diary

RDH: AUGUST 2019

01/08/19

Save mode now!

04/08/19

Clean Palette.

Clean Palette.

08/08/19

Spider skin

Spider skin

10/08/19

Studio…

Detail of “ Bogland Sackrace ” - work in progress.

Detail of “Bogland Sackrace” - work in progress.

Drawing is essential in practice. It’s not even the success of the outcome that’s important but the act of looking and really scrutinising an image or object. Trying to find a way in.

PERFECTION IS AN ILLUSION.

13/08/19

Wrapping process.

canvas-edge-detail.jpg

15/08/19

Sketchbook work.

Sketchbook work.

16/08/19

For tomorrow, let loose!

I’ve been lingering long enough on small little intricacies.

It’s not the first time I’ve struggled with a figure in profile.

Need to just look!

‘Art of Spain’ documentary : Goya was deaf!?

Black paintings were done “to the brink of incoherence” (AGD).

17/08/19

‘ Bogland ’ completed

Bogland’ completed

A really good day in the studio. Huge improvement to ‘Sackrace’. The face in the central figure could be better but that is where I’ll leave it. Back is signed so it’s official.

Studio shot:  17/08/19

Studio shot: 17/08/19

Unplanned progress on ‘Ferryman’. More painterly background.

21/08/19

Getting there with the small chores.

22/08/19

Otto Dix - War Triptych

24/08/19

Early stages of “The Brown Bull of Cooley”

Early stages of “The Brown Bull of Cooley”

Started a new large canvas. Took on the image of a woman in motion - her stance suggested a figure that could be in battle. After a little research I decided to add a typical Celtic sword and shield combo. So this found magazine image turns into Queen Medb of Connaught.

Once the figure was on the canvas I was unsure whether to incorporate the bull (Medb’s infamous cattle raid of Cooley as inspiration) but curiosity got the better of me and I tore on with it.

Basically blocking the image up but it is promising so far. It will be interesting to see the fight between Medb and the bull in terms of who will come out dominant where in the composition.

medb-and-bull.jpg

28/08/19

29/08/19

Material delivery!

31/08/19

Studio work and ‘Ferryman’ has stagnated. Some parts work and others flop.

At that strange limbo point where a painting you’re working on fights back and refuses to yield. When one point of grievance is adjusted, two more pop up.

Today - more so than others - has been spent reflecting on lost loved ones and parts of that has made its way onto canvas. Little nods to moments once shared with someone no longer here.

I haven’t had this level of personal attachment to a work in progress in a long time and it has made the already frustrating back and forth of a painting’s final stretch all the more agonising.

Can you paint over a memory or is knowing that these little nods once existed enough?

ferryman-detail.jpg

RDH: MAY 2019

03/05/19

Painting Peer Critique hosted in CCA Derry.

Artist   John Robinson   with his work on the temporary stage at CCA Derry.

Artist John Robinson with his work on the temporary stage at CCA Derry.

04/05/19

Close up of “ The Lost Woods Study ”

Close up of “The Lost Woods Study

Been a while since using leaves to print on. Needs more layers but for now it solves the issue of the line… breaks the eye.

So after four months and four days I’ve finally finished a painting and broke my 2019 drought.

Detail of “ Rose ” - oil and charcoal on canvas.

Detail of “Rose” - oil and charcoal on canvas.

05/05/19

First time visiting and it was like opening an old wound.

11/05/19

One very creepy window display.

One very creepy window display.

12/05/19

Great Art show: “Goya: Flesh and Blood”

Started “Sack Race” (working title) and stupidly didn’t check material inventory before starting.

17/05/19

Sketching tonight. Past self was clever enough to leave certain works aside for potential events.

Study of an Uncle.

Study of an Uncle.

18/05/19

Really happy with how the studio went today.

19/05/19

Completed “ The Lost Woods Study ”.

Completed “The Lost Woods Study”.

