visual art

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

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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

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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.

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Thankfully she said yes.

30/03/19

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

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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: FEBRUARY 2019

01/02/19

Slight change of tact…

02/02/19

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03/02/19

Some tonal work on “Bereft Clown”

Some tonal work on “Bereft Clown”

05/02/19

Lagging behind.

06/02/19

Applications submitted.

09/02/19

DISTRACTIONS leads to NOT DOING WORK leads to FEELINGS OF GUILT leads to DISTRACTIONS leads to NOT DOING WORK leads to FEELINGS OF GUILT leads to DISTRACTIONS leads to NOT DOING WORK leads to FEELINGS OF GUILT leads to DISTRACTIONS leads to NOT DOING WORK leads to FEELINGS OF GUILT leads to DISTRACTIONS leads to NOT DOING WORK leads to FEELINGS OF GUILT leads to DISTRACTIONS leads to NOT DOING WORK leads to FEELINGS OF GUILT leads to … etc etc.

How do you combat this?

“Discipline is key" - JG

Break the cycle by physically setting time aside for practice. Depending on the day of the week and other commitments, the type of productive work will differ.

10/02/19

Cleaning the palette

Cleaning the palette

12/02/19

One good sketch is better than not drawing at all.

One good sketch is better than not drawing at all.

16/02/19

“What’s for you won’t go past you.”

Reworked pattern and colours on clown today.

17/02/19

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Great to get painting today albeit a little later than I would have liked.

Counting works - didn’t realise there were so many!

23/02/19

Belfast. Great to see the last day of ‘The Question of Feeling at Home’ in PS² - curated by Moran Been-Noon. Bonus to get a run down from Moran about the show and to see Cecilia Bullo’s work in the flesh! Been excited to see it since her talk in the DLR LexIcon last year. Next was a visit to Belfast Exposed for the ACNI collection show with a solo show by Linda Conroy in the upstairs space. Conroy’s work is disturbing and utterly absorbing at the same time. Removing notions of the individual from religious ritual resonated with me personally. Then it was on to ‘Porous Plane’ by Lennon in the Golden Thread Gallery. The sheer scale and vibrancy of the work was immense. In the information leaflet it says that “no knowledge is required to enjoy the beauty of these paintings” and that Lennon “invites each of us to find ourselves and arrive at our own inclusions”. Leaving room for the viewer is something I’m particularly keen on.

Lastly onto the wonderful ‘Alternate Perspective’ in Platform featuring work by Aimee MeLaugh and Karl Hagan. Both reflect on ‘memory, people, places and trauma’. The grandeur of history painting coupled with highly personal and intimate narratives. Wonderful painting exhibition.

25/02/19

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Project profile submitted.

27/02/19

It’s the journey not the destination.

28/02/19

Nearly into third month and nothing really to show for it. Plenty of works in progress but not enough progress being made.

RDH: JANUARY 2019

01/01/19

Mountain walk with Jan and Rogue.

Mountain walk with Jan and Rogue.

“I think of drawing as a way of getting information and really learning to understand imagery.” - Cecily Brown

Anna Bjerger has a corner filled with ten years of old books / magazines. There’s usually nothing new but it’s about looking at imagery time and again to see if anything jumps out.

OLD IMAGERY RECEIVING NEW CONTEXT.

You need to have a genuine feeling for an image.

02/01/19

Two large canvases. Diptych idea?

03/01/19

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05/01/19

Found in a car park.

Found in a car park.

Nothing done is also nothing ruined.

06/01/19

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10/01/19

If it is to be it will come again.

London is happening in April. Can’t wait!

11/01/19

Idea for a painting: “The To and Fro of Indecision”.

Sketchbook work tonight. Looking at old paintings from second year in University.

Sketchbook work tonight. Looking at old paintings from second year in University.

12/01/19

Boiler suit

Boiler suit

If you look a little longer you will see things that have always been there but not in the same context as before. I’ve started looking a little closer at drawings that have been transferred onto acetate and pairing them off with others that I normally wouldn’t have previously.

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13/01/19

Christening + St Lurach’s ruins. This is the biggest canvas I’ve tackled in a long time.

Christening + St Lurach’s ruins. This is the biggest canvas I’ve tackled in a long time.

“Organised Forgetting”

Paint went well today - generally just blocking so it’s not too tasking. Colours - light v dark. Which elements of the image come to the fore and what fights to be heard.

15/01/19

Meaningless vote.

