Saturday, August 15, 2015


I feel like I can get my life back and get this painting out-of-my-MEEAAAANNND. It was driving me TITS. If I wasn’t to have stopped now I would have gone round in circles and carried on just painting numerous versions of it until it looked something like that mad fella above...
I might do a little tinkering. There’s bits that are a bit sloppy. But you won’t really see it because you’re looking at it through a monitor and not close up. I like to get right up close to paintings and I like them to work up close in the same way they would if you were looking at them from across the room. I don’t want stuff of mine to be hyper real. I don’t need it to be even that precise, but I want to feel I can really control what I’m doing in the right way.
At the minute because of resources, as in, I no way have the dosh to pay for someone to sit for me, all my stuff has to be from reference. I HOPE I can create work that even though it’s taken from reference, has some life in it. I never work from good quality photographs and I recommend you never do. If your photographs are too clean and precise, they tell lies about light and shadow, LIIIIEEEEESSSS I TELL YOU. Images in a photograph can look weird. Like sometimes if you really look, the way a camera has captured something kind of looks like a bad drawing. You can’t rely on that. You get sloppy and brain dead and copy what you see without thinking about what you’re doing.
You want to create a work of art not just a copy. I did an A4 portrait once from my one inch screen from my shitty Nokia phone. Worked out pretty good. I liked it anyway. It’s not always about the detail. It’s the undefined that can make a painting really exciting. I want to say to all those fellas creating hyper realistic CG humans, “BLUR THE EDGES MAN” Life ain’t got no edges. It’s all just light and shadow.
MY POINT WAS, that I kind of feel I don’t know what I’m doing at times when it comes to painting. If you can draw, any one of us can take a reference, copy it and guaranteed, it’ll look pretty decent. Because we’ve practiced the skill of observation, and how we interpret what we see and use our little monkey hands to do it.
But I haven’t painted enough to really explore how to handle paint in a cool way or using specific brushes and going back to this after such a long time (it’s one of my first paintings that I’ve really sat down to work on over a long period of time after about 7/8 years or so) you do this stuff and there’s no adjusting the brightness and contrast, or the colour balance or changing the brushes so they’re just right, or a quick control z because you just gone and feckin well used your dark brush to make a highlight on the collar forgetting it was your dark brush and now there’s a massive dark splodge where the white should be and no matter how you try you can’t seem to mix the right colours to get just the right lightness.
No, there’s none of that mcgubbins. You’ve got to work it out and it’s feckin tricky. I guess until I make hunners of money and I can afford to pay people to sit for me, I’ll always feel a little bit of a fraud. It’s partly the reason why I stopped painting years ago. I just thought until I can get more time, or someone to sit for a while, then that’s it.
But that was STOOPID.
I shouldn’t have stopped, you should never stop what you love doing because it doesn’t half take feckin ages to get back into it again.
Anyway, for the now, the job’s done.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Town and City sketches...

Some recent sketches over the past month, lurking and creeping around shady alleys with a sketchbook and pen...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sketchin the jam...

Some recent sketches over the past few weeks from recent jam sessions around the city...

Friday, April 03, 2015

Many faces of Thom...

These were some sketches I did a while ago.  Of me, in the mirror.  My goal was to draw as fast as possible, but I really loved how they came out!  They're not really like the way I would draw at all.  I think they've got a real Quentin Blake-ish feel to them.  

I like setting myself little drawing challenges, creating a sketch in a couple of seconds, blind drawing, left-handed drawing, etc, you can produce some really interesting stuff.
It's allowing yourself to let go of the control, allowing yourself to be a bit looser, to roughen up.  

Going for a hike...

I caught sight of this fella and I just loved his whole posture.  He was very, "trudgy", very heavy footed.  He had such a great movement about him!
When I got home I started making some sketches and came up with this.  I really wasn't sure what I prefered, the tonal one or colour.  So I've posted them both here...

Thursday, February 05, 2015

2015-That is SHOCKING! (Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year Update)

Sheesh.  How bad is that.  God Almighty.  Just about a year since I last updated on the ol' blog.  BAD ARTIST ME.

I'm posting more regularly on Facebook and Twitter sites where you can drop by and say hello.

Anyway, here is a painting I had done for the second series of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the year.  (I was in the first series, in the Dublin heats).  It's a success in that it was probably the fastest painting I have ever done.  I finished it in three weeks working every other evening after work.  But it's not an exciting painting.  Certainly worth doing though.

It's now been painted over with another painting.  Unless I think a painting is a winner, I ain't keeping it!  I'll post that painting soon.

But some lovely news over Christmas time, I was featured in Sky Arts, "Little Book of Portraits" which was published to accompany the series.  64 artists were chosen to be represented from the two series so I was delighted to be part of it.

