Derry today.


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


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.


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.


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.


“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.



Just shy of forty miles walked.

Sean Scully documentary.


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.




Still no word - need to not get hopes up.


“Ruins” detail.

“Ruins” detail.

Office wall.

Office wall.

Tried and failed at sketching.


Sketchbook work.

Sketchbook work.


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.


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


Night shot.

Night shot.


Some good drawing tonight.

Some good drawing tonight.


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

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


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.


Scam emails- beware!

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


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


Delivery mix up.


Booked VAI speed curating slots for November.

…LA… fingers crossed!


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.



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.


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.



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.


“ 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


World Mental Health Day.




“Into The Void Magazine” submission successful!


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



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.


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


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.


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


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.




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


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.


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.


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!



Slept so much. Slow progress but progress nonetheless.



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

Show and Tell: Dún Laoghaire

I was delighted to take part in VAI’s Show and Tell talks held at the stunning DLR Lexicon building in Dún Laoghaire.


I spoke about my practice and working methods along with other artists who gave insights to their work.


Eileen Malaniff, Des Kenny, Sheena Meagher, Melissa Ellis, Sarah Boyle, Jane Murtagh, Cecilia Bullo and Katherine Halford Greene.


Many thanks to Siobhán Mooney from VAI and DLR County Council for organising the event.

RDH: 01/08/18 - 31/08/18


Blog generally.


Work wrapped and ready.

Work wrapped and ready.

Confessional - portrait through mesh?

installational idea - structural notes on seat.  Guidelines for penance.

"The Ash Wednesday Supper" by Giordano Bruno - 1584

Michael Simpson - think of your 'style' as developing a language; coherent and your own without being stylised.


'Real Artists Don't Starve' by Jeff Goins

Agendas in the work?  Activism? Does it need to have a message?

CNIP Meeting in CCA Derry went really well.

CNIP Meeting in CCA Derry went really well.

At the Gates of the Music Palace by Alex Cecchetti.  Curated by Mary Cremin - VOID Derry


RUA works dropped off.

"As a painter you constantly want to overcome your virtuosity, but at the same time you strive for virtuosity" - Per Kirkeby


Bits that work and bits that don't.

Bits that work and bits that don't.


Been offered to show work in New York City!!!


Stiffen the Sinews, Summon up the blood. - King Henry in William Shakespeare's 'Henry V'

The above is written on the studio wall of Maggi Hambling (Tateshots).  Some sketching done.


Average Buzzard wingspan = 110 - 140cm.  Overlap red silhouette of bird with rabbit skull.  Any black in the skull should remain the red of the buzzard.  Don't overwhelm foundation of composition.

No where fast with this. Not happy with tones at the minute but it can be pulled back.

No where fast with this. Not happy with tones at the minute but it can be pulled back.

Will get a good push in the studio tomorrow.  At the same time if I rush at it, that's when it is more likely to fall apart.  If it happens, it happens..


On the ropes. Really badly on the ropes.

On the ropes. Really badly on the ropes.

Life-sized buzzard started.

Life-sized buzzard started.

Triggers: words, memories, looks, objects?



"Happiness is like an orgasm - it doesn't really last." - Raqib Shaw


Reading 'Oedipus at Colonus' to get a better grip.  "...further into darkness with every step".


Just realised how I went about the 'Oedipus' painting in the first place ... shading down on charcoal and fix + light transparent wash to unify all the tones.  Once dry, pop in colours and detail accordingly,  How did I forget?!


...waiting on submission is tortuous.


A strange seed.

A strange seed.

Trying very hard not to get ahead of myself.

Sketchbook work.

Sketchbook work.


Studio shot. "A Manifold and Truly Glorious Strife" (left) brought back from the brink.

Studio shot. "A Manifold and Truly Glorious Strife" (left) brought back from the brink.


Roasted Crane = culinary symbol of Irish submission.  Breaking of legs before being thrown into the sea.  The Pale - area above Dublin. (beyond the pale saying). Notes from episode 2 of "Story of Ireland"

OH DEAR.  Painful.  What a difference a day makes.  Twenty four little hours.  Three things looking good and they all come crashing down.


A shitty week but it will be OK.  Shouldn't have let it affect me as much as it did.  Got blindsided and took eye off longer focus and objectives.  Onward.

Trying out new things.

Trying out new things.


Grayson Perry's "Rites of Passage" episode on death really got to me.  A lot of people would give an arm and a leg to have that last conversation with a loved one - what they meant to you and what you mean to them - before they pass.


Prioritise / Lists - allow for flexibility.


A large (and very unfortunate) spider met it's end some time ago.

A large (and very unfortunate) spider met it's end some time ago.

Bit of an overhaul on "Procession Study" today.  Clouds were OK but too noisy.  Back and forth with it today.  Looking more like a study now.  A little looser.

Blocked in rough colours for "Afore the Stoop";

Blocked in rough colours for "Afore the Stoop";


Good progress on this today. Am I getting too caught up on those bloody hands and ignoring the rest of the canvas? Probably.

Good progress on this today. Am I getting too caught up on those bloody hands and ignoring the rest of the canvas? Probably.


'Nemo Malus nisi probetur' roughly translates to 'No one is evil until it is proven'.


Bank Buildings in Belfast city centre completely gutted by fire.

Above:  Some shots of the Golden Thread Gallery's two simultaneous solo exhibitions:  Travis Somerville's "Homeland Insecurity" and Ian Cumberland's "a common fiction".

"Art Practice as fictioning (or myth-science) by Simon O'Sullivan.


A group show in London?  GT meet up yesterday was great.  Hearing what folks have been up to and where they are going.  Some feedback from sculptural ideas from friends was positive.

"Procession Study" finished. Can a study be finished?

"Procession Study" finished. Can a study be finished?


Cat is missing.


An application was successful so there will be two solo shows - one in 2019 and one in 2020!