Sunday, 22 February 2015

Ancora Imparo- Im still learning

Kilmartin Upper Stone Circle, Cork- Gouache on HP paper self toned using ink, coffee and gesso
For the last week or so, over in the Islander blog, we have been doing a theme on our background and skills- self trained or educated in a college etc. So ill copy and paste my post on that blog here.

As for my background, oddly enough for a mad traditional artist I actually did Digital Design in my degree (on a side note, thats where I met fellow original Islander Richard Smythe), only in my Illustration masters did I start to drift more towards solely using traditional illustration work, though of course I did traditional in my degree too, just less so. Both are handy, as I have a innate knowledge of digital creative software because of the Degree, which is useful in this digital age, especially these days where Im starting to drift more and more towards digital in my work. And with the masters obviously illustration, self motivated and independence skills I learned still are very useful today.

I often hear though people talk about self trained vs college trained and I think the argument is largely irrelevant. Whether you get your knowledge from reading books and practising or listening to tutors and practicing, all of us have to continuously learn in our lives and probably will never stop. Even those who went to college still had to spend long hours self training in things not taught in college and after we finished college too we still had & have to (and probably forever more). So really for me there is no division and you should always be self teaching as well as picking up as much as you can from whichever sources work for you.

Which brings me to the title phrase of this post, a friend of mine, some of ye know her as 'Alexis', mentioned over the weekend the above 'Ancora Imparo' meaning- "Im still learning", referencing mans life long quest of learning, supposedly attributed to the 87 year old Michelangelo.

Alas, a quick google search sadly says its been misattributed to him, so destroying that great image of the aged master uttering these words (though on reflection, knowing some of Michelangelos life story, its seem improbable that he would never utter such humble words, being an arrogant so and so), but apparently it was a commonly phrase in Renaissance Italy, so it sums up that age in a way, as it does these current days too in my opinion and seems fitting to this months theme.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Little Forest Study

Just a little quick forest study sketch I did today. A6 in size, done using brush, dip pens, fineliners, a white pen and a stanley knife

The last of the sunrises

I have stopped getting up so early and sunrises are much earlier than 8 am now so this is probably going to be the last of the sunrise photos from my apartment looking out on the River Suir in Waterford. They sure were a glorious thing to wake up and see every morning there for a while!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Youghal Barber Shop

A few months ago I was commissioned to paint No.92 in Youghal town centre in Cork. It belonged to the commissioners family long ago and was a barber shop then as it is still to this day. Painting was done on A5 HP paper, using Watercolour Pans & Gouache

Monday, 9 February 2015

Macroom Market House

A few months ago I  was commissioned by Cork county council to do a series of images of various heritage sites around Cork county to include in their heritage signage that will accompany these sites. This is the Market house at Macroom as it may have looked like during a market day in the early 20th century. One of the interpretations of the name Macroom or Maigh Chromtha, is that it refers to a large old crooked oak tree that used to be in the square in which travelers used to pass under for good luck, as shown in the illustration. There was a market house there since 1620 but the current building is from 1820 and survives very much intact as it was till this day. The image was created with pen and ink on bristol board.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Glanworth Bridge

I was commissioned by Cork county council to do a series of images of various heritage sites around Cork county. This is for the 500 year old Medieval bridge at Glanworth in North Cork, with castle and bawn beyond. The heritage sign will be up in March to accompany this great monument. If you're in the area well worth stopping at Glanworth, besides the bridge and castle, there is a nice abbey nearby as well. The image was created with pen and ink on bristol board.

Monday, 2 February 2015

12th/13th Century Yew Spoon from Christ Church Cork

I spent an hour or two in Cork city Museum on Saturday sketching some of the later medieval finds there. I was experimenting using dry brush techniques combined with a brush pen and a dip pens, was alot of fun, and interesting results. Even though it has a very small selection of finds, the Cork city Museum is always worth sitting down to sketch in. Each time I return to Cork, I try to spend an hour or two there.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Glenbower woods

I visited Glenbower woods, which is just outside Killeagh in East Cork. Lovely woods, I didnt have enough time to see it all, just had an hour and a half and it was pitch black, so no sketching sadly. But I was impressed, ill definitely return at a future date sometime

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The river showing off again

More shots of the river from my apartment showing off with all its prettiness. The first two are the same sunrise in the morning, the last is dusk on the same day.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Waterford Medieval Museum

Part of the 1st of the museum, nice collection of religious medieval artefacts 

Top floor of the museum, bits of domestic, commercial and military life in Waterford in the middle ages

The crowning achievement of the museum, the only medieval vestments from Northern Europe remaining. I returned to this place 3-4 times, just staring at the amazing detail

Silk thread made in Italy, then embroidered in Bruges in Belgium, insane beauty in this work!

