Monthly WIP 2019

Work in Progress - August & September 2019 by Pat Byrne

I didn’t post any work in progress update in August because I’m still working away at the oil painting below and I just forgot. It was about 2 weeks into September when I remembered so I decided to post to month in one. I’ve moved off of the tree, having finished the leaves and started working on the Púca, which needed a couple of glazes to to correct tones. The hat was too light in colour and the jumper was too cool tonally, so I have them sorted now and I’m working on the tracksuit, which I’m hoping to get finished next weekend or at worst the weekend after.

I think what took so long to get the crown of the tree completed was that the leaves were so numerous that it allowed me to be a bit looser but due to how big the tree is, it meant that the leaves needed some bit of form and definition so it was a case of deciding when they had enough work gone into them without leaving them looking unfinished and monotone.

I’m hoping to start work on sketches for the next batch of paintings from tomorrow evening. I’m going to keep going as I am, allowing the canvas to serve as the background, I think it lets the viewers eye fill in the rest of the painting without painting in a room or a landscape or where ever the characters are situated and I like the look of the detailed figure on the bare background.

I’ve confirmed another set of oil painting workshops in the Dunamaise Arts Centre too and they’ll be running for the month of November, I think every Tuesday evening, the same as before and we’re going to be running Halloween camps in Heritage House in Abbeyleix.

In work, one of the members of the board asked me if I would paint some of the telecom boxes on the street in Abbeyleix, like Dublin Canvas do. They want it linked to bio diversity, so lots of animals and plants. I’ve been messing about with a few bits but I’ve changed what I was originally going to do because I accidentally made something that sort of resembled The Animals of Farthing Wood logo. I’m also going to use spray paint and stencils because it’ll save me having to seal it when it’s finished and also I don’t want to be getting caught up in tiny details that won’t be seen or noticed. With this I’m aiming to maybe have the stencils ready for Spring when the weather takes up a bit.

Work in Progress - July 2019 by Pat Byrne

This month consisted of workshops and, at long last, some painting. The workshops were running every Tuesday for the month of July at The Dunamaise Art Centre and for 2 hours each night. Originally I was going to set up a still life to work from but it couldn’t be left set up from one week to the next so I got the group to work from photographs. Two of these images were what I made works from last year and the third was one that I never used. Everyone’s paintings turned out really well and for most it was their first time using oils so I had them working with a fairly limited palette, using 5 colours and ran over some mediums, canvas preparations and a couple of other bits . Following off the back of those workshops, I’m looking into sorting out a follow up session that will hopefully run for a little longer. I have some images of the group’s work below, I didn’t go mad snapping pictures because I didn’t want to be annoying them or stopping them working so I just got a few snaps before the start of the workshops on week two and week four. When the follow up goes ahead it will be at Heritage House in Abbeyleix

Back in the studio I finally started painting this piece that I have been doing research for and sketching since April and it got off to a rocky start. When I start a painting, I draw it out on paper, sort out anything that I want to sort, trace the drawing and then transfer it over onto canvas. This process was a necessity in this case because I want to keep the canvas clean so it was a way of keeping pencil lines where I want them. The problems started when I tried to transfer the drawing, the first time, I’m not sure why, maybe the pencil wasn’t soft enough, but it didn’t press onto the canvas. Sickened, I traced it again using a softer pencil, this time the trace moved and one section ended up where it was meant to be, then continued on an inch higher than it should have been, I was annoyed and thought will I just turn this into a glitch painting. I stretched the canvas a third time in not so great lighting, I transferred the drawing , it went on perfect and I was happy, until I turned on the light and saw that there was a wrinkle running the width of the canvas that priming didn’t get rid of, so that was ripped off the frame again. I ironed the canvas twice, I stretched it a fourth time, I traced the drawing with a 5B pencil fairly heavily, I stuck the trace with the strongest tape I had and finally got a result and now I have the painting underway and I’m about two and a half weeks into it.

I’m happy with how the painting is going, I think I’ll be working this way for the next body of work too. I struggle to finish paintings, I think maybe because when they’re done there’s a feeling of separation or something whereas with this way of working it’s open to the possibility of adding to it until it goes to exhibition at least.

