Wednesday, 30 March 2011


I love the medium of Collage especially when I don't have the time to work in oils. Here are a few that I made while in Iceland, an unforgettable experience which I will post about later.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


Take a look at this video, it is amazing. There are so many elements to it that appeal to me, set, location, actors, props, plot, music, happy ending, direction and especially the skill and patience of the crew, and we get a behind the scenes glimpse on how it was made at the end, remarkable........

Sunday, 27 March 2011

An Cupan Tae

An Cupan Tae is Gaeilig for a cup of tea, and is the name of a specialty tea shop newly opened at Spanish Arch in Galway city. It is charming, and reminesant of having afternoon tea in your Grannies parlor. 


All their cakes are home made and delicious. 
It is interesting that we don't have more Irish tea shops, coffee is a relatively modern beverage in Ireland. I don't remember any specialists coffee shops growing up and when visiting friends or relatives one was always offered a cup of tea. It is the drink of choice in times of stress and toil (if you are not having a whiskey) 
and Mrs. Doyle brought this to a whole new level

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Joys of Spring

We have had the most beautiful week weather wise with temperatures in the high teens. You will notice reading this blog that "weather" is a constant topic! It is said that we can have all four seasons in one day. It is a national obsession with us and we discuss its every change and mood. Most greetings in shops are followed by a comment on the weather of the day. Spring has truly arrived and with it some lively colour in the garden.

The hyacinths I had indoors last Christmas are doing well despite the cold winter we had.

Even some tulips have appeared

 The garden is full of birds and bird song, I will be able to reduce their feeding now. I can see this feeder from the study window,  it is one of my favorites as it is both useful and decorative.

Spring time also brings new additions on the farm. These twins were born a few weeks ago and are enjoying the mild weather outdoors. They are pedigree Charolais calves and therefore they have to be registered and named. This year the initial is "G" so we are thinking of calling them "Golly" and "Gosh", but if you have a better suggestion, please let me know.

Young animals are so interesting, and this pair are especially cute, they are full of the joys of Spring.

I often feature cows in my paintings and my first solo exhibition was title "The Cows Beyond". You can find examples here. This evening the clocks spring forward and summertime begins. So more day light to be out and about or to spend longer hours in the studio. I love this time of year, with the promise of summer ahead, and the end of my winter hibernation.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Ink Drawing

I have only been able to snatch short moments in the studio over the past few days, so here are some of my quick drawings. My paintings rarely have people but lately they are appearing in my sketch-book, so perhaps soon they will make it onto the canvas!

I love using ink and I keep trying different ones. My favourite is Iron Gall from L. Cornelissen,  If you are in London I recommend that you check it out. It was established in 1855 and it has most of its original fittings and fixtures, so it is full of character and is only down the street from the British Museum. 

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Crafty Afternoon

I found an old tray cloth that was past its best the other day, I hated the idea of throwing it away with all the nice appliqu├ęd hand work on it. Then I saw on ing-things blog a simple pattern for a small bird, and decided to make it, although its ages since I took out the sewing machine and I had other plans for the afternoon, (such as painting), but I am a compulsive person and once a project idea takes hold it has to be done NOW.

I decided that I did not like the bakers twine around the neck so I changed it to satin ribbon, As I am far from the shops I have to use whats on hand at the time.

After that I moved onto making needle cases, I had forgotten how satisfying sewing can be, but my old Brother sewing machine is very temperamental, it is well ready for retirement but I am very attached to it, as it has been with me all my sewing life

On the needle case I used the edging of the cloth and a label cut from an old t-shirt, I always remove all buttons and labels of clothes before they are turned into dust clothes, as one never knows when they will be useful again!

And no, I did not make this doll, but wanted to show it to you.
I got it from  Timo Handmades, check out the rest of her beautiful collection.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

When I was a child St. Patrick's day was a low key affair. The high light was that you had a free day from your Lenten abstinence, so if you had "given up" sweets you were allowed to eat them to your hearts content on the 17th. We would search the garden for a sprig of shamrock to wear on our lapel but I think we usually  found clover (there is a difference). Living in the country, I don't remember ever going to a parade. So I have never embraced the modern festivals that  go on for many days celebrating "Paddies Day". If you are one of our ever growing diaspora or just someone with an interest or curiosity about Ireland then my gift to you on this our National feast day is a beautiful video piece made by Tom Flanagan on New Years Eve 2011.
If you have a few moments, sit back and transport yourself to the city of the Tribes. Enjoy.

If you enjoyed that check out his other videos on You Tube.
A hundred thousand Blessings to you and yours.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Making My Art

I thought I'd show you how my art evolves. You can see from the previous posts that I live close to some awesome landscape and I am not a landscape painter in the conventional sense but certain themes from the landscape appear in my work. Sometimes while driving back from Connemara something will catch my eye, Usually the form and composition rather than the light, I like the silouettes of conifers and house gables against the horizon. I don't always have a camera or sketch book (big mistake!) so I doodle what I see on any available piece of paper in the car.

Later I may take a photograph if I have remembered to bring my camera.

Lately I have being working on gesso panels that I prepare myself with rabbit skin glue and whiting, it is still trial and error but I love the process of the mixing and stirring over the stove. I prepare a batch at a time, it takes me a couple of days. I have not totally overcome the "air bubble" element but I am getting better and there are allot of tips on the internet. I adore the surface and really like how the oil paint can be manipulated on the gesso. I usually start with an ink drawing and often incorporate a collage element, then the painting appears mostly from covering over and subtracting from the original drawing. I work on very small panels, this one is 15cm.x10cm. I know I should try to scale them up but I like to finish a painting quickly as I have to be in a particular mind set, and over a long period I loose the momentum!

I have an exhibition opening later in the week, so I have to go and make some final preparations, like printing labels. I will post some photographs of it later in the week.

Connemara This Morning

I drove through Connemara this morning and I just had to share the photographs that I took.
All week we have had what we call "soft days", and then this morning the sun came out. You can see how we put up with the grey misty weather when we are rewarded with a gem of a day like today with clear blue skies, It was frosty and there was a fog just hovering over the lake. There is still a little white cap of snow on the mountains tops, the last picture is a reflection in the water. Don't you wish you were here. A day to celebrate being alive.

Sunday, 13 March 2011


Connemara is a region west of Galway city in Ireland. I am lucky to have such spectacular landscape so close to me. It is a rugged area with mountains, lakes and the Atlantic coastline. I grew up here and it is a continual inspiration to me. The light in early Spring is spectacular with awesome sky and clouds.

Shindilla Lake
Shindilla Lake with frozen water
Looking towards Maam Cross

Sunset on Shindilla.
Many artists have being inspired by this region,
 including Paul Henry

Beautiful Penmanship

Just look at this, I found it over at the 

Saturday, 12 March 2011

A new little painting

        The Out Farm
          Oil and ink on canvas 10x25cm.      

Welcome to my first Blog posting

Welcome to my blog. 

I have just finished this painting.
I am still deciding on a title for it, 
Any suggestions?

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