Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Dream Project

Many thanks to the islanders patience here, I am a little late with my entry and as always have little excuse for my tardiness bar my usual disorganization. I guess it's nice to actually have a dream 
project, not just one that's pie in the sky.. it keeps us going.
So here's mine, for which the preperation started well over a decade ago.. and is still going on.
My idea is quite simple, to paint the coastline from an ocean viewpoint, during a journey for which the end destination is a safe port where the works can be exhibited. The journey I am hoping to complete is actually quite short, a mere one hundred miles or so, but the mode of transport would have to be sail.
A task for which I have already completed a vessel. Also to make it more interesting the journey would have to be completed solo and the all artwork would have to be undertaken on board.
The boat for the little voyage is home made.. started, finished and tested as I said over a decade ago, its slow and easy to handle for one person. The reason being, that it is so small. Made from mostly salvaged timbers such as mahogony and pitch pine, Spirit is a twenty foot, bermuda rigged, fixed keel sailboat. I built her myself with this purpose in mind from a set of plans that described her traditional form.

The plan is to sail from the port of Cork, South West along the coast, past Glandore Bay and down to Baltimore, through Long Island bay, to round Mizen Head and then Sheeps Head. Then to tuck in between Bear island and Castletown and finally end up at a safe mooring in Glengarriff harbour right alongside Garnish island. So far, I am pretty happy about the most of it except for rounding Mizen head. The idea is to produce as much art as possible along the way, a type of "plein air at sea". I have included the chart below for any who would not be familiar with the route.

It has taken me quite a bit of work and about a third of my lifetime to get to this point and though I am not absolutely fully prepared yet.. I am getting closer. The skills necessary for this project were hard won and I made many mistakes along the way, all of which I have learned from. Over the years I have had to teach myself the skills of boatbuilding, sailing, navigation, drawing and painting. I have yet to find the time to complete the project. But I am hopeful and remain in a reasonable state of readyness. I am sure the time will present itself in due course. And that my friends is my dream project :)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Press Release Cork Horror Comic

Press Release Cork Horror Comic:

For Halloween this year, you can take the horror home with you!
Wednesday October 29TH at the festival sees the launch of the Cork Horror Comic; an all-ages anthology put together exclusively for the festival. The five stories in the book are a spooky trip through Cork, both past and present, where you will meet demons, spirits of the air, haunted buildings, a medieval plague doctor, and the cab driver from hell...
Put together by the Cork Comic Creator group, the book is the work of local writers and artists, and is an exciting blend of different stories, all horror-themed, and all set in Cork. The comic will have a limited print run and will only be available to buy at the festival.
In ‘The Plague Doctor’, we meet a ghost of Cork’s past, from when the plague was a terror to all in the city. But there are worse dangers than even the Black Death stalking the streets...
In ‘The Devil’s Chair’ an unsuspecting furniture maker gets a mysterious visitor, and a challenge he can’t refuse. Of course, all is not what it seems, and as the story unfolds we learn how The Devil’s Chair of Blarney Street got its name.
In ‘The Lough’, we travel further into Cork’s past and discover the story of the famous ‘War of the Starlings’ that took place across the skies of Cork in 1622. For three days and nights feathers rained on the city as tens of thousands of birds waged war above the heads of the citizens of Cork. Here, history meets legend as we find out what could have driven birds to wage such an incredible battle.
In ‘Shandon Tower’ we arrive back in modern-day Cork city, but that doesn’t mean we leave the scares behind. Two would-be thieves make a mistake they come to regret when they tackle Shandon Tower in the dead of the night.
Finally, in ‘Cab Ride’ two friends on a journey to a Halloween party get taken on a trip through a hilarious and twisted version of Cork. Will they make it to their party, or has their driver something else in mind for them?
The Cork Horror anthology features a cover by ‘Ghost of Shandon’ artist Alan Corbett and was made in collaboration with the Dragon of Shandon Festival (produced by Cork Community Art Link).

