Artwork, web projects, and updates to

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Responses to "Living the Artist's Life"

About six weeks ago I contacted with word of the Free Books for Bloggers program for my client's book, Living the Artist's Life. BlogCritic T.Stoddart has now posted a enthusiastic review, saying the book:
is a hopeful, honest, and humorous look at the life we feel drawn into. [Paul Dorrell] understands, he respects, and he supports us artists with true devotion and a full heart. And after reading this book, I have nothing but respect for a man who can find true happiness in a world that can be supremely self destructive. Paul makes me feel that my journey, although not easy, has immense worth. And maybe someday, with enough Pauls in the world, we will be able to regain some of the value we artists have lost.
Alaskan artist Elise Tomlinson has been blogging about the book - enjoying it as I felt most artists would. I didn't need to scan art blogs to see what's being said - because I've been reading Elise's Art Journal for years.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Just You And Me So

According to the god of Web Usability, Nielsen Ratings, the average internet user is a 41-year old woman with 2.8 children, who is devilishly attractive and well balanced.

Well maybe not. I don't think devilishly as a word meets usability standards. Nonetheless, believing my readership to be the average internet user, I shall now talk to you the individual. Ideally this approach to blogging will inject some warmth into the conversation, and you'll get a more rewarding break from your 2.8 kids.

Apologies if you're actually a 13 year old boy looking for a World of Warcraft hack, but shouldn't you be in school anyway - whatever timezone you're in?

This is what multiple sleepless nights does to you - but I'm oh so close to releasing two more websites. Talk to to ya later - perhaps we'll share a cuppa.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Are Clients Ready for Technology?

Some clients are better than others. Some client's mothers are better than other client's mothers.

This is my sixth year of blogging, and in all that time I've never had a client or potential client that I haven't advised to blog. Almost all said no.

I had a client five years back that wanted a Content Management System. Of course they didn't use those words, so neither did I, but that was what they wanted. Using CGI and Perl I set about building them a system which was a perfect fit in that it fostered a sense of community (their raison d'etre, ); facilitated participation by multiple and changing personnel, and addressed the communication problems they were having.

The communication problems were worse than I knew though, because one day I received a mailshot informing me of their brand new website designed by somebody else. So I remained unpaid for my work, and they got a static site that addressed none of the issues they wanted. Today they still have that static site which is never up to date, and the solution I was building is still a perfect fit, but now so is Drupal or Mambo or Joomla or PhpNuke, etc. But how do you tell them?

Recently I had a meeting with a client to discuss online marketing strategies. Having spent the previous two years on the word 'blog', I didn't mention pinging, trackbacks, folksonomies, podcasting, wikis, carnivals, blog tours, bitTorrents, RSS, digests, aggregators, social bookmarking, social search, CoComment, or Co.mments.

Why? Because I've been there before - clients aren't interested in how to do something, they're interested in the results. You can try and show them, but even then it's the results they want to be shown, not the functionality or the potential. In two cases where I failed to persuade a client what blogging could do for them I found ultimately the only way was to actually blog for them. But even then they don't know what exactly you're doing nor all the related peripheral functions. Even when empowering clients, embracing new technologies is not what they do.

I dropped a client recently while I, mis-reading the dynamism of the client, was in the midst of a two-year plan to implement a whole range of the new online technologies listed above. While benefitting in the meantime, the client by the second year would have been in a position where a huge number of people could have participated in collaborative publishing in an easily managed environment, with spectacular natural increases in marketing and efficiencies of organization and communication.

More than a perfect fit, in this case it was essential given the growth of the organization and increasing communication and efficiency problems it was having. It also would have been self-supporting, removing dependencies on me, and empowering ever-changing groups of people. The client however wasn't ready to hear. Instead they wanted to implement technologies it could understand, so it chose the very solutions I was working on for my older client all those years ago.

