Monday, October 15, 2012

Music to Paint to - Whipping Boy's 'When We Were Young'

The electricity was cut off in the studio one day last week. No radio, no CD player, no coffee machine!
It was lovely for a little while, I opened the door, listened to the birds singing and realised just how little time I allow myself to appreciate nature. So I painted for a while, in tune with the singing of the birds.

Then I got a bit restless, went for a swim in the pool in Mulranny and when I came back to the studio the electricity was back on. So I switched on the coffee machine, put Dublin band Whipping Boy's album 'Twinkle' in the CD player and started again. Caffeine and loud music. That's what gets me going in the studio. And it doesn't come any better than Whipping Boy. I went to see them play in Dublin's Tivoli theatre on my stag night seven years ago. At the time I was still working in software development, having just moved back from San Francisco. Wow, that seems like an age away, a different world, it's hard to believe just how much has changed since then. Earning a living as an artist is such a privilege! And such a pleasure.

But spending days alone in the studio can lead to a lot of reminiscing. In fact it's amazing the things that go through your head - it's not all about contemplating the meaning of life or the importance of each brushstroke! But reminiscing is what I've been doing most over the last week or so, with a soundtrack of Whipping Boy, Teenage Fanclub and the Harvest Ministers playing in the background. And this song - 'When We Were Young' - just brings me back 25 years in an instant. Sometimes bands come along that seem to write songs that just connect with you, songs that stay with you forever, no matter how old you get! This is one of mine (although the lyrics don't necessarily reflect my own experiences as a teenager growing up!). Play it LOUD.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

From Achill to Dublin to London

'Under a Big Sky' - 60x60cms - Oil on Canvas
 I'll be heading up to Dublin this weekend to drop some new work into the Doorway Gallery. The new paintings are destined for London next month where the gallery will be exhibiting again at the Affordable Art Fair in October. 

Here are two of the new pieces I will be sending over with the gallery. 'Under a Big Sky' - (60x60 cms, Oil on Canvas) takes it's cue from last year's Sentinels exhibition. I've been dying to do a 'sky' painting for some time now and this one just took off!

'A Quiet Road' - (60x60cms - Oil on Canvas) is based on some sketches I made over the summer in Achill - my new home. 

Oh yes, I moved to Achill with my family at the start of august! We've been so busy moving over, settling in, emptying boxes, building Ikea furniture, starting school, renting out our home in Dublin, running my August painting workshops, setting up my new studio - that I've had no time to let anyone know :)
'A Quiet Road' - 60x60cms - Oil on Canvas

I'll get around to writing a few dedicated blog posts about life in Achill once I get into my new routine but for the moment we are loving it, the kids are happy and we're talking about getting some chickens. TALKING about it.

'Off the Beaten Path' - 40x40cms - Limited Edition Giclee Print
Keep an eye on my Facebook page for more photos and news from the island. I will also be posting news of my latest Limited Edition Giclee Print  'Off the Beaten Path' - which I am making available at a special introductory price of €150 ($195), including shipping to the first 10 people to buy it online. I was prompted to make this print based on the amazing response the painting received when I posted it online over the summer. I received the final print from my printers and the quality is simply stunning.
You can order it online now at

That's it for now, lots more to come in the next few months...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Road Trip - Ardmore, Adrigole and Wexford

I'm just back from a road trip through clouds and sea fog, dropping off work for summer exhibitions in Wexford, Ardmore and Adrigole. The weather was appalling, visibility was no more than 50 feet for hours on end.
'The Gables' - Available in Ardmore Pottery & Craft Shop

First stop was Ardmore in Waterford,  which I believe is a beautiful seaside village - it's just that I wasn't able to see much of it with the fog and rain! But what I did see was stunning. I was invited to exhibit in Ardmore Pottery and Craft Shop last year and I'm really glad I took the opportunity this summer. It is situated on the cliff road out of the village, looking over the sea and magnificent Ardmore beach, and about 500 metres from the renowned Cliff House Hotel. The craft shop/gallery is owned and run by ceramicist Mary Lincoln and contains a great selection of Irish craft, ceramics and paintings. I think I'll be happy there :)

Back into the car and onwards to West Cork and the Hungry Hill Gallery in Adrigole, one of my favourite trips each year. Through more fog and clouds. But just as I drove into Adrigole three hours later a beautiful blue sky appeared and stayed for the evening.