Chris Ofili’s “No Woman No Cry” - canvas rested on 2 heaps of elephant dung covered in a transparent resin.

Sculpture ideas - photos stacked like a house of cards. On panels?

Pyramid.

17/01/19

Trip to Newtownards and Belfast today.

The Ards Art Centre’s Georgian gallery space is stunning! So much light! Really interesting work by   Katrina Cobain   on show.

The Ards Art Centre’s Georgian gallery space is stunning! So much light! Really interesting work by Katrina Cobain on show.

Stunning work by   Alana Barton   in the Black Box.

Stunning work by Alana Barton in the Black Box.

Pauline Rowan  ’s photography was the stand out work for me in the latest instalment of   Golden Thread’s “Dissolving Histories” series.

Pauline Rowan’s photography was the stand out work for me in the latest instalment of Golden Thread’s “Dissolving Histories” series.

19/01/19

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20/01/19

Really struggling to get motivated.

The act of drawing has stagnated. If you cut off the source how do you expect the river to flow?

Even working on other imagery (drawings) when painting something else is bound to have positive repercussions?

27/01/19

Took a while to get going. Not really focusing on one task but I think that’s good sometimes.

A little experiment

A little experiment

28/01/19

Been thinking a lot about potential sculptural ideas recently. Give it a whirl?

29/01/19

Sketchbook work

Sketchbook work

30/01/19

“Shooting the Darkness” documentary on RTÉ was fascinating insight from photojournalists who were front line witnesses to some of the most horrific atrocities during the Troubles.

RDH: 01/12/18 - 31/12/18

01/12/18

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Blocked out “Bereft Clown”.

02/12/18

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Found an ogham poster on North Street with an interesting translation.

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Vault studios is amazing - especially EMIC’s studio space!

04/12/18

…text to coincide with next solo show…

08/12/18

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Studio work today. Thought I was close to finishing ‘confessional’ but it might be further away than I imagined.

09/12/18

“You make a mistake when you explain the paintings through the war.”

Mark Stevens - on Bacon’s “Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion”

Several shooting stars.

15/12/18

Probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. Childhood hero reduced. It's a real jolt to the system.

Trauma doesn’t discriminate. It’s so subjective that it can defy explanation or description. Nightmarish.

16/12/18

Materials courtesy of the  University of Atypical ’s iDA award arrived to the studio today.

Materials courtesy of the University of Atypical’s iDA award arrived to the studio today.

Need to learn to keep some things to yourself.

See it through. Stay strong and keep head up.

17/12/18

Panic attack today.

21/12/18

You never fully appreciate someone until its too late. A true legend that has shaped so many. Time with family is so important.

Resolutions < Revolutions

22/12/18

Moon-rise over Glenshane.

Moon-rise over Glenshane.

Thought I had a good night’s sleep but my body is telling me different. Need to draw more again.

26/12/18

Getting lost in thought about art is a joy. It’s like taking a mini vacation.

27/12/18

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Some sketchbook work. Not much but it’s a start.

Look more before putting pen to paper. This is not to say to lose the immediacy during the act of drawing but to take a breath to absorb and examine what an image has to offer.

29/12/18

Finished “Confessional”. Maybe when the mind is distracted slightly it makes studio work more of an automated response? Decisions were made and action was taken.

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Not saying having a completely distracted head-space works. Far from it. I’ve been there plenty of times and it’s disastrous. No. It’s more a case of - you’re in the studio and you have a clear(ish) idea of where the work will go so you follow that. The decision making dilemma is lessened due to the preoccupation of other matters going on upstairs.

30/12/18

A bit of work done to “Bereft Clown before clearing the palette and studio up for another year.

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2018 in Photos

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

Exhibition Highlights 2018

These five exhibitions are in chronological order and are only my favourites of the shows I was able to attend in person. There were many that I was dying to see but in the end, couldn’t make.


WHITE

Curated by Colin Darke

QSS Gallery, Belfast

02/02/18 - 22/02/18

This was the fourth group show curated by Colin Darke that was based upon the four titles of Barnett Newman paintings (“Whose Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue”). According to the text accompanying the exhibition, linking works in accordance with colour “allows for a level of visual cohesion, while retaining the conceptual and aesthetic diversity that defines Queen Street Studios”. Ordinarily white, in a gallery context, inhabits the space between works. In this show however you become strangely aware of the normally silent walls. In Craig Donald’s installation “Ozymandias” sections of the gallery wall are set centre stage; framed by colours that correlate in other drawings and paintings within the installation. You become aware of the void.


