Icelandic sheep

Icelandic sheep

Icelandic sheep

This is about as random as they get. I wanted to try out some new pens the other night – Faber Caster PITT artist pens in sepia – and so needed something to draw. I pulled up a random photo form my honeymoon, which turned out to be an Icelandic sheep.  I’m not very impressed with the pens, but will give them a few more goes before I give up on them. They are far firmer than the package gives the impression of. I had expected something halfway between a brush and a pen.

The reason for the washes is that I wanted to see if the ink was water soluble. Another impression I picked up from the packaging.

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

Who controls you? - woodcut by Andy Madigan

Who controls you?

Who controls you? - woodcut by Andy Madigan

 

I completed a B.A. Degree in Fine Art Printmaking, and while the core focus of it was etching, screen-print and lithography my own interest towards the end was very much on block-print. I have always been keen on hard lines, contrast and strong colours, and found block gave this in abundance.

At that time most of my work was either directly or indirectly tied to politics – and this example is no exception. It was part of a series of woodcuts I did that I then converted to photo silkscreen, and printed large runs of posters I fly posted around the country. A different process, but not a million miles away from what stencil spray-painters do these days.

 

Hartel & Rising Sun - by Andy Madigan

Hartel & Rising Sun

Hartel & Rising Sun - by Andy Madigan

I did this drawing/watercolour back in May while staying with my in-laws in Philadelphia. They have a lovely porch I was sitting out on in the sun. and I drew this view of the junction down the road. The style of houses over in the US is so different to here in Ireland, and even the perimeter of peoples plots were defined differently. Add to that the different trees and colours and it’s a whole new world.

For me the biggest new past of the experience was how the light was great in the sun there, and the heat dried the watercolours so fast I could add new washes in minutes, or in some cases seconds. Really great for speed, but it took getting used to, to be working fast before a stroke dried and put a rim on a brushstroke.

Across the road - drawing by Andy Madigan

Across the road - drawing by Andy Madigan

 

This is the view across the road from my house, out my bedroom window. Actually, the sheep isn’t there all the time, but the rest is pretty much always there. The land is quite hilly so there are lots of these slopes, with lovely Galway stone walls – no mortar so like here, they are often knocked down in places by livestock looking for a scratch.

I like this drawing as it isn’t finished, but there is a nice balance between the bits I shaded and those I had only rough marking out done for. To me it is instantly recognisable as the hill over the road, and without looking at the landscape I could easily draw in everything that has not been drawn already.

 

I guess I should get out more!

Waiting for a plane - drawing by Andy Madigan

Waiting for a plane - drawing by Andy Madigan

 

This is an early detail of a drawing I did of a plane waiting in Stockholm airport. Airports are great places to sketch, but of course when you are in them you rarely have time to sit for a few hours and draw. Also with so many security restrictions you’d probably not be allowed bring a pencil parer or water for paints.

 

Leenane, Connemara - drawn by Andy Madigan

Near Leenane, Connemara

Leenane, Connemara - drawn by Andy Madigan

 

Julie-Anne and I had a holiday away in Leenane a while back, and took a drive out into the wilderness. At one point (shown) I had to pul over as the landscape was so nice. The clouds were really low, cutting off the tops of the mountains, which were really not that tall.

 

The wind would cut you in two there, but I’m used to that living near a lake, and of course in the same county. Galway is such a huge county it is great – you can see such different landscapes in different parts. It is a real haven for artists who enjoy working outdoors in the wilds and like rugged landscapes.

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.