The Artists’ Cookbook launches this Friday and you are invited.

This painting “Sweet Ramiro Pepper” 40 x 30 cm by yours truly will feature in the upcoming The Artists’ Cookbook. This coffee table must-have, features a compilation of specially commissioned food related art works and a favourite recipe by each artist. I promise none of the recipes involve oil paint or turps.

The book will launch this Friday the 18th of August 7-9.30 pm. And you are invited. The event is taking place at Airbnb’s Headquarters at Grand Canal Dock in Dublin City. Sign in is at 7pm. The book will raise funds for the charity Syrias Vibes.

“It’s free in and each attendee gets a free copy of the cookbook (worth €25). There will also be complimentary canapes from the Airbnb chefs, free wine and beers courtesy of Rascals Brewing Company.

We will also have a bumper raffle with original artworks from the cookbook (Pato Cassinoni, Cathy Callan, Rikki Van Den Berg), some art prints from Danleo, Senir X and Gintare Venckute), a $250 Airbnb voucher, vouchers for top Dublin restaurants (Coppinger Row, Dublin Pizza Co, Charlotte Quay, Dockyard No. 8, The Fumbally, Chez Max, Diep etc) as well as sweet Syrias Vibes merch.

Raising funds for the doctors and ambulances at Raqqa, Syria and for the Psychology Programme in the Bajed Kandala camp on the Iraqi borde.” – Andy Sweeney, Project Director

There is even an after party in Charlottes Quay afterward. Facebook event link here. See you there


My page from the book. Pick up a copy to check out all of the art and recipes.

Flesh tones; inspiration by the Great Masters at the newly refurbished National Gallery of Ireland

Detail from Head of a Bearded Man by Peter Paul Rubens

I am working on a painting at the moment. Experimenting with oils. By painting I mean realist, representational painting from life. It is a return to a childhood ideal.

As a teenager and even a child, my vision of what I thought attending art college would be like, was unbeknownst to me, already extinct. I had visited the National Gallery of Ireland as a child. Standing in awe before Caravaggio’s The Taking of Christ, I could feel that art was powerful. I needed to be involved in this alchemy. I wanted to learn to create it. I imagined, after school, I would attend something like, what was once The Metropolitan School of Art. There would be easels and drawing classes. There would be artists.

Art college was different from what I expected. I studied Graphic Design and Art and Education in the end. Learned plenty but something was missing. I practiced life drawing in my evenings and free time. Recently at a loose end, I tried oils. I didn’t know how to use them but from the moment I picked up a piece of oil paint and placed it on the canvas, I knew, there is magic here. No other medium will ever compare. It holds a richer and bolder quality than anything I have tried. And as much as I enjoy the graphic side of my work there is a realness to oil that no computer screen or camera can quite live up to.

I understand and believe we reside in an era of a New Renaissance. It is evident in every arena. Where once stood Galileo Galilei , we now explore space. Where Leonardo Da Vinci excelled in engineering, we are speeding ahead with technology. Science, music, theatre, film, literature and art are evolving. To progress the field of visual art we can look to the Old Masters as those in the Renaissance looked to Ancient Greece and Rome. It is my opinion that we must build on this past mastery and raise the standard of art here in Ireland. The National Gallery of Ireland is one place to start.

In order to better understand how Masters like Rembrandt and Rubens approached painting flesh tones, I returned to the place that inspired me as a child, the now recently refurbished National Gallery of Ireland. The NGI is stunning. Below are some studies from todays visit, concerning skin tones. It is wonderful the variation and wide spectrum of colour used to paint skin especially the unexpected colours like violets, greens and greys.

Detail from Lady Gregory by William Orpen

Detail from John Count McCormack by William Orphen

Detail from The Dead Ptarmigan by William Orphen

   Detail from Portrait of Henry Shefflin by Gerry Davis

Detail from Portrait of Philippe Roettiers by Nicolas de Largilliere

Full portrait 

Detail from Lady holding a glove by Rembrandt van Rijn


Image of the full portrait

I was especially drawn to the depiction of hair in this detail from Thomas pooley’s Sir Phillip Perceval

As above

Detail from Jupiter and Ganymede by Nicolaes van Helt Stockade

Detail from Saint John  the Baptist in the Wildereness attributed to Michele Desubleo

Detail from The Penitent Magdalene by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Bretonne by Roderick O’Conor

The Grand Gallery at the NGI

These images are a point of reference for my portrait studies but are best enjoyed in real life. A visit to the National Gallery is a must.

Hatch and Sons has Just Opened a Second Eatery in the Dreamiest Location

Hatch and Harry make a dreamy brunch combination. The well-loved informal dining favourite Hatch and Sons opened a second venue last Friday at the Hugh Lane Gallery on Parnell Street, where once housed Itsa Bagel. I popped in today with a pal to enjoy a bite and some artistic inspiration.

Hatch and Sons are located in the bright and airy room downstairs and even have an outdoor seating area to enjoy on a sunny day. Just take a right as you come in the front door and go down the stair between the reception desk and the bookshop.

