Sunday, October 7, 2018


The Maclise Art Society have a monthly challenge to paint a theme, and the theme for October 5th was "animal". I was just back from France and had very little time to do anything, so I checked some photos of a female giraffe that I had taken a few weeks before in La Palmyre zoo, decided that they were too complex to use in the time available, and looked for a simpler image on the internet.

The photo I used was taken by Karen Pulfer Focht in Memphis zoo in 2008. I secured the photographer's permission to use the image.

You can see the progess from original photo, to using a grid app, and making use of the ground colour and texture on Mi-Teintes Touch paper. I finally painted the background dark blue (Sennelier 463) to conceal the grid lines. The final result is 10 x 8 ins.

I liked this photo so much I decided to paint it again, this time doing a mirror image so that I would have better control over the pastel (being right-handed).
Maternity © Niall O'Neill

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


I have a fascination for small objects from exotic locations - China, Japan, Arabia, and this picture assembles a trio that I found via eBay - a cloisonné snail, a Buddhist altar, and a prayerwheel, probably Buddhist as well. 

The support is grey Pastelmat, 12 x 15.5 inches. I didn't record the earliest sketches, so this is quite advanced at this point. Sennelier were the main pastels used, especially useful for the turquoise prayer wheel - nos. 179, 184, 201, 250 and 347. 

I started to block in the background, to bring out the snail. The background will be dark blue Sennelier 463 and 464, and dark green 177, as it develops.
CarbOthello pencil 545 gave a sharp edge where needed. The red was Sennelier 266 and CarbOthello 325, an excellent match. Rembrandt gold ochres and further CarbOthello pencils were used to detail the snail and prayerwheel.

Tibet © Niall O'Neill