Friday, 12 February 2016

Inside a Tower House Illustration

Over the last while I have been working on finishing the interior of my tower house image. This is going to be quite a long post so Im going to have to do this in parts, look to each image to see explainations about the internal features of a tower house in detail.
For those of ye who dont know much about tower houses, they are a type of castle found in Ireland, more than a thousand examples of tower houses survive in Ireland to this day, some estimate that up to 7,000 were originally here, if this is true, this would have made Ireland the most heavily castellated parts of Europe.  There is evidence in some areas that you could see the next tower house from each tower house, almost a stone throw from each other, I have seen this myself in parts of east and north Cork. This is said to have been a form of power reinforcement, as there was a constant reminder of the tower houses everywhere. It is for this reason I added some tower houses off in the distance in the illustrations. 



Most of the interior is based off Kilcrea castle in Cork, there are some changes, for instance the addition of a fireplace in the 2nd floor, also the machicolation parapet and box machicolation (ill explain these later) at battlement level are additions. The reason I added these is that these features were typical of tower houses as a whole, so made this image more representative. But besides these the structure is nearly exactly the same as Kilcrea tower house. Ill deal with each floor and feature separately, there is alot to go through, so bear with me.

Ground floor- here is a cellar, as Stanihurst "house and castle" account of Mallow castle, 1584 "lower rooms whereof ar sellors vaulted over". Here various food and drink would have been kept, perhaps not just for the castle itself but for the wider community, acting as a safe house for everyones goods in case of raids.  The floor surface here is very basic and is just beaten earth.

1st floor- I have made into a sleeping quarters,. There is mention in the historical recorded accounts of tower houses that they were used for sleeping and that there were beds without curtains, and you could sometimes fit three people into them. So here i have shown some rudimentary beds, not just for guests, but also for the guards and servants.  The 2nd & 1st floors are also covered with reeds, this would have often been what medieval floors were covered with according to medieval accounts, which then on occasion  would have been swept out and replaced. This room also doubles up as a guardsroom, as this floor was probably the last line of defence before the attackers get into the rest of the castle, so id imagine weapons would have been kept here for ease of access

Murder hole room & Lobby- you will notice small rooms off both ground and 1st floors. In the ground floor this was the lobby, where for defense purposes, once you were passed the main front door, you were greeted by two other strongdoors, one to the rest of the tower house, another to the ground floor. Above this was the murder hole room, essentially a room with a hole in it, the reason for the dramatic name is that while u were trapped in the lobby between the two strong doors, you would be fired apon from above by muskets (apparently unlike what movies would have us believe, hot oil was rarely used). But in the day to day, these were probably used as a kind of door eye hole, since there was no such thing in the main door, so before you got access to the rest of the house, someone would inspect you from above, before you were allowed in. In Kilcrea there was also a second one of these murder holes above the stairs just after the lobby, probably another line of defence if you were to break down the lobby doors.

Stairs- in a tower house usually started as a mural stairs to the left of the lobby entrance, these were then carried on by spiral staircases from the first floor up to the 4th floor, which then had another set of straight stairs leading to a small spiral stairs to the wallwalk area. This was probably defensive in nature, so it was harder for the attackers to take the spiral stairs and wall walk. This last set of stairs was usually hidden within one of the window embrasures at the top floor, this was a common feature in southern Ireland. In Kilcrea opposite this door was the door to the top garderobe chamber, more on this in another image.