My newest client sent me a list of projects we would work on together over the next several months. With trepidation I pointed the client to BackPack by 37signals. Fifteen seconds later, Yes,  said the client, let's use that.

Some clients are better than others.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Furniture of the 1970s and 1980s

Seven years ago today I moved here to the US. I moved here to paint. I moved here for the space to paint. But mostly I moved here to help a friend in need.

Speaking of dates, my brother, being a brother, has managed to post old photographs of me for two days in a row on his blog this week. Monday was one of those round number milestones, and he posted me and my cake from my tenth birthday with himself being the younger of us candle-blower-outers. I notice the best china was even out. And the following day, from the day after my sixteenth birthday, he posted me, my other brother, and joint birthday cake.

But is it art?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Painting-in-Progress: Chilies in Nepal

painting Chilies in NepalRed Meat. Ted asks Milkman Dan if he's seen his son. Dan responds, yes, and he's no oil painting

This is an oil painting. Chilies in Nepal. From when I walked maybe 80 miles in the Himalaya. Distances are impossible to know there. Maps useless. Even US military maps are inaccurate.

Rather busy lately. A couple of new sites in development. Almost ready to launch. Excited about the cartoon one. Even if it's not as funny as Red Meat.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Perfect Grey Day

Ah yes, in cahoots with nature.

From last week there has been much talk and forecast of snow for today. From one to three plus one to three again, to six and eleven inches. For some arbitrary reason - and I don't care what position the moon is in (it's irrelevant) some people who blindly follow rules consider today or tomorrow, or even the next day, as the first of spring. No more idiotic a notion than St Brigid's Day, and what does it matter? Does nature follow the rules that you stick on your calendar?

The trees have been budding since our unseasonably warm January, though the recent unseasonably early tornadic storms knocked many of these premature buds to the ground. And from early this morning it was clear that the snow would not make an appearance today. Instead today was the most magnificently gorgeous windy rainy day. So I went for a walk.

I've never seen a Japanese woodblock print render rain like this, not even by the masters of Ukiyo-E. In midtown, a couple of blocks from one of the taller masts in the world (of course), lumps of ice rained over and down from heights hidden in the clouds. I shielded my son as we darted across two streets with ice chunks shattering around us on cars and the street, and it ocurred to me that this is exactly what those unfamiliar with ice storms think they are. Build more masts and it will be.

Hours before a perfect end to a perfect day, I shared tea with Quinn, and potato cakes I'd made earlier, whilst behind my back -Don't turn around Daddy!   - my son created the best card he ever has for me. In fact I like it so much I'm not showing it to you.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Christmas Rules

Okay then, let's go crazy and act like it's Christmas - just for Monday March 20th, the Liam Line is open.

NOTE: Inclement weather may force uannounced closure at any time.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Lego Happy

Lego Happy Saint DayI write half a dozen blogs on different platforms, and the most basic of those platforms, Blogger, seems to have had a relapse into the days before Google purchased it. Ongoing filer difficulties have rendered the service very unstable these last few months, and for me attempts at updates yesterday were unsuccessful over a period of 14 hours.

Unfortunately it made published life online seem so quiet that I may as well have been out drinking just as much as everybody thought I was. Given the day that was in it, my local KC Irish blog took priority so it received the manual interventions necessary to publish something, anything.

Two months back I formulated plans to consolidate all blogs for the sake of streamlining workflows, and now those plans are a bit more advanced.

Jolting me back to reality my son handed me this piece of Lego. It's for Happy St Patrick's Day, he told me - and don't dare tell me it should have a 'p', when everone knows St-Patrick is hyphenated. Squares with circles, and on different planes; I think you know how much I liked it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Should I Give Away Irish Paintings?

I believe the Free Books for Bloggers offer has now closed - or is about to, so if you're a blogger who wants a book, a good read, an autobiographical self-help how-to art-creativity thing, without having to review or blog about, then, well, dash over and find out (by asking, not reading).

