Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Recent School Visits

This is me giving a presentation recently at Our Lady & St Patrick's College in Knock near Belfast.
I did another the same day at Belfast Girls' Model School.
It was a great pleasure to meet and talk to young people who were mostly very interested in art as a possible career.
Especially as they were from my own home town.
When I was at school there was only one other student doing art in sixth form, and I was the first from my school to go on to Art College for many years.
By contrast, there were dozens of youngsters from these two schools considering going to Art College.
I made a big point of showing books by Martin Waddell, Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram, Flora McDonnell and Oliver Jeffers, all of whom are from or live in Northern Ireland, just to show the success that local artists and writers have had in the world of children's books.
There's another name to add to the list.
Emily Donegan, in year 14 at Knock, has already illustrated children’s book, "Alfred and the Pirates".
She did it when she was just fifteen years old.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow

I've just finished reading "Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow "
by Jessica Day George.
It's a wonderful novelisation of the fairy tale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" which I illustrated back in the early 1990s.
Jessica was good enough to acknowledge my book in her bibliography at the back of her book, and has written on her website of how my illustrations had inspired her imagination when she was younger.
For me it was the most unusual experience to be reading this terrific book and often coming across scenes or descriptions that had clearly been influenced by the work I did all those years ago.
I was very proud that my work had energised this young person's creativity, and although not many readers will go on to actually create a novel as Jessica has, it's exciting to think that my books might sometimes affect people as deeply as that.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


This landscape from Ignis gives us a nice change of pace.
It's one of the pieces that will be in my forthcoming show.
I always think it's nice to see a painting without the text panel covering it up.
I really liked the sunset effect in this one. It's not just for effect though, it does illustrate what happens in the text at that point, with the last rays of the sun hitting the mountain top.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Hag from "East of the Sun, and West of the Moon"

I've been going through a lot of my old work for an exhibition that's coming up in November.
Mostly it's good to see pictures I haven't looked at for years, but sometimes I look at work and I wonder what on Earth I was thinking.
Generally my criticism is that I have laboured too much over a picture to try to make it work better.
Here's one where I think I got the technique just right.

She is one of the Hags from "East of the Sun, and West of the Moon".
The painting is only about 6 x 8 inches in size, but there's a lot in there.
I've got to get back to doing some more drawing like that.

Friday, October 3, 2008

White Vase on Damask

Another still life here, I don't think I've posted this one before.
It's a bit more of a traditional still life than the chairs and the cottage interiors, but I think it shows the same restraint in tone and colour.
I did a few of these pictures with damask, but there is just so much work involved that I doubt if I'll do a lot more of them.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Still Life with Chair and Brush

Here's another from that series of still life/interiors.