2nd Floor- shows a kitchen with some sleeping quarters off in the mural chambers around the main room, these were L shaped rooms and could be accessed via the window embrasures of the main room, you can see one person leaning out of one such a door, having a word, while another person is sleeping inside another L shaped room. Kilcrea's main room  was probably more sleeping quaters, but in some other tower houses which had fireplaces at this level I have visited there was a guesses in some reports in archaeology.ie that these were the kitchen, most kitchens would  probably have been external though

3rd Floor- Here I created as the lords room, caught between two floors with fireplaces, this would have been quite a warm room. It shows a typical late medieval bed, chests used for storage and a Savonarola chair, or X chair, in front of the bed, these were quite common throughout europe at the time, made in Italy. The third floor has its floor boards shown rather than covered, with the ocassional fur. Also note the paintings on the wall, there is mention in some written sources that the Irish decorated their walls with branches, and I found a piece of metalwork from late medieval Ireland with this very design (those many reference books come in handy sometimes!), the Clogán Óir Bronze Bell shrine of St. Senan, which was early medieval with later alterations in the late middle ages, one side of this had a pair of dragons with floreated tails and above, branch and leaf ornament along the top, so I used that here, while the knotwork is based off of other metalwork at the time.

4th floor- This was the dinning room, in the earlier periods there was always a large external hall to the tower house, made of non stone material, so doesnt survive (I actually didnt know this before I made the originaly illustration, hence why no hall, only so much one can do, too late now!) and there probably still was in the later period, but as time moved on, as in Britain and some parts of Europe at the same time, more and more the hall activities were taking place within the tower house. Probably smaller guest parties or lordly activities and personal meals were being taken within the tower house. Some tower houses always had an internal hall though like Bunratty and Barryscourt but these were the exception. Then the larger entertainments, with big crowds would have taken place in the external hall.  This dinning room floor in Kilcrea had lovely large windows, not all of them surviving, some with double lights with ogee heads, as shown, and some were missing, so I added a transomed triple ogee headed light as shown in the window on the left. These windows must have created quite a bright room. Rooms of this stature were probably decorated with ornate wood pannelling like shown, no such pannelling survives in Ireland, so these are inspired by ones in Britain. Generally tables at the time were long with benches and only really the lord would have had a seperate chair. People ate with their hands, there was no forks yet and everyone had a personal knife in which to cut their food with. The food shown is a pig roasted in its skin,, as described by Luke Gernon- "pig cooked in its skin like bacon, roasted by the joints on a skyn and served on the table". Also mentioned was herring, bread, leeks and salt/other food, a variety of meat, no sauce, a communal drinking mug, as well as tobacco on the table. The floor is of flagstones, showing the importance of this room, this floor is based off a ballynahow castle's floor in Tipperary. Note also the harper standing by as well, as Luke Gernons account says- "a harper plays in the middle of the super playing a tune and singeth Irish rymes of auncient making. if he a good rymer, he will make one song to the present occasion". The seating arrangement is based of Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh's biography of Red Hugh O'Donnell with the "Banquet hall arranged according to their dignity, O Domhnaill face to face with O Néill, the men in their due order also". Also Ludolf von Munchenhausen account, in 1591 "at mealtime the nobleman and his wife sat at the top end of the table or high end, with servants arranged around them according to rank." He also notes that  "At the end of the meal, water was distributed for washing feet" (Sounds biblical!)

Roof- the 4th floor in Kilcrea had very thin walls, in comares to the rest of the tower house, most likely to give it more space and air. The roof itself wasnt gabled but hipped, resting on cornices as shown above the wood pannelling. The roof itself is based off the only surviving tower house roof in Ireland, Dunsoghly Castle outside Dublin, sadly just a building in someones farm at the moment. The roof was often covered with tiles but many were probably thatched too. On the wall walk level, in the front, you can see there was holes at the bottom of the parapets (the stepped thingys), in Kilcrea some of the wall walk flagstones had chutes carved into them to leave off the rain. On the other side (the shadow side) shows wall walk machicolation, which were extended floors with holes in the ground, these are based of Blarney castles' with its pointed corbels. Shown here one of the guards looking down the gap in the floor at the scene below, which was probably its use most of the time, to see what was going on below, obviously it could also be used to fire down below when needed . Chimneys were also on the wallwalk level and were to become display features in their own right, rising to great heights to carry smoke away but also show everyone around how well the castle was heated - (in later periods castellated houses had lots of chimneys as an extra form of bling)




