My Sketching Materials

Reviewing my sketching kit in preparation for our Travel Sketching workshop in Tuscany in May.  My most important consideration in selecting my materials is to keep my kit as simple, compact and lightweight as possible.  All the items below, except for the sketchbook fit in a small pencil case.   SKETCHBOOK My preference is for a hardback watercolour sketchbook in a size A5. The hard cover allows you to work without a table or board, and the size is compact, while allowing for a larger spread across 2 pages.  These are my favourites:   Stillman and Birn Zeta 5.5 x 8.5in…

Winter Sea

Winter has arrived on the Côte d’Azur. Grey skies and a damp chill in the air. For the first time this year I’ve moved my easel indoors from the terrace to the comfort of a warm room, music playing, mugs of ginger tea on hand and mince pies in the oven.  My painting matches  the mood of the season, a muted palette of soft grey tones.  A few strokes of oil pastel on the surface of the acrylic painting enliven the distant glitter on the sea, the sunlit edge of the cloud, the golden light of the cresting wave.  A…

Cill Rialaig Artist Residency

Cill Rialaig Artist Retreat, a restored famine village on the edge of the Atlantic in Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry offers a unique environment for artists in search of peace, space and solitude. I was very fortunate to be awarded a residency here in the winter of 2009, and again in the summer of 2010, resulting in an exhibition in the Origin Gallery, Dublin. I was deeply honoured to have my favourite Irish traditional singer and musician Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh of Altan open the show. This is the music that surrounds and inspires me while I paint, stirring, settling, soothing and uplifting,…

Seasons of the Sea

Seasons of the Sea, solo exhibition, Leinster Gallery Dublin 2008 Images and artist introduction from exhibition catalogue: There is a special energy present where the dual forces of land and sea collide.  The ocean unleashes it’s most dynamic power against the resistance of rock and earth. This meeting point has always held a profound resonance for me and has led me for a long time to seek out the freedom and solitude of wild places. I have found particular inspiration for my work in the remoteness and raw beauty of the wild Atlantic seaboard of the west of Ireland. The subject…

Painting the Gorges du Loup

After torrential rainstorms on Tuesday, today is bright and clear, and the roads open after flooding and fallen trees. The river at Gorges du Loup is a swollen torrent of rushing foam. I’m the only person there, drenched in the spray. This is my favourite subject to paint, the crash and clash of water on rock, fluid motion meeting solid mass. At home I start a quick study in acrylic, wanting to catch some of the energy and drama of the original scene. My first marks are a simple outline of the main shapes, focusing on the dynamic pattern of…