A portion of the True Cross, where Jesus Christ was crucified, never seen such before

On Sunday I popped over to the Medieval Museum in Waterford. What a great plce! So much there, I spent 6 hours just hanging out, learning, taking photos and sketching. I was surprised how much stuff they had, definitely the best medieval museum in the country after the National Museum in Dublin. I would recommend spending the day there if you're in the area!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Kilmartin Upper Stone Circle Gouache Painting

Just a quick A5 gouache painting I did yesterday for fun, it was done on paper I toned myself using gesso, ink and old coffee. Sceitse visited this stone circle about 2 years ago now I think in January, was just beyond Blarney in North Cork on the foothills of the Boggeragh mountains.

This little stone circle had great views of the valley below and the undulating hills flowing off into the distance till this glorious sky out stretched beyond which had the most amazing colours, signaling the coming snow. One of my favourite megalithic moments, I knew I was going to try and paint it at some stage

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Waterford Medieval Museum Sketches

12th century Inscribed Knife graphite drawing 

1495 Seige Canon Ink Drawing

Today I went to the Waterford Museum of Treasures in Waterford city as part of the group Sceitse. I spent the day hanging out in the fantastic museum, definitely worth going to if you're in the neighbourhood, its very well laid out and has some amazing finds. I could spend many days there, not just one, ill definitely have to go back again in the future to draw more stuff there

Friday, 23 January 2015

Soma Life Drawing

Recently I have taken over organising the local Life Drawing at Soma Gallery in Waterford. These are just some digital ink sketches I have done in Corel painter recently, they were only thrown together to advertise the life drawing group events on facebook, so had to be kept sketchy, loose, like one would do in a life drawing session. PS as you can see by the first one, our first session had a pregnant model.

Actually, if any of ye are in Waterford or around you should join us some Tuesday night. It is mostly organised through the facebook group, all welcome no matter the level :)

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Irish National Heritage Park

A Crannóg area in the park
The amazing vegetation using the old thatch  on the buildings in the park as their home
A Viking Longphort or overwintering settlement
Mesolithic houses
One of the Neolithic houses
An early medieval Ringfort and gatetower
An early medieval monastic settlement 
One of the local robins/spideoige popped out to say hey

On Sunday as part of the Experimental Archaeology Conference, we went to the Irish National Park in Ferrycarrig, Co. Wexford. Above is a selection of the many many great reconstructions they have in that park, if you're in the area, id recommend visiting the park!

Monday, 19 January 2015

UCD Experimental Archaeology Centre

Mt Sandel Mesolithic house Reconstruction

Interior shots of the roof of Mt Sandel, such strong atmosphere

A reconstruction of an early medieval house they are working on, the roof is planed to be without support purely wattle weave
Some photos while at the UCD experimental centre over the last few days, where there was an international conference on experimental archaeology with delegates from all over the western world, from Turkey to Scandinavia to Italy to the US & Canada. Great talks, great people and great real life reconstructions, inspiring stuff to start the new year.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

River Suir in the morning

The river this morning was really showing off again

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Tunes to scratch a pen to

This month in the Islanders, each member made a post about music they liked. Im going to copy and paste that selection here to my blog too

I have a bit of a schizophrenic taste in music..... ya ya suiting my schizophrenic personality :P I have tried to always be open to all forms of music, so I have found a bit of everything that I like. Music and podcasts are my constant companion in those long hours working on artwork, so my library is gigantic. So like the rest I have way too many favourites to fit into a single post but ill throw up some that jump to mind:

 John McLaughlin, Paco DeLucia, Al DiMeola- Friday Night in San Francisco
Still a favourite of mine after many many years listening to it, three of the greatest guitarists got together to do a tour but it was just one night in San Francisco everything just seemed to work

Rolling Stones- Paint it Black
One my all time favourites, it reminds me of my time in 'Nam ;) A great period in American music

