‘Marley Park Demesne’ From Sandyford Rd.

'Marley Park Demesne' From Sandyford Rd.
‘Marley Park Demesne’ From Sandyford Rd.

This simple sketch was done last year from off the main road Sandyford Road, Co. Dublin. The view was of a lovely bungalow that caught my attention. Especially the red roof of the bungalow. The trees were in full bloom and the lane was winding and narrow, the stone wall and foliage are highlighted – an artists delight! I left it unfinished as i though it looked just as it should be: a sketch. I didn’t do a painting from it as yet, but i will get around to it soon. i love this little park as it attracts all sorts of wildlife. It’s lovely just to take a stroll and watch the world go by. The stream is the center of attraction and the lovely sound of the water is enough to nod you off to sleep! I’ve always been attracted to parks and woods  and there are many in Co. Dublin. this one goes from Dundrum to Rathfarnham about a 3km stretch. there is also similar parks in Cabinteely, Kilboggit, Kilgobbin, All have their unique attractions and fascinations.

Stoney Road Dundrum. (Colouring Pencil)



'Stony Road Dundrum' Co Dublin'
‘Stony Road Dundrum’ Co Dublin’

I Did this sketch some months ago when i was there gardening. A lovely mature housing estate in a suburb of South Co. Dublin. I just wanted to draw something different and came to this place i saw a lovely tree and it just attracted me to draw it! The line of houses also with there unusual coloured tiles and shapes pulled me in. It was slightly overcast too. I liked the wall colours as well. Walls are difficult to draw especially the gray colour. They’re always different and the weather will throw different hues on them. Some appear very dark while if it’s very sunny they seem to be ‘white’! There are no shadows as it’s dull and overcast which gives not much ‘interest’ – however, colour is there and light affects light in many ways. As you can see the sycamore tree looks dark as it’s contrasted against the light sky. If it was sunny there would be a light/dark appearance to this tree – shadow and tone. Nothing is mundane in nature, and everything has cause and effect. The griselina hedging just behind the walls give a nice subtle contrast to the overall sketch and the tree on the left balances the sketch.

My Sketchbook: The Smelting Tower

'Smelting Tower' Carrickmines
‘Smelting Tower’ Carrickmines

I did this sketch New Years Day last. Just though it would be fitting to viewers to see that watercolour pencil is very versatile and it blends very well with pencil, especially if you mix it with water to make it run – a wash is what it’s called in watercolour. I think i will go back to painting with watercolour direct as it’s more suited to me. Although i stated here that watercolour pencils was more easier to use, it’s watercolour itself that’s more quicker, vibrant and direct. Getting back to the above sketch: the colours really pulled me in. I loved the mauve’s, greens and ochers of the distant fields. The foreground browns/burnt umber colour is so striking and it literally stands out to the viewer, pulling you more into the sketch. The foreground rushes/grasses give balance and stability in ‘holding’ the sketch in. The tower is obviously the center point of interest and been at the top of the sketch it leading you up and to gather as much interest into the overall study of the work. The reds give extra ‘holding’ power and interest.

My Watercolour Sketch Book:


'Coal harbour Dun Laoire'
‘Coal harbour Dun Laoire’

This drawing/painting is ‘rough’ in it’s raw simplicity and visual impact. Thats what i love about spontaneous work. I try to work on the spot or at the scene. The lines of the pencil are very strong (i use 9B pencil, graphite and strong conte ) and bold in their statement, plus the colouring pencils are quickly indicated and with vigor to get it down fast! It’s all about speed working out doors. The elements are always your enemy, however i always have my van to hide in if it gets rough! I love this place as it’s so tranquil apart from the gulls screeching or the odd muffling of the trawler boat engines arriving/leaving into harbour. The colour of the sea water that day was so beautiful and clear, almost turquoise, a colour i’ normally associate with tropical islands. We here in Ireland seem to get truly magnificent skies and that in turn reflects on the water surface leaving a beautiful sea colour or the opposite – murky and bland! The sea colour in this drawing is not present in this piece as i wanted to only show the viewer the contours of the pencils and the speed you can imagine from the pencil lines with constant scribbling, etc. i particularly like the bottom left of the drawing as you can see the way i darkened the harbour walls, where to the right its more simple with shadow and lines. Watercolour pencils are lovely to work with, but like everything, there is always a down side – pencils are more time consuming and fiddly, where watercolour paint is fast and direct – but it’s very unpredictable and messy, especially if your working in a vehicle, etc. PS: The yellow bollards give some dept/interest and draws the viewer into the drawing to the main focus: the building.

