Monday, December 10, 2012

Back Out There Again

After a few weeks break from plein air painting, I finally was persuaded to get back out there yesterday. I joined a few friends at historic Tintern Abbey for a very enjoyable morning. It was overcastr and cool but not really that cold (6-7C). I love winter scenes like this one, as I feel they are more representative of the Irish winter (at least of the ones we used to get) than those with the dreaded white stuff that we've been getting a little too aften lately!

I discovered also that the Irish midge is quite happy at temperatures of 6-7C. When I got home I discovered a line of bites along my forehead, and I assume also on other parts of my anatomy which are harder to see in a mirror!

Winter Morning, Tintern Abbey
(10" x 12" Oil on MDF Board)

This is a photo of the scene, taking before I started:-

Monday, November 12, 2012

When is a Painting Finished?

Well I have a smart answer to that, which goes "When it's sold"! But then again, for most painters, I suppose there's some truth in it, and, in my case, quite a lot. I've often returned to a painting months after I initially deemed it finished and gone on to make significant changes. But usually they are only fairly minor tweaks. In the case of the one below, I've fallen somewhere in the middle following some constructive critique from painting frineds.

So hopefully, I find a buyer quickly, because I think I've tweaked this one enough!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Finished - at Last!

I started working on this painting in the lobby of Cedars Hotel, Rosslare, while exhibiting there in September. I sort of lost interest in it then, but eventually returned to it yesterday and today. I think I'm finished, but I'll probably still see something that needs tweaking tomorrow!

Towards The Great Blasket, Dunquin
(20" x 24" Oil on Canvas)

Here are a couple of close-ups:-
Finally, this is the original plein air painting I used for reference purposes. I felt that it needed some sunlight to add sufficient impact for a larger painting, so I brightened it up quite a bit here and there:-



Monday, October 1, 2012

Plein Air and "Plein Stable"!

I've been neglecting my blog a bit recently, so hopefully, my little band of followers have not lost interest in me! Got out to paint on Saturday morning which was bright and sunny and then again yesterday in the pouring rain! I got down to my favourite seaside spot on Saturday to paint this view of the cliffs at Baginbun Head:-

Sunlit Cliffs, Baginbun Head
(12" x 10" Oil on MDF Board)

I got some shelter just inside the stable door at Ballycross Apple Farm yesterday, and painted these two little guys - just a fun sketch really:-
Stable Mates
(12" x 10" Oil on MDF Board)


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Solo Exhibition, Cedars Hotel, Rosslare

I decided to generate some interest in this exhibition by painting in the lobby of the hotel occasionally. I've been working on a fairly large (20" x 24") painting, based on a small plein air study I did in West Kerry last summer (that was the last week of April - the monsoon season set in after that!).

This is where I got to after my first session (approx 3 hours):-

And (after spending most of the afternoon talking!), this is where I got last week (about another hour or so working on the background):-
And this is where I got to this afternoon, after about another two hours or so. Thanks to everyone who cam along to watch. Painting, especially studio work can be a very solitary experience, so it was nice to have company for a change. The colour has come a little too warm in this photo - the true colour is somewhere between this and last week's image.

I'll either finish this next time, or start something else - won't be able to make it next Wednesday, so probably Wednesday 19th September then.


Monday, August 27, 2012

The Last of the Straw Bales

It was a beautiful morning here yesterday, so I got out there quickly, hoping to catch the last of the straw bales. I got very lucky, spotting these in a field near the little village of Screen and getting about 45 minutes before it completely clouded over! I managed to finish it on location, painting mostly from memory. Got chatting to the farmer too - it's always great to meet local people who invariably have a real sense of place and love of the land.

I had to shift things around a bit to make a more interesting composition.

Straw Bales, Near Screen
(10" x 12" Oil on Board)


This is a photo of the scene, taken, before I started.


Monday, August 20, 2012

A Morning in Ballyhack

I went painting yesterday (Sunday 19 August) with a few friends to the little village of Ballyhack. It was a misty, overcast day, which turned into persistent rain by afternoon. Thankfully, I got one done before it turned wet. I had to work really hard to find some colour and even then had to enhance things a little, but I'm fairly pleased with the result.

Low Tide, Ballyhack Harbour
(12" x 10" Oil on Board)

This is a photo of the scene, taken before I started:-

New Solo Show, Rosslare

I've got a new solo show opening this evening at 8-00 pm in The Cedars Hotel, Rosslare Strand. If you're in the area, please come along and enjoy a complimentary glass of wine, while viewing the paintings. The show continues until the 29th September.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Newtownbarry House Paint-Out

We had a group paint-out at beautiful Newtownbarry House, Bunclody, yesterday. After a beautiful, sunny day on Saturday, yesterday was disappointingly overcast and damp. However, the gardens at Newtownbarry House are stunning, regardless of the weather, so I made the best of the conditions and really enjoyed the day. I decided to concentrate on painting foliage with expressive brushwork.

