I couldn't sleep on sunday night and made my way through the house with the light of my mobile phone (my most treasured possession) and after balancing it on a clothes rack it plummetted face down onto the hard concrete floor of the spare room, shattering the glass screen. It still worked but the tiny splinters embebded themselves into my finger tips so I took it to the phone shop the next day, pronto.
It wasn't until the afternoon that I began to think about the life-drawing series I had started and the whole album (on the unlocked phone) of very unflattering nude shots I had taken of myself due to the lack of a life model. Cronge.
Back in art college (the Burren Art college, co Clare) the luxury of a life model was a wonderful thing. The image below is from that time. 2009 seems like yesterday.
...And here I am, years later still drawing nudes.
I'm sharing a personal project because I can't share recent projects yet. (I illustrated a children's book by a fabulous Irish author, I drew happy children for a festival and there were a few other really lovely private commissions based around homes, celebrations and love).
But back to the phone.... The image below was a drawing I did around 2009. On one hand I have learn't so much and on the other, absolutely nothing ;)
I am currently emptying my head, making way for something that isn't where I have already been. There is a challenge in the unwinding the tight lines of illustration into a conversation with myself, consisting of dirty rubberless, lead beaten, scrawly lines, whilst also reading philosophy and reflecting the meaning of life and waiting tables.
Of course I have contradicted myself because I only start with the punished pencil and then transport the scrawl to the computer canvas. I adore this process regardless of how careless I have been with the paper.
I want time to animate and assimilate the voices into a collection of organised conversations which ultimatly I have had with myself. If these conversations weren't so dark and on the verge of the shadow and the abyss I'd print them onto stationary, pop them onto wrapping paper and maybe subliminate them on to a cup.
Every creative needs time to grow.
Time to focus on digital drawing (over paper, non commissioned work over commissions, frivolous work rather than looking for a deeper sense of meaning) and I'm going to dawdle for a while to see where the fancy takes me.
The guilt trip which rears it's head every now and again can fuck right off.... I am freeing myself from creative obligations to myself and to others (except those I owe work too... I'm all over those projects...totally, truly I am...I promise).
The journey so far has been most educational but I have no idea yet where this digital art is headed...it's exciting, liberating and a much needed injection of fun into my creative process.
You are delighted with your life as you get paid more for less of a job than you expected......up the ladder......you loose your phone in Supervalue.....down the snake.....find the phone....up the ladder....the cars emergency random beep is a little more repetitive than usual....snake time.....mechanic finally answers phone.....doe booked and work done....ladder time.....mechanic phones back to ask you to come see something....not sure if it's ladder or snake time.....turns out it's a bit of both.....tell heart to stop banging against ribs for a bit..... home.....dog has stolen all the chocolate covered cherries from the kitchen table and the cashew nuts.....defo snake time, wee shite..... the list of work in the filofax is unfulfilled....snake buzz..... off to be an extra in an ad in a secret location where perhaps there might be a famous person like figure, also in attendance.....we are guessing Ed Sheeran. I will let ye know if it's a snake or a ladder later.
Above: A selection of teas, in jars with labels attached. Each label tells you about the tea and you smell the lid of the jar to help you decide which tea you should have. There is something wonderful about choosing, brewing and savouring tea.
Time to think.
Thats all it is.
Time out in a jar.
Below: more jars.
(Drawn from The Secret Garden, Galway).
This most recent collaboration was a real serious one and involved taste testing, near clinical trials and the purchase of a dehydrator (maybe a tad spontaneous by nature, the new project might take a little while to grow, I mean who knew dehydrators were a little tricky to get to know?).
Anyway, the point is that we consume way to much meat and so do our dogs, so lets add a little goodness, low fat, low sugar treaty type thingys to their diet and god knows mine are on a diet.
I've no idea whats in those store bought packets and sometimes they are way to hard. Did you know some dog treats can damage a dogs teeth if the human nail can't make a dent in them?
The cat won't budge on this issue but the dogs are delighted and the dehydrator is being made the most of. I am now planning an empire based on Irish oats and veggies for happy well rewarded pooches, fit for human consumption (no crap off the butchers floor for my puppies).
The next stage is testing on normal dogs. My lunatics will eat anything xxx
The drawings above are for The Galway Actors Workshop and they were an absolute pleasure!
Sometimes theres a niggle of doubt when you sit down to draw something but then it happens and the simplest design is sometimes the most effective. I have to thank Sarah for being so easy to work with.
I have been productive.....(I can't tell you anything yet but I've also been asked to illustrate a children's book and so far so good....ssssssh!) honestly.