Work in Progress - June 2019 by Pat Byrne

I spent June finishing off the sketch to a point where I’d be happy to put it on canvas, there’s a few more bits that I want to put in but I want to start getting paint on canvas so I’ll add the extras later. I’m running a little later than I was expecting with the painting because I ran into a few problems with the painting last week and had to re-stretch the canvas twice so I’m hoping it’ll go smoothly this time, the first problem was with the preparation itself, the next time I ran into trouble transferring the drawing onto the canvas. I was back in Photoshop preparing a couple of other images to add at a later stage too.

I ordered the frame from the Milliken Brothers in County Down, their frames are really well made and sturdy and with this being a much larger painting than what I have been working on lately and also due to the shape of the canvas I wanted to take precautions to avoid any potential warping further down the line.

I ran the workshops at Heritage House for Cruinniú na nÓg (images below) and the 4 day painting workshop too and they went well. The Cruinniú na nÓg was just a case of people participating as they called in and there was a steady crowd. The 4 day workshops were a little slow to fill up but ended up close to full in the last few days before they started. I planned out a lot more than we could’ve fitted into each day just to make sure that we weren’t going to be left with a window of having nothing to be at.

June felt fairly busy but I think I was just focusing on two or three things fairly intensely and trying to aim for a few deadline set by myself and workshop dates and then there were a few problems I had foreseen with the canvas.

First day of the 4 day workshops when the group did colour theory

First day of the 4 day workshops when the group did colour theory

Work in Progress - May 2019 by Pat Byrne

I spent part of May planning workshops that will be held in Heritage House, Abbeyleix. They are mostly paint based with a bit of lino print to finish up on the last day. The workshops are planned for June 25th and will run until the 28th. All the details, such as price, numbers and a more detailed breakdown of each days classes are over on the Heritage House Facebook page and you can message us to book a place from there if you’re around Abbeyleix or know somebody that would be interested in taking part. When I finished work on Friday there were 8 places available.

The planned breakdown is:

Tuesday June 25th - Colour Theory, Wednesday - Portraiture, Thursday - Still Life and Friday - Lino Print

workshop poster.jpg

On the 15th of June I will be running a quilling workshop as part of Cruinniú na nÓg. This will be running from 12pm to 2pm at Heritage House and there will be loads more going on at Heritage House for Cruinniú na nÓg so again if you’re around Abbeyleix call in. The reason I decided to try a quilling workshop was because the date is so close to the painting workshop if anyone came to both I didn’t want it to be too repetitive.

In the studio I’ve just been working away at the drawing and have it fairly close to finished so I’m hoping to get it onto canvas in the next two weeks. I lost a week because I wasn’t happy with the tree over on the right so I decided to cover it over and redo it and I’m happier with the result. There are a couple of small bits to add to it still but I can start painting and add them later.

Just for a bit of a break from the drawing I was playing about with a small lino print and it’s something that I would like to do more of at some stage. The paper I was using was fairly think and I’d like to try a thinner paper and take my time doing it. Just because it was a bit of play I rushed it a bit and didn’t have the ink very even. I found the best result was on the damp paper but I had too much ink on the block and lost some detail, but I was happy enough with it.

Work in Progress - April 2019 by Pat Byrne

I spent most of April working in Photoshop trying to make one image, that I will paint from, out of several pieces of photography. I wanted to have the Púca and parts of the Lafcadio Hearn Gardens combined on canvas so I was cutting bits and pieces away and adding the figure below. I got the figure cut out and added fairly quickly, it was just a case of getting direction of the light matching the the light in the garden photos.


There were a few bits that had to be flipped to make the light and shadow make sense but that wasn’t to much of a problem because the pictures weren’t meant to be of that specific garden. What took the most time on Photoshop was editing out the background in a photo of an olive tree, it had more plants behind it and it made it hard to know what was olive tree and what was background.

For instagram.jpg

I eventually got most of it done and started sketching it out on paper. There’s a few more additions to make but I’ll get them in gradually, I have a fair bit to do on the sketch still before it’s put on canvas but I hope to be painting it before the end of next month.

The piece is going to be 108cm x 54cm so it’s the biggest painting I’ve worked on in a long while.