Plague Doctor
Emma O'Mahony and Chris O'Halloran

Devils Chair
Dylan Fitzgerald and Damien Duncan

War of the Birds
Liam Hughes and Charlie Aabo

Cab Ride
Mark Lenihan and Podge Daly

Shandon Tower
Sean Creagh and Joe Griffin

Story Editor
Colin O'Mahoney

Art Editor
Alan Corbett

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dream project

Thanks to Sara for a good idea on the themed week.  For me, even though I'm constantly painting, I do have ideas for paintings that haven't been realised yet.  Overall I don't have enough paintings of human figures of some sort in my paintings.  I read a couple of years back a book about a famous painting, Gericault's 'Raft of the Medusa'.  I'm in awe of it:

I also love a folk song, 'Lifeboat Mona', sung by Luke Kelly about a lifeboat that capsized while involved on a rescue mission.  The 8 man crew were lost.  There's a verse towards the end that's particularly vivid:

Five lay drowned in the cabin there,
two were washed up on the shore
Eight men died when the boat capsized
and the eight is lost forever more.

So I had the idea of doing a massive canvas depicting the scene, based on that verse, that would be influenced by Gericault's piece in terms of drama and realism.  What put me off is the lack of contact with the event of Lifeboat Mona, happened in 1959, up in Scotland, don't know the people involved (whereas Gericault painted his masterpiece 2 - 3 years after the event and met and interviewed some of the people on the raft). 
                                         I think though what the dream work shows it that I need to find an idea for a painting that has a sense of human drama in it.  Over the past year or so, I find I'm repeating subject matter in paintings and am a bit concerned that I could turn into a picture maker rather than aspiring to be an artist.  Of course, at this stage, I've one eye on making enough money to get by, so that influences things; making commercially friendly art.  But there are more interesting ideas that I hope will surface some time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dream Project- Real life reconstruction

Mesolithic Hunter site at the Irish National Heritage Park
This week, the Islanders are doing a theme week on our Dream projects- where you plan or wish to work. My entry is a bit more fanciful, as my dream job doesnt exist but sure its a dream project right? What would be great to do is to make whole real life reconstructions from start to finish. So start with the research, then sketches, drawing and painting until you get a full reconstruction illustration and then finally doing the building of that reconstruction. The first part I already do, just need to convince people to let me do the 2nd :).

Viking Longphort at Irish National Heritage Park
Would be so great to have a chance to see you're illustrations in action and start from a vague sketches to fully realised house. Get to see all the pitfalls and intricacies of making that site, filling out the place with various clutter etc. Could make whole settlements, even whole parks! Like the Irish National Heritage park in Wexford or Butser Ancient farm in Sussex etc. Imagine getting to walk around in one of illustrations? Actually be inside your illustration, seeing it in the flesh, getting to touch it! Cant get better than that right?

Early Medieval ecclesiastical Settlement at the Irish National Heritage Park
As I said previously though, such a job doesnt exist at the moment but Im working on it ;). Perhaps someday ill build it out my back garden or just keep creating illustrations until someone lets me do it :)

Butser Ancient Farm, Sussex

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Inktober 2014 part 1 from Ann.

This year I decided to participate in the Inktober challenge, it's actually rather simple, draw an ink sketch daily for the 31 days of October and post on Twitter or Facebook with the #inktober hashtag. So far this month we have:

Day #1 the @sketch_dailies challenge was #day_of_dredd having never attempted to draw Dredd before, this was a little challenging. 

 on the same evening since I had my Dip pen & Inks Handy, we have a slightly stunned Bride of Frankenstein's monster.

Day 2 an older one of the @Sketch_Dailies suggestions, #dustbunny and I just couldn't resist.

Day 3, more of a random one, a lower level demon in charge of street lighting. 

Day 4, John and Myself took part in a 24hr comic day which ended up being a story about some Meerkats. This will be posted later, but here's a clip of one of the pages. 

Day 5, I was rather on a roll with the old Meerkat theme. Grubs up :)

Day 6 sketch 1. A chomping Monkey also from the 24hr comic cast. 

Also Day 6 a disgruntled death who is bereft of his scythe. 

Day 7 A3 Copic sketch, the Flying Fox. Coz... Why not?

Day 8 another @Sketch_daily theme, #ravenmocker  in this case the Raven Mocker has stolen the scythe from the Day 6 death. 

Day 9  My dog Lucy sneaked in in her greyscale form (she actually has brown spots)

and additional Day 9 was the  @Sketch_daily theme, #wednesday_adams who form my memory was always frowning. 