The lumps are busy writing an agenda for up and coming protests. The last "Save the planet" was a massive success, though they did not save the planet yet. The project will run for it's duration and donations are being taken in exchange for your own lump... see projectgala.com.
It's time for me to hoor myself out on the auld illustration and design front so do please start a project or just give me a job. Exciting times ahead x
I'm taking January like tea, keeping it warm, taking time out to reflect on life and the road ahead, browsing instead of committing, dreaming instead of pushing creative projects, collecting ideas and taking a spoon full of sugar when needed.
The focus is on a lack of focus and finishing off old projects before new ones can begin. I've joined a running group and a keep fit class and I'm trying to take long walks with the dogs when the weather permits.
I am in a period of Fallow and I am letting the soil rest and replenish before planting seeds.
The creative mind can wander off in many directions (and distractions) and the ideas are a gift when they flow freely.
"Just write them down" I tell myself and sometimes I do.
It isn't time out, don't be deceived. I still work and I have smaller projects on the go. I finish my FT job in the restaurant at the end of January, then I will take a tea break before the next adventure.
It is too frequently we get caught up in anxieties and miss the moments that make our paths easier to follow.
I will NOT panic and when it seems too much I will run and then fill my cup with the warmth of the tea with the sugar when I need it.
I have decided that I'd like to live a more sustainable, eco friendly 2017. So here's to eggs that wash your clothes without detergent, handbags that are made of recycled and sustainable materials and shoes that are not just throw away generic sized fashion fodder.
I am embracing 'less is more'.
We can't change everything but we may as well make a start!
Have you measured your feet recently? Thanks to a kickstarted campaign for Charlie Butler shoes, I did the Charlie Butler foot measure.
My feet are as wide as the street but my new shoes, when they arrive, will take my wedged feet into account and build a shoe which will fit me perfectly. I even asked for a red sole. Vegan, hand made and gorgeous. Cannot wait.
Why spend a fortune polluting the planet with grey water from detergents in your washing machine if you don't have to? Get an Ecoegg! Skip the rinse function on the machine and get greener without animal testing. I washed the dogs blankets today without the usual chemical pouch, just an egg with some lightly smelling balls in it.
Result. Happy out.
Today made me happy on all levels. I banish the January resolution guilts and the bad weather blues and I embrace small but affective changes, new handbags as long as they don't kill and nice things as long as they ecologically sustain us x
Happy new year xxx
I've been reflecting a lot on what we are.... not a great train of thought sometimes when you look at society in general...it is a monster that makes massive decisions that seem scandalously psychotic.
I am part of it, I have no choice.
I have to be connected, as do you, in this non linear world, through the crazy, strange and sometimes painful paths which we are unable not to follow.
We are not autonomous and we are not at the wheel although we can do things to give us a sense of some kind of control...like meditation or lump making.
Art is therapy people!
It makes us children again. We can create and manifest whatever we want by using art.
I made lumps when America voted Trump.... and all those other horrible things were happening and Cunt is still my favourite swear word.
It's going to be ok people... the lumps told me so x
*WARNING* Lumps won't fix society but they have happy faces.
File saving was never one of my strongest points, at least not back in the day. The drawings featured above have been hidden in a file, in a file, in a file, amongst other files.
I did them 10 years ago at the Burren college of art and they were tiny small crazy life drawings based on a first thought premise. It was a wonderful experience to have a life model for the full day (I have been blessed by my education) and I leapt at the chance of creating and developing a sense of ownership of a style (it was also a time of self refelection and a bit of angst which I think I managed to project onto paper, no better place).
Recently I've been planning new projects and something made me want to play with old techniques and perhaps return to said projects.
The next collaboration is with a wonderful photographer, kind of because I am short a life model, but also because it is a collaboration and a way to create and revisit.
Nothing is ever finished really.
It's winter here. The wind and rain beat down on the house and a draft is coming down the unplugged chimney. I cant face cleaning out the fire place to put a fire down so I'm probably going to brave the elements.
I'm also out of rice/soya/almond milk. Today has to get better....
Falafel time....extra spicey!
There are a few techniques I use for cheering myself up...coffee, chocolate, boojum and Flo's Falafels.
Life gets good again..... x
Is it just me or have we have become obsessive coffee lovers, coffee connoisseurs, coffee idealists and coffee savvy consumers?
We talk about beans, roasting, blends, processes, filtration and Barristas have become a thing in Ireland. Coffee has developed and changed into a complex and note worthy balance of flavours and experience.