'Mist Comes Down, Beara' - available in the Hungry Hill Gallery
I love when things happen like that. As ever the welcome and the hospitality from Gerry and Cecile was worth the trip alone. But the big bonus this year was that I got to meet their beautiful six month old daughter Amelie for the first time.
After a lovely home cooked meal and a bottle of Saint-Emilion Grand Cru that Gerry unearthed it was off to bed.

Next day, I'm back on the road and heading for Wexford to Whites Hotel. I have an exhibition running there for the month of July in the foyer. Whites Hotel is in the heart of Wexford Town and in some ways is the heart of the town. It acts as a meeting place for everyone and so is a lovely place to be able to exhibit.
Whites Hotel, Wexford. July 1st to 31st

I'm on the road again tomorrow, this time over to Achill Island where I have some painting workshops organised for next week - July 14/15. It never ends!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Exhibitions 2012

'Bog cotton, Achill' - 40x30cms
Summer is here. Somewhere, under the clouds and the rain! Let's hope it appears again before next week as I'm off for a week's holiday in Kerry with the family. Can't wait for the break as it's been a busy couple of months - and it just seems to be getting busier.

The 3x3 exhibition finished up in Newbridge last weekend so I drove over to pick up my paintings on monday (I was delighted to hear that I'd sold one of the bigger pieces!). Special thanks to Brian O'Loughlin and everyone involved in the exhibition for putting on such a strong exhibition and for all the energy and work they put into it.

Brian produces beautiful Bog Oak sculptures and had some amazing work at the exhibition. You can check out his work here - 
Perhaps it was seeing his work that inspired me to rework an old bog cotton painting of mine - 'Bog Cotton, Achill'.

Before I head off on holidays however I have to get some paintings out to my galleries for their summer exhibitions.

"A Quiet Moment, West Cork" - 80x80cms
I have just sent some new work down to the Lahinch Art Gallery in Clare and am busy finishing paintings for The Hungry Hill Gallery in Cork.  Then, in July I will have an exhibition running in Whites Hotel, Wexford from the 4th to the 31st. One of the bigger pieces I will be displaying there is  "A Quiet Moment, West Cork", 80x80 cms.

From Wexford it's only a short drive to Waterford, and Ardmore Pottery, where I will leaving some work for the first time. FInd out more about Ardmore Pottery here


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

3 x 3 - Group Exhibition in Newbridge

I will have some work included in a group exhibition that opens this thursday in Newbridge, Co. Kildare. The show runs until June 17th, so if you are in the area do drop in.
The exhibition is called 3x3 and is being held as part of the June Festival which takes place in the town. It includes 3 artists from Newbridge, 3 from Kildare and 3 from outside Kildare.....they are:
3 from Newbridge; Mauve Mulcaghy (watercolour); Elanor Swan    (ceramics) Eamonn Keenan  (oils)
3 from Kildare;  Brian O'Loughlin (bog oak); Annette Mc Cormick (bronze);Margret Becker (etching/print)
3 from Ireland; Padraig Mc Caul (Oil); Laurence O' Toole (oil/acrylic); Brock Butler  (multi media) 

The exhibition is being held in a 250sq m. vacant unit opening on to the main street in Newbridge and backs onto the Courtyard shopping centre, which is right beside the WhiteWater Shopping Centre.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

'Still Lives' moves to Dungarvan for 5 weeks

'Still Lives: Sky View'; 80x80cms, Oil & Wax on Linen
After a successful run in the Dalkey Heritage Centre, my current exhibition 'Still Lives' moves to the Old Market House Arts Centre in Dungarvan, Co.Waterford for a 5 week run.

The exhibition will run from May 18th to June 23rd. It will include some new pieces that were not part of the Dalkey show, including 'Sky View' (pictured here).

Thanks to everyone who visited the show in the Dalkey and for all the wonderful feedback - and especially to those who bought some of the new paintings!

'A Still day, West Cork'
Comedian Tommy Tiernan dropped in on the Wednesday morning and fell in love with one of the bigger pieces 'A Still Day, West Cork'. Unfortunately (typically!) it was already sold and destined for a good home in London! Maybe next time.

