Next weekend sees another annual ‘Towers and Tales’ literary festival in Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford. There is lots to do and loads of fun activities for children.
I’m very proud to have been invited to show in a group exhibition of Illustrators Guild of Ireland and some other artists, called, ‘Meet the Family’. Here’s my artwork in it’s new (read ‘Old’) frame. I’m really looking forward to seeing all the paintings in place.
As part of next weekend’s ‘Towers & Tales’ children’s books festival at Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford, several Irish artists and illustrators have been invited to show work on the theme, ‘ Meet the Family”.
Each artist has been given a personage who has stayed at Lismore over the centuries to depict. I was given Edward VII, and that’s him above. This piece is titled: “HM Dirigble, The Curragh Wren”. Acrylics on Arches Hot Pressed Watercolour paper. 25cm x 35cm. Framed behind glass.
Once again, the castle & historic town of Lismore provide the magical and inspirational setting for a celebration of books, stories and illustration for young audiences. As well as ticketed events featuring a line-up of best-selling Irish & international writers and illustrators, there are lots of free activities for families. So come along – listen to stories, meet the Gruffalo, hang out at the Woodshed Café, eat cake, eat more cake, don’t fall into the chocolate fountain, bring a book to swap, meet the authors & illustrators, visit the Book Doctor, or just wander around and soak up the ambience.
Towers and Tales was borne out of our shared vision that all children in Ireland should be gifted a book, a literacy fostering initiative that is successfully being delivered in over thirty countries worldwide, but not yet in Ireland. To reflect this wish, and thanks to Children’s Books Ireland, all young visitors to the festival will receive a book as a gift.
Reproduced from the ‘Our Community‘ page in the top menu.
I’m writing an open letter because you’re almost impossible to find. I think it’s vital that the environment in which we live contains art. We have plenty of places to eat. We can drink buckets of coffee. There are lots of shops where we can buy provisions. We have great pubs, enough accountants and enough solicitors and many estate agents. We all live together and share this locality.
What we have very little of is Beauty in our environment. Why not do what you can to make this place look better. Little things matter a great deal: just take a look at what Terenure Office Supplies do with their fabulous window displays for the children around Christmas and other significant occasions during the year. Magnificent. They deserve our full support.
This does matter. This activity brings joy -and that’s what will motivate people to turn up to our village centre and maybe even buy stuff -or rent our vacant properties!
Here in Terenure, (and indeed all over Ireland) we have lots of empty commercial buildings. Some have been vacant for manyyears. Why not use Art to show how a village could look? Just a thought. Use Art to create a buzz around the place. Show how the buildings look when in use and lit brightly. Give something back to the people who we rely on to support the businesses in our locality.
Take a moment to think about how it could be if we all pull together. Of course, I’m asking that this be done as a community service. I don’t have any money to pay for premises. I hardly have the money to pay my own mortgage; I just have my art, my enthusiasm and great connections to many wonderful, joyful artists with global reputations. I’m willing to muck in and organize a fantastic show for nothing; including sourcing print, putting together an opening party, publicising the event and manning the show for the duration of maybe a month. Will you muck in?
Have a look at the splendid video below, produced by the wonderful Sophie Spendel who’s over from Holland, a country where they celebrate creativity and beauty and community activism. It’s hard enough when the economy bursts -and then the clouds burst above us as they’re doing as I write. Why don’t we just celebrate life? Create something to see that takes us outside of mundanity? That’s why we work, isn’t it? To fund our lives outside of work.
I didn’t set out to write a letter like this; I was only going to have this page for the video but I became moved to do so after so many rejections and expressions of indifference. We owe this to ourselves, because we all have to live here. It can’t be that difficult.
After a couple of weeks away doing other work, I’ve started back on this charity project. As you can see, I’m taking my sweet time. It’s because I’m selfishly enjoying it so much -and nobody has given me a deadline!
But that’s the joy of this. I’m almost done with the front of the guitar; I’ve the back still to do. Then there’s all the lacquering…
The best place to start with a project like this is the café. Rathmines, inevitably; in the calming surrounds of Café Moda. Of course I forgot my sketchbook, so I had to run in to the Swan Centre to find a cheap one -and a pen.
This is more or less how I approach any applied art project. I used to just write lists of words which may or may not lead me to an idea. In recent years, I find this a better way of generating at least something. In the end, I went for a bird theme with a peacock, as you can hopefully see in the third picture. I’m in an avian groove! I should start tweeting a bit more…
I used a posca marker for that white line. I felt I needed to see how it will work at full size on the instrument itself. As you can see, it’s now completely covered with a spay-coat. This will just serve as a toned ground on which to work.
Oh and by the way, I’ve just invested in a new airbrush! Yup. I had one many years ago when I used to paint murals on scooters. I just can’t remember what happened to it. I most likely left it behind when I upped sticks and left London in 1988. Strangely enough, I brought the compressor with me, which I still have. Bananas. I’m going to use the airbrush for the general shapes in order to keep the job as flat as possible. The detailing will have to be done with a brush -but I’ll be using Golden liquid acrylics which will stay pretty flush.
When that arrives sometime next week, I can get down to the real work.
Do comment, if this project interests you; I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I’ve just received this guitar from Chris at the Musical Youth Foundation. It’s an all-working instrument: Not expensive but plays just fine and it’s in tune with itself, which is not always the case. I’ve added myself to the list of artists who will take on these projects to raise money for this cause. Here’s a bit about them from their web site:
The Musical Youth Foundation charity was established in 2009 as part of the Dublin City Soul Festival project and is the brainchild of festival founder and CEO Chris Maher. At the heart of the project is a deep desire to have a long-term positive impact on the local and wider community by providing children on the Island of Ireland with access to a musical education.