Nightfall - amplissium terrarum tractum

David Godbold

Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast

03/02/18 - 10/03/18

This group exhibition by David Godbold in the Golden Thread Gallery really was a stunner. In gallery one, the works that give the name of the show, “Nightfall - Amplissium terrarum tractum” takes up an entire wall. Consisting of 116 framed drawings and a wall drawing in neon, I found myself getting drawn into the gorgeous and witty drawings usually accompanied with text loaded with humour and a certain political sting. Then all of a sudden I would walk backwards, trying to take in the sheer audacious scale of the work as a whole. I was especially taken by the drawing with the text "Infamy, infamy, everybody’s got it in for me” - a one liner from “Carry on Cleo” which my dad regularly cries aloud. Gallery two sees landscapes, beautifully painted and paired off with one in daylight and the other at night. Showing these romantic locations at different times of the day means you can never fully see the region in its entirety.


Future Perfect - Contemporary Art from Germany

Curated by Angelika Stepken and Philipp Ziegler

The Model, Sligo

06/05/18 - 01/07/18

During a summer break down to Sligo it would have been rude not to visit some of the galleries. This travelling group show did not disappoint. Sixteen artists envision and speculate about the future and reflect on the promises it could bring. The installation of Nora Schultz called “Discovery of the Primitive” reminded me of a transportable monolith like the one in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Schultz gathers found objects from around her Berlin studio to assemble these delicate structures that also double as printmaking stations. It dominated the room and sticks in the memory. Antje Majewski’s paintings were impressive in scale and in detail. The lengthy title “Decorative element that once adorned a passage leading to a shrine” was a large circular painting consisting of smaller overlapped orbs of differing gold and green. The same ‘decorative element’ makes a cameo in the even larger painting - more akin to history painting of old. “The Donation” sees a large group of people witnessing an exchange in what looks like a gallery with warped dimensions and off kilter paintings on the wall.


At the gates of the Music Palace

Alex Cecchetti

Curated by Mary Cremin

VOID Gallery, Derry-Londonderry

04/08/18 - 22/09/18

I was lucky enough to see this show on the opening night where the artist Alex Cecchetti was giving a guided tour of the works. A serial collaborator almost all of the works came to fruition as a result of Cecchetti working with musicians, dancers and singers. The first gallery was bathed in a pink light with two large copper cones suspended at the far end. If you move across the sensors musical notes are played and according to different gestures you can actually play music. Cecchetti and a dancer then played a piece of music they composed by dancing in front of the “Music Hall” installation. Gallery 2 held a sound installation entitled “Cetaceans” where a human choir sang like whales. This room was in darkness and you were encouraged to lay down and let the sounds wash over you. The third room had my favourite piece of collaborative work by Cecchetti. Oil paintings on crystal and rise paper hangs from a structure surrounding a piano meaning when people from the tour poured in and no matter where they stood they could see the works on the paper - even from the back where I stood. A synesthetic musician then sat at the piano and read the works like a sheet of music. Even by just watching the paintings you could follow the musician as they played and I found it totally engrossing. Probably the best show featuring audience participation I’ve seen.


Not Half Right

Jane McCormick

Atypical Gallery, Belfast

12/11/18 - 21/12/18

I stumbled into the Atypical gallery on my way to see the MAC international exhibition (which had incredible works by Ali Cherri, Aisling O’Beirn and the winner Nikolaus Gansterer) and hadn’t any preconceived notions what “Not Half Right” by Jane McCormick contained. What I came across was an incredibly strong practice that explores deeply personal and intimate issues in a scarily wide range of media. Medicine bottles with text and images of children replaced the label. A heart shaped box with tablets instead of chocolates resonated with me. It was humorous and darkly menacing at the same time. Is it a comment on today’s ‘there’s a pill for that’ culture, a love note to how medication has helped the artist or something else? You can’t help but bring your own experience to the work here. The self portrait drawings on what McCormick calls “useless articles and medically-related tat” are visceral, bold and expresses the frustrating and tiring nature of the “never ending search for ‘the cure’”.

RDH: 01/11/18 - 30/11/18

02/11/18

… all but done…

03/11/18

Do I need a foreign colour? “Afore the Stoop” went in a slightly different direction than first thought. I think I had that quote by Helen Johnson still ringing in my ears about imagery possessing different surface qualities and being on different registers on the same picture plane.

