Crows, Wings and Faery things…

These are some quick drawings that I made a while ago back in Autumn 2020 after a beautiful evening stroll in the park.

It was twilight by the time I started to make my way back home from the park. I remember walking beneath the trees on the avenue. I was mesmerised by the black spidery shapes of the trees that looked like ink drawings against the sky. All around me I could hear the crows calling and cawing in the trees. They were flying home to roost for the night. It felt like I was walking through a scene in a creepy, dark folktale. It was really cool. When I arrived home I sat by the fire and started drawing these crow type figures in my sketchbook.

This is how they developed….

These were my initial drawings above. But then I think my head got in the way a bit and I started thinking about how I could draw outspread wings instead of wings hanging down at the sides. So I started practicing these drawings below ….

Then I decided that I wanted to have the wings completely outstretched. So I did tons of open wings drawings until I figured out which way to turn the head, the body and the legs.

In the meantime I have been trying to figure out how to paint these winged creatures in watercolour….but I’m not really getting anywhere with the wings yet. Maybe it’s the colour combinations. I don’t know. I think I am going to try a colour gradation from dark to light starting at the top and see what that brings about.

I will figure it out eventually But having written this short piece here it has made me think about re-drawing that first character above and doing a little more work on it and seeing where it takes me instead….

Summer Solstice and Midsummer’s Eve

I marked the occasion of the Summer Solstice this year with a small (tiny) fire in the back garden. I love Summer, its long evenings, the quality of light, the abundant growth and the aliveness of everything. So it’s just a small way for me to say thank you to nature for this beautiful time of year and all that it gives to me

The solstice is one of the quarter days of the solar calendar (there are 4 quarter days and 4 cross-quarter days). This is a time when the sun has reached its highest point in the sky and soon it will begin its slow descent over the remaining months of the year. It is the longest day and shortest night of the year. It is usually celebrated on June 21st but the exact time and day of the solstice can vary from year to year.

In many places in Ireland the solstice is celebrated at the same time as St. John’s Eve (23rd June) or Midsummer’s Eve. There is no differentiation made between the two festivals. Both festivals are associated with fire – St. Johns festival often being known as Bonfire night. St. John’s Eve is a time of great celebration. There is dancing, eating and drinking, jumping through fires, blessing the land and spreading the ashes to ensure good crops. It is a celebration of light, fertility, the sun and all of the abundance it brings.

Below is a pen and ink drawing that I made in 2014. I drew it in the small forested area of Marlay park at Midsummer. Midsummer is often associated with faery and their revels. So while this is also a time of celebration for faery, humans have always been warned to steer clear of places that are associated with the Good People, especially at certain times of the year as such encounters are not likely to end well. The story that accompanies this painting is also below.

Midusmmer’s Eve Pen and Ink 2014

Midsummer’s Eve takes place around the time of the Summer Solstice (which is the longest day of the year).  At this time of year everything is abundant and flourishing.  Nature’s lavishness has reached its pinnacle.  This is a time for love and a time for lovers. As the sun sets on the eve of Midsummer bonfires are lit on the hilltops as a celebration of the power of the sun. The fires also honour the sun’s decline until its return the following year. Midsummer is believed to be a time when the veil between this world and the Otherworld thins.  Fairies are at their most playful and most powerful.  On this night a mortal may witness fairy dances and fairy celebrations beneath the full moon, but discreet observation is advised as many a poor soul, upon discovery, has been spirited away by the fairies.

https://www.eimearbrennan.com/store/p16/Midsummer%27s_Eve_%282nd_edition%29.html

Documentary Films

I have always loved watching films and going to the cinema. E.T. was the first film I ever saw at the cinema in the Savoy on O’Connell street in Dublin. It was 1982 and I was five years old. The Savoy cinema is still here today but so many cinemas in Dublin have closed down over the years. The ones that I remember going to were the Carlton Cinema on O’Connell street, The Fairview Grand ( I remember seeing Cry Freedom there), The Ambassador (one of my favourites, saw Jurassic Park there), the Adelphi cinema and the Screen Cinema (also a favourite). In 1956 there were around 56 cinemas in Dublin – each village had its own cinema. But by the year 2005 this number had decreased to 12.

During the pandemic in 2020 I spent alot of time watching films online. I really missed going to the cinema regularly and somehow felt that watching more films would make up for this loss. Here are some of the documentaries I watched during this time with the exception of the Phil Lynott one. I got to see this at the IFI the other night so I was delighted. The trailer for each documentary is listed below. I have a much longer list of feature films so maybe I will do another post for those at another time.

Phil Lynott. Songs for while I’m Away. Directed by Emer Reynolds

Gaza Surf Club. Directed by Philip Gnadt, Mickey Yamine

Kusama Infinity. Directed by Heather Lenz

Beyond the Invisible: Hilma Af Klint. Directed by Halina Dryschka

Ballet 422. Directed by Jody Lee Lipes

The Price of Everything. Directed by Nathaniel Kahn 

Henry Glassie : Field Work. Directed by Pat Collins

Reset. Directed by Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai

The Painter and the thief. Directed by Benjamin Ree. 

Blurred Lines, Inside the Art world. Directed by Barry Avrich

Heaven Adores You. Directed by Nickolas Dylan Ross

Vertical Conquests. Directed by Rosa Chiara Scaglione

Ceiliuradh

This is a new drawing that I started the other day at Bull Island nature reserve. So far the name that popped into my head for it is “Ceiliuradh” (celebration). Maybe it’s a celebration of how good it feels to be able to wander somewhere in nature again beyond the 5km restriction. On the day that the restriction lifted I spent a few hours walking along the sea cliffs from the Martello Tower at Red Rock in Sutton out to Howth village and then back again – and it felt so good to be able to do this. The following day I found a spot in the grassland dunes at Bull Island and drew this piece. I will start painting it soon with ink.

Heartspace

Heartspace dark

      This is a recent piece I drew after a heart-energy workshop I went to.  I have never drawn hearts before but after the workshop I kept seeing this image in my mind’s eye. It wouldn’t go away. Usually when I draw I don’t have a specific image in mind.  I allow myself to feel where the line wants to go, so it’s more an intuitive process than visual.  Eventually I gave in and allowed myself to draw it and this is the what came out!….. and these are the words from Anaïs Nin that I included with it

“And the day came when the risk to

remain tight in a bud was more

painful than the risk it took

to blossom”

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Walking the Land

Lately I’ve been lucky enough to spend time walking through the stunning landscapes of Mayo, Donegal and Wicklow, namely climbing Croagh Patrick,  Errigal Mountain and walking through Glenmalure.  They have all been inspiration for my latest painting (which will possibly be called Eriú – goddess of the Land).  The book “Elen of the Ways” by Elen Sentier along with a visit to Uisneach (the sacred centre of Ireland) have also fed my imagination to create this painting.  It’s still a work in progress but hopefully it won’t take too much longer….

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Current work in progess, pen and ink

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Views from Croagh Patrick of Clew Bay

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Glenmalure, Co. Wicklow

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Glenveagh, Donegal

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Have a look at this book here

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Ail na Muireann (The Stone of Divisions) also known as the Catstone at Uisneach. It is said that Eriú was laid to rest beneath this stone.