Never Mind the Testiculation

I was over in London last weekend, on an invitation by a friend to go and see The Stranglers. I was an ardent fan around the late seventies so I was dubious about going to see them now, especially as Hugh Cornwell left the band some years ago. Cornwell, with his sinister vocal sound, seems to me to be irreplaceable. Sure enough, their new lead singer [Let’s call him Nugh Cornwell] crashed through songs that should only be sung by Cornwell himself, and moved the group into the territory usually occupied by tribute bands. No more heroes indeed.

On another note, I learned a new word, ‘testiculation’. A friend of mine explained, during a mouth-melting curry engagement, that it means ‘talking bollocks while waving your arms around’.

The Artist’s Studio

The Artist's Studio, Aideen Avenue. En plein air landscape oil painting.
The Artist’s Studio, Aideen Avenue. Oils on canvas. 16″ x 12″

I took advantage of the fine weather this afternoon and set up my easel in my own garden. I enjoyed myself so much I lost track of time; by the time I applied the last stroke I was tired -and cold from standing in one spot for a couple of hours. I’m delighted with the way it turned out -just wonky enough to satisfy my desire not to become overly descriptive.

On another note -or rather more of the same note, I signed up to Art in the Open, the en plein air painting festival in Wexford. It’s on from July 27 – August 5 and I’m very excited to be a part of it.

GDP: An Explanation

I’ve spent some considerable amount of time delving into the world of economics, also known as, ‘The Dismal Science’. Here’s my explanation of the term, ‘Gross Domestic Product’. It’s gross; there’s a lot of it about; it’s all true. Just walk down the street and you’ll see the little bags of GDP left around by Generous Dog Proprietors. It is dismal.

You’re welcome.

Gross domestic product an explanation

‘Crois Chéasta Chill Rialaig 1’ Carved early Irish Christian stone.

'Crois Chéasta Chill Rialaig 1' Carved early Irish Christian stone. Print by Kevin McSherry
‘Crois Chéasta Chill Rialaig 1’ Carved early Irish Christian stone. Print by Kevin McSherry
There are two standing stones with crucifixes carved into them at the ancient Cill Rialaig monastic site on Bolus Head, County Kerry. These are very early monuments in Irish Christianity -perhaps from around 500 AD. They both face west but the crosses are described differently. I’ll make an artwork inspired by the other one as I go on. I was lucky to have my eldest daughter, Mathilde with me. She’s studying ancient and medieval art and culture in Trinity, so I got an informed opinion on the subject into the bargain.
We scouted around the chaos of tumbled and weathered stones for a while, indulging ourselves with fantasies of how the settlement must have looked in its heyday; but the rain fell down on us and we started to lose the light. I discovered my hiking boots weren’t as watertight as they should be, but I endured for the sake of Culture!
Print: Hand inked and coloured in Affinity Designer. It will be a limited edition of 125 on Hahnemuhle German Etching paper by The Copperhouse . Signed, numbered and titled, ‘Crois Chéasta Chill Rialaig 1’ (that’s a working title until I can verify the Irish.) 8″ x 10″

8″ x 10″

The City

I was invited to submit works based around the theme ‘The City’ to le Louvre open submissions show in Paris. Acrylics on canvas. 12″ x 26″.

Limited edition (50), numbered and hand-signed museum-quality archival giclée prints with an edition certificate (Hahnemuhle German Etching fine art paper) available directly from me:

The City. Acrylics on canvas painting for le Louvre open submissions show.
The City. Acrylics on canvas painting for le Louvre open submissions show.

The City. Acrylics on canvas painting in frame for le Louvre open submissions show.

Brunaille: Next week’s demonstration of a Monochrome Underpainting

A Brunaille: technique of making a warm, monochrome underpainting
A Brunaille: technique of making a warm, monochrome underpainting

If you want to try out this technique of making a warm, monochrome underpainting at next week’s class, you will need the following tubes of ACRYLIC paint:

Burnt Siena
Flesh Tint (Winsor & Newton) or Warm Bright Yellow (Sennelier)
Titanium White

This technique provides you with a great big safety net for you when you get to the point of adding colour by glazing -and the results can be beautifully rich and lustrous. I often use this method in my hand painted illustrations as I can get the whole work planned out in monochrome before committing to colour. In the image above, I didn’t even glaze colour and left the brunaille as it was -I thought colour would detract from this one. If you’d like me to hold a demonstration in your area, why not drop me a line at

Brunaille: Underpainting in warm monochrome.
Grisaille: Underpainting in cool monochrome.