20/05/19

Not to rely on gimmick. It has been an invaluable tool - one that I will continue to utilise - but only when the work demands it. If it is forced (like “Woman With the Dogs” and, more recently, “Ruins”) the work stagnates and imagery drowns in an unnecessarily complicated mess.

21/05/19

Should take own advice from time to time about differing paint properties.

In “Sack Race” - the looser the playing field the better. Almost tempted not to touch it at all.

A sort of closure. A temporary full stop.

22/05/19

Ran out of time. Need to keep RD by side.

23/05/19

Ring-gate.

25/05/19

“I know more. The lack of whats in the current work informs the next.” - Eva Rothschild.

More layers to “The Ferryman”. Because the face of the ferryman is so small it would be easy to fall into the familiar trap of aiming to capture all the detail and likeness of the source image. Focusing instead on light and tone - maybe even a hint of a blur? Like the figure is in the middle of turning to look at the viewer.

Surprise / Confrontation / Acknowledgement

Back and forth with “Sack Race”. Happy with certain elements, like the sky but have consequently fogged up other sections in the process. Eager to not fall into the familiar trap of muddiness and over-painting.

More progress to the sky in “ Sack Race ”.

More progress to the sky in “Sack Race”.

27/25/19

29/05/19

Late night sketchbook work.

Late night sketchbook work.

RDH: APRIL 2019

02/04/19

Derry today.

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CCA - ‘Celebration Factory’ by Filip Markiewicz. Huge drawings and impressive array of work.

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Fragmented’ by Aimee Melaugh in the Gasworks. Such a beautiful space. Can’t think of anyone who paints atmosphere and smoke like she can.

Joseph McWilliams “ Community Door ” 1976 part of the “ Troubles Art ” exhibition in   Nerve Visual  .

Joseph McWilliams “Community Door” 1976 part of the “Troubles Art” exhibition in Nerve Visual.

06/04/19

Work submitted to the   RHA   open call.

Work submitted to the RHA open call.

Detail of a piece by   Cecilia Danell   - part of her solo show “ In a Landscape ” in the RHA.

Detail of a piece by Cecilia Danell - part of her solo show “In a Landscape” in the RHA.

08/04/19

Royal Academy - Renaissance Nude exhibition was great. Highlights were Pontormo’s “Study of a Nude Boy”, Dürer’s etchings, creepy little paintings by Hans Memling and, of course, Titian’s Venus.

National Gallery - “Rokeby Venus” by Velazquez is just an unbelievable painting! Real surprise was being moved by Caravaggio’s “Boy bitten by a lizard”. Came out of nowhere. Loved how the two Rembrandt portraits faced each other in their room. A conversation? “The Ambassadors” by Hans Holbein the Younger. Great to see it in the flesh finally. So many great works - probably could have stayed in there all week.

09/04/19

“Brighton Pierrots” by Walter Richard Sickert.

“Brighton Pierrots” by Walter Richard Sickert.

Went to Tate Britain and was annoyed that many of the works I had been looking forward to seeing were out of view for refurbishment. However it was great to see some other great pieces, including Sickert’s “Brighton Pierrots”.

View from   Tate Modern  .

View from Tate Modern.

Bonnard show was incredible. Wish it wasn’t as crowded to spend more time with the work. The self portraits were anxious and sinister. Preferred Franz West ’s collages to the sculptures.

10/04/19

11/04/19

Just shy of forty miles walked.

Sean Scully documentary.

13/04/19

Horrible day in the studio. What’s done can be rectified thankfully but I’m not sure what brought it about.

  • Not enough looking?

  • Charging in?

  • Carelessness?

  • Fatigue?

  • All of the above?

Note for “Rose”: Less is more.

14/04/19

Rehearsal.

16/04/19

Still no word - need to not get hopes up.

18/04/19

“Ruins” detail.

“Ruins” detail.

Office wall.

Office wall.

Tried and failed at sketching.

19/04/19

Sketchbook work.

Sketchbook work.

20/04/19

Eventually in the studio… “ Ruins ” is still an exciting composition so not sure why it’s stagnated.

