In a Purple Patch...

After a couple of months of not doing very much (isn't summer just like that? You get all this freedom and you don't know what to do with it.) I'm back painting. I picked up a canvas I started long ago -maybe even last year. It's been lying around gathering dust and knocks and God knows what else, so it was high time I stuck it back up on the easel.

It's my classes and students that help me to get back on the trail -I promise to do a demonstration at every class and just doing that creates a flow. Thanks, my lovely students!

I  often leave paintings unfinished for so long that I forget what I was thinking when I started. Who cares? Not I. Hopefully I'll have this done by this time next year...

Looking Forward and Backward

I've been doing a lot of studying about vector art lately. It requires a shift in thinking, as it's not about lathering paint but more defining areas and filling them with colour. Perhaps a good analogy is the difference between an painter and an airbrush artist who has to mask off areas before committing to colour. It's a perfect way of creating neat illustrations very quickly. With the added advantage that it's easy to make amendments even after you think you've finished. I'm working in Affinity Designer, which has burst onto the vector graphics scene and has become a serious contender to Adobe's Illustrator program. Especially since Adobe made the move to a subscription-based business model.

These images are part of a collection I'm creating about stylish women -mostly from the twentieth century, although probably not exclusively, as I'll venture into any epoch. I'm depicting the various clothes fashions but also trying to evoke the design s…

Fish Bytes.

I've been fishing though my archives of old illustrations to re-work as Vector artworks. This work, which was obviously about business -hostile takeovers, engulf and devour scenarios, etc,- stood out as a likely candidate.

Apart from the speed at which it's possible to compose illustrations in comparison to using actual paint on paper, is the way I can reach into the image at any point to modify it. Including after completion. I'm using Serif's Affinity Designer, by the way -the only illustration software I've found that can challenge the behemoth that is Adobe Illustrator.

I hope you like it. I am trying to reel you in. Do get in contact if you have a project that requires an imaginative, and colourful imagery that gets your point across.

Happy fishing.

A Popular Mechanic

A very satisfying and enjoyable project reached its conclusion last Friday. The Director of the Alliance Française, Philippe Milloux, has just completed his term at the Alliance and is moving on to an even more exalted position in Paris. I think it's very useful to show you something of the planning, care and attention to that what went into it from me and the group of his colleagues who clubbed together to commission this art.

As usual, in preparation for the composition, I interviewed his colleagues and tried to get a picture of how he could be best represented. Part of the work that Philippe carried out over the last few years was to restructure the Alliance and make sure it remains a healthy and vibrant institution into the future. Happily, I also discovered that he has always had an interest in car mechanics and has been fixing them since he was ten years old, since his father was a car mechanic.

My objective with these artworks is to make a gift that is unique, imaginative a…

Guinness Storehouse Painting Project

A window-painting project i undertook in 2015, to support the bid by the Guinness Storehouse to become the European Tourist Attraction of the year. This had to be painted overnight in order not to disturb the use of the venue, so I experienced the wonderful view over Dublin as the sun set and rose again. Beautiful.

Digital Speed Painting

A painting/illustration made entirely in Affinity Designer and a Wacom drawing tablet, off the top of my head. I wanted to complete a digital image without first drawing a sketch and scanning it into the PC.


In response to all that's GUBU here on the Emerald Isle (to those outside of Ireland, GUBU is an acronym first used during a late 1980s political scandal: Grotesque; Unprecedented; Bizarre and Unbelievable - and it never seems to stop), I have my own newly-coined acronym for these hand-painted gift artworks: OPIUM: Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique; Memorable.

I should add; addictive but that quality is inherent in the word and it would mess up my lovely new acronym.

Let me explain: I create these unique artworks to order, usually for retiring or otherwise departing executives. These projects are fun -with all the secret meetings and development, sketches and the growing feelings of expectation -and the party at the end where the presentation of the framed art is made.

So, I'm after all the PAs I can get my hands on (so to speak). That's my goal. PAs are the 'go-to' people when an unusual project comes up within a company: Something like procuring a retireme…