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Making plans !

January Blue or not so Blue

A Bright New Start

A veil of silence permeates through the house   –   no sounds of I-phones, I-pads, headphones or telephones, radio nor TV ;   just me and the occasional creak and gurgle echoes throughout  the house as the shrill winds outside knock on every window and bang on every door,  looking for entry.

Christmas has passed along with the ringing in of 2012.  Parties attended, old friends reunited, waistlines expanded, all now absorbed in one big fading but happy memory.

And so it is Monday morning!  My family are housed where they are destined to be – work, college or school.  And then, there’s me here in my studio, filled with these passing thoughts; one hundred paintings in my head and several hundred reference photos begging to be explored.

How exciting and daunting all at the same time!   Here goes!

Happy New Year everyone!

Seasons Greetings !

Seasons Greetings
Seasons Greetings

Making it all affordable!

Tired of listening to all this talk of recession and budget restraints:

Here is what I have been doing:

Irish Art Miniatures Wicklow hills
Miniature Landscape Series 1
Irish Art Miniatures Wicklow hills
Miniature Landscape Series 2
Irish Art Miniatures Wicklow hills
Miniature Landscape Series 3
Irish Art Miniatures Wicklow hills
Miniature Landscape Series 4
 purple seascape
Miniature Landscape Series 5
Irish Art Miniatures Wicklow hills
Miniature Landscape Series 6

The above are a selection of some of the  miniature paintings  I have been working on, all  inspired  from regular walks through  the Dublin and Wicklow mountain ranges, which are in easy reach of where I live.

They are all oil paintings  on canvas and range in price from €75 – €100 which I think makes buying original art affordable!

Please like and share

Cambodian Fruit Seller and Culinary Delights

 

Having just returned from a truly amazing trip to Cambodia and Vietnam, I would like to invite you to share with me some of the magic that we encountered along the way.

We arrived In Siem Reap, Cambodia which is the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire.  We then travelled a five-hour journey by road  to Cambodia’s capital,  Phnom Penh.    Along the way, we saw countless paddy fields, water buffalo, cows and houses built on stilts to protect the homes in the rainy season.

Phnom Penh is said to be undergoing a modern renaissance and it was a  stark contrast to the quiet country life we encountered along the road.   Steeped in charm, beauty and a rich culture of ancient Khmer history,  its  people smile with a gentleness that appears unbowed  by the  wars,  genocide and  poverty that has besieged their country.

Irish Art -The Cambodian Fruit Seller
The Cambodian Fruit Seller – Oil on board 18 x 24″

This is my first painting reflecting my travels.

It is so commonplace to see the street traders selling their wares, hoping to catch your eye, hoping to engage   –   a sale, a dollar!

Fruit and Vegetable vendors on the streets of Cambodia
Going to Market

In Phnom Penh, we came upon many food markets.  These were a feast for my eyes with a humming energy ever-present. The colours, the textures, the smells of fish, fruit and fowl all mingled together to create a pungent aroma. Chickens squawked, frogs leapt and fish squirmed while underfed cats came to see what  offerings could be had.

Cooked Snakes on Skewers to eat
Crispy Snake for Sale

All kinds of food was on offer with fruits I’d never seen nor heard of before.  My imagination was rather more stretched when I saw such things as spiders being served as a delicacy.  Tourists gathered round and dared each other to taste the culinary delights.  I played my role through “observation” only!

Spiders to eat in a Cambodian Market
Spiders – Roasted n Toasted!
Crickets for sale in a Cambodian food market
Crickets ‘n all !
Suckling Pig
Suckling Pig

Crystallsing the palm sugar

The palm tree is very interesting because of how useful it is.  Every part of the tree  has a purpose,  even the roots of the tree play their part.  In this photograph, the girl is cooking the sap from the palm tree and stirring it until it crystallizes.  It is then wrapped in palm leaves and sold for cooking purposes.  This is a high quality 100% natural food product.

We also tasted some palm sugar wine and needless to say, it was delicious.

Check back soon to see my next posting on Asian charm and my next painting.

Market Day in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Market Day in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Where in the World is Hannah?

Irish Art - Young girl, Hannah on the beach with dog, west coast of Ireland, Spanish Point

Hannah strolls the beach with  Muffy.  The evening light casts long shadows and reflections while a pink and purple hue invades the landscape.  The world is at her feet,  full of hopes, dreams and possibilities!

My inspiration for this painting happened when earlier in the year we visited Spanish Point.

Spanish Point is located on the west coast of county Clare Ireland.  It takes it’s name  from the unfortunate Spanish who died  in 1588, when many ships of the Spanish Armada were wrecked during stormy weather.   It is more renowned today as being one of the best surfing sites on the west coast of Ireland.

I used handmade paper from South India 320 gsm with watercolour and ink.

The People’s Art Exhibition, Dublin

The People’s Art on the Green

The People’s Art will take place once again this weekend from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st August  around  St. Stephens Green, Dublin.

This exhibition is  organised by Dublin City Council, the Office of Public Works (OPW)  and a voluntary group of organisers.  This is a super event and really adds to the ambiance of the city, so why not drop by, see some wonderful paintings and maybe purchase a truly unique gift for a special occasion or that someone special.

The dates for this years exhibitions are:

  •  6th – 8th May 2011
  • 24th – 26th June 2011
  • 19th – 21st August 2011
  • 23rd – 25th September 2011
I will be located on the north side ( opposite Dawson Street )  and I  hope you can make it.
Otherwise, see you in Merrion Square on Sundays.


My Plein Air Dingle Trip

On a sunny Sunday morning in May, I embarked on my journey from Dublin to Dingle, Co. Kerry.   A week of painting outdoors, or otherwise known as En Plein Air.  The car was laden down with field easels,  oil paints, turps, linseed oil,  stretched canvas of all shapes and sizes, clothes to paint in, clothes for warm weather, clothes for cold weather, raingear and the list goes on….   I arrived in Dingle a couple of hours later and was greeted by a number of other like-minded artists who had also packed the so-called ‘kitchen sink’ in preparation for our week of painting.

Dingle (Irish: An Daingean / Daingean Uí Chúis, meaning “Ó Cúis’ fort”) is the only town on the Dingle Peninsula, and sits on the Atlantic coast.   It is also the place where the Academy Award winning Ryan’s Daughter was filmed back in the ‘70’s. The town was developed as a port following the Norman invasion of Ireland and has a population of just over 1900. The western end of the peninsula is a Gaeltacht  (Irish-speaking area). This is the most western part of Ireland, and the village of Dún Chaoin is often jokingly referred to as “the next parish to America”.  It has stunning scenery and the Blasket Islands lie off the west coast of the peninsula.  It was the perfect place for landscape and seascape painting.

Irish Art - my-plein-air-dingle-trip - Blasket Islands, Irish skyline, Kerry, west coast of Ireland
Blasket Islands Oil Painting 20 x 30 on canvas

We travelled high and low, through the narrow roads of Conor Pass, on to Inch Strand, Slea HeadBallyferriter and sometimes we just had to curb our enthusiasm and wait until the traffic cleared:

cows crossing the road blocking the traffic, dingle, kerry countryside
Traffic Calming Measures in Dingle

We set out one day and arrived at a place  called Duineen with a magnificent  mountain range and a river system sometimes referred to as  the Three Sisters.  We started the day with the sun shining as the waves danced and glimmered against the rocks.  Seconds later, dark skies and hailstones, came from God knows where. The waves kicked up a storm and sprayed us with a cool mist while we tried in vain to protect the paintings and the easels from blowing away…. 

Irish Art - my-plein-air-dingle-trip - Peaked mountain range oftentimes referred to as the Three Sisters, with sea crashing against the rocks, Dingle peninsula, Atlantic coast

Another glorious day, the sun beat down on us and I imagined myself in far off sunny climes.  All the superfluous layers of clothing were abandoned as we squinted away from the glare of the sun and topped up our delicate features regularly with sun cream.