Eventually in the studio… “Ruins” is still an exciting composition so not sure why it’s stagnated.

“The Lost Woods Study” close up.

“The Lost Woods Study” close up.

21/04/19

So - “Ruins” has ground things to a halt. Can’t say it is entirely the painting’s fault but it has eaten a lot of time where I’d be working on multiple pieces simultaneously.

I’m not abandoning it completely. Just setting it out of sight and out of mind until I’m in a better position to complete it to the best of my ability.

“The continuous practice of painting is a process against forgetting.”

Hans Ulrich Obrist

24/04/19

Night shot.

Night shot.

25/04/19

Some good drawing tonight.

Some good drawing tonight.

26/04/19

Studio work. “ Rose ” face is all but there.

Studio work. “Rose” face is all but there.

27/04/19

Dublin bound.

IMMA Freud Project: Gaze was stunning. “Relfection: Self Portrait” - have wanted to see this piece in the flesh for a long long time. Interesting mix of artists alongside Freud including a Hopper sketch, a Rembrandt etching, Abramovic, Dúrer, Dorothy Cross and others. The Doris Salcedo show “Acts of Mourning” was intense. Moved by “Plegoria Muda” and “Tabula Rasa” pieces the most. For the past week that has been in NI, we all need little blades of hope. Group show “A Vague Anxiety” was great, particularly the work of Saidhbhín Gibson (sculptures) and Susanne Wawra’s incredible paintings.

29/04/19

Scam emails- beware!

RDH: MARCH 2019

02/03/19

“The Ivy Crown" progress.

“The Ivy Crown" progress.

Struggling with “Bereft Clown”. I think it’s too contrived. Another image overlay maybe?

Adding another image automatically forces you to simplify the composition in a way so that just the essentials are left.

Loosening up on “Ruins”. Music really makes a difference in the studio for me.

The imagery may be personal but the doors are left open. Viewers bringing their own experiences / ideas to the work is paramount.

Don’t like the word ‘style’. It’s too certain of itself.

03/03/19

“Sack Race”

“Sack Race”

Bit better productivity wise.

07/03/19

“ Guardian Study ”

Guardian Study

Sketchbook work tonight.

08/03/19

…has “Bereft Clown” gone the way of the dodo yet again? Is it stifling and holding me back? Even just setting it aside for a week or two could help.

09/03/19

Temporarily removed the shrub in “Ruins”.

10/03/19

Pablo the Monstera

Pablo the Monstera

15/03/19

Lynda Benglis doesn’t make work for other people or for specific shows but purely out of curiosity.

“ The Boatman ”

The Boatman

Attempted some sketchbook work - hit and miss - mostly miss.

16/03/19

cake-tin.JPG

Cake tin for the sky disc. I think it’s a good idea to get closer to the colour scheme in my head than what is on the canvas at the moment.

20/03/19

moonlight.JPG

21/03/19

“ Quick Call ”

Quick Call

Sketchbook work.

23/03/19

In the studio where I’m happiest. Even if it’s not working well it’s about going through the process.

Detail of a weeping willow.

Detail of a weeping willow.

A good bit of experimentation today but heading in the right direction nonetheless.

24/03/19

Corita Kent rules:

  1. Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.

  2. General duties of a student: Pull everything out of your teacher. Pull everything out of your fellow students.

  3. General duties of a teacher: Pull everything out of your students.

  4. Consider everything an experiment.

  5. Be self disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self disciplined is to follow in a better way.

  6. Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.

  7. The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.

  8. Don’t try to create and analyse at the same time. They are different processes.

  9. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

  10. “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving room for X quantities.” - John Cage.

Helpful hints: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything. It might come in handy later.

There should be new rules next week.

26/03/19

…in my thoughts today.

“If you mix your voice with others’ voices you feel as though you are caught in a hook.

Franz Kafka - “Children on the Road”

27/03/19

So in front of a warm fire and three sleeping dogs, I asked Jan to marry me.

ring.jpg

Thankfully she said yes.

