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New Angles

four crows

A good way to re-ignite creativity is to change pace. If you produce five paintings a month, why not instead produce one?

Approach that one painting differently than you would previous work.

Ask more questions as to why you’re painting it, the subject matter, the reasons behind the work and maybe perhaps what you would hope for the work long term.

I don’t ask these questions really, partly because I’m scared of the answers.

We all know the fable of the centipede, upon being asked how he manages to walk with so many legs, thought about the question – and never walked again.

I don’t want to be that centipede, and I’m sure neither do you, but sometimes it’s good to slow down and look at things from a different more thoughtful angle.

A challenge to be sure, as indeed these were, back in the day.


Virtual reality


Me, I like reading. I like reading the guardian newspaper online. The culture section is pretty good. But reading articles online is a poor substitute to books, to the feel of paper between your fingers.

For me, at least. I’m a bit of a traditionalist in that sense.

If I was to formulate a clumsy metaphor – it’s akin to having food fed through an intravenous drip as opposed to sitting down at a table with a knife and fork.

The end result is the same, you’re fed, but the experience is different. Granted my example may be a tad on the extreme side, but you get the picture.

Speaking of which…


Brilliant looking at works of art online, but again, poor substitute for standing in front of the real thing and seeing the warts and all.

In my paintings there are plenty of warts…I just call them features when I’m in marketing mode.

This is why I do have a returns policy if you buy. If you’re not a hundred and ten percent happy, then I’m not either.

The virtual world can be deceiving sometimes, and thankfully this is not a dating site.

So catch them here..And if one tickles your fancy – drop me a line.

Rainy July day here. But the rain is warm (ish).

Count our blessings.



clowns arguing
‘Brilliant new Irish author’

‘The best debut novel I’ve ever read’

Nice blurb –  I thought to myself as I turned the novel over in my hand.

Okay the guy giving the glowing five star review was a poet, a poet I wasn’t particularly warm too.


He loves his words. Emphasis on being on ‘his words’ and by all accounts he’s made a good living at it. Now he was saying he loved this new author’s words as well. So were her’s going to be like his?

Unfortunately they were.

Granted the language was beautiful and the metaphors stunning, but you do reach a saturation point and I met that point early on in the novel  in question. Too much of a good thing and the story was suffering as a result.

A brilliant story can be told in relatively simple language, just ask Paul Coelho. Indulgence for indulgence sake doesn’t cut it long term.

The same with painting.

As one renowned critic worded it when referring to Edward Hopper’s paintings –

‘If Hopper was a better painter he won’t be the brilliant artist he in-doutably is’


Not really. Just look at Hopper’s work populated with the clunky limb figures? The paintings are terrible and brilliant at the same time. How could that be?

Simply put, there’s no fooling the human soul. We see and know more than we are fully conscious aware of.

Like a body craving good food, we like good art produced from somewhere deep and barely accessible.

Do these make the grade. I merely aspire. Its a good start.

Happy Friday.


Face book and sugary sweets

three cooks

I’m not a big fan of face book. I’m not a big fan of sugary sweets either, but I indulge in both. The human condition, we cut ourselves some slack. A little in moderation.

It can be hard to put down the phone or laptop sometimes, take out the pen instead and sketch.

‘There’s nothing around to sketch!’

Yeah, right.

What about the scatter of children’s toys on the floor? Fight the urge to pick them up, it’s harder to take the time to really see them and get it down on paper.

Why bother?

Maybe it has something to do with seeing, experiencing, not taking things for granted. A richer experience of life anyone?

You don’t need to travel to the ends of the world to get that. I find a blank piece of paper and a nicely weighted fountain pen are all you need.

Snug like a gun, I’ll do my digging with that. (Apologies to Seamus Heaney fans – I couldn’t resist)

I write this mainly to remind myself to sketch  and to remind you of these.

They haven’t gone away you know.

Happy sketching Thursday.


Creativity confined to Barracks



Now, with most of my studio, well my entire studio safely packed away awaiting a new destination I have had to confine my artistic endeavors to sketching.

The sketchbook I have is a nice. A thick red hard covered affair which makes me look good – always an added bonus. But the scribblings within are not the stuff for posterity. More like the idle scratchings of a mind running on empty. Matters were not helped when I procured a packet of markers from the local pound shop.

I felt a daub of colour would lift my doodlings into another dimension. The markers, cheap and nasty, did not help. The only succeeded in bleeding through the page, so that now, I am obliged to skip each following page if I wish to make a fresh start.

What’s that about the workman blaming his tools? I know, but this is a period of transition, part and parcel of which is an open license to moan.

Dumping a lot of old congealed paint pots gave me a welcome lift, so still buoyed up by that feeling I will give the markers a second chance.

Journey not destination. We will have to wait and see about that.

Still fresh starts make for fresh paintings but good ones never loose their freshness.

Happy Wednesday.


Motor Cycle Emptiness

circles 233

Manic Street Preachers – Motorcycle Emptiness.

Now I know how William Wordsworth felt when he came across that host of golden daffodils and was surprised by joy.

The radio presenter had been talking about great guitar rifts in her mid Atlantic tone, an accent which has become increasingly common in Ireland. I wasn’t really listening to what she was saying, I was most probably thinking about work or some other first worldly concerns as I drove on that rain swept evening journey home.

Then she played it. She even said it herself. Haven’t heard this in an age. How could we forget?

I never considered myself much of a music connoisseur, but I know what I like, and right then I liked this song, a lot.

I presume it’s the same experience when a person stumbles across a Picasso image in a book or a museum and they just stand there transfixed by the sheer power of the image.

Divinity manifest. A lighting rod harnessed for all time for all to enjoy.  If only we have the eyes to see or in the case of the Manic Street preachers – the ears to hear.

Then we have the shakings of stardust that falls where it may, perhaps some of it lingers here.

Stick on an appropriate backing tracking and check it out.  Perhaps.



Fr. Bernard reading the paper

I read this piece on the guardian website this morning. I reproduce it here in full.

A charming example of Sir Anthony Caro preferring to let his work speak for itself was afforded toward the close of a somewhat long-wordy questionnaire by Peter Fuller in Art Monthly. When Fuller asked what his sculptures meant, Caro replied: “What does breakfast mean?”

I’m tempted to say breakfast means food. I like breakfast. I’m a breakfast person. Couldn’t go without it. Its one of the few things I don’t skip.

Okay, okay Sir Anthony please don’t look at me that way, despite being dead. I know what you’re saying. I’m trying to draw parallels with my own art making. This is a koan to be sure. Something to make one think, and just before you answer, think some more. Therefore, this is me thinking. I know it’s not a pretty site but it’s the best I can do at this hour of Monday morning.

For me breakfast is a necessity of life ergo art is a necessity of life.

That wasn’t so hard now was it? Nice and neatly packaged, no loose ends, just the way life should be and art in particular.

Now I can have my breakfast in peace and browse over these.

A heady combination or just a symptom of someone too easily pleased.


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