Usually tower houses had 2 garderobes, as did Kilcrea, one for public and another for private, in the case of Kilcrea both were probably public, but the upper one accessed from the dinning hall had 3 holes in it, so probably had wooden seats with three holes for 3 peope to use at the same time. This also gives further evidence that the 4th floor was a dinning hall of some sort, meant for the use of several people. This upper Garderobe chamber also had a window with a slop stone, which were small drainage basins underneath windows, which were essentially urinals. Often found on stairs, as there is mention in some English Historical accounts of laws forbidding people there from peeing on the stairs, which was obviously oft the case in the middle ages, so its probably no acident that the slop stone in Kilcrea was found on a stairs.

The garderobe on the 2nd floor, is one of the 3 L shaped chambers off the main room, which I made into a kitchen. Even though the account I used as reference on Tower houses in Cork, made no mention of it as a garderobe, after visiting the site the third time, I spotted it, and I almost sure that this is another garderobe, just a single use one, as there was a hole in the ground and I believe this had a tunnel leading off into the main garderobe chute. Each of these garderobes had wall recesses, these were probably for the toilet paper, though at the time they didnt use toilet paper. It used to believed they used moss, grass or leaves, but now people believe that moss would not have been in adequate numbers to provide daily use pf the toilet and leaves werent in season all year. So its probable that they had some kind of cloth that they re-used, mostly likely each person had their own and would wash it out. Maybe in a castle like this though, they had single use ones made from old clothes, which people would wash and bring back for further use. Nice eh?

Garderobes were normally at the ends of passages in both Anglo-Norman castles and tower houses, the reason for this is to give more distance between the rest of the house and the stench of the toilets. When not in use they would have been covered with clothes, as I did in the bottom garderobe here (tho I had to keep it fairly see thro in order for ye to see the toilet hole), this would have been used to keep the flies out. In Norman castles the chute from the garderobe was external and sometimes quite high up, you can imagine that on the castle wall, which would have been painted with white shiny harling, that you would have these long horrid streaks of excretion, which could be seen from miles, not pleasant! In the late middle ages though these chutes were in the thickness of the walls, which carried the excretion from above into a exit below, alot more discrete and modest! Garderobes were normally quite high up, this is because the long chutes would have meant less draughty toilets but also with the force of gravity, the excretion would pushed down to the bottom.

Note also here in this image the cutaway of the box machicolation at wall walk level. The box machicolation was usually just above the dor, allowing the defenders to shoot down at the attackers at the door, but also, like the internal murder box, in normal use, this would have allowed guards to check who was knocking, before letting them in. As you can see it was just a box with a chute in the middle to allow things to be dropped or to shoot from. Also note the sheela-na-gig on the shadow side of the wall, near the chute, this is based off the castle in Ballynacarriga, these were vulgar statues of a woman holding open her genitalia, they may have been some kind of reference to birthing. There is many many theories about these, too much for me to go into here, but worth a search online if you are interested


The scene shown here is the Luke Gernon account of what when you arrive at a tower house- "the lady of the house meets you with her trayne" when you arrive "you shall be presented with all the drinkes in the house, first the ordinary beere, then aquavite (thats whiskey by the way!), then sacke, then olde-ale". Some of the clothing of the arrivals, specially the one still on the horse is based off some scottish Gaelic clothing, also note the types of sadles are based off illustrations of Irish sadles at the time, which lacked stirrups. The horses would have been kept in probably a stable or billeted with the locals as mentioned in Luke Gernons account. You were presented with these same drinks as you leave, they knew how to party!

The front door shows the main strong door, which would have been surruounded by nice limestone dressing. Sometimes these were done series of dots and also also hammer and chisel dressing on the walls arround it, as shown here. This front door often had a yett infront, which was a reinforced iron external door, which acted as a defensive messure against attackers. Also note how white the castle is, this is because the castles at the time were painted with crushed pebbels and limestone, which when hit by the sun, would have gleemed white, as mentioned from contemporary castles at the time. You can imagine it would have made an impressive mark from afar!