'Mists Come Down, Beara'; 50x50cms, Oil & Wax on Linen

Keep an eye out for the Phoenix Magazine later this week when they will be including a special feature on the state of the Art sector in Ireland. I get a small mention plus an image published.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Opening Night for "Still Lives"

We had a great opening night for "Still Lives" at the Dalkey Heritage Centre. Thanks to everyone who came! And a special thank you to Olivia O'Leary who gave a wonderful opening speech.

I will be giving a talk in the gallery this saturday - 21st - at 2pm, so if anyone is in the area do drop in.

It's been lovely to hear people's reaction to the new work and stars of the show so far, among others,  are "Winter Road, Achill" and "Mist Comes Down, Beara" (below)
"Winter Road, Achill" 80x80cms

The exhibition runs from 11am to 5pm each day and closes next sunday, april 22nd.

After that the show will be moving down to the Market House Gallery in Dungarvan, Co.Waterford and will run from May 18th to June 23rd. I will be posting more details a little closer to the date.

My summer workshops on Achill Island kick off next month also. The first workshop is on May 12th and 13th and there are still some places left. Full details are available as always on my website -
"Mist Comes Down, Beara" 50x50cms
Opening night - "Still Lives"

Opening night for "Still Lives"

Monday, March 26, 2012

"Still Lives" to be opened by Olivia O'Leary

padraig mccaul image from still lives exhibition
My new exhibition Still Lives is almost 3 weeks away. Opening night is the 17th April and I'm delighted to announce that the show will be officially opened by award winning journalist and broadcaster Olivia O'Leary.

Most of the work is almost completed, with the exception of a few of the larger pieces. But I need to let them "settle" and sit in the studio for a while so that I can pick up on any small changes or touches that I think are needed. It's an important part of my painting process - to allow time at the end to just live with the paintings in the studio. It's amazing what little things you can do to a painting at the very last minute that can make a profound impact to the overall painting.

This piece was "finished" two weeks ago, and I was happy with it. But something was nagging away at me telling me it needed something else. And then I added the shock of red to the gable end, and it suddenly came alive!

 Here is another of the new pieces from "Still Lives". No titles yet,  I will be writing a little more about the thoughts behind the exhibition in the next few weeks. I will also be posting a YouTube video of the paintings which I am close to finishing.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone for all of the warm congratulations I received over the success of my work at the Affordable Art Fair in London last week. It's a brilliant platform from which to grow my profile in the UK, so a special thank you to Denise and Deirdre at the Doorway Gallery for being so pro-active about promoting and marketing their artists abroad.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Music To Paint To

One of the absolute pleasures of being a full time artist is that I get to indulge my other great passion in life - music. The music I listen to in the studio helps to shape a lot of the work I create. It helps to set the mood for the day.

Sometimes I want something loud and noisy (Interpol, Psychedelic Furs, AC/DC), sometimes it has to be melodic with plenty of sing-along-ability (Divine Comedy, Supertramp, The Thrills). And sometimes it just has to be quiet and reflective (Anthony & The Johnsons, Ryan Adams).

The key is that it has to be something that I can listen to over and over again as I hit the repeat button and let the album play for as long as I want it to.

For the past few weeks I've been listening to Gavin Friday's new album Catholic. It's just a beautiful album, every single track. And it seems to set the right mood to match the work I'm producing at the moment. Everytime.

This is a small painting I made last month of some of the trees on the hills around my studio. They are old Scots Pine trees, over a hundred years old.

Here is the opening track from Gavin Friday's album. Great video too.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

All Set for the Affordable Art Fair

Last look before they leave the studio en route to London for the affordable art fair. But if you are in Dublin anytime before next tuesday you can preview the full selection of work that will be heading to the UK in the Doorway Gallery on south Frederick Street. I will be dropping all the new work in this evening.

I gave a demonstration to the High Loft painting group last night in Monkstown. It is so rewarding to be able to paint for such an appreciative audience. I really enjoyed it and was delighted to meet everyone there. Maybe I'll see one or two faces over in Achill at one of my summer painting workshops

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

2 More Paintings for the Affordable Art Fair, London

Here are 2 new paintings of mine that the Doorway Gallery will be exhibiting at the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea, London next week.