30/03/19

A little semblance of normality today: back in the studio.

ruins-sky-disc.JPG

Less contrast between the sun and sky?

Slowly but surely making progress on the “The Lost Woods Study”.

Detail of “ The Lost Woods Study ”.

Detail of “The Lost Woods Study”.

31/03/19

…more work done to “Rose” today.

Detail of “ Rose ” - work in progress.

Detail of “Rose” - work in progress.

RDH: 01/10/18 - 31/10/18

01/10/18

… of interest. Attainable small steps to reach big goals.

02/10/18

Delivery mix up.

05/10/18

Booked VAI speed curating slots for November.

…LA… fingers crossed!

06/10/18

initials in ogham

initials in ogham

Experiment in the studio with a degree of success. When a fine layer of fixative is lit on the paintings surface, areas of the canvas that are predominantly charcoal or thin layers of colour are singed and blister - creating an interesting effect. Safety first though.

Jan is right —> the lighter background to “Pioneer” was more unsettling. Rectify.

studio-shot-06-10-18.JPG

07/10/18

Staring at “Pioneer”. I think I’m hesitant because its… I don’t know. I think the colours are too similar between light and shade. By the same token - you don’t want it to become too contrasting and cartoonish. A foreign colour introduced into the third panel may point a direction.

third-panel-pioneers.JPG

Flying by the seat of pants but you can’t control the spontaneous. Some detailed work today. It is getting there. Attention directed towards other matters.

… paintings and clusters of drawings - like a shotgun spread of memories. Jumbled - linked yet conflicting. Fighting for dominance.

\\\THE TRAUMA PARADOX\\\

08/10/18

Just realised a connection between “AMATGS” and the ivy crown. Oedipus plays would have been played during the festival of Dionysus - who is associated with a crown of ivy.

09/10/18

“ I gave myself permission to follow my voice and that’s what my whole career has been. I still give myself permission and no compromise. I compromised before but not when I became an artist.” Mark Bradford

10/10/18

World Mental Health Day.

11/10/18

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13/10/18

“Into The Void Magazine” submission successful!

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Sketchbook work and now watching the original ‘Suspiria’ for the first time.

suspiria-titles.JPG

14/10/18

Notes finished for presentation. Pleased with burning effect on triptych.

… was suggested something on Friday. Well it was more of a dialogue regarding “Pioneer”; the first and last sections work. They’re strong but the one that should be the strongest and the anchor, the middle piece is way behind. Changing from a triptych to a diptych? Leave it for a while - continue working on all three before abandoning the middle piece.

Using ash as a painting/drawing medium. Religious links? Why do ideas come in the final minutes of the day? Processing process.

18/10/18

On way to Dublin. Looking forward to talking about work in DLR Lexicon. Not nervous. Yet.

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Just saw the most beautiful fox casually strolling across a field outside Armagh.

I’ve been skirting around issues. The ‘recall’ notion might be worth exploring again. Drawing. Painting. Video. Audio.

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The DLR Lexicon is stunning. Really enjoyed the other talks - especially work of Cecilia Bullo.

19/10/18

Yesterday’s trip and talks were great. Just wish I had more time to go around some of Dublin’s galleries when I was down. Decided it was best to drop the middle canvas in “Pioneer Studies”. Finished the other two pieces and happy with the results.

pioneer-detail.JPG

20/10/18

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bleeding-eye.JPG

A little tweaking to “Afore the Stoop”.
Dad suffered a bleeding eye following his operation.

22/10/18

Have been neglecting practice and methods during the week. Ards - it seems a long way off but it will fly in.

Keeping your finger on the pulse is no bad thing.

24/10/18

Personal history is a source - not the explanation. ‘imagine…’ with Tracey Emin on iPlayer was insightful. Have a new found respect for Emin’s practice and quite like a few of some of her new paintings.

