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Snowstorm missing in Action

balloon girl2

The storm in New York never materialized.

The mayor is standing on Fifth Avenue with wind swept egg on his face. He scans the horizon, praying for the snowstorm that will make Armageddon look like a low cost Christmas party.

Finally, he has to admit it’s not going to happen. All he can do is ”fess up and face the press. They will slaughter him (metaphorically) and they do.

People are angry. They expected the worse, indeed had been promised it, fill their cupboards with extra bags of cheesy chips for the impending doom, and now they got much less than the worst, a few snow drifts at best. Someone has to pay.

We all over react.

Its part of human nature, which is why I never throw out a painting under the guise that its ‘bad’. It could well just be so bad that it’s actually good.

People have made their living on that basis, just ask Picasso.

As for good paintings, whatever that means, you can start looking here, in the warm environs of jimmykelly.ie

Stay warm and safe.


For dogs who ramble

How do you know?

How do you know?

Seemingly you can now buy special collars for dogs, particularly dogs who ramble, which is most canines really, that keeps them from drifting too far from their place of abode.

It emits a frequency that is in constant communication with a transistor near the dog’s kennel. If he insists on pursuing his independent desires, the pitch from the collar simply becomes too uncomfortable and forces him back into a closer perimeter near the kennel.

No chains, just technology and sore ears, if you’re a dog.

A half finished painting works on the same principle.

Every artist will tell you that getting started is the hardest part.

Some may find middles tough, others struggle with endings, and still others with all three – but they don’t normally paint. Beginnings are my own Achilles hill.

After you quash the stillness of the white canvas, the world of possibility is laid open.

Even when you leave the studio it’s calling to you like some siren’s lament. It won’t stop until you return and pick up from where you left off.

Granted you won’t get sore ears like poor Fido, but you will experience that uniquely human sensation of coiled potential seeking manifestation, which you ignore at your peril.

Better get to work so.

For you, former manifestations now thankfully concrete are available here for your viewing pleasure.





“Do you ever paint something you don’t like?”

The answer is ‘yes’, about fifty percent of the time.

Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you do look back on pieces and question what drove you to even consider painting it in the first place.

The freedom to make mistakes I guess is a hard won privilege we allow ourselves.

The girl playing the mandolin at the top of this post is a case in point. I see some redeeming features but not many, but the couple I see make the piece worth the effort.

It’s those hard earned lessons that slide with ease into the more successful paintings and then we have the audacity to wonder how we did it?

The human memory is short and blinkered.

We tend to only remember the sunny warm summer days of our childhood and the paintings of yesterday which fell together as if by magic.

Looking over less successful paintings helps us appreciate nothing happens by chance. It’s good to remember this when pushing forward into the future.

These paintings here, I’m happy to say are the successful pieces. The ones I love and demand to be shared.

Happy Monday.


Mark Making


We are in the business of mark making.

And selling those said marks?

Yes, the more we sell, the more marks we make. You could look at in that way.

On paper a very simple, even primitive existence. And what happens if you fail to sell those marks?

Well, the marks become smaller and fewer, due to lack of resources. But the more successful mark makers, the ones who sell more marks in turn make more marks. Because their marks are considered better, for the time being at least.

A kind of artistic natural selection.

Confused yet? You should be.

Indulge me. I’m currently working with some oil pastels or oil sticks are they are commonly referred to.

They are great for making lines of clean colour that can sometime cut through muddied acrylics.

But don’t get me started on lines.

Suffice to say I think a lot about early cave dwellers and their drawings on dwelling walls whenever I’m using oil sticks. I think they would have appreciated them.

As for the art market and the business of selling paintings? Things have moved on. A little.

Google early cave paintings and enjoy them but not before you enjoy these. Marks made in little heavens of jellied creativity.

Happy rainy Tuesday!


Taking the lead


Starter’s Orders….and they’re off!!

First of the equine paintings sits sullenly on the easel, looking decidedly unhappy with itself. The only recognisable feature is the left nostril of a bay racehorse and its rider’s white peaked visor.

The rest is a quagmire of possibility and potential. Potential for disaster potential for success? I never said specifically, because I can’t at this stage.

All I feel is, after thirteen years of almost daily painting a sense of ‘I can do this’. Paint can become things even if all looks hopeless at this stage.

The first feature of a battle plan is throwing away the plan the minute the battle starts.

Granted I would not make a good General, a strategist I am not.

But I like this time. After an hour of painting I’m happy to let the first foray dry. Working in acrylics allows you that blessed relief. A day later it is almost touch dry and ready for the next round.

I work in hour cycles. An hour here an hour there. Push forward, pull back. A hasty retreat followed by a full blown offensive when it’s success or bust.

There will be success; it can’t be any other outcome once you engage in the process in the right way.

Results will be posted in time.

For now you will have to make do with these long won battles of yore.

Browse and enjoy.


The King’s Old Clothes


Newsflash!! – Clothes are interesting.

Maybe not news to you but is to me.

I first became aware of this back in 1996 and have been pondering it since.

Clothes express a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves in the world. No wonder the fashion industry is so perennial; people seemingly care about these things.

I don’t, or pretend I don’t, but I actually do.

Artists are normally given carte blanche when it comes to what they wear. Anything goes and they’ve the license to prove it. I must have been out sick the day those licenses were distributed because I can’t find mine.

Beige’s and a variety of dark grays, recycled through innumerable hot washes make up the bulk of my two shelves, one wonky drawer wardrobe.

I tell myself I want to change but I can’t. Beige’s allow you to blend in, be non-descript, not to be admired but not to be laughed at either.

Courage and passion are needed when it comes to clothes which I sadly lack. I admire the trait in others, have moved beyond group smirking, silently accepting my innate secret jealousy.

Luckily, life is not all about clothes. Everyone knows it’s about painting!

That’s my medium of expression and I need to keep a firm grip on it or else beige will flood my world in great fabric softened swathes.

To drive home the point, journey over here to the galleries and see the explosion of colours for yourself.

Happy Friday!




Irish people love horses.

It’s a fact that the vast majority in this country really appreciate horses. Horse racing is a large part of the culture, past and present, and thankfully it’s not going to change anytime soon.

So why aren’t there more paintings of horses in circulation?

Well, firstly horses are hard to paint, properly and anatomically correct.

A horse connoisseur will notice any minor fault in a leg or flank much the same way a chief will pick up on lack of seasoning.

“It’s alright and lovely, but…”

It’s only as good as its worse part, and if you want to be good, really good at painting horses you have to study them hard, but more importantly you have to really really really love them. Think horse whisperer.

And you either love them or you don’t. I think it’s as black or white as that. It’s something you’re born with and if you have that love then you are blessed. What a wonderful passion to have.

My Uncle loved horses. I didn’t. He advised never have anything to do with horses if you don’t love them, and I guess that includes painting them.

Or does it?

I like horses (but I won’t eat a full one – joke!!) and I have a history of being around them. I can appreciate them and I know my limits in regard to them. Long story short I’m going to paint them.

It’s a new series I’m working on. My horses will be more expressionistic and won’t be gracing the anatomy pages of any vet nary manuals.

Capturing spirit, and that’s just as challenging as chasing them in the wild.

Other spirits have being chased and temporarily penned can be found here.

Have a good one.


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