I am pleased to announce I have been elected a member of the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club. The club, originally called The Dublin Sketching Club, was founded in 1874 in the home of Dr W. Booth Pearsall HRHA. The founders included Dr William Stokes, Fellow of the Royal Society and President of The Royal Irish Academy, Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, Dr John Todhunter, a successful playright and John Woodhouse, engraver. Alfred Grey RHA was the first President. Members have included John Butler Yeats, Walter Osborne, Richar Orpen and Percy French. In 1886 James McNeill Whistler exhibited with the club showing is famous work 'Portrait of my Mother'.
Above: Home from the Field, Oil on Canvas by Tomas King
Post published by Tom King 1st Dec. 2010

Edward Seago

It was over coffee with two other artist that the name Edward Seago came up. Like so many we held his work in high regard and wondered at his lack of recognition by the art establishment.

During my time living in Norfolk in England I painted many of the sites made famous by him and was fortunate to acquire a number of books both on him and by him. I cannot say his writing moves me in the same way as his paintings but is of much interest to anyone interested in his work and gives an insight to his inner thoughts. As far as I know he wrote five on his own and three with John Masefield. Of the three illustated here, the most interesting is 'A Canvas to Cover' published by Collins in 1947. This copy, bought in Holt in Norfolk has a book plate attached with the name Cecil Barker and is dated Feb 1947. The other two are: High Endeavour published by Collins in 19
44 and Peace in War published by Collins in 1943. This has the name B B Loves 1944 inside.

Despite his phenomenal success both during his life and after he never came to terms with his lack of recognition, he had a wonderful ability to move freely between Oil and Watercolour and excelled in both. Like most of us he had his failures however. To begin with he had ambitions to follow the circus with his brushes, he then tried equestrian art and later the ballet but it was landscape that made his name and the big skies of East Anglia in England. An interesting book on his life not much known is 'Edward Seago, The Other Side of the Canvas' by Jean Goodman first published by William Collins Sons & Co 1978. My edition was published by Jarrold Publishing, Norwich in 1990. Goodman interviewed Seago and had her portrait painted by him.
Illustrated Left:
Edward Seago by Ron Ranson published by David and Charles
Edward Seago, The Landscape Art by James Reid published by Sotheby's
and a sale catalogue of Seago Paintings at the Richard Green Gallery 1999
Post published by Tom King Nov. 2010


Each of these three paintings was done on location while out painting with a group of friends at
different times throughout the Summer. They took between one and two hours each and all are oil on canvas. I like them just the way they are, unfinished and spontaneous and hope to do more over time.

Top: Neil Painting at Newbay
Middle: Michael Painting at Clohamon
Bottom: Margaret Painting at Tintern Abbey
Post Published by Tom King
3rd October. 2010


Summer is almost over and the weather has been good by Irish standards. Battling the elements is par for the course for a Plein Air Artist but I have had some great days out painting around the south east coast and am pleased with the results. It is also the first time I have painted with a group of artists and while I found it a little strange at first it has been good to share
the experience with other people and see how they interpret the
same subject. There is still time to get some more painting done before winter comes but for now I have enclosed some images and photos from the last few weeks.
From the Top: Hook Head, Oil on Canvas
Painting at Hook. Painting at Ballyhack.

River Crossing, Tintern Abbey, Oil on Canvas.
Ballyhack,Oil on Canvas.
Post published by Tom King 30th August 2010


During the course of a recent conversation with an artist friend about painting techniques and materials I made reference to a book I have found very useful over the years. It is 'Collins Artist's Manual' published by Harper Collins. There are many such books on the market but I have found this one to be particularly good. In addition to detailed technical information on all aspects of painting, well illustrated, there are some great paintings featured by leading contemporary artists. I am sure it is still in print and would recommend it.

Another book I have found useful is 'The Materials and Techniques of Painting' by Jonathan Stephenson and published by Thames and Hudson. This book is more technical than the Collins one and not quite so informative in certain areas but it makes a good companion to it and overlaps in areas adding additional depth to the information. Some of the illustrations are a bit primitive but they get the point across and most of what you would ever want to know about painting is here.

The third book I bought second hand many years ago and would think is long out of print by now is 'The Artist's Craft' by James Ayres. The original publisher was Guild Publishing London, the copy I have was published in 1985 by Book Club Associates. This is really a book on the history of studio practice and techniques and is a gem. It is, as it says in the title, a book on the craft aspect of an artist's studio and is a good read as well as a reference manual. Such books on the working life of an artist's studios through the ages are rare so I snap them up when I come across them. It is possible second hand copies are available through the internet.
Published by Tom King 24 - 8 - 2010


I learned last week that my watercolour painting of the Bullring Market, Wexford had won The Peoples Choice award for the most popular painting of the Plein Air Festival of Ireland. This is very gratifying and I am delighted that it gave pleasure to so many people.
Published by Tom King 15th Aug 2010


The Plein Air Festival of Ireland, now in its third year, took place last weekend (30th July-1st Aug.) in Wexford and finished with an exhibition in Greenacres Gallery of work produced.
This year the festival included Enniscorthy celebrating 1500 years in existance and attracted artists from as far away as America. Over a hundred artists took part filling the streets of Wexford and Enniscorthy with sheets of paper, canvases, bags, easels and umbrellas. All work had to be completed during the festival painted en plein air and several additional events were organised including a number of paint-outs around the county extending its scope and time frame.
The exhibition at Greenacres Gallery in Wexford continues until 7th August and included are my three paintings shown here produced over the weekend. All are Line and Wash on Paper.