27/10/18

No paints were used today but three canvases were started. The smallest piece - I don’t think will have legs. As a drawing it is strong but I feel it won’t work on canvas. I’ve drawn up “Bereft Clown” again - a different size to the previous square stretcher. Will see how it goes. The third canvas is the one I’m most excited about. It’s a merging of two images but in a slightly different way. First is an image of a German officer stationed in a concentration camp. The other is a negative of a confession screen. The idea is to project light through the lattice onto the portrait. Fright Night in the jungle was great fun!

fright-night-two.jpg

28/10/18

Slept so much. Slow progress but progress nonetheless.

confessional-wip.JPG

31/10/18

Spacing error.

“I’m really interested in creating moments of ‘push and pull’ in paintings and having different registers of imagery with different surface qualities - so one thing might be compositionally in the foreground but materially might be being subsumed by whats behind it.” Helen Johnson

RDH: 27/05/18 - 30/06/18

27/25/18

Munk Debates

NB:- "Imprint": washes over selected charcoal marks makes for a more painterly and softer outcome whilst still retaining the drawing element - it's just not as overwhelming.  Marrying the two worlds.  Artistically I'm in a good place.  It's utilising time more effectively.

28/05/18

On Hodler's "Night":  covered figure personifies death as an intensification of sleep.  On the back of the canvas Hodler wrote: "There is many a people who lies down to rest in the evening but who does not wake up in the morning."

"Night" by Ferdinand Hodler - 1899/90 -  Museum of Fine Arts Bern

"Night" by Ferdinand Hodler - 1899/90 - Museum of Fine Arts Bern

"Riot" and "Chidren of the Stage" started.

"Children of the Stage" - early progress.

"Children of the Stage" - early progress.

Haven't painted on board in two years.  Keep forgetting how forgiving the surface is.

"Riot" piece started.

"Riot" piece started.

29/05/18

Hot air balloon in trouble over Draperstown medical centre.

Hot air balloon in trouble over Draperstown medical centre.

Started small canvas of "Cult" drawing I did five years ago.  Been a long time but its always good to keep everything - just in case.

"Cult" painting in progress.

"Cult" painting in progress.

30/05/18

Let's see what happens.

02/06/18

Playing about with "The Mountain of the Heights" - particularly the sky.  Intangible so the marks should be also.

Early layers of sky

Early layers of sky

03/06/18

"Rosetta II" by Jenny Saville - oil on watercolour paper mounted on board - 2005/06

"Rosetta II" by Jenny Saville - oil on watercolour paper mounted on board - 2005/06

"I want to be a painter of modern life, and modern bodies." - Jenny Saville.

A.F. born today.

More progress in the sky of "The Mountain of the Heights".

More progress in the sky of "The Mountain of the Heights".

04/06/18

"The Mountain of the Heights" and "Imprint" on the studio wall.

"The Mountain of the Heights" and "Imprint" on the studio wall.

05/06/18

Notes from a previous workshop:

  • Turn off distractions

  • Centred space

  • Give yourself permission to move your practice forward.

  • Elevator pitch - needs work.

  • Find focus and priorities.

  • Studio days - regimented routine.

  • Be persistent and consistent.

  • Find unproductive habits + break them.

  • Defend creative time.

  • Slow down and hear your own ideas.

"Creativity is not a talent - it's a way of operating." - John Cleese

When you value serendipity, you start noticing it at work right away.

07/06/18

Awarded iDA from Atypical Gallery and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland!

09/06/18

Degree show work entitled "My Darlene" by photographer Ryan Hamilton.

Degree show work entitled "My Darlene" by photographer Ryan Hamilton.

Installation shot from Stephanie Tanney's degree show. Not unlike Holder's shrouded figure.

Installation shot from Stephanie Tanney's degree show. Not unlike Holder's shrouded figure.

A close up of one of Karl Hagan's stunning paintings at the  Belfast School of Art  degree show.

A close up of one of Karl Hagan's stunning paintings at the Belfast School of Art degree show.

One of Aimee Melaugh's atmospheric paintings at her degree show.

One of Aimee Melaugh's atmospheric paintings at her degree show.

Saw a lot of art.  A LOT OF ART.