For my first one, I was really drawn to the lovely mixture of reds and greens in the shrub on the left. I decided later to add the distant figures, both to echo these colours and give a sense of scale to the painting.

Towards the Sunken Garden, Newtownbarry House
(14" x 11" Oil on MDF Board)

For my second one, I decided to concentrate again on foliage:-

Above the Sunken Garden, Newtownbarry House
(14" x 11" Oil on MDF Board)

Here are photos of both scenes, taken before I started:-

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Open Air Concert

A very enjoyable day yesterday, when some of our plein air group were invited to paint at an open air concert featuring some of Ireland's leading singer/songwriters. The weather was a bit mixed, mostly overcast with a few showers, but the crowd were in a good mood and the performers seemed to enjoy the fact that one of our number painted them while they were on stage. Yours truly focused on the crowd enjoying themselves.

For my first one, I was drawn to the brightly coloured refreshements tents and the reflections in the adjoining lake.

"Enjoying the Barbecue", National Heritage Park, Wexford
(14" x 11" Oil on Board)

For my second one, I made my way up towards the main stage. The crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves, so I decided to paint them. It helped that the sun cam out for about a half hour or so. Got to chat to to some of the performers afterwards too which was fun. I think they were intrigued to see painters instead of photographers at their gig!

Enjoying the Concert, National Heritage Park, Wexford
(12" x 10" Oil on Board)

Forgot to bring the camera, so unfortunately no photos this time.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Paint Out at the Corn Loft Studio

A painting colleague let us loose on the grounds of her beautiful home yesterday. A difficult day for plein air painting, with the sun coming and going and then one almighty hail shower int he afternoon. I decided to focus on close-ups, given the conditions.

I was drawn to these magnificent foxglove (digitalis purpurea - just showing off!) for my first one (the yellow is a bit oversaturated in the photo - must get a better camera):-

(14" x 11" Oil on Board)

For my second, I had a bit of a "Monet moment", unable to resist the challenge of these waterlilies, especially as they were in full bloom:-

(14" x 11" Oil on Board)

Here are photos of both scenes:-

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Exhibition News

Just a quick note to let everyone know that,  due to popular demand, the group exhibition by the Denis Collins Gallery in the new Presentation Centre in Enniscorthy is extended until the 29th June. It features new work by yours truly among some other local artists. Also there are still a very limited number of places remaining on my morning demo/workshop in Inistigoue on Monday 30th July, courtesy of Art in the Open. For details and to register, go here

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wexford Wildfowl Reserve

An impromptu paint-out with a few friends yesterday at the wildfowl reserve a few miles North of Wexford town. And a beautiful day it was too, with unbroken sunshine all day. The manager of the reserve was kind enough to allow us in among the natural ponds/lagoons, an area usually closed to the public. The first scene reminded me very much of my first feeble attempts at plein air painting at a workshop in California. I can remember trying to capture the brilliance of mid-day summer sunlight on similar ponds and failing dismally. I'm a little more pleased with this one.

Summer Morning, Wexford Wildfowl Reserve
(11" x 14" Oil on Board)

For my second one, I drove about a mile up the road, where there's a sort of a beach. The sand turns into mud nearer the water, so it's not really suitable for swimming, but it does have great views back towards Wexford town.

Late Afternoon, North Slob, Wexford
(12" x 12" Oil on Board)

These are photos of both scenes, taken before I started.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Carne Paint-Out

I went down to Carne Pier yesteday to paint with a few friends. It was an overcast day in Wexford, but Carne has a sort of micro-climate which often leads to clear skies down there. Yesterday was no exception - we were blessed with a day of warm sunshine and clear blue skies. I walked about a mile down the coast for my first one. I had painted in that particular spot a couple of years ago and had a fair idea that the sun would be where I wanted it at that time of morning.

Sunlit Rocks, Carne
(14" x 11" Oil on Board)

I decided to try something totally different for my second, and liked the challenge of capturing the semi-transparent windows in these backlit greenhouses.

