Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hallowe'en - Where has the year gone?

The summer is well and truely gone and with the advent of Hallowe'en the rush into Christmas will surely begin in earnest. Looking back, it's easy to say time has gone quickly, but actually when I really consider it, I can see that I have done a lot of things with the time. That's good - although sometimes, so I've been told, it's okay to just do nothing. That's okay for a short while to relax, but not in the long run. I have progressed a lot of goals in the art field this year and can say I have learnt a fair amount along the way. This week I used an online company to design and order some business cards, so hopefully they will arrive in due course. The designing was very easy and I liked the site. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to paint this weekend due to other commitments, but shall squeeze some time in eventually. This is just the way it will be for another month, I estimate. As for the week that's in it, here's a short rhyme, more than a poem that I always liked.

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I saw a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
O God - I wish he'd go away.

Wishing all a creepy hallowe'en. If you're in the mood for a scary story I highly recommend "Pet Semetary" by Stephen King, and if you dare, check out "The haunted painting - ebay" for a creepy story (or maybe it's just hype).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pontoon Bridge, Work in Progress and Group Hug in Ireland

Here is my small amount of progress on the latest painting I am working on. I have less than an hour each evening to advance it, but slow and steady will get there in the end. Due to the dark evenings here in Ireland I wasn't able to photograph this painting in daylight outdoors and hence the slightly muted tone to what is actually a white canvas. Also the colours are not accurate. I'll get better photos at the weekend hopefully.

This week also I have been doing a little research on the types of printer available for printing A3 size. So if anyone has printed fine art in an A3 size I'd be happy to hear what type of printer you used, if you were happy with the result? I have a fair idea what I want to get at this stage. Once I reach the stage of printing successfully I will be able to offer many of the paintings I don't want to part with, as prints.

Meanwhile here's a little story of something that happened in Ireland during the week. It was related on the free newspaper that they give out in the mornings. I wonder would it happen anywhere else in the world.

Here's the story as it was sent to the paper's letters page by a passenger....

"I'm just writing to let your readers know about a truely amazing thing that happened on the commuter train from Drogheda to Dublin on Monday morning. I was standing and overheard everything. A petite older woman was complaining to a tall young man sitting across from her that his feet were encroaching on her space beneath the small table between them. I'm fairly sure these people hadn't met before. The woman had a large handbag between her feet and was telling the young man to keep his feet on his side. The young man said something about the woman kicking him and there was a standoff. Then the young man remarked that it was early ( 7:30am) and that he didn't want to argue. This is where it gets good. He then stood up in the aisle of the train and offered the woman a hug. To the surprise of everyone around -- including myself -- the woman got up and the two embraced, and I even detected a tear in the woman's eye. The young man then joked and offered a hug to 'anyone else' around him. Remarkably, a gentleman standing in the aisle not too far from me laughed and said that he would take a hug -- these two then embraced. Everyone around had by now tuned into what was happening and there was a good degree of laughter and sounds of approval. The three huggers, the older woman, the young man and the standing gentleman were now joking together and offered to hug other commuters. Incredibly, more people did hug -- I even hugged a young woman standing beside me. By now there was much laughter and amusement in the carriage and people at either end were straining to see what all the fuss was about. It was a genuine and very funny moment. I wish I could have bottled it. "

From Amazed by email.

I really enjoyed reading that story. It sounds like one of those surreal happenings that they always put in films, so just thought it would be interesting to share with others, especially as so many of us commute by train these days. Anyway that's it for the moment - check back in again another time for more snippets of Ireland and my art. Meanwhile feel free to explore the blog further or check out my new Etsy store via the link on the right, and the gallery too. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Etsy Shop Now Open -- ShanahanArt

Yesterday I joined Etsy as a seller. I went through the whole shop setup procedure and now have a niche in the Etsy "Mall". Hopefully I can see some interest from the online world. I will be listing some paintings at the shop which might also be for sale on the blog gallery (see bottom of this page). Where prices are converted to US dollars for Etsy I have tried to keep prices the same as the euro price although some discrepancies may arise due to the exchange rate changing! Sorry if that is confusing. Also I am just getting to grips with the paypal setup, so if you wish to buy and are experiencing difficult, just send me an email. I am almost certain I have it configured correctly but one never knows.
I am enjoying the whole experience of learning about online marketing. I feel I have really learnt a lot in the last few months, and it's not finished yet. Apart from the blog and other technical online things, I have been researching the use of printers and lots of other stuff that artists need to know about for general day to day survival. I guess it all takes time, but being savvy about marketing is an artform in itself and it really helps to know what to do. I have learnt a lot by reading the advice from many artists who contribute to online forums. To them I am very grateful. If I can begin to carve out a niche market for my work I will consider the last few months well spent. At the moment I still consider myself an emerging artist, -- but one to watch! You can't beat modesty...