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The buzzard is still; hovering overhead while the still-life is in flux. Melting in on itself. To not just merge separate imagery on the one canvas but to treat them differently via technique. I’ve done this regularly in the past but never to this extent before and definitely not on this scale. There’s loads going on: blocked areas, melting, washes and burning/corroding of the surface for texture.

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Confessional” is a different beast altogether. It’s going to be a slower process - building up washes of colour, drawing elements back in followed by more washes until it comes to an end or a crossroads. So far so good. It’s not really a colliding of images. It’s the notion of what a negative of a pattern could do to another image.

Refreshing to see organisations opening doors. The model is being altered.

04/11/18

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Kept hearing the shrieking of a buzzard every time I went to work on “Afore the Stoop”. When I looked it was perched on top of the tallest tree at the end of the lane and then glided off.

06/11/18

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Some sketchbook work. Not a lot of time but that’s my fault.

09/11/18

HELP!

10/11/18

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For studio work: cautious steps or daring leaps? Annoyingly close to finishing “ATS”.

Submission writing hurts my head.

11/11/18

Films to watch:

‘Deer Hunter’

‘Inland Empire’

‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’

’Kill List’

‘Enemy’

‘Fruitvale Station’

‘Green Room’

‘Silence’

Finished “ATS”. Still bits that annoy but for the sake of not destroying it entirely, I don’t mind the imperfections.

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Help has been indispensable.

12/11/18

Still waiting on magazine.

13/11/18

Egon Shiele Documentary - transcending the idea of the body as beauty.

15/11/18

Nothing.

16/11/18

Belfast bound for curator talks but looking forward to visiting some galleries first.

Jane McCormick’s “Not Half Right” at the University of Atypical  was absolutely amazing. Insanely strong drawing and sculptural elements.

Jane McCormick’s “Not Half Right” at the University of Atypical was absolutely amazing. Insanely strong drawing and sculptural elements.

Ali Cherri  in the MAC International 2018. His work was the stand out work for me.

Ali Cherri in the MAC International 2018. His work was the stand out work for me.

Curator talks as part of Belfast Open Studios from  Visual Artists Ireland  offices. Speaking at the event: Nora Hickey from  CCI in Paris , Ika Sienkiewicz-Nowacka from  CCA Warsaw , Dean Brierley from  Caustic Coastel  in Manchester and Anna Ciabach - formally of  Monopol Gallery  in Warsaw.

Curator talks as part of Belfast Open Studios from Visual Artists Ireland offices. Speaking at the event: Nora Hickey from CCI in Paris, Ika Sienkiewicz-Nowacka from CCA Warsaw, Dean Brierley from Caustic Coastel in Manchester and Anna Ciabach - formally of Monopol Gallery in Warsaw.

17/11/18

Work is being used as an example to show other artists about finding your own voice. Chuffed.

…someone has been keeping an eye on my progress and that is something!

Another trip to Belfast for more galleries and then a Speed Curating event.

Gerard Carson ’s “Submersible Extractions” in  Platform .

Gerard Carson’s “Submersible Extractions” in Platform.

Still of  Barbara Hammer ’s work at the Golden Thread Gallery exhibition.

Still of Barbara Hammer’s work at the Golden Thread Gallery exhibition.

Layout of the ‘Speed Curating’ event by VAI held in  Belfast Exposed .

Layout of the ‘Speed Curating’ event by VAI held in Belfast Exposed.

18/11/18

It has been a hectic but brilliant few days. Yesterday I called into Platform to see Gerard Carson’s “Submersible Extractions” and a solo show by Dryden Wilson. I followed this up by a quick look at the Barbara Hammer exhibition and Patrick Colhoun’s project space work in the Golden Thread Gallery. Then it was time for the speed curating event at Belfast Exposed.


… do research. What artists i admire….

…Strange. Nothing negative. Just nothing.

A lot of information. A real painter?

19/11/18

“In Defence of Representation” essay by Tristan Garcia.
In western philosophy the representational object is either a copy, a sign or a duplex.

“… according to the semiotic model, there is no representation without signification, that is to say without interpretation.” - Tristan Garcia

20/11/18

“Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” - Screen (1973)

“The Victim” - Saul Bellow

21/11/18

Tried sketchbook work - failed miserably.

23/11/18

Projection onto fog screen.

24/11/18

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Thunderchild?

Line of connection between viewer and work - GO’H

Ask the question: what do you see?

25/11/18

Yesterday I eventually got painting around lunchtime - back and forth with ‘Confessional’ but progress made.  Great talk with GO’H about ‘the gaze’.