Greenhouses, Carne
(11" x 14" Oil on Board)

These are photos of both scenes, taken before I started painting:-

Friday, May 18, 2012

Baginbun Head Revisited

I wasn't particularly pleased with the foreground water in the painting I posted yesterday. So after having a good long look at it this morning, I decided to completely re-work the foreground water. I also worked on the distant headland on the left, to make it more consistent with the strong backlighting there. I'm much more pleased with it now

Sunny Evening, Baginbun Head
(12" x 10" Oil on Board)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

An Evening Paint-Out

Well, I suppose not quite a group paint-out, since there were only two of us. But a lovely sunny evening, despite being unseasonably cold for May, made for an enjoyable time. Unfortunately, the sun went down behind a cloud bank at about 7-30 pm, so I didn't get the chance to attempt one of those "golden hour" ones. At least I came away with one half decent painting:-

Sunny Evening, Baginbun Head
(12 x 10" Oil on Board)

This is a photo of the scene, taken just before I started to paint:-

Monday, May 7, 2012

Back to Kells

We had a group paint-out yesterday in the little village of Kells, Co Kilkenny. There's not much to paint in the village itself but there's an interesting river nearby, some former grain mills and the ruins of an old priory. It was a cold but sunny start, so I made sure to stay in the sunlight and settled for this view of the river beside the priory.

A Sunny Morning, Near Kells
(12" x 10" Oil on Board)

It had become mostly cloudy by afternoon and I found it difficult to see anything interesting to paint. Inevitably, I found myself drawn towards the rushing water in the nearby mill race. However, getting the most interesting view involved making my way out onto the weir (the rive level was low enough so that the top of the weir was above water). Despite almost falling in twice while stepping back from my easel, I managed to comlete the painting and get something close to what I wanted. Hopefully, it was worth the risk!

On the Weir, Near Kells
(12" x 10" Oil on Board)

Here are photos of both scenes taken before I started:-

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Day the Sun Shone!

After a fantastic week at the end of April last year, the subsequent summer proved to be mostly very disappointing, but there was that one beautiful day in Rosslare, when almost fifty artists from the "Art in the Open" plein air festival descended on the beach. I sold my little plein air painting to a lovely German lady that day, but kept a photo of it for reference purposes. So in this larger studio painting, I've used the light from the plein air piece to some extent, but changed it considerably in other ways. For one thing, I put a lot of thought into the figures and their placement within the painting (and they're all "invented"). I also changed the rocks quite a bit and added a rockpool with reflections.

A Perfect Day, Rosslare Strand
(16" x 20" Oil on Canvas)


This painting is mostly from my imagination, but I also had this photo of the beach in Rosslare. At least, it proves there are some rocks there!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Group Paint-Out at Woodstock Gardens

No, not the legendary Woodstock of rock and roll fame, but instead magnificent formal gardens near Inistiogue in Co Kilkenny. It turned out to be a fairly bleak cold day, with frequent passing hail showers. Even so, the light was really quite brilliant between the showers, and if you want to paint plein-air in Ireland, you have to accept what Mother Nature throws at you and just get on with it.

I took on a very difficult subect for my first one, and I would have made it a bit easier on myself, if I had brought a larger panel. As a result, after a lot of scraping off and re-painting, this one took me just over two and a half hours, a full hour or more than I usually spend on a plein-air piece.

The Tea Room, Woodstock Gardens
(12" x 10" Oil on MDF Board)

It had become even more showery by mid-afternoon, so I found a large tree to get under and just painted this bare tree in front of me, which sort of stood out from the others. I tried to be a bit more expressive with this, hoping to convey the rythmical almost dance-like feel of the tree.

The Last Bare Tree, Woodstock Gardens
(12" x 12" Oil on MDF Board)

Here are a couple of photos of the scenes:-

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Cold Day at the Seaside!

Five brave souls, including yours truly, decided to brave the cold North-Easterly airflow yesterday and paint on the exposed cliff-tops of Baginbun Head in South Wexford. Despite the cold, it was a beautiful clear, sunny day, although it did cloud over a bit later in the afternoon. I was really drawn to this spectacular "contre jour" view for my first one.

Cliff Shadows, Carnivan Beach
(10" x 12" Oil on Board)

I wanted to see what I could do in a half hour or so for my second one (planning to do some early morning / late evening sketches this summer) - hence the small panel. The Atlantic is usually a dull green colour around the Irish coast, even on the brightest days, but a combination of unusually calm weather and an offshore North Easterly wind made it look more like the Mediterranean in mid-summer.

Turquoise Blue, Carnivan Beach
(8" x 8" Oil on Board)

I went for "the obvious" in the afternoon, with this panoramic view of Carnivan Beach. The sun was coming and going by then, so it was a bit of a painting struggle. Hopefully, I still managed to capture something of the beauty of this magical place.

Sunny Spring Afternoon, Carnivan Beach
(12" x 16" Oil on Board)

Here are some photos of the scenes:-