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. 

OPIUM. Portraiture Presentation Artworks in Acrylics on Paper

Vintage Roadster portrait: An imaginative and artistic way to create portraiture for execs who are moving on. Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique and Memorable
Vintage Roadster portrait in acrylics: An imaginative and artistic way to create portraiture for execs who are moving on. Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique and Memorable

In response to all that’s GUBU here on the Emerald Isle (to those outside of Ireland, GUBU is an acronym first used during a late 1980s political scandal: Grotesque; Unprecedented; Bizarre and Unbelievable – and it never seems to stop), I have my own newly-coined acronym for these hand-painted gift artworks: OPIUM: Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique; Memorable.

I should add; addictive but that quality is inherent in the word and it would mess up my lovely new acronym.

Let me explain: I create these unique artworks to order, usually for retiring or otherwise departing executives. These projects are fun -with all the secret meetings and development, sketches and the growing feelings of expectation -and the party at the end where the presentation of the framed art is made.

 L'Eschappé Belle portrait in acrylics: An imaginative and artistic way to create portraiture for execs who are moving on. Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique and Memorable
L’Eschappé Belle portrait in acrylics: An imaginative and artistic way to create portraiture for execs who are moving on. Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique and Memorable

So, I’m after all the PAs I can get my hands on (so to speak). That’s my goal. PAs are the ‘go-to’ people when an unusual project comes up within a company: Something like procuring a retirement or departing gift for an executive, for example. The HR department is another source, since most companies don’t have an art or design department. The ‘finding a present’ brief doesn’t really fit the remit of any particular section of a company.

The difficulty is always what to get for this person who has most  things already. A nice pen? A gold watch? A bunch of flowers? A crystal vase? These items are all very lovely but they either don’t last or they’re very unoriginal. Or both.

Hot Water Review portrait in acrylics: An imaginative and artistic way to create portraiture for execs who are moving on. Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique and Memorable
Hot Water Review portrait in acrylics: An imaginative and artistic way to create portraiture for execs who are moving on. Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique and Memorable

So how about a present of OPIUM? Each original painting is tailored exactly to fit the individual: it’s personal and includes elements that refer to the person’s character, wishes and achievements. Unlike a gold watch, this is imaginative; it places the person in the context of their interests -a relevant (though invented) magazine or book cover: Don’t we all want to make the front cover of  a book? Each artwork is unique; there is only one of these in the entire world which can’t be said of a crystal vase, set of golf clubs or a gold watch…
Which brings us to Memorable. This is a memento -a thoughtful gift from colleagues to a valued member of the team which will be cherished for ever.

So if you’re a PA or an HR type who’s been charged with coming up with a gift, give me a call on 086 247 0737 and we can talk. Even if you know someone who is in that position, do pass on my name and number: +353 (0)86 247 0737 or email: kevin@mcsherry.ie I’d love to talk to you…

So; please share…

Illustrators Guild of Ireland Show at Luan Gallery. Press Release


The Luan Gallery is delighted to announce its winter exhibition for 2016 entitled Without the Words. Celebrating the art of illustration, Without the Words is a group exhibition selected especially for Luan Gallery which showcases the brightest talents of Irish Illustration today.
Showing works by a variety of artists, Without the Words includes samples by both established and high profile illustrators as well as emerging creative talents and forms a celebration of visual storytelling and the imagination.

Without the Words
 is an exhibition inspired by a line from Emily Dickinson’s well loved poem: ‘Hope is the Thing with Feathers’.
Margaret Anne Suggs, Illustrators Ireland Promotions Officer says:

‘In most circumstances an illustrator will respond to a brief which is communicated either through written or spoken word. As supporters of visual literacy, Illustrators Ireland propose to tell our visual stories, putting the pictures first- without the words. Here we tell our stories; visually stimulating the imagination to respond by creating an individual narrative, not a prescribed story’.


Illustrators Ireland is a community of professional illustrators working together to actively promote the craft and art form that is illustration. Members offer a wealth of combined experience and amongst those exhibiting include Kate Greenaway Medalist and current Laureate na nÓg PJ Lynch, former Laureate na nÓg Niamh Sharkey, and 2016 CBI Book of the Year Nominee Lauren O’Neill. With over 40 members’ work on exhibition, visitors are invited to find their own narratives within the original works.

The show combines computer generated imagery with traditionally executed drawings to present an assortment of colourful scenes and images to ignite imagination and discussion.

Aedín McGinn, Luan Gallery says:

‘We are thrilled to present this exhibition and showcase the wonderful variety of works by Illustrators Ireland. Throughout the course of the exhibition, Luan Gallery is offering up its River Gallery space to a participatory project entitled ‘The Big Picture’ in conjunction with Laureate na nÓg PJ Lynch. Here, visitors to the exhibition will be invited to add their own illustrations directly to the wall, responding to the works on show and resulting in one large evolving time based mural. So come one, come all and draw on the gallery wall!’


Speakers at the official exhibition launch include: Aoife Murry from Children’s Books Ireland, Margaret Anne Suggs from Illustrators Ireland and PJ Lynch, current Laureate na nÓg.

The exhibition will open on November 5th at 6pm with a wine reception to which all are welcome and continues until 27th January 2017.

The Manhattan Fish Project

There’s an Illustrators Guild of Ireland group show coming up soon (I’ll keep you posted). It’ll be in the Luan gallery in Athlone to begin with but will then swim around the country. The IGI has done quite a bit of that kind of thing; it works a treat to get the membership known more widely.

