Last year, as a Christmas gift, my daughter Sophie gave my wife and I a set of tables she had covered in Decoupage. She had purchased the tables from a second-hand shop and covered them in different themes. One of the tables has an art theme which I find delightful and have decided to feature it here. The first image shows the complete table top and the following images show sections from it. Despite having used the tables every day for the last year, the surface, made from cut paper, is as good as the day she gave it to us.

Post published by Tomas King 17 - 12 - 2013

Tom King's Sketchbook ENTRE DEUX RIVIERES

The Lot and the Aveyron, France
While living in the south west of France a few years ago I published an illustrated book of my travels in the region. It was published in English but later taken up by a French publisher who produced it in French. The English version is no longer available and until recently I had assumed the French had been discontinued. However, after a number of enquires here in Ireland about the book I discovered that the French version is still available and for sale, on-line direct from the publisher.
The book contains 96 pages with 90 watercolour illustrations in full colour and 8 black and white, most of which are taken from my sketchbook and all done en plein air. It was originally produced in a smaller hand-made version as a birthday gift for my daughter in Australia by way of introducing her to the area where we lived and later extended.  The text, in French, describes the experiences of my wife and I going to live in a foreign country, opening a gallery and trying to deal with the problems of living in a different culture. It also describes the beautiful area where we lived, its history and some of the wonderful people we met. It measures 26.5cm x 12.5cm.
Below is a translation of the introduction to 'Entre Deux Rivieres' by the translator Georges Lamoine.

" The book I had the pleasure to translate into French is the work of an artist in more than one sense of the term: Mr King can see, draw, paint, describe, and tell a tale. Beside the quality of the drawing and the fineness of the colours, the observations thus given go along with the evocation of nature in our beautiful region, its 2 rivers and its varied landscape, the people who live there, their work and their days. It might be rather classical if Mr King's narrative were not rather like a short novel, the reason for which is to be found in the last lines: the book was thought of as an anniversary gift to one of his daughters.  Travelling, moving and searching for a home, are interspersed with artistic episodes, the whole is rendered with a touch of inimitable Irish humour. From mechanical worries over an old car, cat and dog stories, to end up with observing or meeting the local fauna, we shall follow the trials of an English-speaking family who drive across France to settle down in the south-west. Nothing more refreshing for us than to be observed, painted and depicted with a precise sense of the detail, colour and shape under the brush and pen of Tom King! I wish all those who love nature and men in their environment will have the same pleasure as mine to wander between 'two rivers.' "

Sample of the original English text from page 40. 
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.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of Entre Deux Rivieres the following link will take you directly to the site: The website can be translated by clicking on the TRANSLATE button in the top right hand corner of the page. The name of the publisher is Bucerep and the ISBN No is: 2-9509754-8-8
Post published by Tomas King 26 - 09 - 2013

Oil Demonstration 2

I was asked by the Dublin Artist's Society to do an oil painting demonstration. They are always difficult things to do for a number of reasons: You are working to a time limit in an unfamiliar environment while trying to keep a dialogue going to a group of people, answer questions and paint at the same time. Because the demonstration was scheduled to be indoors I decided to take along one of my sketchbooks, in this case one from my time in France. I always think it interesting to show how an image created in one medium can be transposed into another, it adds an additional dimension to the demonstration  and
illustrates how sketchbooks can be a source of subject matter over many years. The sketch, a watercolour, shown here below, was produced in an A4 Sketchbook on cartridge paper and is of a farm in the Tarn et Garonne region of France. The farm was set in a very deep gorge in winter and the background is made up mostly of trees clinging to the side of the gorge with the sun reflecting on the dead leaves still cling to them.
The second image from the top is the painting as it was when I finished the demonstration, there was not much left to do. I had painted on a canvas which I had pre-prepared with an earth coloured background and this can clearly be seen in the top right hand corner and at various points throughout the painting. I took the painting home and the following morning, while it was still wet, set it up on an easel in my studio. I like to work on oil paintings while they are wet, I like to push the paint around and feel the tactile nature of the medium. I finished off the edges, softened the patch of sky in the top left hand corner, toned down the background between the trees and defined them a little. I added a few touches to the foreground and that was it. I liked the spontaneity of the painting as it was and the almost abstract treatment of the trees in the background. The finished painting can be seen in the image at the top.
Post published by Tomas King 20 - 09 - 2013      

