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Fat Faced Clowns


Large fat faced clowns in a variety of contemplative poses. I suppose clowns do contemplate. The must be philosophical beings how else could they source their slapstick?

As you probably know I’m in the ideas generation stage, the fun stage when anything is possible and everything is worthy of an equal hearing. It’s in the technical execution of the brilliant ideas where the wheels of possibility get mired in the thick mud of reality.

I will dwell here for a while longer however, in this rarefied atmosphere of potential. It’s a good place to reside, for at least part of the time. Some would label the process brainstorming, or mind mapping, or whatever management speak is the most popular these days. I call it simply taking time to decide. To decide what to paint next.

These paintings, I hope to paint two, will form part of a Christmas group exhibition. I use the term exhibition loosely; it will be more a cirque du soleil affair, where there will be story, dance and performance artists such as jugglers etc present. And music of course. Lots of music.

I can picture it now in my mind’s eye, my two large fat clowns staring down at it all approvingly from their vantage point high up on the wall.

The venue? The hole-in-the-wall, Kilkenny, a great place well worth a visit and a must for all those who Google religiously, and they are not just a few.

Before you go on your goggling ways, check this out, and let these also shed their light from high vantage points.


I’ve been perusing some publications in the local library. Titles such as ‘Illustration Today’, ‘Cutting edge images from the World of Advertising’ and ‘Modern Day Japanese Illustrators’. ‘Why?’ you may ask. Why not?

Where does painting end and illustration begin? Good question. No one really knows or cares for that matter, except maybe a few artistic snobs. People like what looks good on their walls. That kinders an emotional connection. The image that they love going back to again and again and they don’t know why?

The best part is the not knowing why. Mystery is attractive in its own right. Some questions are best left unanswered and just allow the subconscious to do its own thing. You have the painting, the image, what more do you need?

I just love looking at illustrations, where ever I find them, even in Graffiti. There is an in built humor there, a knowing wink and nod of a joke, sometimes self deprecating in nature. You laugh despite yourself. The Japanese are particularly good at that kind of thing.

Self education is a good thing; it could be reasonably argued that all education is in fact self education. Undoubtedly when you get to my age it surely is. It’s good to know what others are up to and that information is so ready to hand nowadays that there are no excuses not to know.

But you have to be careful. A light drizzle of knowing is a good thing, but a down pour of heavy images, saturation point. You might inadvertently quench your own creative flame, when all you wanted to do was simply learn!

The give and take of a continual dance, all good education comes down to this – knowing what to use and knowing and what to discard as quickly as you picked it up. A twenty-first century survival skill. Who would have thought? Even artists can have information overload.

I’m not going to overload you with images here. A few select ones here in the galleries. Take a look and tell me what you think. Tell pay pal what you think! We’re all good friends here.


The alchemy of Questions


November, traditionally in Ireland at least, is a month for remembering the dead. Those who have passed on before us. It’s a good time of year for such remembrances, when leaves on trees long since turned golden are now willing to let go.

So how do you go about remembering the dead? A short answer would be fondly, but for some that might be too simplistic and maybe thoughts of dead loved ones might not sit easily with the word ‘fondly’. Everyone has their own relationship with such remembrances. Bringing them to mind is often enough.

So what has all this morbidity to do with Art and paintings in particular? Again, no simple one off answer, but I will venture one just the same. Completeness. Circle of life. Roundness.  A lot of shapes being laid out there, maybe that’s why shapes are an integral part of my work.

There is a relationship between the two; I just haven’t fathomed it yet. Just as one intuits the importance of numbers in our daily world. We don’t have to know the ins and outs of it, but just hold it in a respective silence. Perhaps the answers will gradually reveal themselves as you go about your daily work? One would like to think so.

The questioning mind can sometimes be a nuisance, but it’s what drives the engine of creativity. The need to discover what lies over the hill, to make manifest the hidden in some poor futile way. They say ignorance is bliss and many people appear to subscribe willingly to this notion, judging by what passes for entertainment these days.

A cocktail of thoughts. I told you such would be the case before undertaking any new major work. Gestation is a time of growth, but also of give and take. Laying out questions, turning them over, polishing them slightly and then placing them back for safe keeping. You work with the results.

There are always results; you just have to discover them.

In terms of results made manifest, you can view them here. Feel free to buy and take them home. Put them with your old questions and allow the necessary alchemy to take root.



Creative Sparks

a clockwork orange

To keep the creative clock ticking you can never drift too far from the creative process. The rich vein of that process is like one of the main arteries in your body, supplying blood to all the other dependent charges.  Your marketing and writing would all shrivel up and die without this life giving sustenance.

Your words would sound hollow and unreal as if you were reading from a carefully prepared speech prepared by someone other than yourself. So when in doubt keep painting. Even when your not in doubt, keep painting, and keep doing all the other good things as well to promote your art. After all great art never seen, never shared, is no good to anyone.