Chris Maher (Ambassador of Soul Music and an Honorary Tennessean!) is enthusiastic and passionate about using music as a way to empower all children on this island (that so often have precious little encouragement or opportunity in their lives). Music, like any other art, is a place where you can have some control and sense of ownership in life. Once you own the ability to create with your mind and your hands, you own everything.
Suddenly, I feel like a kid again because of this project -I know it’s going to take a great deal of work: Weeks – possibly months of activity, including learning how to approach the project in the first place (ie., which paints to use and how to varnish at the end, preparing the instrument itself for painting, sketching and developing the artistic direction. But I’m all enthused -some of Chris’s energy has rubbed off on me!
I want the instrument to remain as playable as possible, although I realise that there will be a dampening effect on the sound by the paint. I don’t want this to end up purely as a piece of art that hangs on a wall; I want it such that a player can take it down and use it in anger, so to speak. That’s a real challenge.
This is now the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, where Arf ‘I’m not Irish!’ Wellesley and Abba fought the combined legions of the French Empire under Napoleon Dynamite. There were some Prussians involved who turned up late/or just in time, whatever your point of view.
I wasn’t there, in fact. And neither were you. But for the Irish, it was a win-win/lose-lose situation considering we fought on both sides. Isn’t that a topsy-turvy way of going about? Not at all odd, really considering the circumstances in Ireland at the time.
So here are the lyrics of a song which has been passed down through two hundred years and which still ring true. If you think my painting is mad, try European politics:
The Wheels of the World
Come all you true sons of Erin; attend to these few simple lines: I’ll sing you a song about spinning. It was a good trade in old times. Some they spun worsted and yarn, and others they spun flax and tow. By experience, my friends, you may learn how the wheels of the world they do go.
Luther spun out his existence, and so did King Henry the Eighth. John Calvin by Satan’s temptation, their maxims he did imitate. Tom Cranmer he joined the new system, and swore he’d make spindles of steel. Pluto himself did assist them, perdition that turned their wheel.
CHORUS: So these are the wheels of the world, my friends, you must all understand. For three hundred years, they’ve been spinning destruction all over the land.
John Mitchell the brave son of Erin, declared that a spinner he’d be. He got all his wheels in full motion, his dear native land to set free. But Lord Clarendon the lieutenant, at spinning he was fully bent, And unto the Isle of Bermuda the sons of Hibernia were sent.
Lord Nelson he was a good spinner on board of the ship Victory. He was counted the greatest of spinners that ever set sail on the sea. His shipmen were all famous spinners. For Nelson they spun very well, But the French spun a ball in Trafalgar, and on the ship deck Nelson fell.
Billy Pitt too was a good spinner, and so was Lord Castlereagh. Sure they spun out the Union from Ireland. To England they shipped it away. Poor Billy spun out his existence, and banished in Charon’s old boat. Then Lord Castlereagh saved his distance, by cutting the rim of his throat.
Napoleon he was a good spinner, for freedom did always advance. Over deserts and great lofty mountains, he led on the brave sons of France. Old Wellington he went a-spinning. His wheels they were at Waterloo; But if Grouchy had never been bribed, the French would have split him in two.
Prince Albert came spinning to England. His wheel by a compass did steer. He spun out a queen for his consort, and some little thousands a year. John Bull must now go a-spinning. A few thousands more he must fork, For the Queen has another young son that was spun in the city of Cork.
The factory masters are spinning. Their wheels they are turning away, And now they are wanting their hands for to work thirteen hours a day. They don’t care a fig for the poor. They heed not their sighs nor their moans. They don’t care a pin if you work till you spin all the flesh off your bones.
The rich they are all famous spinners, and you are very well sure They are always contriving a scheme to crush down the rights of the poor. So if you’re compelled to go spinning, let each of your spindles be steel. Let “Liberty” then be your motto, and glory will turn your wheel. *** You can even hear a version of the song sung by the excellent Len Graham: https://beta.prx.org/stories/141307 Starts at 15mins 15secs.
Lorcan Walshe (Artist), Cllr Mary Freehill, Kevin McSherry (Artist), Anne Corrigan (Festival Committee), Eoin MacLochlainn (Artist & Curator of Exhibition)
Harold’s Cross Festival continues to be a success and to grow each year, thanks to the boundless energy of many local people; this year, artist Eoin MacLochlainn organized a small exhibition of local artists in the Victorian Tea Rooms at Mount Jerome. I was delighted to be involved.
My Catalogue for Alliance française Alliances en résonance Exhibition, Paris 2008
I was invited to show in this year’s Alliances en Résonance, held in the Alliance Française in the centre of Paris. Also showing will be Giles Norman, the Kinsale-based photographer. Representing other artistic disciplines will be The Walls and poet, Paul Muldoon.
I created several new pieces -you can see them if you download the catalogue of my work here
The general theme is built around my other passion, namely Irish traditional music. All the names are taken from the canon of tunes. It has always interested and delighted me that the names of tunes are an almost separate entity from the tunes themselves [save for some, for example, Roudledum, which is a verbal expression of the slip-jig rhythm]. The Gudgeon of Maurice’s Car, however, must recall some incident which is lost to memory, unless someone can remind us? Do cars still have gudgeons?
The event is an invitation to Paris and the promotion of Irish Artists throughout a week of Irish Cultural Events organised by the Fondation Alliance Française and the Alliance Française Dublin. Its aim is to broaden and enhance the long-standing friendship that exists between Ireland, France and other French-speaking countries of the world. It helps to enrich the knowledge of the respective Arts.
The event take place from the 20th to 25th of May 2008. Vive l’Alliance Française!