Day 10 was a slightly nuts  @Sketch_daily theme, the theme was actually #elmer_fudd in my defence I was late with this one and over tired. 
yesterday I purchased a new inking pen by Pentel, which has a rather snazzy brush tip, 

So Day 11 an  @Sketch_daily theme, of Creature of the black Lagoon. Inked with the new snazzy brush Pen. 

I am really enjoying the Inktober challenge and it's definitely gotten me back into drawing after a bit of a lull over the summer there!

The rest of the months sketches will be posted later on. 


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Potted Cyclamen (Red October)

This is the second painting for 'Red October'.  The flower in the pot is Cyclamen, an unusual plant as it flowers in late Autumn and early Winter.  It was standing outside the front door and I just spotted it and knew it work for the theme.  I painted it directly from life using acrylics on acrylic painting paper.  Acrylic painting paper is thicker and tougher than normal paper with a canvas feel to it. 

I started over on the right hand side, doing the outer flowers and leaves and worked anti-clockwise to the left.  I used to religiously work from left to right, being right handed, but in the last year found I start wherever it will flow easiest.  Once the leaves, flowers and stems on the outer edge were done, I had an overall border to work in towards the middle and down.  It's all paint, I never do an under-drawing, except for the horizon line.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ballinwilling Strand (Red October)

For this month, I'm hoping to do a few paintings using red as a base colour, hence 'Red October'.  This beach is the furthest one east along Ballycotton Bay.  It's really quiet in the car park, so you can get through a plein air picture without interruption.  I paint in the front passenger seat of my car, so I don't have to bring along an easel and table; it's handy.  Painted this yesterday and today.  The headland was the trickiest area - getting those ditches and the overall height right.  I use water mixable oils when I do plein air mostly, acrylics are a pain cos they dry too quickly.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


So this is what I've been working on the past six weeks.  The location is 20 minutes walk west of Garryvoe, heading towards Ballycotton, you come to a stream that splits Ballynamona Beach from Ardnahinch beach.  There's an area of ripples in the sand.  Even though it looks pretty, the air reeks of sewage!  I've done a good few paintings this year that took only a week or two so I'd the stomach for a more intricate piece.

I made good progress the first week, getting down as far as the stream, starting with the sky.  Almost all of September was spent on the middle third where the distant ripples are suggested and the ripple lines begin.  There were a lot of crappy days where little progress was made; trying to tease out ambiguous colours and areas took time.  Also, I kept losing my spot where I would have painted last, because the surrounding area would be so similar.  The painting is quite abstract up close.  Then in the last week, the bottom third was done - the closer ripples being larger and more easily to spot meant I got through it way quicker.

The painting's style is like work I've done 3 or 4 years ago - those sharp edged blotchy shapes.  There's more colours here than work from back then.  I used colours I've been using for the past year since the portrait competition.  Crucial to the look of the piece were Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber, Deep Violet and Zinc Mixing White.

I've called it 'Zeal' because it sums up what I'm about; 'great energy and enthusiasm in pursuit of a goal'.  The past six years I've given painting everything I've got.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September Sketches

Viking Spearhead Cork Museum

D shaped buckle Cork Museum

Life drawing in Waterfords Soma Life Drawing

Life Drawing from Cork Life Drawing Group

Drink & Draw sketch

Some of the sketches done in the month of September. I popped into the Cork museum in Fitzgeralds park when I was in Cork, as I had a workshop teaching how to draw such objects and wanted to field test some methods. Plus I was long overdue popping in there. I have started bringing an A5 sketchbook with me now to museums and Sceitse's, usually I only carry my A6 pocket sketchbook, but I prefer the freedom of working that size larger, when I have the time to. Mini sketchbook is still my main SB though.

The rest are A4 pieces. In life drawing been trying to find the right balance between conte white pencils and white ink pen, you get nice blanket whites from the former, nice white highlights in the latter, not quite worked out the balance yet.

The last is just a sketch of a random character from the noggin/head, been a long time since I actually sketched just for the sake of it and completely from the mind. I do get to work from the mind in Archaeological work but it has to be justifiable at all times. So it can be stuffy so been trying to phase the pure fun back in occasionally now.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Little Red Riding Hood

This is the cover illustration I did for the Cork City Libraries 2014 Children's Book Festival booklet. Its based on the classic children's story, Little Red Riding Hood. I also did the graphic design work for the interior of the 16 page booklet. Id like to thank Eibhlin Cassidy for commissioning me to do the illustration and graphic design work for the Cork City Libraries. Im sure the 2014 Festival will be a great success.

