Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Oil Painting from Observation WORKSHOP

Oil Painting from Observation Workshop


In my studio at New Art Studio, 2-3 Mary's Abbey, Dublin 7. just off Capel St.

Now taking bookings for both workshops on dates:
Saturday 27th April
Saturday 11th May

Focusing on still life, this 1 day workshop will explore oil painting techniques and the Still Life. The Still Life allows the student to learn many of the techniques of Oil Painting. Students will develop an understanding of oil painting and work with related mediums. Techniques including composition, colour, tone, drawing, observation, perspective, Grisaille and Alla Prima Painting will be explored on the day.

Students are required to bring their own materials (paints and still life objects). Materials provided are canvas boards, paper and handouts.
 Once registered I will send the full materials list.
This is a ONE day workshop, students are welcome to book both dates.

All levels are welcome.
Classes are small, 5 students
€60 for the day
11am - 4.30pm
lunch 1.30 - 2pm
tea and coffee provided

Please call 085 7139112 or email akeehan@gmail.com to confirm booking.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

New Studio!

Last week I moved into a new studio, the New Art Studios, Mary's Abbey, Dublin. This is the second move in 6 months, but the last studio was really not inspiring me! Rather than forcing myself into the studio every morning, when the opportunity to move came my way- I grabbed it. The new studio is fantastic, with great facilities, great location, and supported by the Arts Council. I'm delighted with the new space, may it be blessed with productivity!!


Friday, December 7, 2012


Recently, I partook in a workshop in Firestation Studios, Dublin. A question was put to all participants; who's work are we inspired by?
Rothko, Rothko and more Rothko... He's my painting guru.

My second piece I thought of for the workshop was Matisse's 'The Red Studio' painting. I was thinking about it in relation to my 'Blue Studio Project Berlin', where I developed a series of photographs of an installation that I lived in for two months.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bernadette Madden and the Art of Batik.

Bernadette Madden
Artist's Talk at the Royal Hibernian Academy 
Wednesday 24th October 2012

The lone wolf in the art of batik; Bernadette described some of the disadvantages of her chosen medium. The medium of batik is generally in the 'craft box' but Bernadette brings it into the realm of Art, and quite decisively at that. Bernadette explained the technique and her purist approach. An array of slides followed, which described her various projects over her 40year career. Her work from a trip to Greenland excited me the most. The abstract landscape paralleled with the abstract medium; the sublimity of the vast landscape of Greenland is reflected beautifully in the pale batiks and screenprints. 

Greenlandic Iceberg / Screenprint on Fabriano paper / 60 X 42 / Varied Edition 8

Her newer work of woodlands were vibrant and incredibly detailed. She uses up to 20 dyes when doing these complicated pieces.
 Autumn Red / Wax resist on linen / 51 X 66 cm

I always think that an artist talk should inform and educated you into the artist's world. Bernadette's talk delivered on both accounts.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

K2 Contemporary Izmir

I visited K2 Contemporary in early August 2012. A difficult place to find or even hear about. I have a loose contact with a gallery in Istanbul that sent me the link, (a google search of 'Art Galleries Izmir' doesn't bring them up.) Thankfully I had someone familiar with the area with me, or I doubt I would've found it! So while circling the beautiful old port-side building, we spotted the sign in the window on the third floor. 

The building was quite captivating, immediately I thought of 'From Russia with Love', a timeless Turkish place, standing still. Original Turkish tiles paved the long twisting corridors and an inner courtyard formed the centre of the building. This variety of corridors leads you through a hive of activity; art studios, art schools, offices, etc. An old c1920's lift, untouched by modernization enhances the scene of this bohemian building. Through our adventure of this wonderland, we came upon the Art Centre; a few rooms at the end of the corridor. 

I had some great photos of this wonderful building and art space, the quirkiness of a building that has had many reincarnations through the years! Unfortunately my camera was stolen a few days later, a story for another day... *sigh

A photographic exhibition hung inside the Gallery. Probably a student show, enough said about that. 
To be honest the space itself won my attention more, and I went about the space snap happy with my camera, visualizing my paintings on the walls... My partner and I discuss the work, the space, looked out the windows, examine the beautiful floors; though it's one room, we really did linger. A nice place to be.

We had a good chat with one of the staff. She filled us in on a few details about the place; the main programme won't start until September. I'll return in Autumn, I think to myself. They also put on an Triennial, the next one due to take place in 2013. She kindly gave a catalogue from 2010, which I've subsequently ploughed through hoping to get a better idea of the art scene in Izmir.
One line stands out from one of the articles; 'Izmir is a city where conservative, preservative people live, who resist the new' Borga Kanturk, pg 46. 
This, I fear, surmises the art scene in the city, as I asked 'Where do I go next? Where's the other galleries?' 
The answer; 'This is it! not many others really...' 
That said there's something very exciting about the place, a rawness or freshness, the lack of information available about it, the rarely updated website, the singular beauty of the lone gallery. Curious. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

6 month Residency at the Royal Hibernian Academy

I moved into the studio in January 2012, coming from the below zero temperatures of my previous studio in Henrietta street, I couldn't believe my luck. The charms of Henrietta Street could never compare to the luxuries of a heating system...

Purpose built studios in the extension of the recently refurbished RHA, consideration of the artists needs are taken care of. Storage, sink, running hot water, access to easels and tables, and shared kitchen, library and showering facilities! And most importantly- a lift! 4 studios circular the large studio/workshop area.

The large studio holds drawing sessions twice or so per week. Around 30 artists on each day, work from 2 models. I've attended these sessions for over 3 years, so the familiarity made it easy for me to settle into my new studio, by both having previous knowledge of the space and knowing a few of the people attending. There's a mutual respect during these days, between artists in the studios and the sessions... Trying to keep quiet and also leaving the studio during their break times. I realised quickly that I go in and out of the studio constantly- tea, toilet, lunch, tea, toilet, tea, tea, tea.... Need to cut down on tea!!! It's quite a privilege having life drawing at your disposal 2 days a week, and I take advantage as much as I can and get drawing.

Other workshops facilitated by RHA members happen intermittently, these are a real bonus! A little bit of ear wigging throughout the day, and chatting to everyone on their breaks and you get a little taste of what's going on in the workshop! It's always interesting to see different approaches to painting and how it's taught.

Towards the end of our residency, we- the residents- put on another Open Studio. In the early months we held one for the Friends of the RHA. This was a great success, as it was an opportunity to meet visitors to the RHA and introduce ourselves to a new audience in a more informal manner. As with every residency, it's what you put into it, and our group was quite active and made the most of its central location and people's curiosity!
During my time in the RHA, I put on a drawing show at Draiocht, and also completed a detailed Self-portrait in Oil Paint. Both of these were a departure from my usual, and also a bit of a challenge. Again, I feel that's one of the benefits of taking on the studio, I was willing to divert slightly with what I was making and was guilt-free about doing so! The set-up of the studios is so comfortable that it's easy to focus and get stuck in! Inspiration is everywhere, from the people you meet to the quality and diversity of work exhibited in the galleries.

I'd do it again in a flash! ......and did I mention the Craic?!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

'Self Portrait After I Said Yes'

'Self Portrait After I Said Yes', 92 x 71cm, Oil on Linen, 2012. 
Documentation of the process of painting a self portrait from life, using only a mirror. Quite possibly the most difficult painting I've attempted! I started the painting 6th February and finished it 13th July 2012. It took the full 6 months on a residency in the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin. Thankfully it's a luxurious studio which allowed for long hours!!!