From the top down:
St. Iberius Church, North Main Street, Wexford
The Bullring Mkt. Wexford.
The Saturday Mkt. Enniscorthy.
Published by Tom King, 3 - 8 -10


At last I have started to paint again after a long absence. Other things have been getting in the way and it was only when my wife gave the computer a cup of tea one morning that I was left with no choice but to pick up the brushes and head for the road. I have always liked to paint en plein air and it took a while to get back into the swing of it again but thanks to some friends who asked me to join them on several paint-outs the hand began to limber up and the results can be seen here in a small selection of work depicting south east Ireland. It is also thanks to some other friends that I am posting this blog as they have given me a spare laptop they had and I am once again connected to cyberspace after six weeks.
I am very fond of this corner of Ireland, from Rosslare to Ballyhack, across Waterford harbour
by ferry to Passage East, Cheekpoint and down to Dunmore East, even the names sound romantic. It may lack the drama of Connemara and points further west but there is much to paint here with big open skies, rolling countryside, marshland, delightful harbours and, of course, history.
Top: The Harbour, Fethard. Watercolour
Centre Arthurstown. Watercolour
Right: High Summer, Churshtown

Post published 14 - 7 - 2010
by Tom King


The studio environment has always been very important to me. The patina and paraphernalia of everyday working life and being surrounded by simple things that provide inspiration. Often meaningless to anyone else, the box files contain cuttings from newspapers and magazines that go back twenty five years, many of the books are no longer available to purchase; some have been published by friends, others about people I have met, most are for reference. Hundreds of magazines contain articles on subjects I am interested in, exhibition catalogues, pots and decorated tiles, pieces of driftwood, coloured papers and paints all add to the mix.

When I am in the studio by myself day after day these things remind me I am not alone, out there are thousands of people also going through the same daily creative process whether it be art, craft or design. No one makes us do it, it comes from within!

Published by Tomas King 21st May 2010


The extract below was taken from a book I started to write some years ago about my painting style called 'A Fluid Style'. Perhaps one day I will get round to finishing it.
A low afternoon sun cast long shadows through a pure clear January light bleaching a landscape already laid bare by winter frosts and bitter winds. It emphasised each undulation leaving deep hollows where its rays could not penetrate. A group of trees to the left stood stark against a stone-blue sky, their trunks catching the light to one side. At first glance they looked colourless but on closer inspection revealed a wide spectrum within their shadowy mass. They cast long tentacles of grey that spread out across the track in front of me, rippled over ploughed fields to my right, drawing clear lines that led the eye to the vines in the field beyond and a sharp rise in the land leading to a farmhouse straddling the hillside.
From one of its barns burst a glow of red at a perfect focal point. The distant hills had turned almost pure ultramarine and dropped in from the right leading the eye to the house and forming a counterbalance to the group of trees on the left. This was what I was looking for.
I unloaded the car and began to paint furiously. I had only stopped to check the front tyre of the car and when I looked up, there it was. Why had I not noticed it before? I had walked along this track almost every day for the last three years, the house in the distance was mine! What I was looking at was not just a landscape but a brief moment in time, an hour before or later and it would not be there, not like this. As I stood painting I realised that I had painted numerous subjects in this same small area close to the house, each had been like this, a chance encounter, a brief moment each year and only at a certain time of day
Post by Tom King 13 02 10. Painting: Colours of the Earth by Tomas King. Oil on Canvas


Christmas has come and gone, snow covers the ground and the radio crackles with news of ice on the roads and freezing temperatures outside. I thought this might be a good time to look back over warmer times and have taken the extracts below from my book of my travels in south west France, Between Two Rivers.To the east of Cahors the river meanders through a landscape of small vineyards, orchards, fruit farms, cereal crops and pasture. There is a sleepy, unhurried feel, and in summer the fields are punctuated only by the occasional couple working their land. Protected from the fierce heat of the day under straw hats, their skin aged a roasted brown, they move between the rows of crops often bent double for several hours. In the villages old women dressed in black talk or sit on balconies in the afternoon shade watching the world go by. Small groups of men cluster under a spreading tree in the public square or play boules on the dry, dusty earth. Long silences punctuate conversation, their movement is slow and the occasional chink of the metal balls is not enough to disturb the tranquillity of the moment. Small lizards scatter in a staccato motion over hot paving, stopping every few moments to lift one foot from the ground. The rustle of leaves, the drone of bees and from time to time, men in lycra, skin tight, streamlined and displaying all the colours of the rainbow, will sweep through the village like a comet: new-age travellers on two wheels with twelve gears - head down, pedalling hard and talking amongst themselves oblivious to their surroundings. The only other sound of their being is the smooth whisper of rubber rushing over wet tar: then they are gone – racing against time and leaving the old world where it was, to count the seconds that pass so slowly.

There is something wonderful about market days. Towns and villages that at other times are quiet and sleepy, become transformed, their mellow crumbling walls acting as a perfect foil to the brightly coloured umbrellas; the vibrant reds and greens of the produce of summer, the saffrons and browns of winter. The play of light falling between tall buildings in narrow streets that hold in the atmosphere, condense it, and squeeze every ounce of colour and noise until they become vibrant with excitement. Herbs and spices, spit roast chickens and the strong aroma of countless cheeses assail the nostrils. They are for me the embodiment of France, and I never fail to be moved by them.

Post published by Tom King 9th January 2010
Illustrations and text from Between Two Rivers.