Being involved with the Living the Artist's Life   giveaway has been fun. More than that, it has me thinking. Paintings are not the same as books, as in they're not mass produced, but nonetheless I'm tempted to give something away. Maybe to give lots away.

It's the dynamic the project would create that interests me - and anyway it's not as if somebody would receive a painting for free, give it a great review on a blog, and people would flock to this site to buy other   paintings - so there shouldn't be a need for me to deny that I'm just crudely pimping paintings for free advertising. Marketing maybe, but it's more than that; it's pulling the rug from under my feet (and other cliches).

Anyway, I have a few ideas and I'm working on mechanisms that might make things practical. If I move on this it will be genuine. We would be talking real paintings, possibly ones that exist already?, or maybe new ones, but genuine nonetheless. It would need to be fun for people to participate also. And yes you would be eligible, even though you already have a painting of mine, and you don't blog.

And I'm also thinking of a couple of other projects regarding paintings that might be fun to follow along with in this blog format. I'm thinking a lot.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Painting-in-Progress: Burren Dolmen

painting of dolmen in the BurrenIt all comes down to courage. It's fine seeing the bands of colour clearly, or the areas of contrast - where I especially tend to dwell on the dark side - but the painting works best with not so much what is required as with what is not required.

The Burren in County Clare is, as any biologist will tell us, a very special place. That probably didn't come across in my Burren Tower painting, nor was it even meant do when depicting Poulnabrone Dolmen at night, but this time it is.

Dolmens are places to fall in love at, the ultimate playground for kids, tributes to nature, and markings for the dead. They're like those wonderful huge old trees, except they're not living, or at least they're not going to die; they're there basically, present, and real, have been for a long time and will be long after we've stopped thinking of each other. Assuming we do.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Painting-in-Progress: Cliffs of Moher III

Seems like I've been painting the Cliffs of Moher for ever. From Of Clare, to the first painting I titled The Cliffs of Moher right up to one of my favourite paintings the recently (very nearly) finished Cliffs of Moher IV.

Well, somewhere in there I got stuck on number III. In unfinished paintings you'll see it looking all orange like this.

painting of cliffs oh Moher

Since then I've done much messing around and it ended up like this. So now I'm on the verge of painting it lime green - or returning to orange. And I need to do something about the sea in the distance. Sometimes a signature doesn't mean what it looks like it means.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Edgeio Update

Since launching, the people at Edgeio have been quite busy smoothing and improving features.

Quicker than I expected they've addressed the issue of including those who find tagging and pinging alien. Even though those functions are already performed automatically by many blogging platforms - if you don't know that then you might shy away from Edgeio or similar services. "Instant Add" is the feature you can use to by-pass having to learn about tags and pings.

One day I suspect people will simply have their Feed address on their business card.Feeds are driving the web right now, and it's the new businesses that harness feeds that will be the next wave of web successes. Edgeio takes feeds from every direction, pushing and pulling as necessary. It's like a feed brokerage.

In my sidebar here I have my Atom feed and my RSS feed of this blog. And I've now just added an RSS feed from Edgeio of my stuff listed for sale there. So if you're always interested in whatever I might be putting up for sale, but in-between taking the kids to school and getting the laundry done you don't have the time to read all the extra words I tend to write - well you just need to subscribe to that feed in your favourite Feed Reader, like Bloglines or MyYahoo etc. - and it will let you know when I post something there.

What? You don't use a Feed Reader (or News Aggregator). You should you know - it would save you tons of time. Today, using feeds, I check over eighty websites a day, and all day - but I do it in about one tenth of the time it took me to check the fifteen websites or so I used to by going individually to each site and checking them. With feeds you get more done. Including laundry.

If you're not ready for conversion yet, I've also put an old-fashioned link to my page on Edgeio.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

News of Artist's Life

The book I do the website for, Living the Artist's life   - that is almost finished its current promotion of Free Books for Bloggers - features in the news at the moment.