Anam an Amhráin- Cailleach an Airgid
From a series of brilliant animations by Cartoon Saloon, where they were commissioned by a TG4 show which is about Irish traditional songs, they made a modern recording of some of them from the best talent in the Gaeltacht and matched that with animation, this one from Connamara

Kíla- Cabhraigí léi
One of my favourite bands, they are the best modern reinterpretation of Irish trad in my opinion, always experimenting and searching

Nico Vega - Beast
Discovered these guys recently, the album this song is from is the first album in a long long time I have heard that the whole thing is great

System of a Down- Prison Song
A really acquired taste, System of a Downs form of metal never gets old for me

Bob Dylan- Let me Die in my Footsteps
Probably my favourite song of all time

Seán Ó Riada-Marcshlua Uí Néill/O'Neills March
I love the marches in Irish trad, this is my favourite

Brian Hughes- The Ships are Sailing
Tin whistle rocks! So lively, great music to listen to while illustrating, Besides Mary Bergin, Brian Hughes is the best

Survival of the fittest Mopp Deep
fell in love with Hip Hop in my teens and I have never been able to shake it off, it kind of reminds me of growing up in Limerick city, the mentality, the modern city environment. Mobb Deep were the best

Biggie & Tupac Freestyle
Another great one, not a huge fan of either of them by themselves but they really pulled out all the stops for this

Rachid Taha - Barra barra
I love Rachid Tahas music, a great mix of North African music with modern elements

Tannas - Sabbal Ia'n Ic Uisdean
From the Western Isles in Scotland, a Scots Gaelic Band, Tannas, have some great music

Louis Armstrong-A Kiss To Build A Dream On 
A great period in American music, the 1930-40's had so many great songs, something about wars that lead to good music. Louis Armstrong is of course one of the greatest voices in history

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Woodstown illustration in the Irish Examiner

I was just told about this, my Viking illustration accompanied a really interesting article about Woodstown and the Vikings, in the national newspaper the Irish examiner today. Im doing my bit for the Vikings and good start to the new year too, how bad  :

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Drombeg at Solstice

Some neo-druids at Drombeg

Bad weather no meant sunset but lots of people braved it anyway
I headed to Drombeg for the Solstice with the group Sceitse, Drombeg is a 4,000 year old stone circle that aligns with the sunset at Solstice. Alas the sun didnt show that day, it was mostly mist and drizzle but we had fun hanging around nonetheless. Ill have to return another year hopefully when its more clear

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Megalith hunting

I took a wrong turn but found this cool castle on the road, apparently its a 13th-15th century Butler castle (on a site note, later on it was owned by a family named Sherlock!)

Cnoc an Challaigh/Gaulstown Portal tomb- a lovely secluded but easily accessible tomb, huge too, capstone was over 4m in length!

As all portal tombs, it has a lovely profile

Ballymoat Gallán, an impressive standing stone- 3.7m in height! 

Matthewstown Passage tomb- a moundless passage tomb with lovely views west

I took sometime off today and headed to south waterford, near Tramore and went looking for some pretty famous tombs and megaliths that I hadnt got to yet. It nice, cold as hell, but clear and sun was welcome. All sites were fairly recluse and so I was able to get long periods of quiet time with them to soak up the vibes

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Pen Porn

My main pens in front and my basket of various pens in the background
My post for this months themed week about process etc. Ill just make this post about my tools as I did a post there recently about the overall process of working. Right, my main medium is pen and ink which at this stage I think I have tried every ink pen imaginable in the last 6-7 year of inking, but I mostly like fineliners/multiliners etc. My main pens would be microns and uni pins for most work as they give nice solid lines, but for fine work I use the Copics multiliners as they have a felt tip which is so delicate, great for layering of values and small texture and detail. I also use staedtler Pigment liners.....which I just realised I forgot to include in the photos............ when I need to create a more duller black, can be nice to add more variety in your blacks or greys.

In the last few months I have taken to using a uniball white pen over black to hatch over blacks as well as correct mistakes. Sometimes I then use a stanley knife to hatch over the white to blend them more, kind of like mini etching. I also use this white pen at times to create different shades of white in an image.

Recently I have taken to using calligraphy pens, since they have a nice flat top, which gives interesting lines and shadows but also makes it easier drawing more technical modern buildings. My brush pen is there for creating thick blacks and interesting lines and shapes. I also starting playing with markers like the Staedtler Lumocolor, which I love, as they make fun shaped blacks and lines too

Pen PORN!!!