The book features a portrait from each artist alongside the judge’s comments. It really is a lovely little book with such varied styles in portraiture.

Its £15, selling at all major book retailers. And as far as I know it’s already achieved “best seller” on Amazon!

Fandabbydozie.  A lovely start to the year.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Amber At 6 Months

My wee niece, again from #100happydayschallenge Day-44!...

Walking In The Rain

This was from one of my posts from #100daysofhappiness  A cool wee project that I've been working on (currently on day 82) thats been great in forcing me to think creatively and produce some kind of drawing every day, no matter how rough.  I think these kinds of mini projects are great, tracks your creative progress and the daily-day-to-dayness of what you get up.  I like this kind of visual diary.

So this was from day 15, a rather jolly walk into work, despite the rain, listening to some rather splendid toonage.

Sketches from recent music events...

Monday, February 03, 2014

Monday, December 09, 2013

new painting (rough)

Here a couple of images of some recent paintings in progress.  Unfortunately, I was unable to finish Dad's piece before moving back to Dublin, but I'll work out a way to get that over here.  In the meantime, I've started a self-portrait.  Must keep painting!...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Amber, painting progress and final...

So this is the first painting I have done in a LONG time, Amber, my wee pudding of a niece.  I started it when I first came home from Dublin.  I did it over several weeks, on and off, but condensing that time down, I’d say it took 2 weeks.

You can see the changes it went through.  It was an extremely frustrating piece to do.  Probably partly because I haven’t painted in such a long time and it became over worked.  I had more or less re-painted the same thing about 5 times.  I went through a horrible period of being on the verge of completion, then scrubbing out the eyes and starting the whole thing more or less from the beginning.  Painting over what I had done.  So unbelievably frustrating.  I got to a point where I really did have to just stop.  I can’t say I’m absolutely pleased about the finish, actually, unfortunately here, the images don’t represent best what it actually looks like.  Pretty much because of the light changing as I took the photos throughout the painting period, but I’m moving on to start a 2nd piece, for this coming BP Award at the Mall Galleried, (lessons learned!)  I’ll keep posting progress…

The final!...

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Some skecthes from the last few months...

Bookmark! Literary Festival for Blairgowrie, Perthshire and the Glens

Mid October, I was part of Bookmark, a literary festival held throughout Blairgowrie, Perthshire and the Glens.  Fantastic festival, was such a success and I was so proud to be part of the festivals first year, and already discussing exciting new ideas for Bookmark’s second year.  

This was a project that started from a suggestion of, “shall we organise a festival for Blair?”kind of idea.  With a main core of three, powered by my friend, Christine Findlay, this single suggestion become a reality within a year and not only was this festival hugely successful and had some really notorious writers taking part, it was a first for the organisers involved who had never created anything or hosted anything quite like this.  So inspirational, having partially witnessed this from a seed of an idea to actually taking part and meeting the other authors and visitors and seeing this, Bookmark, become reality.  Brilliant!
Below here are some drawings of writer, performer, artist Liz Lochead. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year

So.  Sky Arts series, Portrait Artist of The Year is now been shown on the Sky Arts and Sky HD Channels.  Be sure to check it out.  All heats were held in Glasgow, London Cardiff and Dublin.  You can see me in the Dublin heats!

Below was my entry for the application.  I have to say, a pretty rough piece!  Left-handed and a bit of an awkward pose.  Mostly due to the positioning of the mirror on my lap, getting the right light, setting it up in the right angle, not having sufficient furniture in the flat to position said mirror and art materials and paper.  But also wanting to watch Most Haunted on the laptop.

Just to add to this, you can check out a clip, featuring myself and Pauline McLynn from the Sky Arts Portrait artist of the Year, here:

Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year: Pauline McLynn

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Palace Art and Craft Fair, Fulham, London

Fairly recently returned to Dublin from exhibiting in the Fulham Palace Art Fair.  Had a wonderful time, mainly thanks to the fantastic group of artists that were my neighbours during the fair and also Angela, fo giving me a roof over my head at such late notice!

The fair was set within beautiful surroundings.  The craft marquees were set within the court yards of the ground while the art tent was within set out on the front lawns (la-di-daa).

I actually was only able to take photographs at the start of the day or at the end.  I meant to capture the fair at the height of the buzz but I would just be too busy, either chatting or drawing!  But during the weekend there was several thousand that made it through the doors.

 Me at my stand!  I think I did a pretty good job considering having travelled done on the train with all these paintings then having to arrange and hang the space.  Phew.  Knackered after that week I was.





Sunday, May 12, 2013


These are some images I took in stages throughout a recent self-portrait.  I'll upload the final images soon.