Monday, November 29, 2010

Boy and Bear

This song is calles 'Rabbit Song,' by Boy and Bear. The video is worth watching. It was one of my main inspirations at the sart of this project...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ball and Chain Print

Ball and Chain Print
Here is another print I did. Its based on an earlier picture I did, in fact its exactly the same. I think the title speaks for its self,
 "Mother Natures Ball and Chain."

"What more can I say?...
All around I felt it,
All I could see was the rain.
Something grabbed a hold of me, honey,
Felt to me honey like, lord, a ball and chain.
Yeah! hey! you know what I mean,
But it's way too heavy for you,
You can't hold it tomorrow."
-Janis Joplin, Ball and Chain
Ball and Chain print on blue paper

Inked up wood block

Original Wash-off which woodblock is based on.


Final Print of heron
I did my first wood block prints yesterday! That was pretty cool. My prints came out a lot better than I thought. The images below were based on a heron that I see all the time in the river on the way to ccs. I love seeing him there. Again the idea came from the Native American story about the turtle carrying the world on its back. The heron is carrying us on its back. Like all wild life they get the blunt end of the stick, what ever we do they get effected. They carry our problems. Cheesy I know but its true, if you think about it. When I see that heron in the river, he is surrounded by brown mucky water, which is full of plastic and empty bottles.

The other image was me trying to make it a bit more surreal. It didn't come out very well. I only did it for shits and giggles really.

When despair for the world grows in me, and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be -- I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought or grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free" - Wendell Berry
Inked up wood block
Sketch from sketchbook
Print of surreal version of heron
Inked up wood block

Sketch from sketchbook

Another similar sketch

Monday, November 22, 2010

It Worked!!

Finished product
It Actually worked! My wash-off on the large board idea, was successful!
I photographed the stages and posted them below, the image on the left is the final stage.
First I applied a good few layers of gesso, so the gouache would have something to hold onto, after the gouache I applied the ink. Then washed it off with a hose. The board is 48X48 inches. I don't think I will do anymore to it, hopefully my tutors will like it..

"The wonder of the world, the beauty and the power,
the shapes of things, their colours, lights and shades; these i saw.
Look ye also while life lasts. "

First Stage- Charcoal out-line is drawn

Painting on the gouache

Figure painted in gouache

Second Stage- Painted Entirely with gouache

Close-up of head

Half way there
Step three- Board is completely covered in ink

Final Stage- Washed it off with a hose, then left to dry

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Janis Joplin gets it..

"When I'm not there, I'm not here."

"I cant talk about my singing: I'm inside it.
How can you describe something you are inside of?"
- Janis Joplin

I love these two quotes by Janis Joplin. Especially the second one. I can completly relate when I'm trying to explain what my work is about, especially something that isent as obviouse to the viewer. It sounds so good in your head, but it dosent work as well trying to explain it to others. I think alot of artists have this problem, I sometimes wonder when we are looking at old paintings today, and learning about them in art history, are we getting the right message from them, the same one the artist is trying to get across, or do we have it completly back to front?..
When I create a picture I like people to get there own meaning out of it, rather than having to explain it. Alot of my work is very personal anyway so I like to keep that to myself, but then sometimes I dont know whats going on in some of them.
 I think its more fun when the viewer can have a wonder and take away their own story.
At least Janis seems to understand...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

La La...

I received my feedback the other day, I was very pleased with it and pleasantly surprised. Its good to know when one is going in the right direction, even though the direction I'm going in seems to be down the road to never never land...
But that works for me, because in the long run, I'm not here to please others (tutors, fellow students, etc.), I'm here for me.
I'm very appreciative that I have enthusiastic tutors that get what I'm trying to do, that is worth everything.
Hopefully I can keep going the way I'm going and not falter.

I know some are finding it hard but I really enjoy the lack of structure, I love the freedom. Although I still would have enjoyed last years layout of being able to try out everything.

I've started posting music a bit more now that I have figured out how to do it via YouTube. It took way to long to do it myself via windows movie maker. As I've said before music to me is an important part of my creative process. I always listen to it when I work and find it hard to work without it. It triggers something in my mind that helps ideas flow onto paper, or just gives me ideas in general. It also stops me from getting distracted by what else is going on around me, even if it is just silence. If I could put audio in my sketchbook I would, but I cant so that's why I'm taking advantage of this blog! Hope it all makes sense..

I went into town the other day to buy gouache and was astonished to find that no one is selling it anymore. Apparently it is a dying medium. I feel like a film photographer who's trade is being pushed out the door by the digital era. So I now have to order it from London. (By the way check out this web-site well wort the time So if anyone has any gouache that they no longer need or use, send it my way!

The Shins-New Slang


I wasn't very happy how these two cam out ill probably re-do them.
I love driving passed the traveller camps, especially on the way to Roxborough. Its so surreal seeing all these farm animals running the sidewalks. Once I was lucky enough to see a heard of goats with their kids in the hotel parking lot on the other side of the rode to were they belong. It was funny seeing the security guard trying to chase them off.
That's were this idea was coming and also seeing children running the streets..

Rabbit Child

Maybe if I stay very still, They wont see me....

iron and wine - upward over the mountain

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Original Sketchbook Drawing

Are you up for a bit of michief?

A5 size on watercolour paper.

"Come fill, the cup and in the fire of Spring,
The Winter garment of Repentance fling:
The bird of time has but a little way to fly,
-and Lo! The bird is on the wing.
-Quatrain VII The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Night Fox

The photo quality is really bad....