Happy Christmas to all My Followers!

Old Convent House Cairnhill, Bray. Co Dublin
Old Convent House Cairnhill, Bray. Co Wicklow.

This is a lovely old Victorian building off Herbert Road Bray Co Wicklow. I visit an old friend and went by this building many times before i came across it recently. it’s really a simple drawing, however, i wanted to capture the essence of the building. The flame red brick in the sunlight is just breath taking and soothing on the eye. Looking deeper you can’t take your eye off the surrounding landscaped gardens with their immaculate mature pines and cedar trees, finely cut lawns, and manicured rose beds. It has since closed it’s doors many years ago to meditative convent life and is now a childrens school. I have just hinted at the shapes of the building, but i wanted to retain the ‘visual memory’ of my sitting. This is what a sketch is.

Stllorgan: Bus stop on Old Dublin Rd.
Stllorgan: Bus stop on Old Dublin Rd.

Above is a regular bus stop off the Old Dublin Road Stillorgan. Co. Dublin. Nothing special you will see. I wanted to get the sense of scale and perspective of the figures waiting for the bus – all the figures looking left to the on-coming bus arriving. What really struck me was the big sycamore left of the bus stop. I love the way an old mature tree is slap bang in the middle of a bustling main road, even though there are many trees along our roads this one had real character i can’t seem to put my finger on it.. The car looks child like, but i wanted just to hint at it’s presence and placement.


‘Sketches/Doodles’ (from my sketchpad)

'Greystones Town from Marina'
‘Greystones Town from Marina’

Above i was very pleased with this sketch. Done in roughly half hour..The main attraction or highlight was the center building and then the

eye is drawn naturally to the walls and water in the foreground. An unusual perspective for sure But i do like the dark’s in the pencil to show

the viewer the power of a simple lead pencil and use heavy strokes when needed as in the linear work at the center of this sketch work.


Above: ladies collecting their children after school. Notice the speed of the sketches, all done very quickly..maybe each done less than minute.


The above was done from a car park…(it seems to be where i get a lot of visual inspiration!) The main emphasis been the cars to the right. The

sketch is nothing special for sure! However i wanted to test my linear perspective and contrast using a variety of pencil lines and strokes, etc.


Again, this is figures in all modes of work and regular day by day chores. The man in the foreground was looking to his right. The lady far right

is walking at a pace and the old man center right was done less than a minute: (i know he is leaning way back!) i wanted to capture his gait and

over all posture in a less time as possible. Speed in sketching figures is really essential to capture the main area of interest: proportion No 1!

‘Farm Cottage from Glenamuck Rd’


'Farm Cottage from Glenamuck Rd'
‘Farm Cottage from Glenamuck Rd’

This is an old farm cottage viewed from the Glenamuck Road Foxrock. It’s now a completely different story now-a-days as with the modern roadways and overhead bridges which has completely changed this landscape. Only up to less then ten years ago it was a totally different story – small country roads and bye-ways with horses/cattle grazing where the new LUAS (tram service) tram station is! This is where i started this drawing and the one you see above is untouched and done from my car on the spot from the LUAS car park. (i do admit i touched it up just a little when i got home). Looking over the hills above me towards the Kilternan/Dublin mountain range is the view from the lower partial view of the hillside, and what a stunning view it is. The colour of the house roof and the rolling hillside is what captured me into the scene that i had to draw/paint it. I know for a fact this cottage will almost be history in a few short years, how sad it is. This was drawn with conte pencil along with Derwent watercolour pencils. I washed it over with a water pen and blended in the vibrant colours of these beautiful pencils. I think it really shows in the red roof and foreground.