The first is called "Still Life" , 60x60cms , Oil and Wax on canvas. It is one of a series of paintings that I have been working on for my upcoming exhibition in the Dalkey Heritage Centre in April, but I'm delighted to have it included in the London exhibition and am looking forward to hearing the feedback on it.

The second piece is titled "Looking Over Dooagh, Achill" - 60x90cms, Oil on Canvas, and is based on some sketches and photos I took last summer.

I was hoping to get over to the affordable art fair next week but it looks like I won't make it now. Maybe next year!

I'm looking forward to giving a painting demonstration tonight to the High Loft painting group in monkstown. I just have to go off now and figure out what to paint for them :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Exhibiting at the Affordable Art Fair, London in March

The Doorway Gallery will be exhibiting a selection of my new work at the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea Park, London next month - March 15th - 18th. They will be at Stand C1.

The fair opens on thursday 15th, but there is a special charity preview on Wednesday 14th from 5.30 to 9.30pm. If anyone would like invitations to for the fair please drop me a line and I will be delighted to organise them for you.

Here are some of the new pieces that the gallery will be on showing in London. The first piece - "Near Dookinella, Achill" , 60x60cms, is of an old house at the side of the road, with telegraph poles leading down towards the foot of the minaun cliffs.

The second piece is called "Living on the Edge, Clare" - 60x60cms - and shows a house perched close to the edge of a cliff overlooking a beach below. This was painted from some sketches I made around Kilkee, Co.Clare.

Meanwhile I'm working away on the Still Lives exhibition that I have coming up in April. I have to start thinking about who I might get to open it and get to work on the press release and video and posters and flyers....Nice to be busy!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

News from the Studio

I met up with a friend of mine last week from my old life in software development. Wayne is also professional photographer, specialising in weddings and he came over to the studio to take some shots. Here are a few of photos he took of me in the studio. I'll be using some of the photos to update my website profiles over the next few weeks. Wayne's own website is

The painting on the easel in the first photo is one of the new pieces from my upcoming solo exhibition in april. I have no title on it yet, but it features a cluster of houses in Achill and a line of telegraph poles disappearing over the hill. It's painted with Oil and Wax on Linen canvas.

I've had a frustrating couple of weeks where nothing seemed to be going right for me in the studio. But I seem to have turned a corner and am getting really excited about some of the new work. I'll be posting some previews on my blog in the run up to the show.

I'm putting my change in fortunes down to my choice of music in the studio. I've recently gone on a nostalgia trip - back to my teens - and have been listenting to a lot of Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and AC/DC!! I was NEVER a heavy rocker may I add but there's something very simple and uplifting about loud guitars and screeching vocals that seems to bring out the best in me :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Padraig McCaul Painting Video Just Uploaded to Youtube #paintingvideo

I've been meaning to do this for ages and finally got around to it this week!

Here is a short video of me in the studio working through a new painting. It's a little rough around the edges as it's my first try at making a video like this - so ignore some of the continuity issues! And I was a little frugal with the voiceover (as you'll see). The music - "Cleaning out the Store" - is from The Harvest Ministers second album, which was released on Setanta Records.

But here's the thing - it was all shot on my iPhone and edited using Videopad software. And it's in HD which means it looks brilliant (whatever about the painting). Who needs professional production teams?!

Expect more of the same over the coming months!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Time To Come Out of Hibernation

It's the 1st of february and time to come out of hibernation!

Not that I've been sitting around doing nothing for the past month, but I just hate january and tend to keep my head down and wait for it to pass! In fact I've been busy, preparing for my upcoming solo exhibition which will be held in the Dalkey Heritage Centre from April 17th to 22nd.

Here is the first of the new pieces that I've just finished. No titles yet, but I am provisionally calling it "Still Lives #1". It is a single house, the first in a series of "house portraits" that I am doing as part of the show. Each "portrait" is devoid of any context or setting, leaving the buildings to stand on their own.

I have been using a Cold Wax medium on these new pieces, it gives a lovely matte sheen to the finished painting. Which I think helps to add to the mood and atmosphere of the painting.

I'll be adding new pieces to my website /blog as I finish them and I've started work on a new video to go with the exhibition - more on that later.

I've just been invited to give a painting demonstration to the High Loft painting group in monkstown in March. It's something I love doing so I'm really looking forward to that.