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Lives we never knew we lived

Did you ever Google your name on the internet? Type it into the browser’s field and click search. Of course you have or am I being presumptuous?

I have. Amazing the stuff it brings back. Things I never even knew about myself. Experiences and lives that I must have just plain forgotten about in some perverse spell of twenty-first century amnesia.


….Could there be possibly more that one ‘Jimmy Kelly’??

A painting from the past came knocking on my door after one such search. The one at the top of this post. I remember well painting it. I remember even better conceiving of it, thinking about it and then finally seeing it come alive on the canvas. Purely because it was an unusual subject for me at the time.

If I remember correctly I titled it ‘Her Prince Charming’. The frog with the crown precariously balanced on his head looks somewhat nervous. She looks dangerous.

I was playing with the idea at the time of taking well known fairy tales and turning them on their heads and seeing what I came up with.  This is just one that I came up with. The others are scattered in the halls and sitting rooms of other various buyers.  I would remember them if I saw them.

Which? The paintings or the buyers?

Both. The buyer in my mind becomes part of the painting. Becomes enmeshed in its story, takes over and carries it on, until they in turn hand over to someone else. Eventually the story may come full circle and back to me. It hasn’t yet but I’m open to that possibility. Paintings are kind of like your children, there’s always an open door waiting for them if they need to return.

They’d have to sleep on the couch though, because the best rooms are currently taken by these, my new fledglings, waiting to fly the nest. You can help them take flight by clicking the green button underneath.

Have a lovely weekend.


Autumn and other poetic ramblings

a clockwork orange


‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’

Can you remember the first time you heard those lines?

I can. It was in secondary school. The embattled teacher told us that these were famous lines, conjuring up the magic of Autumn. Most did not care. But after that brief introduction I began to hear them everywhere.
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The eye of the consumer


Art shops are interesting places. Over priced to a large extent because the need is there. If you need a tube of titanium white you need a tube of titanium white. You’ll pay what ever is necessary to get that paint and such items are priced accordingly. According to the value derived from the purchase. Convenience plays a big part also. Everyone would like to get what they want, for as cheaply and as easily as possible.
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Cellophane yellows and tangerine oranges

During Kilkenny Arts Festival this year I hung three large painting on the mayor’s walk. A public wall near Kilkenny Castle in the centre of the town. One of those paintings was of two cats staring out from the surrounds of a vase of inordinately large yellow flowers. I called those flowers ‘cellophane yellows’ a nod to a similar reference in the Beatles song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. That was the image I had in mind when I first conjured them up.

The cats themselves are tangerine orange, nicely complemented by their solid green beaded eyes. The foreground is a large swathe of cerulean blue, laid on thick; I don’t want anything peeping through. Broken only by a mottle array of lilac shadows, because as everyone knows, shadows are lilac in nature.

A lady asked me when I was standing there at the wall, how did I manage to make the flowers so yellow? To be honest the question confused me a little as I was hoping to make them even more yellow, but I gave a relatively simple explanation that it was my liberal use of a tube of  Lemon yellow. The more correct answer would be that the surrounding cerulean blue makes them look more yellow than they actually are, purely by association.

Then again, I am marginally colour blind. When somebody is referring to the green car, I’m normally talking about the yellow one, and vice versa. Needless to say, confusion reigns supreme, but I try to make my limitations work to my advantage on the canvas, hence my love of bright colours.

I’m beginning to think that simple colour combinations have more impact. There is less to confuse the eye, and the mind of the beholder. It’s a case of less is more, as long as it’s the right kind of less and therein lies the rub? Experimentation, learning, work after work, unfortunately there’s no substitute for it. But then again would we have it any other way?

For now, we’ll reap what we have previously sown, and you can always buy those cellophane flowers and curious cats here, and watch them climb the walls of your imagination.


Catch 22

girl in green reading

Last Saturday morning, I found myself in a cheap bookshop. I use ‘cheap’ in the best sense of the word, perhaps ‘reasonably priced’ would be more accurate but sounds more clunky. Anyway I was there and the books were there and one does what one does in any book shop. I normally spend no more than three minutes at a time in this particular shop and it has become part of my Saturday morning ritual, a brief respite between the pressing concerns of tying  X to Y.
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Elements of Style

God is Retiring

God is Retiring

I’ve often said it in these posts and at the risk of repeating myself yet again -

- I look at a lot of paintings by various different artists.

I never had a formal art education, what I know I’ve managed to teach myself, primarily by trial and error. More errors than I would care to remember. I believe it’s the only way. You learn to do something by basically doing it. QED. No big mystery there, or is there?
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Thoughts on building bridges


It was Picasso who famously stated that art should be an act of war not just a mere decoration for living room walls. I reckon he was on to something there. Granted, he was referencing his famous painting ‘Guernica’ and the atrocities portrayed which were carried out in that small Spanish town. Thankfully, I don’t have the same frame of reference, but I do share his sentiment that art should stir people to act and shake them out of their docile indifference.
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