Note also the many kinds of windows, some were cross shaped which were used for crossbows, others had a loop at the bottom, these were used for muskets, while the long narrow ones were used by archers, some had all three, as shown by the bottom cross window in the shadow side of the castle. As you can see the top floor had the largiest and most ornate of the windows, this was to allow the maximimum amount of light in. One of the windows has a transom, which was later than just double lights. Also there is hood moulding along the tops of these windows to run off rainwater. In Kilcrea the large window embrasure at top floor in the shadow side of the image, was re-purposed as a fireplace, and a chimney placed above, obviously originally the top floor was heated by a central fire but changed with the fashions to a fireplace instead. They kept the original ornate window though, so as to keep that impressive exterbak look



If you want to read more about the environs of the tower house and its bawn, I originally made this image months ago and here is the accompanying writeup:

http://liniocht.blogspot.ie/2015/09/tower-house-illustration.html

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Mesolithic/Hunter Gatherer Temporary shelter concepts

Initial Sketches

The more evolved sketches

I have been playing around with Mesolithic/Hunter Gatherer dwellings recently, in these I explored the concept of the temporary shelter, which would have been used for a very short time, so not alot of effort would have been put into its construction. For inspiration I have been looking at other Hunterer Gatherer peoples in history and in the present and how they construct their dwellings, amazing the things people make their dwellings from.  The first image shows the initial thumbnail sketches and then the final 4 taken from these and evolved a little further.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Limerick Sceitse


Photos from outside and inside King Johns Castle


St Marys Cathedral, a Medieval cathedral near the castle, with a lovely original ornate door!


Some of the many cool ancient things within the Hunt Museum

With some of my fellow sketchers from sketch adventure group a few weeks ago we spent the day around Limerick city sketching at King Johns castle, St Marys Cathedral and Hunt Museum, a nice day out, Limerick has much to offer, more than we could sketch in a day

Friday, 5 February 2016

Rathcroghan Illustration

Rathcroghan
Rathcroghan- A Irish Iron Age Royal Site
A few months ago I had the honour of being commissioned to do the first interpretation illustration of Rathcroghan/Ráth Cruachan in Roscommon by Roscommon county council based on recent archaeological evidence from the site itself. I was generously aided in the interpretation by Joe Fenwick, who has done alot of research on the site and written about it extensively. After much bouncing around ideas and discussions and great advice from Joe, here is the interpretation of this highly important Iron Age royal/ritual site.

Id surprised if you dont know, but in case you dont, Rathcroghan is one of 6 royal sites in Ireland, which include the likes of Hill of Tara, Navan fort and Knockaulin. These sites are heavily featured in Irish mythology, with Rathcroghan being said to be the royal seat of Queen Maeve in the famous Táin Bo Cuailgne, the Cú Chulainn epic. It was also thought to be the traditional capital of the province of Connaugh/Connachta. There is many many things written about it online, which are freely available if you want to look into the site further (you should!)

The large mound at Rathcroghan is thought to have been a large structure, with many phases, and one of those phases is the one illustrated. Rathcroghan has some similarities to other royal sites and for them as well as Rathcroghan, there is some argument whether or not they were ever roofed. Some are strongly opposed, seeing the roof to have been impractical, others still stick to roofed interpretation, as there is still no definite evidence they werent roofed.

Leading to the mound there has been found to be avenues, perhaps for processional activities and beside it another large structure, which also had another avenue leading to it. Around all this was a gigantic circular embankment (if I remember correctly it was 360m in diameter), seen in the background, which may have been topped by a palisade. There was also many other features within that large enclosure and nearby, not all shown here, but you can see the ring barrows hinted at the left.  This is only a glimpse though of what the site has to offer in what is one of the most archaeological rich parts of the country.

Just to say though it is was truly an honour to try and bring this place to life, one of the most important sites in Irish archaeology and culture, I only hope my illustration does it some small justice!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Mesolithic Huts Concepts



I have been messing around with various ideas for Mesolithic huts recently. I wasnt so much looking at a specific site plan and sticking to it but more looking at other hunter gatherer societies around the world and playing around the various shapes and materials that could have been used in the Mesolithic.

