Little girl holding balloon drawing

Young girl with a balloon

 

 

This sketch is of my daughter, with a different angle to usual – I naturally am mostly drawing faces but with this she had her back turned and was lit from the opposite side – I was facing the light. I drew the balloon in negative space as it was a more dramatic aspect, and allowed for the lightness of the balloon to be conveyed also.

It is a sketch that was meant to be a few second rough to paint from later, but as happens to me so often I ended up spending longer and longer building it up. I do still hope to paint it at some point. Time will tell if I ever get around to that. For now at least I have this sketch to remember the moment.

 

After Beaux

Ernesta with Nurse

After Beaux

While browsing my favourite bookshop (Charlie Byrnes in Galway city – http://charliebyrne.com/) I came across a lovely little book of paintings of children titled “Children of the Gilded Era: Portraits by Sargent, Renoir, Cassatt and their Contemporaries”. I have long admired Sargents’ pencil drawings, so that was enough to draw me in. The rest of it is a feast for the eyes, and great for someone like me who has a lot of child portraiture in my near future. The sketch above is based on a painting by Cecilia Beaux of her niece titled ‘Ernesta with Nurse’ which was exhibited in 1894 at the Society of American Artists.

Below is the sketch at an earlier stage, defini9ng the core areas in pencil. As the site is about bearing all I will always show these stages where I have then recorded.

Ernesta with Nurse

Rebecca making faces

Rebecca making faces

Rebecca making faces

 

This is my adorable daughter Rebecca, making faces as I foolishly asked her to give me a big smile! She is such great fun to be around, I spend so much of our time together in fits of laughter. Parenting can be tiring, but it is definitely the most rewarding thing you can do in life.

I didn’t finish it but as you’ll notice as you go through the site, I really like partly completed drawings. There is something about an unfinished drawing that is like watching a mix between a blueprint design and a finished product. You can see how it is being built, at the same time as seeing how it will end up.

Feeding time

Feeding time

Feeding time

 

My wife and I had a new baby boy a few weeks ago. He is adorable. This is a quick sketch of Julie-Anne feeding him. A great one for sketching as she was not likely to move too much. I always find babies hard to draw but hope to practice a lot with little Alan and have a whole catalogue of drawings of him as he grows to give to him some day.

I’m also going to include here the first pencil sketch and the first wash. I want to show my process wherever possible (as in, wherever I remember to take a picture midway) so that people can either pick up ideas from me, or advise me of alternative methods.

First drawing - feeding time

 

After the quick drawing above to get the lay of the land as they say, I wanted to get some quick colour references down for myself, in case the bottle was finished and my sitter was gone. This also acted as my first wash so I wasn’t just splashing it on, I was considering where the marks would serve as underlay to final washes. That stage is shown below.

First wash - feeding time

Girl in lines

Girl in lines

Girl in lines

 

I did this drawing, or perhaps I should call it painting?, back in the early ’90s. Nothing too special but surprisingly I had a number of offers to purchase it. In retrospect I think I should have sold it, but when I like a drawing or painting I do I hate to sell or give them away, as I can’t look at them again. I think that concept of always being able to see my work, but still wanting to make a living out of art is a lot of why I studied printmaking in art college – I could make an edition of a print and sell them, but always keep at least one copy for myself.

 

 

Girl in lines

Rebecca in a wolly hat

Rebecca in a wolly hat

Rebecca in a wolly hat

 

I tend to paint in acrylic, but wanted to try out watercolours last year. They are so much easier to travel with that I thought the change would be worth the effort. This is one of my early attempts.

It will take me a while to get good with them, but it is an enjoyable experience learning so far. An interesting difference in technique to what I am used to, and also some interesting effects that would not be easy to reproduce with acrylic or oils.

Love + Trust

Love + Trust

 

I did this silkscreen print back in 1997, and found a few from the edition a year or so back while clearing out an old portfolio case. It was actually the top of a larger drawing that I used in a different print. I like it. It sums up a phase in my life for me.

 

Julie-Anne

Julie-Anne

Julie-Anne

I was trying to simplify my wife’s facial structure here, to get the very essence of it, with as little line as possible. The idea was I could then concentrate on those lines in a loose, few brush-strokes, black ink painting. Think of Chinese/Japanese calligraphy brush-strokes – that sort of idea.  I never got the second step done but do still like this working drawing.