Three Recent Oil Paintings

Continuing with my series of paintings produced during the summer, here are another three oils. 'Shadows on the Sand', (top) was painted during the early part of the summer and is not the sort of subject I would normally paint but I was attracted by the wild flowers scattered between the rocks and for once I looked down instead of up. It just goes to show you don't always have to look for the big picture to produce a painting. Despite the subject it is not a floral painting and I deliberately tried not to get too involved with the detail of the flowers. What I like about the painting is the sense of pattern in the sand created by the dried up seaweed.

'The day that was in it - Fanore' (middle) was done very recently in a wonderful and very unusual place called The Burren in the west of Ireland, County Clare. The day was just as it appears in the painting, very changeable and very windy. I battled the elements to produce this painting and it was very rewarding both for the result and the fact that I managed to produce something despite the buffeting of the wind coming off the Atlantic. The sound of the sea washing the shore was wonderful. The colour of the sand at Fanore is very unusual being a very warm yellow/orange against the blue haze of the Connemara mountains in the distance.

'River-Boats Graiguenamanagh' (bottom) is again, a recent painting. The sky was very flat and grey but the colours of the boats and the reflections in the water held the painting together.
Shadows on the Sand 40 x 40cm
The day that was in it - Fanore 45.5 x 61cm
River-Boats, Graiguenamanagh 40.5 x 50cm
Post Published by Tomas King 11-9-2013


Two Recent Waterolours

It has been a glorious summer and I have taken full advantage of the long days. Here are just two of the paintings produced during this period, both watercolours. The top painting 'A Soft Day' 31 x 60cm was painted at one of my favourite locations. I have painted this many times but always I seem to find something different in this small group of buildings. The bottom painting 'From Coliemore Harbour to Dalkey Island, 22 x 32cm is of a delightful spot along the coast road just south of Dublin. I had been meaning to paint it for a long time but the opportunity never seemed to present itself. To get this view I had to stand in the road with a board fixed around my neck like an ice-cream seller in a cinema and hold my palette, water container and tissues in one hand while balancing my board against my waist to keep it steady and paint with the other hand, and for good measure I had to move out of the way every time a car came along. I like very much the old winch at the bottom right used for hauling the boats up the very steep ramp. 
Post published by Tomas King 22 - 8 - 2013


SILVER AWARD, Art in the Open 2013

I am delighted to announce that the above painting of Slade in County Wexford has won the T. Morris silver award at the Art in the Open international Plein Air Painting Festival 2013. This is the 6th year of the festival which has grown year-on-year and now attracts painters from all over the world. It has become the largest event of its type in Europe with painters producing works of art at various locations throughout south east Ireland over a two week period and culminating in an exhibition of selected works in Wexford.
The rules of the festival dictate that all works of art must be produced on location directly from the subject, not in the studio or from photographs. The festival is a great opportunity to meet other artists, both local and international, professional and amateur and share techniques or the problems of painting on location or just enjoy a cup of coffee and a chat.
Featured here are two other paintings I produced during the festival: 'Holiday Weekend, Enniscorthy', watercolour and 'John Cullinan painting at Carne Beach', watercolour.