One of the things that is striking though, when looking at world cultures like that, is that each cultures dwellings have such a strong visual design that is so distinctive to them. Some of that is of course what is available locally or an adaptation to their environment. But I think there is more to it, I think the look is also part of their distinctive culture. Which was the result of slow but deliberate decisions by generations of those people to a design they liked themselves, that showcased to the world their difference and distinctiveness. And id imagine it probably was the same for Mesolithic peoples in Europe too, well thats my theory anyways!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Daily Warmup Sketches



Every day I do warmup sketches just to get me started in the morning, to shake off the cobwebs so to speak, here are two 10 min sketches I did recently

Monday, 25 January 2016

Standing Stone Guest Blog Post


I was asked by the very kind people over at The Standing Stone to do a guest blog post on their incredible blog(which I have used many a time when preparing to visit places). I wrote a little about researching and referencing in archaeological illustration, more here:

http://www.thestandingstone.ie/2016/01/guest-post-researching-tower-house-by.html

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Scots Pine Primeval Forest Concept




Last of the forest imagery for a while, this time what a primeval Scots Pine forest could have looked like

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Drowned Mesolithic Forests



Following on from my previous images recently, where I have been exploring how to capture Mesolithic environments. This continues that exploration with these drowned/flooded primeval forests where Im trying to capture the feel of that period at the same time.

Friday, 8 January 2016

More Mesolithic Forest Environment Concepts


Mesolithic Forest- The Sacred Oak
Been trying to capture what a Mesolithic forest would have been like, what it would have contained and the atmosphere of this world of endless trees, some giant and ancient. Often when I wander around forests I try to imagine what it would have been like back then and I always think that people back then would have lived partly in imagination (as probably in most of the past), without science telling people 'no thats not true', anything you could imagine could be possible. Probably the lines between truth and imagination were very blurred. And a world inhabited by giant trees and thick wild forests, would have been alive with things to drive the imagination.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Ancient Mesolithic Forest Concepts


Been playing around with doing Mesolithic prehistoric forest environments. My favourite period, when Ireland was still covered in wild untouched ancient forests

Monday, 4 January 2016

Carrigadrohid Sketch


A sketch of Carrigadrohid castle I did at the last Sceitse where we wandered around the Lee sketching as we went, I love Carrigadrohid, definitely one of the most scenically placed Tower houses in Ireland

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Sketching on the river Lee with Sceitse

The impressive Kilcrea Abbey

Kilcrea tower house- I used this site as my exemplar when doing the tower house illustration

A post medieval manor house ruin nearby

The Scenically placed Carrigadrohid castle- sitting on a natural island between 2 bridges

Mullinhassig Woods

Mullinhassig waterfall- heavy rain makes for impressive waterfalls
On Sunday I went for a sketch wander around the river Lee near Cork city, we started the day at Kilcrea Abbey & Castle, popped over to Carrigadrohid castle perched on an island between 2 bridges and finished up with leisurely sketch stroll in Mullinhassig woods, a next relaxed day of chilling out, sketching and having a laugh

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Medieval Anglo Norman Castle Illustration


Castles are one of the most impressive monuments of the middle ages, it is in the construction of castles, along with abbeys & cathedrals, where we see the middle ages really shine. Normally people think of castles as impressive militaristic structures, but in recent times many castles have been found to have lots of defensive flaws and may have been built more to impress and show power, essentially to tell everyone in the area who was master here,  they also served administration purposes as well as domestic for the lord and his retinue. That is not to say castles did not suffer direct assault, they did and alot of medieval warfare was the taking of one castle from the other side to win, all Im mentioning here is castles purposes were far more elaborate that purely militaristic fortresses.