Friday, September 26, 2014


This is more a post to point out a site some people here might like to check out. A bunch of Illustrators including Jim Pavelic, Todd Lockwood etc came together to set up a site to try promote better working practises, advice and payment for those working in the Illustration fields. Due to those involved directly in its set up, its particularly aimed at the animation/gaming spectrum but they're gradually broadening it. Theres sample contracts, advice articles by leading illustrators in those fields and if you sign up, a review section where you can post reviews on dealings and pay from companies.

The facebook just posted a video of Jim and Aaron Miller discussing the site and fielding some questions from attendees at the American Academy of Art.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Baby steps...

This is a "guilty of not putting anything up here in ages and I'm sorry, but will this do?" post and a rather off the cuff one too, so just a quick screenshot. I was just about to post it on my Facebook but figured i might as well stick it up here.   

A bunch of WIP character concepts for a game I'm working on.

These are very much still in fleshing out stage middle of the process for me. I tend to grab a big ink brush and just draw shapes first, really random blobs that i then erase, resize, chop, draw over and adjust until i begin seeing a pose or character. When that's done, i lower the opacity and draw over the shape and basically define it.

I try keep it really loose and again things are changing as i go, fixes and adjustments ie. If you look at the character on the grey backdrop here you will see the late addition of a new leg position.  Once I've done a rough line drawing, i then do a tonal pass, just trying to flesh out light direction, focus etc. These are in that stage.

Next up, I'll tighten up the rough line drawing by inking over it again, tidying and fixing as i go. When its tidied, i go to color generally slapping down base colors in Color/Overlay modes then painting over. Used to just use a Round brush for most, but lately began using more textured brushes and Chalk brushes.

Besides the usual drawing mistakes/shortcomings I'm trying to learn to overcome, my biggest issue with my own work is that i feel my early drawings lose a lot of energy that i love by the time I'm hitting final stages. Still trying to find the happy medium.

Its probably not much different from most and maybe not the most time efficient but its become my workflow lately and seems to suit me.

In between all this "push and pull" there's a copious amount of tea, occasional biscuits and a few sessions of playing catch with my dogs. Also music. I really cant do anything without tunes. I used to leave radio on but it is too distracting listening to news, interviews etc in between the music. So now its just purely music.  I used to game a bit but games are too addictive and time soaks! I try limit myself there now. Currently its Hearthstone (generally over breakfast), then Wolf Among Us and LA Noire at lunch. Typically, I'm up at 7.30, breakfast/laze about and start working by 10. finish up at 4.30ish for few hours then depending on mood maybe bit more before bed or DVD.

These days i found myself doing most of my work moving between and getting the benefits of both Corel Painter ( I love its inbuilt pencil and ink tools) and Photoshop. Lately I'm drawing a lot more digitally from the start but as the mood takes me I sometimes sketch a drawing traditionally too then scan it in to take advantage of digital tools.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Eva's Sketch Books

Like every good sketch book addict, I have journals in abundance. I love variety, I love different designs, different formats, colours, page numbers, paper quality, you name it. Every sketch book is something special and has different memories. Unfortunately, I only brought a small number of books with me when I moved to Ireland in 2009, so the large number of my previous years of sketching is stowed away at my parents place. Would have been fun alright to show you a few pages of the really, really old sketch books ;) Maybe another time... here we go, these are my current books:

Old and new, clean and dirty, big and small, plain and decorated.
I love them all <3

Catch a few glimpses:

I also have a few special sketch books and journals and I only use them for specific occasions or share them with certain friends. There is the "Ruin Hunt" for example, where my husband Martin and I go out and about exploring the area we live in.

And there's another journal I share with my friend Halina. Both of us draw and write in it when we go out together. I just love to browse through the (mostly hilarious) memories we hold on to. 

And last but not least: The infamous Pub Diary! If you have been out with me for a pint at some stage you might already know what this is all about :) This is by far my most favourite sort of sketch book activity! Rules are simple: Every time we're out at a public place (pub, concert, travel, etc) we sketch or write some random thoughts. And of course let others, friends and strangers, do the same. Best memories ever!   

The Paperblanks Minis are perfect.
Fit into every pocket and look super stylish!