I have a large, large panel sitting at home waiting to be prepared with numerous coats of gesso. The gessoing allows you time to think, to make last minute modifications in your mind’s eye of what’s going to pour forth unto this blank canvas.

You can’t help but think of the hundreds and hundreds of times previous to this when you have also entertained such hopes and imaginings. Some of which came to pass, you would like to think the majority having been successful distillations of that original spark.

In my estimate large is good. Large blank canvas leads to large ambitious thoughts and dreams. Rightly or wrongly this is how I reason. For better or worse we keep moving forward with the work and we keep getting it out there, because people will always need things of genuine beauty to hang on their walls. To sustain them in their own individual life efforts.

For the moment we are in a state of gestation. This period has an end point when the work will begin. I’m as happy to share the process as I am to present the final piece in all its final glory. Warts and all.

For the time being, there is always the galleries of past works, to enjoy and buy, while your practicing patience. Don’t worry, this is not a doctor’s waiting room, your active participation is encouraged. I love hearing from all my readers whenever the compulsion to drop me a line takes hold.

Talk soon.



two red trees

It’s that time of year again when things that go bump in the night take flight and kids dress up in false horror. The costumes are works of art in themselves and worthy of a film set.

Gone are the days when a black bin sack and old cereal box on the head with two holes gouged out was the order of the day. Like everything in the modern world increased sophistication is the new norm until all folds back in on itself in some strange parody.

It’s not my favorite time of the year, Halloween. I was never into horror and ghouls and could never see the attraction in any of those pursuits. Looking at scary movies seemed the ultimate in wasting time.

Granted the evenings and mornings are now a lot darker, naturally, so perhaps it is good to mark the changing of the seasons, but in a mindful way. Even if it’s just noticing there can be a change of gear in your own energy levels.

Things slow down, not speed up. It’s good to remind yourself of this before marketers force us into a frenzied Christmas panic as soon as the Halloween masks are off.

No such panic here, just a gentle nudge to click over to the gallery and have a look at what’s on offer, and if not to buy, at least enjoy. Perhaps both?

Have a lovely day.


The many woes of Parceling Clowns

scarecrows and horse

I’m presently drawing up sketches for a new, dare I say it, seminal work.  I’m being pulled back into the world of clowns. Did I ever leave it? I hear you say.

I’m thinking large and I’m thinking hotel lobbies. Famous hotel lobbies where people will arrange to meet ‘under the white clown painting’. I omitted to mention that these clowns will be attired mainly in white garments, with a splash perhaps of primary colour.

Their faces also white and heads bald except for two tufts of shaggy red hair just above each ear. Three clowns in the painting, perhaps two, but definitely no more than four. It’s going to be big but not big enough to accommodate four long limbed clowns.

I had the experience of painting a very large piece before, which I struggled to get out the studio door. Failing the door, you can always try a double window. The moral of the story is think before you paint, particularly when you’re going big.

Think transport, thinking framing, think suitable locations. Think suitable customers. They are out there and hopefully not living abroad. I don’t think I’d find an envelope that size.

I jest. I’d be happy to parcel it up with brown paper and white sting for sending overseas. While you’re waiting to see the new work, and remember it’s only in its gestation period, you can browse here and take your pick of what’s available. I promise the packaging will be secure if you’re looking from across the sea.


In the presence of Greatness..again


“To be in his presence as a friend or working as part of his team was one of the greatest privileges in my life”

Thus spoke the suited man at the funeral.

A tad of exaggeration there perhaps?  I wondered to myself.

Didn’t know the deceased personally, I was only there because I had to be. As usual I was just listening while other people spoke, nodding my head in agreement, like one of those noddy dogs you used to see on the back of car windows in the mid-eighties.

I wondered if his recently conferred widow would agree with the suited man’s estimation of her husband?  Especially when he threw his dirty socks on the ground or slurped his soup without remorse or sensitivity to those around him?

I was going to ask her but even I’m familiar with funeral protocol, and now simply was not the time for such questions.

Now if the deceased was a painting or a piece of music I could understand where the suited eulogist was coming from. We’ve all experienced that.  Walking into a room and seeing a work of art that takes our breath away. That draws us in and asks us questions we’d never know existed, not to mention the search for those answers. Music the same. When you just have to pull the car over and turn the radio up loud so that the piece can fill the stratosphere.

Or perhaps it just me and my lack of social skills? Particularly at funerals.

These are the moments that feed your own art making and compel you to follow suit. Recognising there’s something there and trying to make it manifest and being inevitably disappointed with the results, but compelled to try again. Because that’s what humans do. They always try again. Stubborn species really.

In that same stubborn spirit I present my paintings once more for your perusal and enjoyment and beseech your ultimate buying power.



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