Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Introspective, Self Portrait

Introspective Self Portrait - oil/panel - 7"x5" - Reserved

Since the launch of my last show one month ago I have done little painting with exception of one day of life painting a week at the Royal Hibernian Academy. This 'time off' has been of great benefit to me and has allowed me room for reflection and introspection as well as the chance to plan for future projects and further creativity.

I painted this self portrait some months ago from a photo I had taken in 2006 one night on the forest side of the island of Koh Mak in the eastern gulf of Thailand. I spent many seasons on that island developing my art work in a consistent frenzy of creativity. The reference by which this painting was made must have been taken after a days painting. In some ways this painting reminds me of a little gem of a Rembrandt self portrait. Rembrandt often made self portraits with his eyes in shade but they still seem to convey so much inner emotion. (see below)

Friday, December 16, 2011

The East Wall Currachs Project

'Plaining the Lats!' (pic by Des Moriarty)

I know its been a couple of weeks since I last posted on the blog.
The finishing and wrapping up of my last solo show along with two other very different creative project has kept me busy! My only chance to paint over the past weeks has been at the Royal Hibernian Academy and I have really treasured those hours.

The first project in which I have been involved is a most interesting one - A Currach Boat Building Project, which is taking place at the East Wall Water Sports Centre in Dublin.

This Traditional boat building project is being lead by my great pal Mark Redden. Mark has resided in beautiful Barcelona for the past three years and works as an artist and boat builder. We met first at the age of seventeen and ended up in art college studying together and have remained wonderful and supportive friends ever since. In 2006 we lived and worked at our studios at the Mantua Art Project Centre in Roscommon, it was there in our workshop that I was first introduced to Mark's love and skill of boat building.

I am so pleased to be able to allocate the hours of work needed to see this project through and with the help of a number of dedicated and creative people including Gilda O' Laoire (Designer/ Cabinetmaker), Des Moriarty (Photographer) and Rosie O'Reilly (Fashion Designer and Founder of Re-Dress).

You can follow the evolution of this very special project on the East Wall Currachs facebook page.

Looking forward to filling you all in on this second and very exciting project of mine in the not to distant future. Until then I want to thank you all for your interest, comments and support and wish you all a very Peaceful, Happy and Joy filled Christmas and New year.

- Richard

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Artist's Tools and Extended Exhibit

The Artist's Tools - oil on canvas - 14"x12" - sold

This is the most recent Still Life piece I have made and it was created in front of the Portmarnok Art Group as part of a demonstration and discussion I gave a few weeks ago.
The Portmarnok Art group have kindly invited me to give lectures and demonstrations for their group over the past few years and I feel I am really getting to know them all now individually and always have enjoyed our discussions and interactions.

As many of you know I qualified as an art Craft and Design teacher in 2004 at the National College of Art and Design, NCAD but at that stage had decided that I would continue being a dedicated full time Artist as it was my calling. I do however find it very rewarding to teach groups of interested painters from time to time as well as help individuals with there portfolio preparation and painting. So, if there are any individuals that feel they might enjoy having a dialogue with me as regards their art work or any art groups out there that would like to learn from me please do feel free to send me a mail.

My most recent Exhibit that opened on November 26th looks like it will be extended for a week or so. The show has had a huge turn out and a great response which really is a positive affirmation for me when you consider the current economic climate and how shows have been going in Dublin in general. Its always extra special when so many people purchase your work for their private collections. As Robert Henri said 'The greatest honor you can do an artist is to buy his picture and hang it in your gallery'.
My sincere thanks to all for the wonderful words of encouragement and to all who came along to the opening and to all of you who have visited the exhibit.

Am busy this last week working on a very interesting, engaging and different project, so look forward to share this with you in the coming days as well as some very special news about my next port of call.

- Richard

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Red Shed Door auctioned by Sothebys London

The Red Shed Door - oil on canvas - 18"x15" - sold

This Landscape painting of mine went under the hammer on Saturday night in London. The piece was auctioned by Sothebys London at The Irish Fund of Great Britain Christmas Ball.

I created this piece around March of this year in Co. Mayo. Its is an interpretation depicting the shed in the back garden of my cottage. This little shed which was surrounded by foliage and creepers had the most beautiful deep cadmium red door and a huge wasp hive inside connected to the wooden roof lats.

The reserve started at €2500. Can't wait to hear what it fetched.

- Richard

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Painting Hero

Yesterday I posted a link on facebook about Joaquin Sorolla who is one of my very favorite painters of all time and promised to write something about a few of the many things I feel attract me to his work and painting methods.

There are so many things about his work that I admire and aspire to that I found the idea of where to start writing about him quite impossible!

Then this morning I sat with my parents to watch a short documentary about a wonderful friend of mine called Sabine Menassa from the Lebanon. In the Documentary Sabine said that 'technique without passion and improvisation is nothing' and that's when it hit me - Sabine had just summed up in one sentence exactly what I feel really good painting and creativity is all about!

In the past I have written about a 'gut' reaction I feel when confronted by certain works of art and how these pieces of work go far and beyond technique or illustrative flashiness.

Again and again I see highly rendered and finished paintings with a photographic quality or realism and after a moments engagement am left feeling empty apart from the fact that the technique grabbed me for a moment or the idea that - wow that looks just like a photo!(which it's not)!

With these pieces the treatment and application of paint is uniform throughout. The paint is applied by the artist in the same way - to landscape and figure, to natural organic objects as to the inanimate and there is I find nowhere for the viewer to get in. The whole story has been told so to speak.

Just look at the brushstrokes in Sorolla's Self-Portrait, 1912 above. The gusto and bravado. The fluidity and energy they encapsulate. These brush strokes tell of the true story of the artists intense scrutiny and passion while also communicating an immense knowledge of technique and handling of paint.

- Richard