Mutti und Kind (Ceramic)


Day 76.

My mother and and chick penguin in glazed ceramic.

The inspiration for this piece came from a photograph which I then made a drawing of. I was struck by the tenderness of the relationship between the pair. Making the drawing first helped me to get a sense of what I wanted to evoke in sculpting the birds.

The formation lended itself well to working in clay as the simple forms are free standing due to their being larger at the base and so also hollowed out easily. The glazing was experimental as I had really no idea what the colours I was using would turn out like. I was most surprised and pleased at how well the finished fired colours worked.

The chick with his head back under the mother’s beak is so touching. The innocence and trust of the young and the stoic determination of the mature adult female to protect and nurture her chick is absolute.

My chick is larger than I intended. He is more adolescent in size but he is a baby.

One and Many (Felt pen)


Day 75.

Playing around with illustration of faces working on head structure trying to get the underneath right things like jaws and brows and cheek bones and the subtlety of lines and curves that make heads such complex three dimensional forms.

Lines sloping away in all directions different from every angle. Using geometric shapes as basic blocks is helpful in building a foundation for the face. I find it enables me to visualise the face and head as a series of planes and not just a mask with hair.

Cubism took it to the extreme but to even examine their work is helpful in appropriating everyday objects including human beings as three dimensional forms in space.

With this drawing I was trying to get away from the outline mentality of drawing. Building blocks constructing up down, left and right to add depth of form.

The skull and the head is such an extraordinary structure. So incredible that our minds ignore and simplify to easily computable visual elements. The reality is too startling and complex that without training in observation we are often only capable of seeing what  a very young eye sees, the obvious features stuck onto a surface of coloured skin decorated with some hair.

Drawing is a fun way to deconstruct ourselves into seeing  a more complete whole.

Child (Gouache)


Day 74.

I’m overloaded. My head is so full of ideas and thoughts that it has gone silent.

Art is a great counterpoint to writing for this reason. Even the act of looking at works of art stills and centres the busied mind. The shift to the other brain creates harmony and has a re calibrating effect.

Simply put it feels really good to contemplate images, forms patterns and relationships abstractly like underground life forms or the moving pictures behind the eyelids when not in sleep. It feels like breathing deeply a form of meditation in a sense. Mostly it brings us into our childlike selves without which we cannot be adults.

Moving between the two I find keeps both oiled and fuses the potential for growth in each.

This is a painting I made in 1997.

Cave Drawings (felt pen)


Day 73.

Cave drawings sketched swiftly in poor light inside the Pileta Caves on the outskirts of Ronda, Spain.

No photography was permitted sensibly so any capturing of the momentous experience I had to make do with pen and hand. It was an extraordinary experience and the beginning of a renewed interest in antiquities and ancient cultures and their expression.

I regularly get an impulse to carve or paint out my most pressing inner symbols upon the walls of my own cave. I might do it yet. Rip off the paint work to get a raw surface and decorate my quarters with images from the deepest recesses of my psyche.

Its a matter of time really. The urge will one day become strong enough to produce the action. I’ve observed that in most of my doings.

Till then I guess I’ll percolate and allow what comes to float up to the surface.

My Pet Goat (Polystyrene)


Day 72.

One of my treasures is this fellow. I feel a great affinity and empathy for this particular object. It is almost  as if it were a living creature. I sense it has feelings and whats more I sense it feels mine.

That may seem bizarre to most people but bizarre is highly subjective.

It is a found object. I picked it up off the street. It spoke to me. The form, its readiness the art of chance all came together in its presentation before me and I continued its manifestation by taking it into my home and into myself.

I attribute significance to items largely due to how I came by them. The circumstances and the story of how things and I meet greatly adds to their import. It fuels the memory and fuses an attachment especially there is an element of spheres colliding.

People speak this way about romantic love planets being aligned and other cosmic metaphors. In applying such notions to material things I am extending the concept of romantic love into more of my life. Thats partly how I see it or perhaps not exactly.

Creation is a mysterious process. The making or coming into being of all things involves magic and an element of the unknown. Matter and anti-matter. We play our part and the the rest is done. Both forces are equally valuable and without either there is nothing.

The Sea Goers (Gouache)


Day 71.

Apologies for the poor quality of the photo. I don’t know what has happened to this painting. Its many years since I have seen it. Things get moved about when we pack up and leave and some get lost.

I painted this almost eighteen years ago. Its rough and ready but despite its many flaws it has a charm. It is a typical west of Ireland scene possibly copied from a Jack B Yeats painting. Its so difficult to remember now.

Men carrying the curragh out to sea. United against the elements but for how long. Traditional way of life of which so very little now remains. Traces only.

Have we lost more than we have gained?

Winter (Coloured pencil.)


Day 70.

Tonight I sensed it. Winter coming in. Unannounced but welcome.

I lump them together autumn and winter spring and summer. As they’re less chronologically disparate. More of a side order are spring and autumn. A starter before the main.

I’m excited by the prospect. Tonight’s sky and the silence bode me a fine season ahead.

The cloud diffused moon and the extended snails in the wet street lit pavement drew me back to previous early winter beckonings.

Its almost time for winding down and looking inward. September is kind in these parts buffering the path between lighter and darkening days.

I’m ready.

Ladies of the Lake (Gouache)


Day 69.

I can’t concentrate. I have three posts to make and all I want to do is binge out on my youtube fixes. I was away for a lovely four day holiday  I extended it from two which meant I’d miss two days on my blog which I’m now attempting to redress.

It would be a hell of a lot easier if I would turn off the music but I’m drunk on Beyonce’s Drunk in Love song. This is the last time Suzie.

I left Dublin on Thursday. I took the bus up north west to Derry. As I’m a committed Luddite with a fetish for out dated Nokia 2G phones that I drop consistently my coverage died just beyond the pale leaving me totally off grid for four full days.

Not a peep or a murmur did my phone make for my entire holiday. It sat in my pocket and served as a timepiece and that made it so much more the holiday.

My brain hasn’t composed a text nor did my fingers hit a key for four full days and the blissful absence of such tasklike preoccupations expanded into a fuller freer experience of  doing damn all.

Its a fine art doing absolutely nothing but it is also a gift that will give and give.