I was spoiled for choice with this kick about with rural Ireland having a bountiful abundance of botany with textures, colours and shapes of all the flora and vegetation, feeling like an endless pick’n’mix. I always find myself thinking about the intricate patterns and shapes as I snap away, mint green reindeer moss looking like bleached coral under a microscopic macro lens and the swirling and meandering of ice a jigsaw of frozen motion, while twigs, branches and petals looking like spores after some careful manipulation. suffice to say I loved this kick about and loved editing, warping and colour correcting a surplus of photos from recent adventures around Ireland to get a photomontage and mimic Ernst Haeckel’s inspiring Illustrations. I have a real hankering to go on and on with creating more designs like this.
This kick-about prompt by Fernand Leger felt very homely; an abundance of food reminds me of home, so I painted a kitchen illustration of a section of our kitchen, mimicking the colour and skewed perspective of Leger’s piece.
The music of this weeks Kick About prompt over on Reds Kingdom felt very christmasy and warm indeed. To me nothing feels more christmasy than going for a walk in the countryside of Ireland where the invigorating air hits you with pure refreshment and the frost glistens the shrubbery and flora. I spent a lot of my time when I was a young lad outside building rickety hideouts and treehouses with my friends and cousins. Going for a walk near my family home always feels like I am dipping into my memory fault where walking past a particular tree will spark a memory of us building and climbing away, walking through the grasses of the fields reminds me of being cut by barbed wire and being so dumbfounded by having fun that I didn’t realise I was bleeding with barbed wire marks in my palms.
I remember the beehive that was camouflaged into the ground of a particular field in perpendicular view from the balcony of our home, when all us had awoken the beast I can only imagine the sight of seeing us all running and screaming our heads off from the balcony as we ran for our lives away from the angry hive. Memories like that are scattered around the countryside of Ireland, they will echo as I stroll past them and now that I am older I can really appreciate them. Although all the hideouts and treehouses are dismantled, the trails that were grinded down are now full of vegetation again, It’s the clean air and the bright stars that haven’t changed.
Although isolation has for now stopped me from revisiting those actual areas of my past I remember them as I walk through the bogland surrounding my Mams house where I know I would have been in my element too when I was younger. I am still drawn to those picturesque areas and the crisp clean air, and I really appreciate the little bird houses built into the trees to shelter the birds in the bitter winter. I still sometimes walk past a particular tree and think – that would have been a good one.
This weeks Kick About over at Reds Kingdom is the gorgeous illustrations by Eric Ravilious entitled High Street (1938). I drew one of my favourite places to have a drink or ten with my friends during the Christmas back in my home turf in shop street Galway city – a place that is always bustling with the right amount of life. It will certainly be different this year but Ravilious illustrations made me think back to those bitter winter nights where our bellies would be warm with booze and the sound of buskers filled the cobbled streets.
Dance of the Happy Shades – a previous kick about over on Reds Kingdom was one of the most enjoyable Kick About’s thus far. I loved this prompt because it came very instinctively where I ended up making a little micro short, filmed from the inside of my bathroom’s poorly painted cabinet in my dingy west London apartment, where the light was shining brilliantly through the dusty bathroom window and in through a crack in the cabinet. I used my phone to film the light as I repeatedly opened and closed the cabinet door – making the light flow across the cabinet and then bringing those clips into after effects and mucking about by using some blend mode trickery, where lights and shadows started to materialise interesting shapes. To the precise eye some of them resembling a shodowy effigy.
The music discovered and accompanied this prompt is by Sergey Cheremisinov, which really drived this short and remembering that I went back to Sergey’s catalog to see if anything would fit the current short that I am working on. I found a piece that made me smile and shiver and after hearing the score it changed the periphery of the film into something a lot less dark, which I think works better (2020 is dark enough!) probably more sombre but I think that will be up to interpretation. Something about Sergey’s pieces with all its the creaks and fizzes overlaid sporadically invigorates a visceral reaction that make it feel like some thing is alive that shouldn’t be. I envision a lot when I listen to his music and like his music I want this film to have a replayability factor, so that really is the mission of this film and a whole new territory for me and one I’m excited to give a whirl.
