down after only 6 months. They stayed open up to New Year in the hope that people would buy prints etc as last minute presents, so I was delighted to hear today that they had sold an original of mine (shown below)


I think I will have several glasses of red wine tonight to celebrate.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Work in progress

It seems like forever since I posted anything to my blog, so I thought I would start the New Year with something different for me and post a work in progress.



Just before Christmas I was shown  a series of photos, taken by an artist friend , which he called “Jack Frost” for obvious reasons. I normally work only from my own reference but was so taken by some of the photos I asked could I use some, to which he agreed.


After playing around with the crop tool for a while I ended up with several photos I am going to use to try and create a series of paintings and this is the first attempt. I am using a fairly large canvas, 102x67cm and painting with oils


I don’t want to copy the picture but I do want to use the orange brown leaf as a focal point. I lightly sketched some leaf shapes in, just to have some reference, but I find as I paint that these shapes are being changed over and over again