In contrast to the natural light of the café, the magical Harry Clarke room (to the left after the reception on entrance) is set in a darkened room. From this shaded space, bursting with jewelled coloured light, Harry Clarke’s Eve of Saint Agnes transports you into his dreamlike fairytale land.

Stained glass windows are often associated with church windows and religious iconography. However this particular stained glass window, is set out like a graphic novel, telling a love story based on the poem “The Eve of Saint. Agnes” by English Romantic poet John Keats.

The poem this window is based on is very long. In short it tells the love story of Madeline and Porphyro. January 20th was known as the Eve of St. Agnes. On this eve young girls would fast and go to bed early. The feast day of St Agnes was the next day January 21st. If you followed a bunch of rules, fasting, bed early etc you could hope to dream of your future husband on that night. This was before iPads, Facebook, Tinder and online dating sites, so extreme lengths were gone to.

Madeline, daughter of a Lord, lived in a great castle. She was hoping to dream of her husband this night. She had followed all of the rules and conditions. She was in love with a man called Porphyro however. But her father the great Lord Maurice had forbidden her to marry him. Just like in Romeo and Juliette the girls childhood nurse gives a helping hand and helps Porphyro enter the castle in secret.

Madeline is woken by Porphyro’s music and finds he is in her room. She isn’t sure at first if she is dreaming of her future husband as it is the Eve of St. Agnes or if he is really there. Porphyro assures Madeline this is not a dream.

Like the Ed Sheeran song “Nancy Mulligan” Madeline and Porphyro run away to be together despite the family differences.

This window is so detailed and gorgeous. It contains lines from the poem on each of the 14 panels. Purple, blue and red and strongly referenced in the poem and so Harry Clarke uses these colours quite a bit in the window. Pop in and see it for yourself, because like all beautiful things, it is best viewed in person.

Admission to the gallery is free and does not require booking. The Hugh Lane opens Tuesday to Thursday 9.45am– 6pm, Friday 9.45am – 5pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm and is closed on Mondays.

Detail from the window.

The super food salad was a very tasty and healthy dish. I’ll recommend it. Definitely a winner for me.

Lots of natural light at Hatch and Sons

The gorgeous turquoise and gold entrance door of the Hugh Lane. This photo isn’t doing the colours justice. This is my dream front door.



Artist Colette McDonagh’s exhibition opens this weekend

This evening sees the opening of an exciting solo-show by Galway based artist Colette McDonagh. Avid supporters of the arts, News Cafe, Books n More (formerly Easons) of Tuam, Co. Galway present the substantial collection of oil paintings.

The exhibition includes a collection of over forty artworks inspired by the great Masters, the human form, the beauty of the West of Ireland, abstractions, flora and domestic still life.

The exhibition opens at 4pm today and will run until June 30th 2017. The great news is all paintings are for sale and individually priced. Check out the event page on facebook for more images.

Pop in early to have your choice. Everyone is welcome to come along, view and enjoy.

A personal favourite: “Storm” after Turner. Oil on Board. €250.00

“Praying hands” after Durer Oil on board framed.

“Summer Meadow”. Oil on board. €95.00

“Farmyard at Ashford”. Oil on board framed. €55.00

“Flowers” Oil on Board framed. €65.00

“Lily Pond”. Oil on canvas. €95.00 

“Jump”. Oil on Canvas €95.00

“Connemara Scene” Oil on Board framed €75.00

“Naked Lady” Oil on board framed €95.00

“Sunset” Oil on board framed €350.00

“Canna Lily” Oil on Canvas €170.00

“Still life” Oil on Board framed €75.00




Incognito Exhibition, what you need to know.

For those unfamiliar, Incognito is an exciting exhibition in aid of the Jack and Jill Foundation. Artists from all over Ireland have donated postcard sized artwork to the exhibition (including yours truly).

They are all priced the same. For €50 any piece is yours. The fun part is, it is only after you purchase the art, that the identity of the artist is revealed. Fancy yourself as an art critic. There are so many styles so choose wisely and see if you have a good eye.

The incognito website is now open and so you can view all the artwork online at Call into the Solomon on Friday 21st April (10am-7pm) to see the exhibition. 

Check them out online where you can register your interest in a piece. Here are a few of my personal favs so far:

This dreamy textured painting above

I have a weakness for realist art, where the everyday is elevated to the divine, like the oil tube above

Fun Art Exhibition with a Twist and all for a Good Cause.

I have just popped my donation of a tiny oil painting in the post to Jack and Jill for their “Incognito” fundraiser. However I can’t share an image of it just yet because as the exhibition name suggests, the artists identities remain anonymous until after they are sold.

This fun art initiative, will see 1500 postcard-size pieces of art exhibited at the Solomon Gallery in Dublin on April 2016 and also online. Each piece will sell of fifty euro, with the artists signature revealed after purchase. Have fun guessing who painted which piece. You never know you may pick up a piece by a very well known artist if you have a sharp eye.

All of the proceed are going to Jack & Jill. They have just collected all the art but I’ll leave a link below so you can have a peek when they go online.

Jack & Jill is calling for artists to participate in its newest arts initiative entitled ‘Incognito’