The first castles were actually started in the 10th century in France, but they didnt really become normal until the 11th century, and alot of the proliferation of castles came down to the weakening of central rule in France and the rise of decentralised power (not too dissimilar to the story of the proliferation of the tower house in later medieval Ireland). The illustration shows a castle in what is termed the high middle ages, its based on Irish castles from around the late 12th century, with the first wave of Anglo-Norman invaders, as well as castles from the height of Anglo-Norman power in Ireland, the 13th century.  There is some debate as to whether the Gaelic Irish had built castles before the arrival of the Normans, there are some likely candidates but without excavation we won't know for sure. Whether or not the Irish built castles themselves, the Anglo Normans were certainly the first ones to build castles on a large scale, most were medium sized in comparison to the rest of Europe but the likes of Trim are impressive, even in a European scale.

The castle in the illustration is from a wide selection of early Anglo-Norman castles. The central keep (the large white building), or donjon if you prefer, is based on a combination of Greencastle, Maynooth, Trim and a small bit of Carrickfergus.  Notice the second white building outside the main keep, that is the hall, where entertainments, meetings and feasts were held, essentially the public venue. The Hall here is based on one in Adare castle as is in the inner gate tower beside it. The outer gatehouse is based on Limerick castles gatehouse which is defended by a drawbridge, while the inner gatehouse is defended by a portcullis. The larger circuit wall is based on Trim castles' wall on the outer bailey while in the inner bailey is based on Carrickfergus. The overall plan is a mix of Carrickfergus and Trim, though its not exactly like either really.

In the inner bailey the castle has gardens, both for recreation and growing food. Notice as well how white the keep is, like the later tower house image I did, the earlier castles generally had Harling on their outside, making them gleam white in the landscape. I wasnt sure whether this was just for the keep or the whole castle, so I went for the most important buildings only here, the Keep and Hall. Outside of the castle there is a deer park, which alot of castles had, Deer parks contained deer which were the for the lord and his retinue to hunt. Also deer parks often had forestry which the lord used for wood and even sometimes fish ponds, like the one in the top edge of the image. These were sometimes protected by a palisade and embankment to keep poachers out. Poaching was not unusual though but the fines gathered from caught poachers was a source of income for the lord, so unlike in movies, poachers were rarely killed. Another feature normally seen outside of castles (as well as walled towns) were Inns just outside the gates, as seen here, as after a certain time of night the gates would be closed till morning, so those who arrived late, could stay in the inn till the gates opened again.

References

1. Castles and Fortified Cities of Medieval Europe An Illustrated History- Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage
2. Castles in Ireland- Tom McNeill
3. Medieval Ireland: An Archaeology- Tadhg O'Keeffe
4. The Archaeology of Medieval Ireland- T. B. Barry
5. Castles- DK Eyewitness- Christopher Gravett
6. Dating Irish Castles- David Sweetman- Archaeology Ireland, Vol. 6, No. 4 (Winter, 1992), pp. 8-9
7. The Rock of Dunamase- Dunamase Castle-  Archaeology Ireland, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Summer, 1995)
8. Trim's first cousin: the twelfth-century donjon of Maynooth Castle- Tadhg O'Keeffe- Archaeology Ireland, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Summer 2013)
9. FROM RINGWORK TO STONE FORTIFICATION: POWER AND THE EVOLUTION OF ANGLO-NORMAN CASTLES IN NORTH-EASTERN IRELAND- Amber DVA Johnson 2011-TRENT UNIVERSITY, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
10. Castles and Deer Parks in Anglo-Norman Ireland- Margaret Murphy and Kieran O'Conor- Eolas: The Journal of the American Society of Irish Medieval Studies, Vol. 1 (2006)
11. Archæological Excavations at Trim Castle, Co. Meath, 1971-74- P. David Sweetman, G. F. Mitchell, R. J. Mansfield and M. Dolley- Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature, Vol. 78 (1978)
12. Excavations at the Entrance to Carrickfergus Castle, 1950- D. M. Waterman- Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Third Series, Vol. 15 (1952)
13. The Anglo-Norman Keep at Trim: Its Architectural Implications- Roger Stalley- Archaeology Ireland, Vol. 6, No. 4 (Winter, 1992)
14. The Archaeology of Norman Castles in Ireland Part 2: Stone Castles- Tadhg O'Keeffe- Archaeology Ireland, Vol. 4, No. 4 (Winter, 1990)
15. The Origins of Tower Houses- T. E. McNeill- Archaeology Ireland, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Spring, 1992), pp. 13-14
16. Cross-Cultural Occurrences of Mutations in Tower House Architecture- Evidence for Cultural Homogeneity in Late Medieval Ireland?- Rory Sherlock- The Journal of Irish Archaeology, Vol. 15 (2006), pp. 73-91
17. Dating Irish Castles- David Sweetman- Archaeology Ireland, Vol. 6, No. 4 (Winter, 1992), pp. 8-9
18. The Origins of Tower Houses- T. E. McNeill- Archaeology Ireland, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Spring, 1992), pp. 13-14
19. Tower-Houses and Associated Farming Systems- Muiris O'Sullivan and Liam Downey- Archaeology Ireland, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Summer, 2009), pp. 34-37