Belfast School of Art degree show was fantastic but there were four stand out artists:

Ryan Hamilton in photography.

Stephanie Tanney in sculpture.

Karl Hagan in painting

Aimee Melaugh in painting.

The Golden Thread Gallery group exhibition "After an Act" was great.

"Submerge Form (Red)" by  Deb Covell  - 2017

"Submerge Form (Red)" by Deb Covell - 2017

David Moore's show in Belfast Exposed was really interesting.

The back wall of David Moore's exhibition entitled "Lisa and John" in Belfast Exposed.

The back wall of David Moore's exhibition entitled "Lisa and John" in Belfast Exposed.

10/06/18

Whiterocks beach just outside Portrush.

Whiterocks beach just outside Portrush.

11/06/18

Zero energy.  There are not enough hours in the day.  Structure.  Guilty of putting off work because of convenience.

Some sketchbook work done today but not enough.

Some sketchbook work done today but not enough.

13/06/18

Is yellow is the colour of hope?

"Selvportrett I Helvvette" by Edvard Munch - 1903 -  The Munch Museum, Oslo

"Selvportrett I Helvvette" by Edvard Munch - 1903 - The Munch Museum, Oslo

16/06/18

"Painting 1946" by Francis Bacon. Part of the  MoMA  collection.

"Painting 1946" by Francis Bacon. Part of the MoMA collection.

Bacon was fascinated by butcher shops as a child.  The figure in the painting said to be pre-war Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain - known for carrying an umbrella.  This work is raw power, beauty and horror rolled in one.

My painter's table of 8 years.

My painter's table of 8 years.

18/06/18

Detail of "Cult" painting in progress.

Detail of "Cult" painting in progress.

Paint/draw with purpose.  Reasons - just because I can't pin them down doesn't mean they aren't there.

20/06/18

Lubaina Himid - take a "given history" from found objects and then "paint a history on them that isn;t as much talked about."  Daytime can't be squandered - every hour counts.

23/06/18

Bonnie keeping me company in the studio today.

Bonnie keeping me company in the studio today.

Painted pretty much up to 10pm tonight,.  Stuck in the zone.

24/06/18

Jan enjoying the sunset at Rosses Point, Sligo.

Jan enjoying the sunset at Rosses Point, Sligo.

Trip to Rosses Point.  So hot too and great to bump into Rob and Sally.  Small world.

25/06/18

View of "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" in the Hamilton Gallery, Sligo.

View of "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" in the Hamilton Gallery, Sligo.

Great to see familiar names (Lisa Ballard, Alison Pilkington and Clement McAleer) in the Hamilton Gallery's group exhibition 'An Irish Airman Foresees His Death'.

One of my favourite pieces in the Hamilton Gallery had to be "Spirit of the Aviator" by  Brian McDonagh .

One of my favourite pieces in the Hamilton Gallery had to be "Spirit of the Aviator" by Brian McDonagh.

26/06/18

Trip to The Model in Sligo town before home.  A wonderful space.

Outside The Model, Sligo.

Outside The Model, Sligo.

Massive painting by  Antje Majewski  in the "Future Perfect" exhibition, The Model, Sligo

Massive painting by Antje Majewski in the "Future Perfect" exhibition, The Model, Sligo

28/06/18

Close up of "Cult" - Oil and Charcoal on Canvas

Close up of "Cult" - Oil and Charcoal on Canvas

Slowly getting back into the rhythm of working again.  Finished "Cult".  The small child is considerably creepier than expected.  More work to "Mountain of the Heights" - been looking at Cezanne's multiple treatments of Mont Sainte-Victoire for some sort of guidance.

Getting there with "The Mountain of the Heights".

Getting there with "The Mountain of the Heights".

Extremely hot in the studio - close to 30°C.

30/06/18

I have Sickert's "Ennui" on my mind. 

"Ennui" by Walter Richard Sickert - 1914 - part of  Tate Collection

"Ennui" by Walter Richard Sickert - 1914 - part of Tate Collection