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…

Painting Class has Begun

I’ve branched out somewhat and commenced painting classes in my studio. My inaugural class was last Tuesday morning when I had six students along and I started them off painting a single apple. My aim is to keep compositions simple, with perhaps a single object. 
I’ve seen many students in art classes, who may not have much experience, try to take on large compositions and become overwhelmed by the task they’ve set themselves. The philosophy at Art Classes Ireland is to gradually build up knowledge and confidence. The second principle is to have fun while learning -the atmosphere is relaxed and convivial. You can see the Art Classes Ireland web site here

Studying with Oisín Roche

I spent a morning, along with fellow illustrator Padhraig Nolan, learning from Irish portrait artist Oisín Roche [One of his many portraits above]. He’s an artist who has studied the techniques of the great portrait artists of the past and has a phenomenal grasp of how to describe flesh tones [along with everything else]. As an illustrator, I rely a great deal on whatever my own inner vision generates and what my drawing skills can support, and true-to-life depictions aren’t absolutely necessary when the message of the illustration is paramount. However, I feel that I’d like to continue to strengthen my basic drawing and painting skills -because that’s what has always attracted me to art anyway, and there’s always something to learn. I picked up a great deal even in the first minutes and it proved to be an invaluable few hours overall. Especially with regard to the palette -I’ve never been one to limit myself to the basic few colours really needed to complete a painting! I’m looking forward to the next session…I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile here are a few pictures from the session -showing Oisín’s own work. Sorry about the picture quality; I had to use my phone’s camera and it has a lens the size of a gnat’s chuff. [Don’t get technical -you’ll lose them -Ed]


As this was a study, Oisín mentioned that the reason for drawing the subject in charcoal directly onto the canvas was to save time getting to the colour work. I’m not quite sure how he would’ve approached the task otherwise.


The charcoal drawing was spray-fixed and a wash of burnt umber acrylic applied.


And the study in oils begins…I’ll bring a decent camera the next time.