Crossing the Dodder (Oil Pastels)


Day 65.

This is a drawing I did from a photograph I took on my way to someplace. I can’t now recall where I was headed but I know exactly where I took the photo.

Across the Dodder bridge beside Lansdowne Stadium which it will always be to me, as the road bends away I spotted these beautiful flowers growing wild behind the bridge wall.

I love the spot. I love the river, the swans, my friend the heron, the gulls and duck residents. The beautiful old stone wall and the curve of the road as it sweeps away towards Ballsbridge.

I love it because it gives me in my chest the feeling of home.

Whether cycling or sauntering the sense of belonging I get passing through is always the same. Full-bodied and real and so often I’m compelled to voice my appreciation aloud as it reinforces the buzz the way an air punch in victory can.

Its so good to be home.

Mountain King (Oil pastel)


Day 62.

In the hall of the mountain King is a piece of classical music I recall from my childhood. This  imaginative composition fits the memory of that music and the associations that it holds. Myth, majesty and magic Forces of mystery in far away unknowable realms.

Music is a form of magic. Its force is potent and it affects us in unknown ways. It acts as a portal to unfathomable aspects of the human condition indicating that there is  far more to discover and explore.

Crouching Kate (Oil Pastels)


Day 56.

In another life I was a fashion obsessive. At 19 I thought I could be a model. It was an expensive delusion that lasted a year or two. The fantasy was not indulged at home but the money was handed over I presume in the knowledge that I would earn some valuable good sense the hard way. And so courses and a portfolio were forked out for and copies of Vogue piled up in my room. The head shots were actually quite nice. I sort of wish I still had them. They got swallowed up in the sleazy circuit of auditions and agency castings that lasted about a month.

On the one day that a call came for me to do a paid runway job my brother took the call and I got told about it a week after the event.

I indulged in my dream for all it was worth and got to prance around a couple of catwalks in college and loved damn every minute of it. The heady memories of Ray Darcy dimming the lights so I could demonstrate for the Rathmines College of Commerce audience a second time the designer’s artistry in my Jean Paul Gaultier-esque one piece.

I probably lucked out in the end. A taste was all I needed and I missed out on the cocaine and starvation rituals that goes with the territory.

During that phase of my life spent many hours drawing the faces from the glossy magazines. The industry captivated something deep in me. I was a late developer physically and so emotionally immature I allowed myself be swept away in the images that  dangled before me the illusion of a glamorous future in New York, just as I had done watching Desperately Seeking Susan as a thirteen years old.

The difference is that hankering will never die. Bad behaviour and mildly outrageous capers is a dream I won’t give up on.

If you enjoyed this post you will probably enjoy more coming of age fashion misadventures here

Thank you for reading.

Girl bathing (Oil pastel)


Day 54.

This is a drawing I did a long time ago. It is an early attempt at using oil pastels. My handling of the material is crude and in places very messy but I can also see that I was being bold and free in applying the colour despite the lack of technique.

I was working from a Degas print. There are many errors in the pose, in the perspective and the foreshortening yet the work bears a strong impression of life, of toil and also a sense of weight. There is a clumsiness to the pose that suggests innocence as well as intimacy. A private moment.

What I like about this most is that is demonstrates my enjoyment in mixing colours. Whether the madness of my approach is with or without method the effect of my efforts demonstrates an appreciation, enthusiasm and aptitude for pigment and hue.