Post published by Tomas King 10 - 08 - 13 


Painting Jean Marc's Portrait

The above portrait was done of Jean Marc, a friend, while visiting my home here in Ireland. He and his wife took a series of photos of me during the process of doing the portrait and I thought it would be fun to show them here. It is rare for me to be photographed in my studio while working for the simple reason that I am usually on my own but whenever it happens I am always amused by the variety of my facial expressions and body posture - an indication of the concentration that goes into producing what appears to be a casual painting.
Post published by Tomas King 22nd June 2013


It has been a long time since my last blog post but I have been busy working in my studio and I will, in time, publish that work. However, for now I would like to share a little sunshine with you. It has been a long cold Spring here in Ireland and I was beginning to think Summer would never arrive but at last I have been able to get outside, feel the sun on my back, work in comfort and go home at the end of the day tired but contented. All four of the paintings featured here were done en plein air and if summer stays around a little longer I hope there will be more.
Top: Windy Day on the South Slobs. Oil on canvas 45 x 60cm
Second from Top: Rock 'n' Roll. Oil on canvas 40 x 50cm
Centre: Farm Buildings St. Margaret's Bay. Watercolour 30 x 47cm
Bottom: Between the Dunes in May. Oil on canvas 45 x 60cm
Post published by Tomas King 5th June 2013



When all else fails in the dark days of winter and I can’t get outside to paint I turn my eyes inward to the everyday objects around me, the things we miss in our rush to get outside and paint the bigger picture! Whenever I turn my attention this way I tell myself I should do more of these simple subjects with their interesting shapes, reflections and surfaces but it rarely happens. Part of the problem I think is noticing their existence, we become so used to seeing them we fail to register their visual appeal. The top watercolour was done as a demonstration after a failed attempt to get outside with a group of students. The two lower images were painted in my sketchbook at a chateau in the south of France when the weather turned bad and the lower watercolour of a kitchen surface with all its interesting reflections was done in my home.
Post published by Tomas King 26 - 04 - 2013

Norfolk Sketchbook

From my Sketchbooks. No 2
Following on from previous posts relating to my sketchbooks: The Sketchbook and From my Sketchbooks No 1 I have featured here some of the images from my Norfolk sketchbook. The flat, marshy landscape of Norfolk and Suffolk forming part of East Anglia in England is an area that has been much loved by artists through the ages. John Constable, Edward Bawden, John Sell Cotman, Elizabeth Frink, Roger Fry, Gainsborough, Rowland Hilder, Agustus John, Henry Moore, Alfred Munnings, John Piper, Pissaro, Edward Seago, Stanley Spencer and Philip Wilson Steer are just a few of the names among the many who have enjoyed and found inspiration in this place.
This is an area of big skies, a varied and unspoiled landscape, distinctive villages and an architectural style of its own. For four years I followed the lanes and coastline of Norfolk and ventured into Suffolk with my paints, easel and sketchbook and found in its quiet beauty all the reasons why so many had gone this way before me. I have included here a few of the images of Norfolk to give a flavour of the place, there are many more. They were painted in an A4 landscape sketchbook by Cornelissen & Son on cartridge paper and have been a fountain of material for paintings for many years.

Post Published by Tomas King 26-03-2013


Part of our day to day experiences is the mass of promotional material fighting for our attention, so much so that often we become oblivious to its existence. There is nothing new in this and much of it will, in time, become the ephemera of our age, reflecting the tastes and styles of the times we live in. We all know when something was produced in the 30’s, 50’s or 60’s just by the use of typography or illustrative style and when done well, these simple everyday items of promotional material can become objects of beauty in their own right. I have featured here a small collection of bookmarks which I think illustrate this point and speak for themselves.
Post published by Tomas King 11-03-2013


I have been very busy in the studio recently and include here two of the paintings that will be featured at the annual exhibition of the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club together with: Summer Breeze, The Old Bake House and Over the Hills and Far Away already featured in an earlier post on this blog. The painting at the top, ‘Time and Tide, Sandycove’, has been selected as the raffle painting at the exhibition. The painting below, ‘Still Waters, The Burren’, started life as a demonstration painting last year on location. It was two thirds finished in situ and completed in the studio.
Post published bt Tomas King 10-2-2013