Yesterday NBC ran a feature on the book's author, Paul Dorrell, outlining the background to Living the Artist's Life  , and discussing the next book, a baseball coaching book for parents called Everybody's Game .

Paul Dorrell also makes the front page of the Kansas City Star with his crusade to recognize regional artists. Last week Paul posted on supporting regional artists in general, and specifically invited you to support artists in the KC region by signing this petition.

Talking of Squares

painting of six squaresApart from tea, not drinking it that is, painting squares gives me headaches. Or again more correctly it's not painting squares that does.

You might have the most beautiful eyes in the world - in fact truth be told, you do - but forgive me, I like to paint squares. So I'm going to ignore your lovely eyes (because I can remember them) and look over your shoulder at the window, at the door, at the bookcase, at the filing cabinet, at anywhere where straight lines meet at right angles. Wear a dress with squares some time though, and then watch what happens to my  eyes.

That's why the Abstract section has a subsection at the bottom called Squares - but in truth the squares are in most of the paintings in that entire section - like the 72nd St Paintings. And they're in the other sections. Figures? Have a look at Wedding Dance - in fact did you see what the ads on that page say?

Even more obvious (we're talking squares again) is the figurative Five Circles. Landscapes? Try Caherdaniel Fort or another of that Kerry series. Cityscapes? 7 Buildings, 4 Stories. Animals? Cave Canam I or II. The MidWest? New? Yep - they're everywhere.

In fact many paintings of 'no squares' actually do have squares; only they're long painted over with trees, cliffs, grain bins, stone walls, and your eyes.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Sold: Christchurch

It was only up a couple of days, but the ink drawing of Christchurch from the Quays has been sold - and is fittingly returning home to Dublin.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Irish KC Blog launched

In development for some time, today I officially launched Irish KC.

Shades of The People's Front of Judea, with variations on Kansas City and Irish, out there already, however there was a gap in the blogosphere I saw three years ago that I believed I could fill - and it's still there.

Irish KC is bare bones at the moment, but there is much in development which will appear on the site before too long. I get to decide when too long is.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

New Leopold Gallery Website

It's early moments yet, but for the last three hours I've been publishing the files for the new Leopold Gallery website. About 7.5% of you will struggle with your screens being too small for a couple of pages - apologies but you'll be an even smaller percentage next year. Similarly a few of you will have so large a resolution that things might not sit ideally for you - but we should be able to improve things for you very shorly.

Websites which are primarily image-based tend to push the bounds of web standards, highlighting the differences between browsers and forcing some strategic decisions of design. Hopefully with the releases of IE7 and Flock both imminent, this will become less the case.

The site does need some text added, but as it stands the design has been tested heavily on three browsers and should work fluidly on 14 different monitor resolutions. There's also a couple of bonus features I threw in for IE users, which exclude even myself since Opera is my browser of choice. And as always - shur it's what the client wanted. Em, has that kettle not boiled yet?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I Don't Know Which Way is West

All the clocks say 2 o'clock. I don't know which way is West. Everything's gone green.
Rather than getting lost flying in the Bermuda Triangle, these wonderfully desperate words could more likely have been uttered by drunks stumbling around Kansas City's midtown on Paddy's Day.
In advance of a new website, WJ McBride's Irish Pub & Restaurant, over there to the west by Cabella's and the Racetrack and that really big furniture shop that sells really big furniture, have posted their Irish events for St Patrick's Week.

Skype Me

Skype logoIf you've ever tried to call me, well God Bless You, but you probably found out I can be quite difficult to get hold of. To make life easier (for who?) I've been on Skype for a few weeks now - and just didn't get around to telling you. Anyway, if you're on Skype too then you know already what to do. And I'm exactly who you think I am.

Just be sure that I likely want to communicate with you first - for example if you're the person who regularly sneaked slivers and slices off my cheese when I worked in England years back, don't bother. And if you wrote a book about why people shouldn't get upset when somebody in the office messes with your cheese - well you needn't Skype me either. We're talking Cheddar of vintage maturity here.