"I wait here at the boundaries of dream all shadow wrapped" -unknown

I cant even remember were this cam from exactly. I was looking at photos and paintings by other artists and such. I wanted to explore the fox-headed people idea a bit more..
I didn't really think of this painting till after I started it, but I guess I was inspired by Leonora Carrington's painting 'The Giantess.' I love her work. Ill put up more of her stuff later on..
I'm trying to connect  the animal, human and urban.
I'd like to work on this out side my sketchbook on a much bigger scale, possible on wood panels, and go into more detail. I did this one very quickly

The Giantess by Leonora Carrington


A Naked Hare

Again I did a bunch of these illustrative type drawings. Trying to relate animal, man and the city. I was inspired by photos from the book 'The Body.'
I really like how the came out. I went back again and did them up in A5 on watercolour paper. A friend of mine said I should make a little book. I really like the idea but I am afraid that if I do that The tutors will want me to do graphics. Which is fine, but I would like to go towards more the fine art are. I know alot of people are worried that there project is going to effect what they do in the next 3 year, so at least I'm not alone in that one. Hopefully I'm wrong and it doesn't effect anything, we will have to see.
Anyways, I really like the drawing above, so I managed to get a hold of a board which is 48x48 inches. I would like to do the above drawing in a wash-off or gauche relief, so it becomes darker and moodier. I covered it in gesso so hopefully that will cause enough texture and soakage that it will work properly, we will have to see, its my project this weekend.

"Even a Hare will bite when concerned." - Chinese proverb

Above is the postcard sized one that I did on watercolour paper. I really like how it turned out even if it is very 'illustratey.' I like how even though the image is bright and sunny it is actually alot darker. Putting a darker idea across.
Here are just a few notes on the subjects and symbolism in the picture. Just a few things that I wrote out of my head..
Hare = fertility - mother - moon
Woman= nature - mother - fertility- femme fatale
Nakedness = exposure - innocence - truth - vulnerability

Her hand is making the symbol for protection against the evil eye. I read it in a book on magic and such somewhere ages ago.
"Nature will come through the claws, and the hound will follow the hare."- William Shakespeare

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Poem

Just a poem that I found in a book in the Library. Its just one of those things that one can relate to when I'm working. Plus its something a bit different..

Its almost like a pinprick;
it's like the pupils in someone's eyes.
If you really stare into them,
you go beyond their head,
into the universe.
There's a little bit of space
that's behind your brain.
When I'm playing and my eyes roll
into the back of my head,
I'm trying to get to the back of my mind,
because that is where I daydream.
I can see images
and I don't really have any control.
I'm trying to get close to that experience
when I'm up there on stage
---this thread that were all
joined to through our eyes.
People talk about auras and things like that,
but I guess I'm just trying to be
almost without a body,
or without a mind,
to get to that one note and let it just live.
I like to find something in the song
that makes me feel safe or free or relaxed.
I try so hard to hold onto that moment.

-Chan Marshall (Cat Power)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Light Pollution

Staring out my kitchen window at night I can see a brilliant pink light glowing behind our sheds. I haven't figured out were the light is coming from and I know its not Limerick because its in the wrong direction. It cant be Kildimo because I don't think a petrol station and a few houses can cause that much light.
I tried to take pictures of it but was unsuccessful. In the picture on the left you can just see the light. The two picture below were other unsuccessful attempts, but I liked how they came out.
Its weird how the light pollution creates a false sunset making you wonder what time it really is.  

The moon and the stars are suffocating. There light is snuffed out by a false sun.

The Moon is drowning while I sleep,
While the sun slits her wrists,
Her blood flowing into the sea....

There Taking It Back....

Finished piece
 I re-did a drawing that I had done earlier. Here I added flowers and did it in a wash-off instead of using charcoal. I like how it came out. Its sort of the whole idea that nature is making a stand and is taking what was rightfully theirs back that includes us..I added photos of the different stages of the wash off.

"And they, so perfect is their misery,
Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,
But boast themselves more seemly than before."
- Cemus, Fehr Milton

First Stage, painted with Gouache on A1 heavy watercolour paper
Completely covered in ink and then left to dry
Covered it in even strokes of black waterproof Indian ink.

Picture is submerged in water and ink is slowly removed with q-tips and a sponge. Water is changed regularly and when finished hung up to dry.

 Every ending is a beginning,
Your lucky number is none,
Your colour is dead.


Oh' The Masks We Wear

"Sometimes people carry to such perfection the mask they have assumed that in due course they actually become the person they seem." -William Somerset Maugham

A little while back one of my tutors, after looking at my sketchbook, suggested I make a mask. So I did.
I've never done anything like this before, and it was not easy to start off with.
It turned out better than I thought it would, although there is room for improvement.
I like it because it looks like a 3D line drawing.
I thought about painting so it would seem more fox like but I think it could ruin it.
I would like to try and set up a few photos of someone wearing it in the city. Since the weather is poor it might be a while before that happens, although the miserable weather might work well.

I've posted several photos of the finished piece and the sketch's and steps I made.

Top View

Front View

Front View Close

Left Side View

Right Side View

Side view of original wire frame before I started to build it up with wire


Front view of original wire frame



"And every occasion when a mask was torn off, an ideal broken, was preceded by this hateful vacancy and stillness, this deathly constriction and loneliness and unrelatedness, this waste and empty hell of lovelenessness and despair, such as I had now thought."-Hermann Hesse

Stacey wearing the original wire mask

My first attempt of making a mask....It did not go well

Sketch's for the mask, It did not turn out like the picture...

Original drawings from sketchbook