Latest update: April 2014. I've added a new gallery of recent work (September 2013 to January 2014): I had this nearly ready in early February, but then work got too busy!
I've had pictures in a few exhibitions recently:
I last updated the site in September 2013: I added lots of pictures, nearly all of them small (largest dimension ≤ 25 cm) and quick (≤ 25 minutes). I felt that it would be nice to have some of these on the site, and I was encouraged when one of them was chosen for the 132nd Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition. All the pictures from before 2013 all still there, linked from the "Galleries" page.
I code this site by hand myself, so it's all in HTML with a little bit of CSS and SSI (except for the blog, where I cheat and use WordPress!). Of course it's a bit of a divil to maintain, but I try to be logical and structured to keep it under control. I hope it's easy to navigate: you'll find the same menu on every page, either at the top (regular pages like this) or the bottom (picture pages). All the pictures are either linked from the "Galleries" page or are on one of the main pages listed in the menu. Click on any thumbnail (tiny image) to get a full size image. Some of the large images link to an even larger image if you click on them.
I am an Irish artist. I live in Dun Laoghaire, near Dublin. These days I work in a representational mode, and my main subject is the nude figure, working directly from the life model. I also do portraits and still lifes, and when I can, I like to do sculpture.
The nude figure has an existential quality: we cannot but identify with her (or him) and she (or he) can express our fears, our joy, our energy, our vulnerability, our fears, our sexuality: she (or he) expresses our relationship with the world around us in a mysterious way.
Representational drawing is an act of war on the brain's normal visual processing: we succeed to the extent that we can subvert the brain's visual system. In normal everyday looking the brain, without our noticing it, takes the flat peculiar shapes projected on our retinas and transforms them into something three-dimensional and familiar. When we draw, we're trying to recover those flat peculiar shapes, and it takes a lot of practice and a few clever tricks to achieve this feat! Funnily enough, it is precisely this subversion which is required to make a drawing look "real"! Because we are more sensitive to the forms of the human body than anything else, life drawing is the most challenging form of this war!
It's expensive to employ a life model to work just for you, but I've done that from time to time. More often I work together with a group of other artists sharing the same life model, either at the RHA or less formally with other groups, agreeing what the pose will be and how long it will last.
These life drawing sessions are a very special experience, partly because for most artists working on art is a very solitary thing. It's always fascinating to see how differently each artist responds to the same pose. There is also the intense quiet collective concentration, a very powerful thing when you experience it, like a group meditation, peaceful and gentle, yet grippingly intense. Many of the models we work with value this intensity too. On the other hand I think it actually disturbs some people (artists or models) who want to chat or play music and dispel the intensity. (Boo!) I do my best to resist this tendency.