One thing I have realised from reading the experiences of other artists is the occurrence of burn-out. It can be difficult to be focused and creating art is quite intense at times. That's why being able to take time out with friends or to relax at something else is most important. I definitely know this to be true for me, I need variety. Fortunately I have a lot of non-art related interests to divert me. I go through phases of creativity and then need to refresh, so to speak. I guess like most things in life, we need to keep a balance.

Anyway that's it for now - check out my Etsy store at ShanahanArt if you're curious and want to see what I did. Just click on the link under my photo on the right of the posts. Enjoy and check back here for new work in progress which I will be posting over the next while.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Oil Painting Demonstration -- Pontoon Bridge

I sketched this out today in around 40 minutes. This will be a 16"x12" oil painting of Pontoon Bridge in Mayo. I am working from a postcard a neighbour gave me, who requested a painting of this scene. Apparently it is a favourite fishing spot, or was in the past. I am not sure what it is like now. The postcard is quite old. I don't have much free time these days, so I will have to be really efficient with my time to make it progress. Check back to see it's progress over the next week or so. Meanwhile you can see my recent and past works of art in my gallery or scroll down to the bottom of this page to see current art for sale.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Art for Sale Gallery

Child with Dove by Picasso -- 1901
I have just set up an addition to the blog. The Art for Sale Gallery is now located at the bottom of the blog and will be added to, as I produce works I want to sell - just scroll down to see it. As my "Sunlit Daisy" has been a popular painting I hope to source a print maker and make it available at a reasonable cost as a print. I will do this for other paintings also in due course. For now I just have originals for sale. Keep checking the gallery for new works and enjoy the blog!
The above painting is by Picasso. It is one of his earlier works and one I admire a lot for it's simplicity and gentle charm.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Slideshow Gallery of my Art

Grand Canal, Dublin, Ireland
I've been looking at the various Flash Gallery programs available out there and there are a few free options. One of them is now available via my artvitae website. Here is a quick jump to it. For a slideshow gallery of my art, showing mostly current work click Jim Shanahan Gallery of Art or in future just click Gallery Art Slideshow link on the right below my photo. Enjoy your visit.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Brush up your Shakespeare...Poetry Corner

Here's the latest offering from the poetry corner - it's a poem by Shakespeare and one I like for it's final lines which are very uplifting.
Sonnet XXIX

When in dispute with fortune and mens eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcaste state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my faith,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least,
Yet in this state myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the Lark at break of day arising,
From sullen earth sings hymns at heavens gate,
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings,
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

There is a lot in this poem, the lines following on each other in a natural rhythm, speaking of things that we all experience. The metaphor of the lark arising from the sullen earth makes us feel like flying up into a bright blue sky on a sunny morning. Each word is so precise and conveys so much that it seems impossible that any other could take it's place. Shakespeare isn't known as one of the best writers ever for nothing...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Swans and Cygnets - Not so recent work!

As I am so busy outside of work with house projects at the moment I thought it might be the time to show some work I did a long time ago. The above is a painting that is hanging in my house. I don't think I could part with this painting easily. It was one of my first attempts to create a really professional level painting. At that time, early 1990s I felt I was really starting to improve beyond the level I had been at previously. Now I realise how far there really is to go, and how far imagination and creativity can be stretched. Still, feel free to post comments about this work...I enjoy the feedback, good or bad.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reference Photos - gathering painting ideas.

This is a photo I have been given by a friend as a possible reference for painting. The lighthouse is in Northern Ireland I believe, if I remember what they said. I have to ask again. It's an interesting enough scene - so might add it to the list of possible candidates for a painting. If I had been there I would probably have tried to take a photo with more expanse of water in it. Having said that, it's a great photo and well taken. I think I'm getting too critical!