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.

Puffins Puffins Puffins

Well, there’s only 14 days to go before the Fundit.ie deadline…at 36% of funding right now…must…have…contingency…plan…
Things are hotting up, chez McSherry. 

Meanwhile, here’s a picture of a very handsome man with a painting superglued to his trousers.

If you’d like to help him unglued the painting from his pants and stop him walking around Dublin like a puffin, you can support this exhibition and be REWARDED:

Flights of Fancy: An Exhibition of Paintings. Harold’s Cross. June 16-26

If you would like to collaborate in this show, please visit my Fundit.ie Campaign page to see what rewards I’m offering!


La Galerie Impromptu (286c Harold’s Cross Road -right beside The Brick House Café). 

Opening at 6.30pm Thursday June 16. By invitation only. Exhibition runs until June 26.


About the exhibition 


Each year, I hold an exhibition that is completely independent of the gallery system to focus on exploring what’s essential in my work, free of external pressures. This is my annual Special Show where you can see me as I am. 
This time, It’s going to be a popup gallery! The owner of Rosie O’Grady’s bar in Harold’s Cross has very generously offered out one of his adjacent units; a shop that fronts onto the main street. It will be over this unit that I will hang the ‘La Galerie Impromptu banner.


As an artist, I’m not only interested in the imaginative and conceptual nature of my art; I’m dedicated to the craft side too. For me they’re indivisible. I have always wanted to create things with mind AND my hands. My influences are broad: Hopper, definitely; classical painters for their level of craft but also the surrealists. More strongly though, by so-called Pop Culture. I just love great illustration work. The imagination and highly accomplished artistry.

So this is my one-man Cultural Event. These are my Flights of Fancy. This is my own personal Milan and Paris fashion show.


The work in this show is an eclectic mix  -works completed in the last year or so. Although there’s no common theme, one thing that re-occurs is that of flight. Flying racing fish; dirigible cricketers; gilded birds and flighty notions.


So, feathered friends; I’m offering you the opportunity to become an integral part of this show: Proceeds from this crowd-funding campaign will cover the costs of framing, refreshments for the opening and talks, publicity and printing of a catalogue and other printed material. In return, my flock, I shall reserve a special place for you in my heart and in the lush pastures, fragrant forests and cool mountains of this benevolent and expanding land, AND what’s more you’ll even receive something real, that you can hold in your hands änd hang on your wall, in return. Please look at the schedule of the rewards that await supporters and patrons of the arts below. Take wing, citizens! For when we flock together, we are strong!

If you would like to collaborate in this show, please visit my Fundit.ie Campaign page to see what rewards I’m offering!

Below some examples of work to be included:

The Unsolveable Conundrum. Gilded Acrylics on canvas. 20″ x 16″ 

Cousin Peregrine’s Lament. Acrylics on canvas. 8″ x 10″

The Terenure Dirigibles. Acrylics on canvas. 14″ x 16″

The Rule of Thirds. Acrylics on canvas. 14″ x 24″

To Lismore Castle by Dirigible. Tally-ho!

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.

Learn more about the festival and keep up with what’s on offer on their Facebook page.

Saturday 23 April: Children’s Books Festival Lismore Castle

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.

If you want to get a look at how last year’s celebrations looked, watch this video. I hope the weather is as good this year. 

bookimage_cropOnce 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.