Working ‘En Plein Air’

I’ve been doing a lot of ‘en plein air’ painting recently. There’s no doubt about it -it’s a beneficial exercise. Painting outdoors and in public hones your drawing and painting skills -and frankly; gets you noticed. The weather has finally settled into something like a summer and it’s good to get out and about.

I also enjoy talking to passers-by. I’ve never really had anybody cause problems although I know an artist who has had one twit get all aerated because he thought he was in the painting and managed to convince a guard (a second twit) to move the painter along. What an absolute pair of berks.

I’ve just had a relatively easy week, though. I’ve been at the fantastic Cill Rialaig Artists’ Retreat and had the time and freedom to explore the gorgeous county around South Kerry.

Anyway; I teach this stuff and if you want to have a go, have a look at my teaching web site, www.McSherryStudio.com

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.

‘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: KevinMcSherryArtist@gmail.com

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:

Ultramarine
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 kevin@mcsherry.ie?

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

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,



Philippe


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.