July 26, 2011

RUST  Here's another self-congratulatory video featuring six new paintings, all with the general theme of Rust. I'm not sure which I like doing more, painting or putting together videos. 

June 26, 2011

Kylemore Lough
Innocents abroad  --  this painting came at the expense of some very unhappy people. 

     We had driven out from Oughterard last November to visit Kylemore Abbey, deep in Connemara.  After an hour or so at the Abbey, we set out headed East on Rt. 59 towards Lennane, and quickly came to short queue of cars waiting at a red temporary traffic light.  Road work ahead.  Of course in Ireland the roads are so narrow that any construction means single lane traffic and the flow of traffic is controlled by traffic lights at each end of the construction zone.  It was a Sunday and no work was being done but the system is automated -- they have some device which counts the cars that have entered the zone and communicates that to the traffic light at the other end.  After the same number of cars emerge at the other end, the light turns green allowing cars to move in the opposite direction.  

     Fortunately the light turned green just as we pulled up behind the car in front of us and we were able to drive on, soon finding us beside the gorgeous Kylemore Lough. I was entranced by the twisted, leafless trees on the near shore and the green/orange mountain directly across the water.  As is my habit I pulled well off the road, jumped out of the car and began photographing the scene, walking up and down the way to look for better views.  After I had my fill, we headed off again down the road.  Luckily there were no cars behind us so I was able to drive slowly and soak up the beauty. After a mile or two I came around a bend and to my horror saw a long line of cars facing me, all queued up behind a traffic light, wondering why in hell the light hadn't turned green by now!  I passed them, eyes straight ahead, not glancing to see the expressions on the faces of the drivers.  Thank God I would never see any of them again.  But I did get a pretty nice painting out of it.


April 19, 2011

Ireland in November  When we spent last November in the west of Ireland we found a totally different aspect, one which has great appeal to an arteeste such as Himself.  Yes, it can be a rainy month, but the hills and bogs are smeared with orange.  And there's just enough green to remind you why they call it the Emerald Isle.  We spent a week each in Kerry (stayed in Dingle), Connemara (stayed in Oughterard), and S.W. Donegal near Ardara.  Through it all I shot some video with my little Canon digital camera and put it together with a haunting aire I stumbled across.  Here it is... view it in hi-def and full page size if your broadband is broad enough! 

March 27, 2011

"Bird Song" in Dublin  When we were in Dublin last November we could see this sculpture from the window of our room at Staunton's on the Green.  I talked my way through the offices of the John Newman Center, next door, and into the back yard to get a closer look. I'm wild about it... a young priest distracted from his scripture readings by a bird call, a different "word of God."  The sculptor is Bob Quinn, who lives in County Dublin and who, like me, spent decades in the advertising-graphic design-newspaper illustration game before jumping into his art full time.  
As it happens, my granddaughter Kellie, visiting Dublin over Spring Break from her semester abroad in London, came across another wonderful sculpture in a Dublin public garden and posted a photo of it on her blog. I knew at first glance that it had to be a Bob Quinn piece.  This one is called, "Best Night Ever," and when I wrote a fan letter to him he told me: ...the title comes from something my wife's Uncle always used to say back in the 60's when all the country female cousins would come down to breakfast after the dance the night before, "and did ye have the best night ye ever had?"  I suppose the sculpture is  meant as a monument to everyone's right to have fun-- you don't know what problems/difficulties those girls might be going through.

Bob's website is http://www.bobquinn.ie

March 17, 2011

A Stroudsburg Hideaway. Last Friday, Karen and I drove up to Stroudsburg, PA, "The Gateway to the Poconos," to attend the opening of a beautiful library-themed bar on whose walls were a bunch of my Irish Writers prints plus my double-tiered original oil (on loan) "I Remember Ireland." This was hung in a place of honor, the center of the handsome new paneled bar, directly above the single-malt whiskeys!  
     The pub is called Lynch's Hideaway and the owners are two charming Irishmen, Sean James, who hails from County Mayo, near Ballina, and Barry Lynch, a Galway man himself.  The place was packed, and we met many interesting people including Sean's petite wife, Paula, the mother of five, and quite a charmer herself. 
     The prints were beautifully framed, an amazing achievement in itself considering that it had only been three days earlier, Tuesday afternoon, that Barry had first called me on the phone.  About seven o'clock that very evening, a beautiful young woman named Sarah, having driven the 2-3 hours from Stroudsburg at rush hour, arrived at our house in Narberth, made a quick pit stop in our Powder Room, scooped up the unframed prints and the bubble-wrapped "I Remember Ireland" and headed back on the road North to the pub where a team of carpenters were furiously finishing the interior.  The final result was, as they say in Ireland, "Luvly! Brilliant! Grand!"
Samuel Beckett
Sean O'Casey
I Remember Ireland

Kristina O'Toole's birthday cake. She told me it was inspired by one of my Irish Quilt prints.  It's the best St. Paddy's Day cake I've seen. 

March 9, 2011

Loughros Beg - My newest painting.  It's big (42" wide) and represents my cautious tip-toeing into landscape painting, although I want my landscapes to be more powerful and graphic than soothing.  This incredible mountain sat across the tidal bay from our fabulous rental cottage in southwest Donegal, just west of Ardara out the Loughros Point pennisula.   The most gorgeous scenery imaginable out the picture windows. It was November and the green hills were streaked with orange. Our closest neighbor across the road, a piebald pony we named Sinead, appeared to enjoy the view herself.

February 23, 2011

No, I didn't paint this.  But I wish I had.  "Winter Light Achill" is by a talented painter I've been in touch with, Douglas Hutton. He's from County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland, also known as "the Maguire County." 
    Apparently he spends his life tramping all over the west of Ireland which is something I can only accomplish every year and a half or so. 
   On his website is a self-portrait depicting him rowing in the ocean.  That separates us right there.  The closest thing I've done to that is dunking--and killing--my camera in Echo Lake when my canoe tipped over in 8" of water. (A year later I did it again!)
   Check out his website:  http://www.douglashuttonartist.co.uk/Home.aspx 

February 8, 2011

Edith Kudlovic is a very talented painter and photographer from Austria.  She, like me, has been "hijacked by Ireland" and she found me on the web.  She sent me these photos of a hand-knitted blanket of the fields of Ireland she is working on, "with yellow broom, pink and lila Heather, darkbrown peat and grey stonewalls, blue coasts and ochre grounds, only for me, to remember Ireland."
     I think it is just wonderful, a real work of art, and I wanted to share the pictures with whomever I can. Edith's website is http://edith-kudlovic.at/

February 2, 2011

Draiocht Na Mara  In the Irish language the name means, "Magic of the Sea" Or as I would put it, "Show me the Fish!"  This trawler is tied up in Dingle Harbor, reportedly to be auctioned off to pay harbor fees.  Battered and rusted, slathered with multiple layers of paint, it was the yellow that attracted me. I've only done one other painting that featured yellow.
    I really struggled with this one, and it's been painted and re-painted and darkened and lightened and darkened again many times.  I also managed to get fresh cadmium orange oil paint on two pairs of pants and one sofa arm as I carried it around, still wet, placing it in different locations to attempt to get a read on whether it was too yellow or not yellow enough or too pale or too contrasty.  Finally, enough!  As my old friend Steve Jackson told me, "A work of art is never finished, it is merely abandoned."