I had the presence of mind to film part of the process of making this painting only at the outset -as usual, I then became embroiled in the little world I was creating and forgot about the camera. Still, that makes for a short, easy to view movie. It’s only a minute long although the artwork took about twelve hours to complete. There’s a bit of lively, upbeat jazz to help you with your viewing, so if you’re at work, do turn the volume down!

An acrylics on paper absurdist painting of a fish for an exhibition with the Illustrators Guild of Ireland and Luan Gallery in Athlone.
An acrylics on paper absurdist painting of a fish for an exhibition with the Illustrators Guild of Ireland and Luan Gallery in Athlone.

I painted a complete underpainting in monochrome first, which is a technique that I’m currently teaching in my art class (it’s the friendliest and best art class in the entire world!). The method is very popular with my students as you can provide yourself with a lovely ‘safety net’ before you ever embark on the colour work.

Speaking of nets; this art is for a curated show, so everyone has to submit their work for review, so there is the possibility of rejection and being thrown back in the lake. Fins crossed.

You’ve probably noticed that the background isn’t New York or London -I made it up, but it does have the big city feel about it. I fancied that the fish could be some kind of Don Draper figure, arriving in Manhattan to his ad agency. A big fish in a huge pond. After all, the piece does have a kind of fifties retro feel.

Le Retour de PencilBoy

We just got back from France on a late flight last night. A long journey to Beauvais airport from Merlimont in 30º heat and back to half that in Dublin. Still, it’s great to be home, whatever the weather. A few weeks ago, I slammed the seat of my motorbike down on top of my lovely smartphone and, wait for it…then rode off for about twenty miles before I needed to call home and couldn’t find my phone. After going through the usual process of patting my pockets and shuffling around in small circles looking in the grass at the roadside, I realised what I’d done. There was my phone, wedged nicely at the hinge end of the seat. I stared at the mangled phone and made tiny sobbing noises for a while. I also uttered very many oaths and curse-words but to no avail. 

The upshot is, I was mostly offline for the week in France, which turned out to be a good thing as I wasn’t peering into the screen looking for signs of work projects which weren’t there anyway. I used instead, an old Nokia phone which we keep as a backup for my frequent phone mishaps.  I find it amazing how I’ve been seduced by the promise of always-on connectivity. I felt bereft because I couldn’t post anything to social media. Pathetic.

So, I’ve made a decision and it’s final: I’m going straight out this afternoon to buy another smartphone.

Below is a drawing from my sketchbook. It’s cross-hatched using a fine-line pen. I was leafing through a French copy of Graffiti Art Magazine and came across an artist from Catalonia who calls himself Popay. It’s difficult sifting through another language for details when you’re standing in the middle of a newsagent’s shop reading the magazines when they want you to actually buy one.  After seeing the €7.90 price tag, I spent some time pretending to browse other magazines and then patting my pockets as if I’d forgotten my wallet, I exited the shop, replete with half-learned information. (The things I do for research, honestly: I should be awarded with l’Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur for services to art.) There were some drawings of Popay’s reproduced amongst all the colour work. I really liked them and that sparked off a series of sketches in my sketchbook.

Sir William Marshall at Microcosm: Kilkenny Arts Festival

This is my contribution to the Illustrators Guild of Ireland show at the Island Mill in Thomastown, co. Kilkenny. The show, entitled Microcosm, runs from Aug 5 to 14. You can get more details here: https://www.facebook.com/grennanmillcraft/?fref=ts

This shows the bould Sir William in the famous hurling match between Kilkenny and Tipperary in 1214. Kilkenny pipped it as they had heavier cavalry and crossbows.

Acrylics on Arches watercolour paper. A5.

Making a 5 Colour Linocut Print. Halcyon

5 Colour Linocut

Click on the above picture as it’s actually a slideshow. ^

I’m currently engaged in making another linocut limited edition print (of 25). I wanted to make the description of the kingfisher a little simpler as I have only 5 flat colours to work with. Also, I had to make a jig to make registering the plates more accurate and not have the colours printing in the wrong place.

I chose to print on a fine grain watercolour paper instead of a smooth one as I want to see texture rather than a purely flat colour. This introduces yet another variable to the process which makes each print unique.

3 of these are already sold.

The image is roughly A5 on an A3 sheet of Fabriano fine grain 140lb watercolour paper.  Signed and embossed with my studio stamp.

“Halcyon”. Unframed €95. Order this handmade, original print here on Etsy.

Gallxit

So that’s the end of my solo show in Harold’s Cross. Feeling very wistful today -I liked being in the space and having friends and randomers strolling in, talking about art, Brexit and football.
A fellow artist arrived in last night to collect something from me just before I closed and as I talked, I could feel the energy draining from me (nothing to do with him!) it’s just that as it finished, all my alertness and tension fell away. By tomorrow I’ll be comatose!

So it’ll be on to the next project. La Galerie Impromptu will pop up again, next time as a community event. I’m writing a proposal to Culture Night to host a 6 Pack exhibition https://www.facebook.com/6PackCommunityProject/ 

Hopefully, the space won’t have been occupied by then -but there are no guarantees. In the pics I took over the week or so, I felt that the gallery looked just right in that spot. It had a kind of Continental look to it, tucked away in that corner; un petit coin du paradis
What do you think all of you out there in Dublin6land? Please ‘LIKE’ the 6 Pack project FB page at the above link.