Thursday, December 29, 2011

Portrait Practice 2

Back after a Christmas break. 
Before the holiday I took some time out between landscape studies and the next set of studies to do a portrait practice.
Portrait practice 2

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas

This is a piece I did last Christmas.  Did not manage to create a new one this year. Heading home to family for Christmas. A welcome break after a tough year.  Fortunate to be able to celebrate. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Desert Landscape 5 Photoshop Study

Oops thought the last on was the last in the series but it was not.  So one more dose of sunshiny deserty goodness, 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Landscape -Utah Desert Photoshop Study 4

Landscape -Colorado Desert Photoshop Study 4

This is the last in this series of landscapes.  Still a lot of work to get done.  Did not manage to get the crispness I wanted - especially in the foreground.  I will be returning to these again.  I had planned to go into some figure drawing after this.  I have been practicing sketching poses and would like to do more detailed studies.  I am still torn between doing this and going for the challenge running on Crimson Daggers- Swamp Elder.  Hmm...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Landscape -Utah Desert Photoshop Study 3

Landscape -Colorado Desert Photoshop Study 3

This is the second to last of this series of studies of desert rocks in photoshop.  Still not nailing the sharp lines and textures. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Landscape -Utah Desert Photoshop Study 2

Landscape -Utah Desert Photoshop Study 2

Continuing the landscape studies The famous arch in Canyonlands National Park.  I did try and lighten the image - maybe a little too much.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Landscape -Utah Desert Photoshop Study 1

Landscape -Utah Desert Photoshop Study 1

Still doing landscape studies.  So moved away from the misty landscapes to some images with sharp detail.  I did capture that here but I have planned to do a series of these as well so still some time to learn and improve.  The photos are from Canyonlands in Utah, USA.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Landscape -Canada Photoshop Study 4

Landscape -Canada Photoshop Study 4

Number 4 in this series.  This one definitely got away from me.  The water was OK bit the mountain is a total bust.  By the way I limited myself to 2 hours for all these studies so if things went in the wrong direction there was not much time for me to fix them.  Still more practice to come. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Landscape -Canada Photoshop Study 3

Landscape -Canada Photoshop Study 3

I continued this series.  The biggest challenge for me is getting texture in these images and controlling edges.  I am still exploring different brushes to get desired effects.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Landscape -Canada Photoshop Study 2

Canada landscape Photoshop study
Canada - Landscape

So this is the first of a series of landscape studies - all performed in Photoshop.  I have not done many studies of landscapes so I will spend some time working on these. 
Over all my work practice has taken on a little more focus I hope.  This is because I have made a commitment to practice and get better at Photoshop and traditional media.  This was a decision I made towards the end of the Summer.  The putting it in to practice has been aided by the Deathline Challenge.  More about this later. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cactus Plant Photoshop Study

Cactus Photoshop Study
Photoshop Study - Some still life practice.  After this I am going to try a series of landscapes so this is a warm up.

Art for Alexandra - Update

Great news the auction Art for Alexandra raised over  60,000 euro.  This should allow Alexandra to be fitted with a prosthesis which will allow her to continue painting.  A report of the auction here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Belleek Forest Sunlight in Autumn Oil Painting

Belleek Forest Sunlight in Autumn

As I mentioned earlier I was working on a painting and finished it at the weekend. I was on holidays a few weeks ago and was walking my sisters dog in the local woods. I brought my camera to get some photos with some good brown leafyness. I did take a lot of those kinds of pics but just as I was leaving I turned and took just 2 shots of this scene. I thought it might end up being blown out - facing the sun but this was the one I selected to do some painting practice with. 

The canvas I had was a 20 x 20 cm canvas. Faced the same issue I had with my last painting. A landscape image on a square canvas.  On this one I dropped the detail at the sides.  

I drew the image on the  canvas  using a hard pencil then went to work blocking in the major shapes then left to dry overnight.  

Followed on by working on the foreground then left to dry overnight. 

The next day another few hours on the canopy.  

Then a couple of evenings pushing and pulling areas all over the canvas until I called it done.  All together maybe 10-12 h work.  
It was fun.  Most disappointing element were the tree trunks.  Should have worked on them earlier.  Next time...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mikado biscuit study in Photoshop

mikado biscuit photoshop
Mikado Biscuit

Another Photoshop study.  Another biscuit.  This one was definitely less successful than the red pepper 2.  The colour is not so good and I wanted to get better texture. Took about 2 hours.   By the way this is a Mikado biscuit - pink marshmallow, jam in the center and covered with coconut sprinkles.  Anyway onwards and upwards. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011


An artist  Alexandra Trotsenko suffered a horrific attack and recently the attacker was sentenced.  The  the injuries sustained have meant that Alexandra can, for the moment, not practice her talent.  This was reported by a program on the national radio station RTE Radio 1. In response to this, the community has contributed artistic works to an auction with the hope of raising funds to aid Alexandra to regain her ability to create and to support her on her journey.  The auction will take place tomorrow the 27th November.  Adams are hosting the auction and have an online catalog where you can view the pieces submitted. It is a really good snapshot of the work being produced by contemporary Irish artists.  Have a look and you may  be in a position to support. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Irish setter dog vector

Irish setter
Well not really a vector.  I did this in Photoshop just for some practice with line discipline during my lunchtime at work.  The dog is a red or Irish setter.   