Should you not be on Skype, then just ignore this post and don't tell anybody you saw it - unless asked directly of course.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Drawing: Christchurch from Quays

Ink Drawing of Christchurch Cathedral, DublinChristchurch Cathedral as seen from the Quays. Ink drawing on paper. For sale. Comes matted with a 5 x 7 inch window to fit in a 8x10 inch frame. $29 plus $4 shipping within US, or $9 shipping elsewhere. Visa and Mastercard will work.

I wish Stephenson had been let finish his Civic Offices. No I didn't like them much when they went up either but in fairness he was only let do half a job. The front two smaller pillars would've transformed the site - and the damage was already done. Stupid populist Dublin railed against modern architecture not the sin of building on the remains of medieval Dublin. Not enough people cared when it mattered - when it was an excavation site behind hoardings.

And then there was the new sin which nobody expected. Making way for a building project made a view of the cathedral at the same time - except the plan was to hide it again.

But when the view was hidden, the people who disliked the concrete of Stephenson's bunkers (while supposedly loving the Four Courts) persuaded the creation of the cowardly project to hide the buildings that hid the view. Wonderfully Irish. All that was missing was an underground bus station with dancing vikings (financed by Canadians with vision). By then I liked the bunkers and how they had aged. Always have been a sucker for small windows.

So before anybody could utter the term 'civic space', we congratulated ourselves on reinstating the eyeline from Merchants Quay to Essex Quay, but with a peephole   This is that peephole. Please send $29 in a brown paper bag, and tell me how many misty-eyed Catholic expats are currently making pictures of Dublin's ProCathedral?

Until June 16, 2006
At $29

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Colorado, Before The Fall

Colorado, Before The Fall I
Three pictures of the same scene created on the same day from the same spot. None of the three are intended to stand alone.

Colorado, Before The Fall II

Instead, each picture is intentionally part of the series necessary to produce the final painting, with shapes, tones, colours, all conveyed by a shorthand notation.

Colorado, Before The Fall IIIIt's the rendering of the spruce and aspen that is the main challenge of this yet-to-be-painted painting.

A week ago I was at a show where I saw a stunning depiction of an aspen. It was in watercolours, which made it all the more impressive. And it was a close up, compared to my distant trees. Nevertheles it had the vitality I'm hoping to put into this painting, as it captured the living mosaic that is foliage.

And when will this painting be painted? you ask. Oh, how shall I put this? There's a queue   It will happen - I just need to launch half a dozen websites first.

This is not a Duck (or a Drummer)

ink drawing of a duck?Ah the old Ceci n'est pas une pipe   argument, you say. No, I say. Obviously it's a picture, not a real living three-dimensional duck in your bedroom or office. But it's not a picture of a duck. Or a pipe.

It is a scan of a drawing of a sculpture of, well that's all I know. I was going to say a sculpture of a duck, but maybe the sculpture was based on, say a duck decoy for hunting, itself fashioned from a petraglyph, or from memory, or from a scanned-in drawing even. What if the egg never came, never mind came first?

Semantics to you, but in this age of the web and the disclosure it necessitates (because you get found out much quicker), do I disclose that my drummer from the Dominican Republic never actually drummed? I'm not referring to my painting being based on a sketch - which it was - but to the fact that the sketch was of a wooden statuette (and not the moving kind), albeit from the Dominican Republic. And that's why I sometimes have paintings called such as Dog On a Mantlepiece

Then again, aren't artists meant to pilfer, plagiarise, amend, and recompose - whilst not disclosing?

Or in short, who cares?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Paintings for sale on Edgeio

In time this will become natural and organic where when I announce the completion of a painting, I'll tag it for edgeio to pick up and list over there also. But for now, as Henry Kelly might say, we're playing catch-up. Dotted among the last week's posts are three new posts: they are of those small paintings for sale at $25. I've added the Ram, the Cat, and the Panda, to the original Zebra. Note that Visa, Mastercard, and food are all accepted as payment.