Another Kick About has been unfurled over at Reds Kingdom with many delightful offers from artists all over. I decided to focus on a story that is well known around my home town of Knockatee, Dunmore which is that of Fairy Hill.
Fairy Hill is a hill that overlooks the emerald green of Ireland, The hill always felt like a picturesque place out of a film, it is covered in wildflowers with a swing fashioned out of old frayed rope and driftwood, suspended sturdily above the canopy of trees. You can hear the river sinking gently lapping nearby with grinded down little paths that meander around the fairy and chestnut trees. To the east you can see Dunmore castle peeping out from the swatches of high trees as you swing away.
The story of Fairy Hill went that builders tried to build Dunmore castle on Fairy Hill but the vivacious fairies would awake from their slumber in the dead of night, knock the stones down to the ground and did so every night to save their homes. The builders decided to build the castle down the road on a less magnificent hill which is now where Dunmore castle is seen.
But these stories are not mere wives tales, they are built into our history and heritage, So much so I am sharing an article here dated back to 1912 “On the History and Antiquities of the Parish of Dunmore” which goes into detail about Fairy hill and the aforementioned story that I grow up with.
“The tradition  preserved by old Treacy from the mouth of the poet O’Coman, is that the noble Haiste,  the son of Membric, a distinguished warrior of the Welsh nation, commenced erecting a castle a short distance to the west of where Dunmore Castle now stands, but that the fairy who presides over the place, Mor Ni Mananain, not wishing that he should erect his fortress there, destroyed by night as much as his masons had erected by day, and that she continued to do so for several nights until Haiste consulted a Magician, who told him that Mor-Ny-Mhanannain did not wish him to place his fortress there, but that she would be willing to allow him to erect it on the site of her own fort, and Hasty, taking the advice of the Sage, and seeing the old Dun a favourable position, immediately commenced to build there, and More, being delighted to view so lofty a pile towering over the humble mounds of her ancient fortress, suffered no fairy to interrupt the work.“
Ireland is bursting with stories like this. Planning permission for motorways have been scrapped because a pesky fairy tree is in its route and needs to be cherished. Irish people have all grown up with the stories of the Sluagh, the wailing banshee and of course the fairies, It is something I take pride in and something that I think sparked my imagination when I was a wee tot, Maybe these stories of paranormal oddities is why people view the Irish as a bit mad!? or maybe we refuse to grow up; I’ll take the latter.
I’ve missed the realm of blogging and all the inspiration and community driven involvement that it encompasses so I’ve decided to jump back in! While WordPress feels like a bit of eye sore at the moment (I’m sure I will understand all it’s bells and whistles eventually…) I want share the content that I’ve been up to in these bizarre times.
I thought I would kick off my new blog with a Kick About post. The kick about is a fortnightly event over at Reds-Kingdom created by friend Phil Gomm where artists from all around the world create something fuelled by a prompt. This week was the prompt of the Trappest -1e, a planet that is believed to be capable of harbouring life! Another fun prompt as always and anyone wanting to be involved in the shenanigans can do so, we would love to have you on board as a fellow Kick Abouter! You can have a gawk at the full offerings of creations by visiting this link
With this piece for this weeks Kick About I was really inspired inspired by Olafur Eliasson, in particular his exhibition – The Weather Project. I imagine a planet vibrating with orange hues against cool tones, with piercing shadows, and the ground of this planet cracking and buckling.
I initially used Maya by cracking open a simple plane and moving the segments about, then did some renders using a directional light to get some shadows and I simply painted over the render in Photoshop to get some nice contrast and paint that blazing orange against dark chiaroscuro and warming yellow sphere.