Leaf blowing.

27/11/18

Need to select paintings for Framewerk Christmas show.

28/11/18

“The Trouble with Painting” - ICA (YouTube)

“What you’re interested in in the world will feed back into what you are interested in as an artist.” - Alison Pilkington

…speaking about dreams, a quote from Alison Pilkington’s drawing seminar from the RHA really stuck out.  I’m paraphrasing here but the guts of it is this:  talking to people about why you make the work you do (or about your inspirations for that matter) is like talking to people about your dreams.  People aren’t overly interested when someone else describes a dream.  It’s subjective and personal and it’s all but impossible to get the experience across properly.

Sketchbook work.

Sketchbook work.

29/11/18

A difficult few weeks to come.

VAI Speed Curating: Nov 2018

On Saturday 17th November, Visual Artists Ireland held a Speed Curating event in Belfast Exposed Gallery as part of their Belfast Open Studios 2018 programme. It was great to get a chance to speak to curators both from here and also based further afield: Manchester, Paris, Warsaw and Rome.

For artists, I can’t recommend taking part in events like this highly enough. Thanks to Rob, Chris and Siobhán from VAI and to all the curators for their time and feedback!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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20/10/18

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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!

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28/10/18

Slept so much. Slow progress but progress nonetheless.

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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

Into The Void: Issue 10

I’m thrilled to have been selected as a contributor to the latest issue of Into the Void Magazine which is “an award-winning print and online literary magazine and small press publisher dedicated to providing a platform for world-class fiction, flash, creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual art”.

The stunning cover for Issue 10 is titled “Behind a Bush” by Hanna Ilczyszyn.

Details of my selected work can be viewed here.

Print copies of the issue can be purchased here.

Many thanks to the staff at Into the Void and especially to the editor-in-chief Philip Elliott for allowing my work on their beautiful platform.

behind-a-bush-by-Hanna-Ilczyszyn

RDH: 01/09/18 - 30/09/18

01/09/18

Detail work to “AMATGS” today.

Detail work to “AMATGS” today.

02/09/18

Lifting unselected works from Belfast.

Lifting unselected works from Belfast.

03/09/18

No point in worrying about things out of your control. Took a while but made good progress in the studio. Gently does it.

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Sculpture on my mind.

04/09/18

…mad to think I have two solo shows coming…

Tinker + Research + Ideas = …

What box?

05/09/18

Detail of sketchbook work.

Detail of sketchbook work.

NB: Sketch from objects?

08/09/18

ideas: …soft pink highlights… hints of sandals… bruised colour…

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Steps in the right direction. Had a notion to put trees in the background - the nothingness was annoying me. After that attempt and then a further attempt to incorporate reflective lines, i think blank is good. There is plenty going on in and amongst the three figures so to try and confuse it with more ammo may be a mistake.

Gathered objects for perusal. Baby steps.

Gathered objects for perusal. Baby steps.

09/09/18

Seneca on anger documentary. Nero’s tutor. People get angry because they are too hopeful - be more pessimistic and less surprised for misfortune.

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Be psychologically prepared from when things go wrong. Dark Symbol - Rudder

“What need is there to weep over parts of life, the whole of it calls for tears.” - Seneca

10/09/18

Playing about with mirror effects.

Playing about with mirror effects.

Change to background. Neutral this time and I think it will work. There was a muck up when I went to put the blood moon back in and I tried to rectify the warmer tones on the upper right or the neutral colour but was then reminded of a quote by Rose Wylie: “I think you’re a lot happier if you don’t mind a bit of imperfection.” It feeds into the Seneca documentary from last night.

11/09/18

Another day filled with distractions.

12/09/18

Eventually got round to doing some sketchbook development.

Eventually got round to doing some sketchbook development.

An afternoon of application submissions and sketchbook studies.

15/09/18

Detail of recently finished painting.

Detail of recently finished painting.

Finished “A Manifold and Truly Glorious Strife.”

16/09/18

A lazy day.

17/09/18

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Some interest. Started triptych.

23/09/18

Amazing weekend at the Loughlin wedding!

Amazing weekend at the Loughlin wedding!

24/09/18

Jan mentioned something that I think is important. Doing a little something everyday - even if you think there is no point - is better than doing nothing at all.

25/09/18

A weird impromptu visit. Well-intentioned but very sceptical.

26/09/18

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The only absolute constant is change.