LTAL around the Blogosphere

Living the Artist's Life   and author Paul Dorrell have been making some appearances in various blogs lately, so I created a page on to highlight some of the more interesting posts found around the blogosphere. Just a beginning - greater plans are, well, planned.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sketch: Grattan Bridge Lamp

ink drawing of Lamp on Grattan BridgeCapel Street is one of my favourite streets in Dublin. When I would take visitors there on my walking tours they would ask me why I brought them to a street with a load of phones and tools. Seeing that as a good enough reason to visit any street I never answered.

Capel Street Bridge, as it tends to be known - which seems a little unfair on Parliament Street - is so unlike the rest of Dublin's bridges, notwithstanding the recent new bridges and some paint jobs. A few years back I did a little study with inks and acrylics of this very scene - intended for a painting I haven't got to yet. And down in unfinished paintings I have one of those maddeningly unenlargeable thumbnails of another Grattan Bridge Painting with the beautiful Sunlight Chambers in the background - if you have your magnifying glass handy. The bottom line though is: Hey, we're talking seahorses!

Anyway the plan - I'm a great man for plans - is to actually paint this scene finally and properly, and again give special attention to the domes either side of the Liffey. Do you know which ones I'm talking of? Don't phone, it's just for fun.

Perhaps we'll go to Colorado tomorrow? Artistically speaking.

Cat Painting for sale

Until June 16, 2006
At $25

painting of catPainting of Cat in acrylics with inks. Influenced by Celtic art of Illuminated Manuscripts. Comes mounted safely on archival matting board. Two and a half inches by three and a half, approx. ACEO size. Shipping and handling is $4 within US, and not too much more for shipping to elsewhere. Credit Cards (Visa and Mastercard) accepted. So is food.

Free Books for Bloggers Worldwide

The anticipated extension of the Free Books for Bloggers offer, to bloggers beyond the U.S. has been announced. Damien in Ireland and Des in Australia, among others might be pleased with this update.

Living the Artist's Life   is written by Paul Dorrell.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sketch: Bandon

ink drawing of BandonThe latest in the series of ink drawings of Irish towns beginning with 'B', Bandon is more like Bantry than Ballina - which means as a painting it should end up more like Killarney than Kinsale.

Fitting, don't you think, that I should be drawing the Gateway to West Cork whilst living in the Gateway to the West of America (Kansas City). Don't be fooled by that Arch nonsense over in St Louis on the eastern   side of Missouri; that would be akin to Youghal building a giant doorway and calling itself the Gateway to West Cork.

Oh, and if you're American, Youghal is pronounced just like in the phrase popularly thrown at you as you leave a shop, Y'all come back now, ya hear?   And if you're not American this phrase gets confusing when it's shortened to a simple Come back   Once upon a time I used to make the mistake of turning around and actually going back - which resulted in awkward stand-offs as myself and the fareweller would face each other, both wondering what the other wanted.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Celtic Ram Painting for sale

Until June 16, 2006
At $25

painting of ramPainting of Ram in acrylics with inks. Influenced by Celtic art of Illuminated Manuscripts. Comes mounted safely on archival matting board. Two and a half inches by three and a half, approx. Fractionally longer than ACEO. Shipping and handling is $4 within US, and not too much more for shipping to elsewhere. Credit Cards (Visa and Mastercard) accepted. So is food.

Drawing at Midnight

If it's your birthday, and it isn't your birthday, then you're pretty special. Here's a picture of a Panda.

drawing of a Panda

And Here's The Stuff I Wrote Earlier:

  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • March 2007
  • August 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • July 2009
  • September 2009
  • April 2010
  • May 2010
  • June 2010
  • October 2010
  • December 2010
  • September 2012
  • This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?