Future Past

Lately I’ve been looking though past blog posts to see how things were once. I haven’t ever done much for the children’s book market but I did try to promote myself in that area. This is a self-promotional piece in acrylics from 2006. I enjoyed the painting and also making up the little rhyme to go with it. I don’t think I’d do it this way now and would be far more likely to work digitally:
Once for the Childer. From 2006

My good rep in Toronto Three In A Box., produces a themed promotional book every year aimed at certain segments of the market. These books are branded as ‘Box Lunches’ and the current one is the fourth. Anyhuff, the theme this time is ‘Childhood’ and the attached pic is my contribution. I never saw myself as a children’s book illustrator so when I told Denis Goodbody of Adept Advertising he expressed surprise. He’s right, of course. Certainly what I do engages with the child inside of the reader -even at the level of the business/financial work that I do. Furthermore, my own lovely wife consistently points out my childish behaviour. Consider that we all grew up in our pre-school years with picture-books being our chief means of getting the sense out of print. We all have these absurd self-images and it’s about time we burst them. Perhaps we can meet up and burst each other’s absurd self-images. Say, next Wednesday? Good. see you then.

I enjoyed this project immensely. Obviously, you can’t have too many robots.

Kevin the Magnificent,
King of all the ‘bots,
He has multitude of them
(that means lots and lots)

They spring out of his picture-books,
And from amongst the toys,
To do their monarch’s bidding,
(That means lots of noise).

Who knows; it may go on to form part of a book itself…hmmm…

(It never did…)

A Popular Mechanic. A Presentation Portrait Artwork.

A presentation artwork in acrylics on paper, framed and presented to M. Philippe Milloux, director of the Alliance française, Dublin
A presentation artwork in acrylics on paper, framed and presented to M. Philippe Milloux, director of the Alliance française, Dublin

A very satisfying and enjoyable project reached its conclusion last Friday. The Director of the Alliance Française, Philippe Milloux, has just completed his term at the Alliance and is moving on to an even more exalted position in Paris. I think it’s very useful to show you something of the planning, care and attention to that what went into it from me and the group of his colleagues who clubbed together to commission this art.

As usual, in preparation for the composition, I interviewed his colleagues and tried to get a picture of how he could be best represented. Part of the work that Philippe carried out over the last few years was to restructure the Alliance and make sure it remains a healthy and vibrant institution into the future. Happily, I also discovered that he has always had an interest in car mechanics and has been fixing them since he was ten years old, since his father was a car mechanic.

My objective with these artworks is to make a gift that is unique, imaginative and personal. There is only ONE of these in the world; unlike a gold watches; golf clubs; crystal vases or any other repetitious and unimaginative bauble. This image says something about his time at Dublin AF (he fixed it) and Ireland, it also reaches into his family history. He told me that his dad wore the blue mechanic’s boiler suit every day to work. Philippe is a natty dresser, too and always looked to me as if he’d just stepped out of a jazz club (niiiice!). He’s seldom seen out and about without his cool hat and of course, that went into the painting too.

In short; This gift is a portrait. It’s inextricably linked to its subject, it will keep renewing itself as Philippe progresses through his career. It will always remind him of his happy time in Ireland, his dear colleagues and reflect his own interests and family history. The whole project took about 3 weeks to complete, which takes into account meetings, sketching, amendments, painting and framing. What more could you ask of a parting gift? You can see more examples of these projects at this link.  Phone me on +353 (0)86 247 0737

A letter from Philippe to his colleagues:

I did not really have time last Friday to tell you how much this surprise -and what a surprise as you all noticed. I was so touched.

I was very happy to be able to spend this moment with you all, I look back on all that we have accomplished in the Alliance and I treasured my chance to have you by my side throughout these five years. From the moment I arrived in Ireland, and even in the most difficult moments, I came to work every morning with the desire to strive for and accomplish everything that we started almost as soon as I arrived.

Kevin’s painting which I’ll adore, will be in place in my office on the 6th floor of the Foundation in Paris, so I’ll always think of you and Dublin .

With my best memory,


And now some images of the project as it progressed:

Initial pencil sketch to show idea for the presentation artwork in acrylics on paper.
Initial sketch to show idea for the presentation artwork in acrylics on paper.
Sketch worked up to client’s amendments

presentation artwork in acrylics on paper.
Painting underway on Arches watercolour paper stretched on board.

presentation artwork in acrylics on paper.
Back from the framer.

M. Philippe Milloux at the presentation lunch with his portrait artwork.
M. Philippe Milloux at the presentation lunch with his portrait artwork.