We just got back from France on a late flight last night. A long journey to Beauvais airport from Merlimont in 30º heat and back to half that in Dublin. Still, it's great to be home, whatever the weather. A few weeks ago, I slammed the seat of my motorbike down on top of my lovely smartphone and, wait for it...then rode off for about twenty miles before I needed to call home and couldn't find my phone. After going through the usual process of patting my pockets and shuffling around in small circles looking in the grass at the roadside, I realised what I'd done. There was my phone, wedged nicely at the hinge end of the seat. I stared at the mangled phone and made tiny sobbing noises for a while. I also uttered very many oaths and curse-words but to no avail.
The upshot is, I was mostly offline for the week in France, which turned out to be a good thing as I wasn't peering into the screen looking for signs of work projects which weren't there anyway. I used instead, an old Nokia phone which we keep as a backup for my frequent phone mishaps. I find it amazing how I've been seduced by the promise of always-on connectivity. I felt bereft because I couldn't post anything to social media. Pathetic.
So, I've made a decision and it's final: I'm going straight out this afternoon to buy another smartphone.
Below is a drawing from my sketchbook. It's cross-hatched using a fine-line pen. I was leafing through a French copy of Graffiti Art Magazine and came across an artist from Catalonia who calls himself Popay. It's difficult sifting through another language for details when you're standing in the middle of a newsagent's shop reading the magazines when they want you to actually buy one. After seeing the €7.90 price tag, I spent some time pretending to browse other magazines and then patting my pockets as if I'd forgotten my wallet (Note: This practice can also be useful), I exited the shop, replete with half-learned information. The things I do for research, honestly: I should be awarded with l'Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur for services to art.
There were some drawings of his reproduced amongst all the colour work. I really liked them and that sparked off a series of sketches in my sketchbook.
A monochrome print from my summer 2016 show: Flights of Fancy. Hand printed from a linocut. A limited edition of 25.
I had this composition ready to go but I wanted a title that fitted, so I got talking to Nicola in KM Evan's art shop in Dublin. He's Italian and we share an enthusiasm for Vespas. Anyroad, I asked him to translate 'The Feathered Ones' and he told me it doesn't really translate. I Piumati is the closest he could get in meaning and intent.
You can see my printing press below (it's the spoon) and the lino from which I carved the image.
All I can say is, grazie mille, Nicola.
Image approx A5 on a 12" x 14" fine grain watercolour sheet.
Click on the above picture as it's actually a slideshow. ^
I'm currently engaged in making another linocut limited edition print (of 25). I wanted to make the description of the kingfisher a little simpler as I have only 5 flat colours to work with. Also, I had to make a jig to make registering the plates more accurate and not have the colours printing in the wrong place.
I chose to print on a fine grain watercolour paper instead of a smooth one as I want to see texture rather than a purely flat colour. This introduces yet another variable to the process which makes each print unique.
3 of these are already sold.
The image is roughly A5 on an A3 sheet of Fabriano fine grain 140lb watercolour paper. Signed and embossed with my studio stamp.
So that's the end of my solo show in Harold's Cross. Feeling very wistful today -I liked being in the space and having friends and randomers strolling in, talking about art, Brexit and football.
A fellow artist arrived in last night to collect something from me just before I closed and as I talked, I could feel the energy draining from me (nothing to do with him!) it's just that as it finished, all my alertness and tension fell away. By tomorrow I'll be comatose!
Hopefully, the space won't have been occupied by then -but there are no guarantees. In the pics I took over the week or so, I felt that the gallery looked just right in that spot. It had a kind of Continental look to it, tucked away in that corner; un petit coin du paradis...
What do you think all of you out there in Dublin6land? Please 'LIKE' the 6 Pack project FB page at the above link.
Joe and Steve Wall (The Walls and formerly of The Stunning) dropped in to see my exhibition in la Galerie Impromptu, Harold's Cross and to play the Peacock Guitar.
I received the unadorned guitar about eight months ago from Chris Maher of The Musical Youth Foundation and although I began work on it almost immediately, I ran into a couple of difficulties, mostly at the finishing end (there's nothing clear about lacquer!) However, I eventually made it through.
I made a short video recording the process by which I decorated it -and then the lads give it a blast of, 'Are you Lonesome Tonight' at the end.
For anybody who likes to paint; I used Golden Artist Colours 'Fluid' paint to keep the strokes flat but still intense. In the Golden range are also some iridescent paints which were ideal for some of the bright plumage. The edges and other gold areas are gilded.
You can still see this artwork at la Galerie Impromptuuntil Sunday June 26, when the gallery closes and reverts to a disused laundry. The proceeds from the sale of this guitar will go to the Musical Youth Foundation who provide access to an education in music for ALL children in Ireland.
The Fundit.ie campaign for my upcoming show, 'Flights of Fancy' is a few hours from closing and has exceeded expectations. Thank you all for the support and I'm currently working on the rewards for you.
I've attached a design for a poster which will go onto a sandwich board outside the space -and elsewhere around the locality as we come up to the opening date. In the spirit of crowd-activity, do let me know what you think. Squawk!
Only 3 days left. *Gulp!* Almost there. To update you all on the 'Flights' project: The venue has been cleared as the Harold's Cross Festival used it as an office and gallery space over the weekend. As always, the Fundit page is here: http://fundit.ie/project/flights-of-fancy-art-exhibition and every little bit helps and will be rewarded.
I'm going to have to do quite a bit of work to level the floor (it's very rough in places), fill in gaps and holes in the wall and do something with the ceiling. A few bags of levelling compound and buckets of elbow grease will do it.
To celebrate the imminent closing of the crowdfunding campaign, I've put together a bit of music on the flight theme: