Sunday, November 13, 2011

Paris Galleries-Mariska Hammoudi

Paris Gallery interviews:

Mariska Hammoudi is the owner of a gallery in the 16eme arrondissement of Paris. It's a very unusual gallery but like most is run by a person passionate about the arts. Ms Hammoudi is a graduate of the Beaux Arts. Her facination is with the history of arts and her passion is to promote and develop her gallery and diffuse an awareness of her artists among the world of collectors. She only exhibits figurative art and has a facination for the renaissance though she appreciates many other forms of representational style.

In france, art collectors are referred to as Les Amateurs d'art. The term comes from a french magazine of the same name and although the magazine ceased after the death of Michel Boutin, the director in the early 1990's, the term is still used today for those who search for and collect the work of artists in France. So don't be confused if you hear the expression being used to describe you.

So what makes this gallery different to others? It's quiet simply the very personal nature of it. You won't find this gallery behind a shop window or see signs directing you to it. You have to know of it. To have been introduced or invited to attend. Her gallery is in her apartment and effectively all of the space within, has been dedicated to the exhibition of works of art. This is a sacrifice in a city where space is at a premium but as Ms Hamoudi says, the art on the walls is the art which she chooses to live with.

The process of choosing an artist is also very personal. To exhibit in her space a fusion between the gallerist and the artist must take place. Together they dicuss each others lives and interests and slowly come to a conclusion resulting in a theme for the exhibiton. It is a mutual conclusion and in the case of the current exhibition which is by Yoomi Ha, a Korean artist and the first non french and autodidact artist to have exhibited here, the theme is secrets.

When you look around the room you wonder how these images could refer to secrets in the life of this young gallerist but she assures me that there are elements in each piece which profoundly remind her of events in her life and the world around her. When discussing the subject she mentioned that to French people and Europeans in general, secrets are something worth learning and even hunting for but most especially they are worth keeping.

What is the future for this gallery? Her intention is to enlarge it but to never have a gallery which has a shop window or which doesn't look like a persons home. Her reasons are simple and I agree with them. Typcially a gallery is an artificial impersonal, sterile space, often with high ceilings and very strong lighting. They can alienate visitors who often cannot imagine the works on display, ever fitting into their home. Here though you can see how, even a large painting (and there are sev eral among her private collection) can easily become a part of the living experience of a typical home, even on the scale of an average Paris apartment.

So how does an Amateur des Arts visit this space if it does not have a typical shop window? To visit a vernissage requires an invitation or to go with someone who has one. Alternately you may visit at any other time by making an appointment. She is happy to show interested people around the space and discuss the works on show. The current exhibition ends 16 décembre 2011.

To visit the gallery website: and to arrange an appointment simply email

Willies Wine Bar

After the vernissage at the gallery of Yin Atelier on the left bank of Paris in Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Myself, Jenny Page, Alex Novak and our wine expert, Olivier enjoyed a glass of wine and delicious meal at Willies Wine Bar on rue des Petites-Champs. Thanks to Alex for being such a great host.

The bar is full of custom designed posters. Each one painted by an artist who visited the bar at some stage. They have great taste in artists as all the images are really inspiring.
The posters can be collected by guests of the restaurant and seem to be very popular.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Fra Angelico at the Musee Jacquemart-Andre, Paris.

This week I had the pleasure of visiting the musée Jacquemart-André. It's my favorite art museum in Paris. There is a permanent exhibition which spans many genres and there is the curated exhibition. This time, it is of the late Gothic or early Renaissance paintings of Fra Angelico. As his name suggests, the works are truely angelic, especially when compared to other artists at this time.

Here is a short summery of his history:
Born in 1395. From the age of 17 he was already recognised as an illuminator/illustrator of books, so he could read as well as paint. He became a friar in a Dominican order based in Tuscany. In 1436 he moved to the nearby town of Florence which was the centre of artistic activity at the time. It was here that he came under the influience of the Medici family. He had an enormous effect on the world of art in Italy at the time and died in Rome in 1455. In 1982 he was beatified by Pope John Paul II and is now recognised as the patron saint of artists.

Fra Angelico was a bookmark in history. Things changed at this time for artists and culture in general. We came out of the middle ages and science began to emerge as a wave of questioning and intellectual freedom swept Europe and a wealthy merchant class encouraged the patronage of the arts.

They did this to encourage commerce within the trading centres where they lived. Huge amounts of money were offered to artists and artisans at the time to permanently enrich cities such as Florence in order to attract other traders and their clients. Much like Paris, to this day, Florence continues to be enriched by the heritage which those merchants left behind. Today, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates is in the process of creating a similar heritage which will enrich future generations.

What changed in art at the time of Fra Angelico was the manner and medium of representing religious images. Oil paint was migrating from Northern Europe to Italy and replacing the more labour intensive and restrictive media of egg tempera. Not only could artists work with more freedom but they could represent light, through colour, in a richer manner.

Something else happened at this time . Artists began to draw in a more realistic manner. It was, as some suggest, the use of mirrors and lens which brought this about. However, not directly because these were the closely guarded secrets of the Dutch artists and would not become known in Italy for some time.

The fact that some Dutch artists had been using these methods and Italian patrons had begun collecting their art, raised the bar, on expectations for the quality of the art, which they commissioned. Eventully the secrets of the use of lens and mirrors would arrive in Italy too.

Before that, a greater emphasis on the ability to draw and represent concepts in a beautiful and realistic manner grew out of the aspirations created by Dutch art. Scientific methods began to be used. Understanding of perspective were further developed by artists and utilized in their works. New chemistry arrived and techniques which allowed paintings to last a very long time were employed.

Fra Angelico was a master of this. His pure mind, ability to create beautiful compositions as well as his understanding of the painting media, allowed him to make a mark which still communicates to us today. His works are dramatically different to those of his fellow artists and the way he has represented people, saints and angels as well as his marvelous compositions, symbology, use of colour and gold are even now, inspiring to all artists and collectors.

The exhibition is well worth visiting and is beautifully curated, as usual, in the musée Jacquemart-Andre.

As a side note, for Irish visitors, there are three panels from the Irish, National Gallery of Art, in the Paris exhibition.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Salon du Patrimoine

Last night (November 3rd) I had the pleasure to attend the Vernissage of the Salon du Patrimoine, in the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris.
If you are interested in french culture, quality craftsmanship, painting (in the craft sense), art restoration, restoration of buildings, or just want to get a real sense of how enormously motivated the french are to preserve their historical roots, then visit the Salon du Patrimoine. It's a blend of high tech and traditional crafts, usually blending seamlessly together in ways that are very surprising.

The salon takes place annually in the Carrousel du Louvre, just beside the upturned pyramid. The dates this year, are from the 3 - 6th of November.
99 rue de Rivoli
75039 Paris 75001
tel:+33 (0)1 43 16 47 47

You will meet extremely helpful and friendly french people with exacting knowledge of their specialisation. A picture tells a thousand words so here are a few to give you an idea of what it's like.

My paints supplier from Germany is there :)

Quality oozes out of everything.
Very impresive reproduction carpentry everywhere although that's not the issue here. They are displaying handmade, individually designed, objet d'art and jewellery boxs.

The school where I studied Trompe L'Oeil and faux effects are there. They are based in Montmarte. Stand K1, if you are visiting. Say hi to Thimy or Pierre, for me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

ArtAids - Curatorial Grant


The "H+F Curatorial Grant 2012" is an ambitious and original initiative which allows the FRAC Nord–Pas de Calais (Dunkirk/France) in close partnership with the private collector Han Nefkens (H+F Collection), to give young international curators the opportunity to participate in the development of exhibition projects based on the collection.

This grant which was launched in 2007 offers emerging art coordinators and curators a unique infrastructure and environment with free access to a research and documentation centre as well as to one of the best French collections of contemporary art. The FRAC acts as the first intermediary for these future professionals of contemporary art by helping them to develop and implement their projects.

Han Nefkens (H+F Collection) and Hilde Teerlinck (Director of the FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais) will select the new candidate. The selected person will become part of the FRAC’s team as an assistant curator, coordinating local, national and international exhibition-projects. The grantee selected for the period of 12 months will also be responsible for the coordination of ArtAids projects wich focus on creating awareness about HIV/Aids and tackling the stigma connected with it.


She / he will receive in exchange a grant for 12 months (2012) that will help finance her/his living and travel expenses. An excellent knowledge of Dutch and English is required, knowledge of French would be helpful. The candidate will have to install her/himself in Dunkirk for the mentioned period.

This project has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Han Nefkens (journalist, writer and art collector), which enables the FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais to reinforce the development of a strong and active policy of patronage around its activity.
Please send your application containing a recent CV (including a photograph), a exhibition project based on the collection of the FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais (max 1 A4) and an motivation letter before October 17th, 2011 to:

FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais : Hilde Teerlinck, 930 avenue de Rosendaël, 59240 Dunkerque (France)
Tel. 03 28 65 84 20

Friday, October 07, 2011

Wall Street Protestors

This is my reply to an artist who dismissed the actions of the Wall Street Protestors. You can read her comment below:

by sandy mcneal

Fuck off you bunch of miserable slackers! You give the appearnce that all artists are a host of mooching sucks who could never make it in the real world. Use all the quotes you want, the reality is that you have no concept of reality and I wouldn’t associate myself nor my art with an effort like yours. It’s time the play-date party got a reality check and quit living off your parent’s dime or the government dole!

My reply:

This is a vital event in the life of the flailing American social and political body, which was virtually dead intil this point.

An electric shock treatment. An injection of adrenalin. A sudden waking up and switching off of the media lie. An eyes wide open, consciousness of the manipulation which tells us, it is patriotic to do nothing, to not question, to lie to ourselves.

Wakefullness. Learning to resist. Choosing. Refusing to comply with fulcrums of financial muscle who exercise no social consciousness.

If a corporation is a person, what kind of person are they? What kind of person rises to the top of such a being! With such people in such positions, no other environment, other than this, could or can exist. It will always repeat itself as long as thinly veiled psychopaths are rewarded with authority. Others will envy them, climb to the top, repeat the cycle.

Corporation must come to an end or be reborn, with a new structure, new desires, goals and obligations.

If it is a person, it should be a person you would welcome into your own home. Not someone you would tolerate as long as they are separated by walls and a fence.

Employees should not be obliged to have split personalities, to go to work. They should not feel repulsed by the structure within which they work and which they keep alive.

Success should not be doomed to create misery from the very start. But now, no other ultimate outcome is possible, when it is populated by an army of people trained from birth to make profit over people, over environment, over peace.



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Paris Design Flea Market, Puces du Design, October 6-9

Dates: October 6th to 9th
Location: Place des Vins de France, in Bercy Village
Metro: Cour Saint-Emilion. Line 14

The theme for this years Paris Design Flea Market, are the years, 50's to 90's.
Access is free to the general public and it starts on Thursday afternoon, the 6th of October.

You'll find, design objects, art, decoration and furniture, from the rare to the inexpensive, fabulous icons of design in this once a year event which recreates the ambiance of a flea market but with class and chic.

It isn't a really well know event but I've stumbled upon it a couple of times while in Paris and it's really well worth the visit. Good fun even if you aren't a collector of design objects. This time it take place in Bercy village, close to the Parc de Bercy, so a picnic is a possiblility. You can stroll through, the relatively new, streets and discover classics of international and french furniture and design objects.

It's a very pleasant way to pass a day or two exploring and meeting french people of a certain class and taste. The designs are usually the very best and most iconic items.

The address is Place des Vins de France, in Bercy Village.

Google map here

The nearest metro is Cour Saint-Emilion. Metro line 14.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Degas at the Royal Academy London

The exhibition of Degas ballet drawings and paintings is receiving great promotion all over the world. It opens on the 17th of September, in London.

As an artist, Degas didn't paint the traditional historical subjects of his peers. Instead, like many other 'new' artists of his time, he painted daily life. This is one of the reasons his art is grouped among the impressionists, despite his focus on realism.

Being independently wealthy he created what he wanted to. Studied what he wanted and with his impressive social connections he travelled easily in many different levels of society. He also collected other artists works and was constantly learning. He was a truely involved artist.

Thanks to his independence we have a very unique and honest window into the past, which shocked contemporary Paris. The reasons were so typical of the time and we can see through him, his life and art, how different the status of 'woman' has changed and balanced.

Apart from the obvious skill and majesty in his work, I think that this is one of the main reasons for art collectors facination with him and their love of his drawings.

Degas is a great example of how the lives of artists are a particular kind of window in the human world and that of nature. It is said that we see history through the eyes of the victor but here we see history through the eyes of the creator.

He is mounted on a social dias but rejects the conventions that placed him there. Armed with his artists eyes and desire to create. Taking full advantage of the opportunities his status presented, he created. He was ahead of his time but with his feet firmly stuck on the ground and his works create a crack in the lens of the dogma which recorded his world.

Through this view finder we can begin to piece together the dynamism which held together his society and which led to ours. We can see in more than one way, how radically different our society is from the past while also experiencing great art, unshackling us from the conventions of our own world.

There is information on the upcoming exhibition in London here.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Updates & the art of drawing

Right now, I'm snowed under with projects and organisation. There is a remarkable amount of planning and preparation involved in being an artist. In order to have the free time to actually work in the future, you have to plan now. So that's what I'm doing at the moment.

However, when I'm finished with, or at least, have gotten the majority of the things which I have to, organised and complete, I plan on treating myself to a trip to a couple of exhibitions. Here's one that looks extremely interesting and it promises to be in a calm location.

There is an exhibition of drawings by Rembrandt in the Institut Néerlandais, 121 rue de Lille, Paris. It's on show till the 2nd of October 2011. It's a show worth seeing. Here is a link to more information.

If I were in London right now, I'd be planning to visit the show of drawings by Degas, at the Royal Academy. His drawings of ballet dancers are showing there until the 17th of September. Well worth a visit.

Both artists found their ability to express rooted in their marvelous and distinctive drawings. So many great artists can be recognised by their hand when they draw and a signature is almost unnecessary. Despite the fact that Rembrandt had up to 50 students and all worked closely together, the style of drawing is so different between them despite the fact that the students were learning exactly the same methods etc. The artists expressed their creative energy using the humble medium of drawing, in very different manners. Each one drawing out something unique from themselves in the process.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

American Executive based in Ireland ?

I just got back from a very nice visit to Ireland. I'll be posting photos etc later but for this moment, for all my American readers, here is some news, hot off the presses.


The American Chamber of Commerce US Executive Circle has announced the establishment of the US Executive Circle in Ireland - a network for US executives working and living in Ireland.

The Circle is a multi-dimensional community designed to help American executives:

* engage with business circles
* get established within the community personally and professionally
* strengthen personal ties with the U.S. Embassy

The Circle is open to U.S. citizens working at a senior level in Ireland among firms associated with the American Chamber of Commerce.

If you are a U.S. citizen and/or if you have colleagues who are U.S. executives at your firm and are interested in finding out more about the Circle, please contact;

Mr Brian Cotter
American Chamber of Commerce Ireland
Tel: 01 661 6201

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vespas and mopeds

If you are a classic Vespa or moped fan, an artist friend of mine has just started selling prints of his paintings of these classic, two wheeled, dream machines.

Check them out here:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Looking forward to going to Ireland. I'll be there till the 31st of August. It's been a busy month but didn't feel long.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Life Drawing, model vivant, 24th August 2011.

Life Drawing-August 24th
On Wednesday, there is a session of life drawing in Paris 3éme. Bertrand will pose from 2pm-5pm.

We can take 15 people comfortably. The apartment is a very comfortable and elegant space but there are limited seating arangements so if you have a folding chair, please bring it.

Please, RSVP 'only' if you are certain to attend.


The door code will be provided,
after you RSVP.

When: 3rd session -
14th August 5-8pm.

9 Rue du Prevot, 75004 Paris.
The apartment is on the second floor, at the corner of Rue St Antoine, right opposite the exit for metro St. Paul. Press the bell marked 'Runciman'.

Come early, to be sure to be on time. Please RSVP.

Bring your own drawing materials and if you have one - a folding seat. Watercolours are fine but be prepared to leave things neatly after you. No spray fixative inside the apartment, thank you.

Cost: Shared cost of the model (60 for 3 hours divided by the number of artists) plus EU10 donation for the facilities.

The maximum cost will be EU15 per person.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Life Drawing-August 21st

Tomorrow evening (Sunday 21st of August) there is a session of life drawing in Paris 3éme.
Emily will pose from 2pm-5pm.

We can take 15 people comfortably. The apartment is a very comfortable and elegant space but there are limited seating arangements so if you have a folding chair, please bring it.

Please, RSVP 'only' if you are certain to attend.


The door code will be provided,
after you RSVP.

When: 3rd session -
14th August 5-8pm.

9 Rue du Prevot, 75004 Paris.
The apartment is on the second floor, at the corner of Rue St Antoine, right opposite the exit for metro St. Paul. Press the bell marked 'Runciman'.

Come early, to be sure to be on time. Please RSVP.

Bring your own drawing materials and if you have one - a folding seat. Watercolours are fine but be prepared to leave things neatly after you. No spray fixative inside the apartment, thank you.

Cost: Shared cost of the model (60 for 3 hours divided by the number of artists) plus EU10 donation for the facilities.

The maximum cost will be EU15 per person.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Google Images search

I discovered an amazing thing recently. Using Google image search you can find websites which have your images on them. Simply go to google images

In the place where you would normally search for an image using words, simply click on an image (which you have saved to your desktop) and drag it onto the camera icon.

It will search for your images online and amazingly, it really works.

Unfortunately I found a number of sites which were using my images without offering a link back to me. No one was trying to sell them but they were being offered, for free, as desktop wallpaper. That's a bit upsetting so I've written to the sites to negotiate either a linkback which promotes my art or compensation in payment for the use of the images. They use the art to promote their site and encourage visitors and they ahve advertising on their site which they earn money from.

Unless they agree I'm going to have to put great big copyright marks on all my art. I'll ahve to ask their server to disable their site too. I'd prefer not to but that's the way it goes.

Some recent drawings

These drawings were done in the last couple of weeks. I'll be posting more later. They are on cartridge paper, 180g, using pencil or compressed charcoal. All were done in Paris, in the apartment at 9 rue du Prevot, 75003.

Thanks to the models. They have been great and to the other people who attended the model vivant sessions because they make the ambiance of creation.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Paris model vivant

Tomorrow evening (Sunday 14th of August) there is a session of life drawing in Paris 4éme with one of the cities best male life drawing models.

Bertrand will pose from 5pm-8pm. There's a good group already booked but we have room for a couple of others.

This Sunday the times are different to accomodate the model who is coming directly from his holidays to model for us. It means that Sunday is not a broken day for most of us and gives more time earlier in the day.
We can take 15 people comfortably. The apartment is a very comfortable and elegant space but there are limited seating arangements so if you have a folding chair, please bring it.
Please, RSVP 'only' if you are certain to attend.  


The door code will be provided,  
after you RSVP.
When: 3rd session - 
14th August 5-8pm.
9 Rue du Prevot, 75004 Paris. 
The apartment is on the second floor, at the corner of Rue St Antoine, right opposite the exit for metro St. Paul. Press the bell marked 'Runciman'. 
Come early, to be sure to be on time. Please RSVP.
Bring your own drawing materials and if you have one - a folding seat. Watercolours are fine but be prepared to leave things neatly after you. No spray fixative inside the apartment, thank you.
Cost: Shared cost of the model (60 for 3 hours divided by the number of artists) plus EU10 donation for the facilities.
The maximum cost will be EU15 per person. 
Looking forward to seeing you there.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Teaching art in October

I'll be teaching art to adults in a private school, in Bastille, from October. It's in a building designed by Gustave Eiffel. There is fantastic light. A good ambiance and plenty of space.

Here's the poster and if you would like to sign up, send me your details by email. with the subject marked, October art school.

There will be no messages taken at the phone number until September.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Back to life drawing

There is life drawing in a Paris apartment for the next month. Today was the first session and there will be two per week from the second week of August. Our thanks go to our hostess who so kindly invited us to draw in her home.

The location is right beside Saint Paul, so easy to get to and the light is very good, with large floor to ceiling windows.
Our model, as ever, was excellent and everyone worked to their own particular standard and level of interest. It ended in a very good ambiance. Everyone who booked for the session turned up, so thanks very much to everyone for that.

I can't resist posting a photo of some of them at work. It's a low res picture, so only the artists will recognise themselves.

Some sketches from today.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Teaching street sketching

Yesterday was the second day that I've taught street sketching and it was great. In the morning, the weather was extremely dramatic, so we were very lucky to have clear skies and brilliant views for the afternoon.

I taught a range of things, from perspective drawing to tonal perspective to blind drawing. They were just introductions of course but everyone got the basics and their drawing method changed. I was amazed by the leap forward that most of them made. Even more amazed that they didn't always recognise the progress themselves :)

Here's a building we drew where everyone is looking for perspective but in a very different way to the method of using vanishing points etc.

Basic explanation of perspective drawing. Horizon line and vanishing point. The simplicity of this seemed to amaze everyone and everyone got it. One person did a cats eye view of the scene. Their perspective was very different to everyone elses but just as accurate.

Perspective created by tonal values rather than line.

Perspective in a cafe. Exactly the same thing happens here as in the other drawings. The horizon line and vanishing point are just guides and there is nothing technical in the process of the drawing.

After the class, I unwound in le Baron Rouge, sketching the people there.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Alps 2011

Yesterday, we returned from a week in the Alps. They are known for snow and sking and very few people go there in the spring and summer. So it's very peaceful.

It's active with hikers walking up mountains and cyclists emulating the heros of the tour de France. So most are very peaceful sorts seeking the solitude and fresh air of the countryside

It's a very spectacular place with amazing things to see and do. The people are especially friendly. It's an ideal for artists, with amazing views, powerful energies, tall peaks, rivers and grazing land full of goats and cattle. The architecture is very fine too. I would have liked to spend more time drawing and painting. It would be worth it. Next time.

Here are some drawings from the trip.

Some rocks in the river which runs through Allemonte.

A view from the river to the opposite bank.

A study of water around a rock.

A sketch of my wife.

A study of some flower petals.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Proménade Plante

Yesterday I was teaching techniques of drawing & perspective to artists on the Proménade Plante in Paris. It was a great day and thoroughly enjoyable. Thanks to those that attended the sessions.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Picnic weekend

Here are a few sketches from the walk, along the Marne, last Saturday. We had a pretty nice day. Enjoyed a great picnic, talked a lot, walked a lot and saw a lot of new things.

Thanks to everyone who came. I didn't have my camera with me unfortunately.

We did more walking than drawing but it was really good. Nice picnic and great company. Most of our drawing was done along the Marne, near the chocolate factory.

There is another sketch from Sunday (the top one) at the Parc des Buttes. It was another picnic but this one was a birthday celebration.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Walking and drawing-the forest and Village of Noisiel

To take advantage of the good weather this weekend. Get some exercise. Do some drawing. Have a picnic and see some sights.

This Saturday, 2nd of June I'm inviting a few artist friends (10 in all) to go walking and picnicing outside of Paris, to end with a cinema in plein air.

16h - Meet at Noisiel train station, RER(A) line from Paris.

16h.15 - We walk through the forest (see Google map)
17h - We arrive at cemetery beside park with nice views and a lake. Here we draw for a half hour or have picnic.

17h.30 - We walk towards chocolate factory. (Beautiful old building with amazing history) on an island in a river (see map). Draw the building, the village or the river. More picnic perhaps.

19h - Walk along river and find other spots to draw. There is a lake. The village. Chateau, etc.

22h.30 - The Cinema in plein air. It's a bit late but the cinema is right beside the train station so getting back is no problem. The film is the premier of Habemus Papam. 

This is really a walk with art opportunities thrown in.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lunar Eclipse - Paris Picnic

This Wednesday, June 15th, Captain Bob is organising a Lunar Eclipse-picnic on the Pont des Arts.

The pont Des arts is between the Louvre museum & the bibliotheque Mazarine.

Some friends will meet there at 9pm. The moon will be in Total Eclipse when it rises around 10:10 pm. It will start to rise as an ominous dark red. The eclipse will move from Total Eclipse to Partial Eclipse at 11 pm and from Partial Eclipse to Penumbral Eclipse at midnight. Basically the moon will start off dark red and become lighter and brighter as it rises in the sky.
Things to know

WHAT: Everyone brings food and drinks to share.

WHERE: Pont des Arts in the center of Paris. We'll gather around a bench between the middle of the bridge and the Left Bank side. Nearest metros: Pont Neuf and Louvre-Rivoli.

WHEN: Wednesday June 15, 9:00 PM - 12 midnight

WHY: Share one of the most memorable sights in Paris with some of the nicest people around.

WHO: You and your friends.

HOW to find us: Keep your eyes out for a small white telescope on tripod if the sky is clear. Check in by cell phone if you can't find us: 0614 17 37 97.
There's a THEME: Strawberries and Roses and Katherine Converse's 70th birthday!!!

PUZZLER: Why does lunar eclipse last so much longer than a solar eclipse?
ANSWER: Because the earth is much bigger than the moon so it casts a larger shadow that takes the moon 100 minutes to pass through, while the moon's shadow on the earth is tiny and only covers a given location for a few minutes.

Please send email if you're planning to join the picnic.
CONTACT ADDRESS: Send your RSVP to Captain Bob.
If you get an AOL error message from, send mail to

Friday, June 10, 2011

Parc Monceau and Starbucks

I've started sketching Paris people again & stretching myself, drawing more landscapes too. It's a lovely city to be doing that kind of thing in, when the sun shines. Thanks to Paris Sketchers, a group of artists who draw together or more often inspire one another, to go out and draw the streets of Paris.

The girls were in Starbucks on the Boulevard des Capucines, where I enjoyed a hot chocolate yesterday. The other is in the parc Monceau. A lovely garden, hidden away off boulevard Haussemann. Here's a link to some information about the park.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Water from a vase - March 31

Last evening I was invited to a private drawing session with a small group of french artists in Paris. That's really nice. It's rare to get an invite like that.

This is the last drawing I produced from the 2 hour session. So what's so special about this? The drawing was done in 20 minutes and the models, particularly Bertrand, had to hold the same very challenging position for that period, without moving. Bravo the models!

The other thing, is the line quality. I've always felt that there is no real limit to the amount we can do and see in a short period of time but everyone seems to work from the basis of low expectations. There was an artist there encouraging everyone, making comments on work etc. He wasn't a teacher. He was saying that the arm knows what to draw and just to move the entire thing and the drawing will just come out. I agree with that, though I don't think it's easy to comprehend with the logical mind and it requires a certain amount of surrender to achieve.

The mind comprehends a great deal very quickly and it's only when we really try to analyse too much that it slows down. It's perfectly capable of communicating from eye to hand without any need for understanding, experience with perspective, internal narrative etc. In fact the stiller the mind the better the process. It pours out of the hand like water from a vase.

Some of my earliest drawings, from the age of 11, were like this. They shocked me at the time and I tried and tried to be like that all the time but it took me years of hard work and learning to realise that all the knowledge and experience, might just, be getting in the way.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stages of the portrait

I'm painting using a very old method here. The portrait started with a Grisalle (black and white) using acrylic rather than oils to make the process move faster. You can paint in an almost photographic manner in black and white. That wasn't my intention here.

The next step is to apply the oils with a layer of sepia colour over the black and white work. I chose umber mixed with ochre jaune and a touch of cadmium red. It was a dominant tone in the composition and worked with the skin colours. As soon as the sepia is added the painting begins to look alive. The colour and the values of the black and white work make it look very dynamic. It's an illusion that only the artist will experience because of the amount of time they spend in front of the work. There is a lot more to do.

Straight away I began working in the background colour which effects how you see everything. Then the highlights in the skin are particularly important. The mid tones are basicly the sepia. Using cadmium rouge and blue with a touch of cadmium yellow for the cheeks and shadow areas (a touch more blue there). The griselle still shows through and gives all the colours a value and the shapes a dimension.

A few days later and many layers of colour have begun to add up to the completed painting. I corrected a few elements in the composition. The underpainting seems to have completely disappeared but if you look closely you can see areas where the colour receives it's value from the work beneath.