Update- This proved so popular I have dropped this image into a Cafepress shop

Monday, November 21, 2011

Kingdom of Heaven still in Photoshop

Kingdom of Heaven still in Photoshop

This is the last of a series of  longer studies in Photoshop.  It concludes this group of  exercises which represent the most finished work I have managed in Photoshop.  This took between 10 and 11 hours.   The plan now is to try and put a personal piece  together and try and finish it to this level.  Simple right?

I currently working on a landscape oil painting - if I tip away at it every night this week it should be done by the weekend.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pepper number. two Photoshop study

Pepper 2
This is a still life study in Photoshop.  Took about 2 hours.  It turned out OK but I should probably do a few more of these lower light studies.  The green work in this is definitely poorer.  I used some subdued lighting as all the speed painting work had been in a direct strong light. The good news is that my trusty pepper plants have kept producing.  I will have at least two more larger peppers this year before the plant rests. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Troy Still Photoshop study


Troy Still Photoshop study

Thought I would take advantage of some free time to do another detailed study so in keeping with the theme already established, I copied a still from Troy. This took about 8 hours in total. The rendering on the armour was tough and still had to take a few shortcuts with it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Roman Helmet Photoshop Study

Roman Helmet Photoshop Study
I completed a study in photoshop of a brass roman officer helmet.  The reference image on the right was obtained from the website Wulflund.    There site had some really great high resolution images of their products.  They offer a range of items from ancient and medieval times. If your into re-enactment they have got a lot of really good looking kit. 

This was a study to practice rendering materials.  This was the first time I had tried to make an image approaching photo realism. This image took between 10-12 hours over a few days.  It seems edge control was the key to creating the illusion. It is 29 X 29 cm but only at 72 dpi.  The 72 dpi was a rooky mistake.  It should have probably been 300 dpi. 

The lower resolution made representing the small details to a high finish not possible.

I guess I learned something which was the whole point of the exercise.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Last in speed oil painting series- a camera

This is the last from the series of fast oil painting studies I did. This one really got away from me as I struggled to get the perspective.  It ended up going beyond the canvas.  I had planned to go back and work it further the next day but I didn't.  I will go back and do another series of these but since then I concentrated on Photoshop stuff and the more finished oil painting.  I am a bit behind in the posting so I will be putting up more recent stuff and talking about where I am with this work. 

Autumn oil hedgerows oil painting

Autumn oil painting hedges
Autumn Hedgerows
Had some holidays and choose to send some time working on some images.  This one is oil on canvas about 20 X 20 cm.  I decided not to fill it and I think it worked out OK.  This is the view from the back of my house but I used a photo I took during a rain shower for colours in an attempt to mute them.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Window Cleaner

window cleaner oil painting
Window Cleaner
Another quick study.  The reflections are tough to capture. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Red Pepper

red pepper oil painting
Red Pepper 
A painting of my homegrown bellboy pepper.  I have one plant producing these on my windowsill beside my computer.  I got 3 peppers off it over the growing season.  It is flowering again but don't think that I will get any more this year.  Will keep you posted.  


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lemon Sherbert Sweet

lemon sherbert sweet painting
Lemon sherbert sweet

This was a quick effort at capturing the esence of what it means to be a lemon sherbert sweet.  I think I just about got as deep as the wrapper. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lizard glow

green lizard as painting
Did this quick and derty and I guess it shows. Ah well. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Strongbow and Aoife

The painting Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife (Daniel Maclise in1854) has recently undergone restoration by the National Gallery of Ireland.
This large picture depicts the marriage of Strongbow (a Norman lord, Strongbow cider is named after him) to Aoife the daughter of an Irish chieftian and took part in Waterford. It captures the start of Norman rule in Ireland and a period of foreign rule which continued until the early 20th centuary. The wedding was arranged in return for militatry assistance. In some respects foreign rule has returned to Ireland in the form of the Troika due to financial cataclysm that has occurred here and freedoms have been exchanged for loans.
A representation of Reginalds tower is visible behind the couple. You can visit Reginalds tower. The galleries website has a lot of information available on the background and restoration of the painting.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

biscuit - custard cream alla prima

custard cream biscuit as painting
Custard Cream   18 x 12 cm
Could not help myself from doing this one! Now if I could just find a nice cup of tea. Ah go on.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shot Glass alla prima

Shot Glass
A quick study of a shot glass.  I think it suffered as I probably rushed it a bit too much.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Mexican Black Bear

brown or black bear teddy painting
Bear (Oils  18 x 12 cm)
This little character I picked up in New Mexico a while back.  It suffered some attacks by a puppy but survived and still resides on my desk reminds me of sunnier times. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sweet Pea alla prima

sweet pea in a glass painting
Sweet Pea (oil 12 x 18 cm)
Sweet pea in a glass.  About 1 hour. Glass could have been better!