We can chart the journey of the coffee bean in our cup and there is a growing number of ethically minded options available, which offer more than just a cuppa (allowing full trace-ability of bean to blend).
The Coffee Collective above is a noteworthy ethical coffee...
"Ultimately, our dream is for a coffee farmer in Kenya to obtain the same status and living conditions as a wine grower in France". (http://coffeecollective.dk/about/)
The Coffee Collective can be found at Coffeewerks + Press on quay st, where the owner Dan and his people have totally immersed themselves in the craft of great coffee with consideration being applied to all levels of the coffee divining process.
I am also quite excited to try Anam Coffee out in Co Clare, stocked by my friend Mike of Kinvara Arts in his Gallery and coffee shop. The idea of hand picked coffee beans roasted out in the wonderful landscape of the Burren is rather fabulous.
I'll let you know how I get on x
I've been asked to draw a few buildings and gaffs at this stage and I like to think I'm channelling the personality of a place which in turn is a way of including the actual people who make them what they are....they might be inside watching telly or round back doing the garden...who knows what people would be up to?
Commissions taken at projectgala.com SHOP xxx
If you go down to the Connacht Printworks building, Galway city, theres an Art exhibition of the GMIT art students and off to the side theres a wee showcase of the 2016 Certificate of Creative Enterprise's students work.
Both are well worth a visit.
I've done a good few courses in my life...as one should.... and this was one of the most diverse in the wonderful people I met and their skill sets.
There were times when tweeking on the colleges coffee that parts of the course seemed endless and other parts too short to cover the immense ground that starting a business requires.
I think we met some inspirational people, amongst us and around us, with some passionate self starters who really wanted to see you succeed.
As always, the Galway traffic messed with the schedule, as did last minute room changes.
We all had shit we had to do outside of the portakabins and white rooms... but it is a pleasure to look back on the time spent trying to figure out WBS, Wordpress and self dispensing, money robbing coffee machines.
I think I had some of my better ideas while trying to make sense of Project management and I rewrote a whole cocktail list in my head during the class covering 'the planning and implementation of of actions designed to engage with stakeholders'.
I missed most of the second semester as work commitments got in the way and I missed the faces.
The mentoring sessions happened as I took root in a new job and continued to plow away at the projectgala.com stuff and my illustration projects.
It was a pleasure to see the showcase come together by everyone else hard work. I piggy backed on that and missed the opening. I'd have loved to have been there.
Thank you all from Creative enterprise 2016.... can't wait to see what you all do in the years to come.
Stay in touch xxx
If you need more information on any of the images featured, get in touch and I will put you in touch x
Images of the work by...Vivienne Martin, Regina O'Dea, Sallyanne O'Sullivan, Micheal Cusack, www.reek.ie, Ester Kiely, Noel forde, Niamh Fahy, David O'malley, Pastor David, Phillida Eves, Mike Roddy, Elizabeth Flanagan, Bernie Fleming, Maeve Gallagher, Darragh Purcell, Noirin Brady, Dominic Punch, Eavanna O'Reilly (Una from Flaming Wicked Candles and warren from photoMara not featured but thought of) with special thanks to Ivan McPhillips and all at GMIT.
I was looking for a cider to add to the menu at work and because I was embarking on a couple of well deserved days off, I went cider shopping... who knew the choice at my local supermarket!
I haven't even scraped the cider surface there are so many.
My days of Diamond white and Strongbow are clearly behind me. I picked up some great Irish ciders and one from Worcester (because I have fabulous University memories from my time spent there and I drank a lot of cider in those days).
The first cider was the Craigies which I enjoyed despite usually looking for a sweeter brew. It was the 'clocking off' bottle so it had a slight advantage over the other ciders. Light and slightly cloudy and it reminded me of some of the strong cloudy Scrumpy type ciders I drank in the pubs in Worcester, way back.
The Worcester cider (Oldfields Orchard) was way sweeter and really tastey and I have to say I was probably beaming at this stage.
On I went trying the Longueville, Doyles, Little Island and falling Apples ciders..... Each very different but there wasn't a cider without it's own lovely features, characteristics and personality. Most brews stated 100% apples and no additives however the Longueville House cider has no Colourings, sweeteners, sulphites, additives or preservatives which might be the kind of cider you can avoid painkillers with the next day....maybe.
I'd open taste, draw (with my new bamboo Spark) and then after trying them all I finished them. I was in great form the next day but my head did hurt a little
It took me a while to get through all the bottles but I had a really really good time and there was dancing...proper summers here night off x