A close up of the portrait. The sunlight makes the wet paint reflective so it's not exactly as you see it here. It will be a few weeks before it is completly dry.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Latest portrait

I'll be posting more information about this painting and the stages involved in creating it. It's a commission for a family in Paris.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Back from Ireland

I just got back from Ireland yesterday. It was a nice few days visiting some of my family and seeing Dublin. I think my wife is happiest there but she couldn't come with me this time. I also visited the GOAL ball, charity event in the Burlington hotel, where I donated a piece of art for public auction.

So I've finished up the the ile Saint Louis gallery and am back to doing my own paintings, thank goodness. It's been a while and I've been missing it very much. The gallery experience was very good for learning about marketing and the hard work that goes into promotion and setting up shows. There's a lot to any business involved in the arts, when it is done well but this was particularly demanding as I was doing everything myself.

It's very good to be out of there now and planning my own working exhibitions and events. I'm still working with other artists and promoting people that I believe in.

I'm organising drawing with the human model in a large atelier in the 6th of Paris and that is proving popular with very interesting and intelligent people attending. It averages between 16 and 26 people per session. The models are fantastic. Super professional.

There's information about that here on my site:

If you are interested and have any questions, feel free to post them here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Des Femmes - Exposition & Vernissage

Laura Stevens is an English artist and photographer. She lives in Paris but travels all over the world on photographic assignments.

Laurence Dugas-Fermon. A french actress, model and photographic artist whose images are simply breathtaking.

Julie Coustarot, an employee of the "Maison Europeene de la photographie" in Paris. She studied 'history of art', then gained a degree in photography in Lyon.

The next exhibition promises to be very impressive. It's next Tuesday 3rd of May in Paris. There are 3 artists, two French and one English, all women, they bring their considerable creative talents together for the first time in the Greenlane Gallery. It seems to me that their art communicates poetic, romantic, dark & mysterious aspects of the human spirit.
Their exhibition consists of photography and video installations.
It's titled "Des Femmes" and runs from the 2nd to the 8th May.

The vernissage/opening is on Tuesday, 3rd of May. 18.30h - 20h

I'll introduce you if you turn up.

The address is, the Greenlane Gallery, Paris.
29 rue des deux ponts, ile Saint Louis, 75004, Paris, France

Metro: Pont Marie / Saint-Paul

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Recent portrait

During the renovations it's been a breath of fresh air to have the gallery closed for the last couple of weeks.

The creative juices are flowing and I'm focused on my own work. I'm organising life drawing in a much larger venue and considering teaching painting and drawing methods.

Here's a commission I had this week. It's a spiritual guru from the USA and apparently this will be presented to him this coming Thursday 24th of March.

I had only a week to do it so I worked in a new medium which replaces acrylic. It's slower drying, made from soja, so there is no petroleum base. Naturally I was working from a photo so it's the way he appears there and I don't know the man. The colour and the energy of the piece are pretty good and I think he'll be happy with it. I do like it. The original has a nice glow and the colours are spectacular. Impossible to capture in a photo.

It always blows me away after I've completed a portrait. The fact that he's a spiritual person made a difference to the way I painted him.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Joined at the hip

I was playing around with some drawings and came up with this.
It's just interesting, n'est pas?
They are two seperate drawings done at the same time, of the same model.
& they join one another perfectly in terms of perspective etc.

Salon du Dessin, Paris 2011

Interested in drawing as an art form?

There is a salon of drawings in Paris from March 30th. It's a big exhibition with a lot of art collectors, galleries and dealers attending.

If you would like to join me and a group of other artists and collectors, just send me an email and I'll add you to the mailing list with all the details of time and place.


Or you can just go on your own. Here's the website of the Salon.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Venue-Life Drawing in Paris 2011

I've been hosting life drawing on the ile saint Louis, 75004 Paris for more than a year and have a very loyal and talented group of artists who draw the model with me but the space we've been using is too small to continue there.

So it's time to bite the bullet and move to a larger venue.

The new location is in the 6eme of Paris, near the Pont Alexandre III. It's in a very large artists atelier which is owned by a friend of mine.

The model this week is excellent, Laurence, a female model that I've worked with many times before. The sessions are each friday, from 2pm - 5pm.

To be included with those, invited to attend, please sign up to the life drawing newsletter. You'll receive an invite, once a week, with all the details, including which model, price and what equipment etc.

This is the new venue.

See you there :)

Paris 75006