29/09/18

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Painting Peer Critique Session went really well in the Golden Thread Gallery. Hoping it grows and develops.

30/09/18

Studio work. “Pioneer Studies” - good start. Haven’t done a triptych in a few years. Third canvas is all but there.

Close up of one of the “Pioneer Studies” - work in progress.

Close up of one of the “Pioneer Studies” - work in progress.

"Procession Study"

The image from Procession study takes inspiration from a still of the 1964 film “The Masque of the Red Death” which is based on a short story by Edgar Allen Poe of the same name. The film is dated and garish but does have some interesting visuals.

Still from “The Masque of the Red Death” 1964 film.

Still from “The Masque of the Red Death” 1964 film.

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I first explored this image in 2017. In my sketchbook (above) I pared the image down to the three component parts; land, sky and figures and ignored nearly all detail. It was then projected up onto a large canvas. Below is the reveal of the figures once the background was applied.

Sadly the painting didn’t go any further and I set the image aside until recently. I decided to do the opposite of last year’s attempt and work on a small study with the figures facing the other way. The sky soon became convoluted so it was then pulled back to neutral tones.

“Procession Study”  Oil and Charcoal on Canvas  ©2018

“Procession Study”

Oil and Charcoal on Canvas

©2018

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

01/08/18

Blog generally.

03/08/18

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.

04/08/18

'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

05/08/18

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

06/08/18

Bits that work and bits that don't.

Bits that work and bits that don't.

08/08/18

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

09/08/18

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.

11/08/18

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..

12/08/18

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?

13/08/18

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

14/08/18

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

15/08/18

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?!

16/08/18

...waiting on submission is tortuous.

17/08/18

A strange seed.

A strange seed.

Trying very hard not to get ahead of myself.

Sketchbook work.

Sketchbook work.

18/08/18

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.

20/08/18

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.

22/08/18

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.

23/08/18

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.

24/08/18

Prioritise / Lists - allow for flexibility.

25/08/18

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";

26/08/18

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.

27/08/18

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

28/08/18

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.

29/08/18

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?

30/08/18

Cat is missing.

31/08/18

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

Knowing When to Stop

Cy Twombley once said "it's absurd to talk about paintings that you haven't finished".  With that in mind I'm going to talk about paintings that I haven't finished.

No matter how long you have been painting, there is always a danger of overworking a canvas.  The feeling of losing something that had promise at some stage isn't pleasant but I think its important to look at these errors and, all being well, aim to avoid them in future works.

Early stage of "The Vanity Fair" (inspired by a section of John Bunyan's "The Pilgrim's Progress".&nbsp; The bunting and sky is light and the upper figure is visible through the clouds.

Early stage of "The Vanity Fair" (inspired by a section of John Bunyan's "The Pilgrim's Progress".  The bunting and sky is light and the upper figure is visible through the clouds.

The sky has become muddy, the upper figure has all but been resorted to an illustration and the lower figure's skin tones are overworked and crowded.

The sky has become muddy, the upper figure has all but been resorted to an illustration and the lower figure's skin tones are overworked and crowded.

The child's skin tones and using primary colours in the amputee figure worked in the earlier stage.  In an attempt to unify the images it all became washed out.  The one section that survived is the child's arm which was quickly removed from the rest.

"The Woman With the Dogs" is probably a work that I will come back to at some point.  The dog in the earlier stage is melting into the portrait and has very few marks.  In trying to bring out the woman's face more, it eventually became overworked with too much happening in the image as a whole.  The drips were the final nail in the coffin - for now.


Seven Months Later...

Slieve Gallion ('the mountain of the heights' in Gaelic) is a peak at the south end of the Sperrin mountains which straddle Derry and Tyrone in the North West of Northern Ireland.  It can be seen from my home and I have fond memories of family members telling stories and singing "Slieve Gallion Braes" when growing up.

Usually the longest it would take to finish a painting would be three months.  If you include the hiatus the canvas took in March, April and part of May then from beginning to end "The Mountain of the Heights" took seven months.  I usually merge imagery but here I was unsure.  I experimented adding a mother and child image but this took away from the original image so I eventually decided the mountain needed to stand on its own.

 

 

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

"Cult" - Work in Progress

"Cult"&nbsp;  WORK IN PROGRESS

"Cult"  WORK IN PROGRESS

This is a paint study of a sketch from seven years ago.  I came across an image of a Holy festival in Seville that dates back to the 16th Century - a long time before the Ku Klux Klan donned regalia which bares a strong resemblance.