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Sunrise & Dusk on the river




Its been a while since I posted photos of the river outside my apartment, sometimes living on a river can be truly beautiful, especially sunrises and dusk

Monday, 14 December 2015

Portrait Commission


This is a recent commission where I was hired to do a graphite drawing of a persons father (that recently passed away) for his mother for Christmas. Was a great commission to work on, as a memento to someone and their memory.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Waterford Museum of Treasures Images




A close up of the two illustrations done for Waterford Museum of Treasure a few months back. Originally they were designed to be displayed at the bottom of heritage signage beside each other. It was later decided that in the final boards that the archer was displayed differently when the signs went up beside Reginalds tower in Waterford but here they are together.

The one of the left is the prow of a Viking ship, based on the Viking longship reconstruction at Reginalds tower. And the archer to the right is a later medieval archer, his bow is based on display in the Waterford Medieval museum and is the only excavated unbroken medieval bow found in Ireland and Britain. Below is how they were eventually displayed along with 2 other illustrations I did for the boards


Monday, 30 November 2015

Ballymacdermot GIF


A little GIF animation of the painting of the Ballymacdermot Court Tomb illustration. This is obviously after the sketch phase so the large strokes ie perspective, composition etc, were already worked out in that stage. After the sketch phases I generally start to work on a greyscale painting and then paint over that with colour after, this allows me to work the values and important elements first before getting into the nitty gritty of colour.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Inistioge & Woodstock Gardens


Woodstock Gardens

The Dovecote in Woodstock gardens

13th century Doorway in Inistioge Abbey

The remains of Inistioge Abbey

The town tower house castle in Inistioge Town
Its a nice little too, well worth a visit!
Spent a cold winters day out in the lovely 18th/19th century Woodstock gardens before having a short wonder around the pretty village of Inistioge nearby with its medieval bits and pieces, lovely town, well worth a visit. 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Lismore & Around with Sceitse

Lismore town centre

McGraths tomb in Lismore cathedral, a 16th century tomb

The oldest part of the Lismore castle, its 16th century gates

Lismore castle from its gardens

One of the Ballysaggartmore gates within the woods

The second of the gates, hidden within these woods a few miles from Lismore
Heading out in lashing rain myself and the sketch group, Sceitse,  teamed up at Lismore to have a wander around the town, its castle and surrounds, and were rewarded for our efforts by the skies clearing, and as always ,an enjoyable day of fun, laughs and sketching

Friday, 13 November 2015

Ballysaggartmore Towers


A sketch of the Ballysaggartmore towers just outside Lismore, its hidden within a lovely forest and is a sort of folly. It along with its sister front gate, were part of a planned huge castle, though the landlord bankrupted himself trying to build it. But not before he evicted a multitude of starving tenants during the famine to make room for more profitable sheep, what a lovely guy