Irish Art - my-plein-air-dingle-trip - Sea beating against the rocks on Dingle Peninsula, Atlantic rugged coastline
Clogher Beach, Dingle

Next day, we decided to go inland and pulled off to the side of the road.  Came upon this amazing place called Kilmalkedar, an early medieval ecclesiastical site with a church dating back to the 12th century.   This was a fine example of Irish Romanesque architecture when Ireland was trying to bring itself more into line with the rest of Europe.  There was a sundial, a large cross and an ogham stone (Celtic alphabet).   Inside the church was a 6th century stone carved with the letters DNI representing Domini.  Many tourist buses came and went while we painted, but I found it charming when the school children arrived and all spoke fluent Irish as their Múinteoir (teacher) educated them on the enormous historical value of the site.

Ancient ecclesiastical church dating back to 12th century, historical site
Kilmalkedar
Irish Art - my-plein-air-dingle-trip -Atlantic coastline, view of Dingle peninsula, many shades of green, sheep grazing
View from Kilmalkedar – Oil on board 14×18″

The days went by quickly.  Dedicated painting throughout the day, then lots of chat and laughter as we exchanged our stories and discussed the day’s events over a nice meal. Friendships blossomed and many beautiful paintings were created in oils, acrylics and watercolours, each and every one unique.  I look back now with fond memories of my plein air painting experience in Dingle.

Exhibition Invitations

The People’s Art on the Green

The People’s Art will take place once again on Friday 6th to Sunday 8th May around  St. Stephens Green, Dublin.

This exhibition is  organised by Dublin City Council, the Office of Public Works (OPW)  and a voluntary group of organisers.

The dates for this years exhibitions are:

  •  6th – 8th May 2011
  • 24th – 26th June 2011
  • 19th – 21st August 2011
  • 23rd – 25th September 2011
This is always a very colourful event and should not be missed.

I will be located on the east side and look forward to meeting you there.

Hope you can make it!

Terenure College Art Exhibition & Sale

Official opening on Friday 6th May 2011 at 7.30pm

The dates for this years exhibition are:

  • Friday, 6th May           7.00pm – 10.00pm
  • Saturday, 7th May      10.00am –  6.00pm
  • Sunday, 8th May         10.00am – 6.00pm
Hope to see you there!
 

Let the Performance Begin!

Irish Art - Let the Performance Begin - dancing girls, lady in red, stage performance, the ballet

The audience wait in hushed  anticipation.  The theatre retreats into darkness.  The stage lights herald the arrival of the dancers …

Let the performance begin !

 

Lately I have immersed myself in the wonderful world of dance and all that  it  entails.

Got to Dance, dance competition and reality show on TV with Ashley BanjoKimberly Wyatt, and Adam Garcia serving as judges.  It is a display of  unbridled talent waiting to burst forth in celebrating life itself!

Black Swan the American psychological thriller film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie PortmanVincent Cassel, and Mila Kunis.  Its plot revolves around a production of Tchaikovsky‘s Swan Lake ballet.  Natalie Portman brilliantly plays the role  of a ballerina as both the innocent White Swan and the sensual Black Swan.

Finally,  saving the best till last, I  had the absolute pleasure of attending Tchaikovsky’s first ballet,  Swan Lake,   with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra held in the wonderful surroundings of The Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin.    The formation of The Russian State Ballet in 1979 brought stars from the famous Bolshoi, Kirov and Stanislavski ensembles together to bring Soviet ballet to the rest of the world.  Odette/Odile was performed  by Anna Scherbakova whose command of the stage and lightness of foot resembled a butterfly set free in a field of wild flowers, one more sweet  and alluring than the next.

Swan Lake, is considered to be the greatest classical ballet of all time. Its romance and beauty has mesmerised audiences for more than 100 years.  For me, it was a truly captivating experience.

Irish Art - Let the performance begin - Ballet, dancing girls, ladies in red, dancing performance, dancing on stage

With all of this in mind, I thought I would show you the paintings that  I have worked  on which are in keeping with this wonderful world of mystique and charm – the life of a dancer!

The Silent Journey

Upper Lake, Glendalough Co. WicklowIrish Art - Upper Lake Glendalough, Co. Wicklow
Upper Lake Glendalough, Co. Wicklow