This Mother’s Day Weekend, Why Not Try Something a Little Different

If you fancy a bit of culture this Mother’s Day weekend, I recommend heading along to The National Gallery where there is a new and exciting portrait on show. Gareth Reid’s commission of Graham Norton has arrived and is hanging in the Millennium wing.

It show’s a different side to our favourite TV show host. A more relaxed, casual, pensive side quite far removed from his highly polished tv persona.

Gareth won the commission as the prize on Sky’s Portrait Artists of the Year 2017, available to watch on Sky Go. Over the course of 8 episodes we see artists battle it out to win the coveted prize: a £10,000 commission to paint a portrait of Graham Norton.

Perhaps the real prize for any artist is this painting is now part of the permanent portrait collection in the National Gallery of Ireland. So we are lucky to have this piece here in Dublin and free to the public to visit.

While you are there why not pop in to see the finalists and winner of the Hennessy Portrait Prize 2016. You need not have a four year degree in Art History from Trinity to enjoy these pieces. Both hold fantastic examples of contemporary portraiture that are accessible and appeal to all.

My favourite part about viewing Gareth’s commission on the final Episode 9 Season 3 of the show, is we get to see his process.

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Here we see the artist change his composition several times before settling on a final one. He paints and repaints over and over sketching using the brush and red and black oil paint. We get a real insight into how he works as an artist.

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*Image credits: Still from the Sky Portrait Artist of the Year 2017 Ep9 S3 available to watch on Sky Go

Gareth had three sittings with Graham ahead of painting the portrait. They met in Cork and got to know each other. Eventually it was revealed through their conversations that they are actually distant relatives. Gareth made several sketches and took photographs of Graham and the surrounding area.

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Gareth Reid at work in his studio, still from the show.

I would recommend watching the show (or at least the final episode if not the series) and then popping in to see it in person. It’s amazing to see art in real life as opposed to a representation on your tv/ media player.

Image credit: photo taken while visiting the National Gallery.

The portrait in reality is larger than I anticipated. The National Gallery is located around the corner from Merrion Square and the perfect located for lunch and a Sunday stroll afterwards.

A very happy Mother’s Day to all the wonder women this weekend.

Alginate fun on a Tuesday in Harold’s Cross

We had such a blast at Art Academy on Tuesday excavating the plaster hand casts from their alginate housing. Having created the casts in last weeks class everyone was ready for the big reveal. So cautiously the seaweed based gel like mould was cut away from the plaster. It’s inevitable a finger will be lost at some point but luckily it’s easily fixed. Any bumps are sanded and fine dental tools are used to mend any imperfections or remove alginate from small grooves. Have a look at some pics from the evening posted below.

I have also included pictures of a personal cast I took of my parents at the weekend. They submerged a hand each together in a bucket to cast both of their hands in one art piece.

Next week we will begin the exciting cast drawing process under controlled lighting. We will keep you posted on the progress. Check back for updates. Anyone wishing to join the class can get in touch for details.

 

      

My mam and daddy’s couples cast.

Dublin Canvas 2017

You may have noticed pieces of art appearing on traffic lights boxes in Dublin over the last two Summers. It is the work of an initiative called Dublin Canvas . It seeks to brighten the city by commissioning artists to transform a dull traffic light box into a public work of art. I was lucky enough last year to paint two such boxes.

“The Danger was Half the Excitement” 2016 by Sheila Flaherty located on Merrion Square – photography credit Gary Connolly

The boxes have been brightening up the city for two years now.  Check out images of all the artists work so far on the Dublin Canvas website gallery.

“Art inspires the World” 2016 by Sheila Flaherty located in Harold’s Cross. Photo credit: The Harold’s Cross Xpress

The work has been getting great media coverage from both local and national newspapers 

The project set to roll out again for Summer/ Autumn 2017. If you would like an artist to paint a  box painted in your area, post a photo with location using hashtag #dublincanvas to the Facebook page. If you fancy painting a box yourself, get in touch with David Murtagh on the website and sign up to the news letter with all the information about getting involved. I look forward to spotting new artwork emerge over the course of the Summer and Autumn. 

Upcoming Oil Painting Workshop in Dublin City Centre with Artist Will Nathans

On the 15th of April next, artist William Nathans is opening up his art studio above Kennedys art supply shop  to host a life painting oil workshop. I have twice attended previous workshops and found them wonderful.

A small group of artists gather in William’s art studio on Harcourt Street. There is a live model, posed on a stage of drapery and considered, controlled lighting. You arrive with your canvas primed with a medium grey ground. Chose a view point that suits you and prop your canvas on an easel.

Will gives a demonstration on marking out your painting, using the brush and paint as drawing tools. Each artist makes a start. This is a one day workshop, so it is quite a fast pace to work at and you can’t expect any great polish on your piece, just the“Premier-Coup” approach so to speak.

There is a break for lunch,  you clean your pallet before and return to begin anew. Will gives another demonstration at this point and lots of pointers throughout the day. It is helpful and interesting to see the other artists approach to the same subject matter and an enjoyable day of painting.

Kennedy’s offer a discount on materials purchased on the day of the workshop. You need to bring your own paints and materials, outside of the easel and they will email you a list ahead of the event.

Saturday 15th April: Will Nathans – Painting the Nude Figure from Life

5 Reasons to love City Life Drawing at the Sol Gallery

Over the years one of my favourite things to do of a Thursday evening in Dublin city centre is attending the life drawing group at the Sol Gallery. Run by Keith Dollin this is a self directed art class. Meaning there is no tuition, simply a model, a venue and an eclectic group of artists drawing and painting together. It is held in the beautiful, white, high ceilinged exhibition room on the first floor of the gallery, at No. 8, Dawson Street. 

Now this art group is run in various guises on several week day evenings but the Thursday evening is my personal favourite for 5 reasons:

  1. It is an untaught class. I understand this does not suit everybody. I mean, I myself teach art for a living. But for me 2 hours of  uninterrupted drawing in the silent company of fellow artists is sheer bliss.
  2. The Thursday night is a long pose drawing session. I prefer to draw slowly and carefully. Ideally a 4 day pose but this will do. After 10 quick 1 minute warm up sketches, the model settles in for a longer 20 minute pose. If it’s your first time going a quick tip is take your time. The model assumes the same pose for 3 x sittings. I did not realise this on my first attendance.
  3. The venue: is so handy, located in the city centre, it’s not freezing (as some drawing studios can be), and there is always art on the walls. 7 o’clock is such a handy time. You don’t arrive rushed and starved after work.
  4. The Thursday group is not crowded. The other life drawing classes with perhaps quicker poses or taught classes are so popular but the Thursday group is often quieter. Arrive early to get a good seat. (Maybe I shouldn’t share this post and potentially populate my favourite life drawing class)
  5. It’s social and inspirational. Everyone shares and views each others work at the end of the drawing session. It’s inspiring to see the different styles and how each artist captures the portrait. The model poses in the middle so she or he is captured from different angles. After the drawing there is an option to join the group for a drink in The Duke.

For more info check out City Life Drawing on Meetup.